The Early Retirement / Financial Freedom Spreadsheet!

by J. Money on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

early retirement calculater

After being inspired by Jeremy’s early retirement story, I decided to sit down and calculate once and for all how long it would take for us to retire early as well.

(And by retire early, I really mean “be financially independent” – ie not needing money anymore to survive whether you still want to work or not. In a way I feel like I’m already retired since I’d be blogging as I am now when officially free, only I very much need the money to live off right now, haha…)

As any good nerd would do in these times, I headed straight to Google for some early retirement spreadsheets to help plot my scheming. I came across a few good places that shared close to what I was looking for (the 2nd spreadsheet over at Reddit was helpful (and detailed!), as well as this fun calculator at Networthify.com), but I couldn’t find anything that was nice and simple where I could plug in a few numbers and get my snapshot without having my head explode..

So I decided to make one of my own :)

It took me a little extra effort and sharpening of Excel skills to put together, but I was happy to jump in and fully immerse myself in what early retirement looks like number-wise. And when you’re building stuff from scratch, you get to cater things to your own liking! Which to me meant simplicity and getting that overall *snapshot* of what the deal is here. I wanted to see exactly how far away FI (financial independence) is, and be able to easily play with the numbers to see how it affects the future.

This is what I came up with.

The Early Retirement / FI Spreadsheet

early retirement calculator

(You can download the spreadsheet here: Early Retirement Spreadsheet)

Here are the assumptions it makes:

  • 4% withdrawal rate – This is the amount experts/bloggers often recommend as the “safe withdrawal” amount based on the Trinity Study. (That says historically you would have been fine spending 4% of your initial portfolio value and adjusting for inflation each year)
  • 25 multiplier – This is the ratio that will tell you when you’ve reached financial independence – when you have 25x your annual expenses invested in income generating assets, which is based on that same 4% withdrawal rule.
  • 8% return rate – This is another of those often quoted, yet highly controversial numbers, and is an average over the span of many years and not just a specific one. NOTE: Inflation will make this # not as sexy over time, but fortunately is already calculated in with the 4% withdrawal plan.
  • 100% – The amount of an expert in Early Retirement I am not ;)

UPDATE: This spreadsheet gives you a snapshot for the future as things stand *today*. It’ll all change as time goes on, but if we update it along w/ it then in theory it should always be correct for any given moment in time :) If you want to adjust for future changes though, scroll down and check out v2!

Now of course none of these numbers are absolute since we can’t predict the future, so these are things you’ll have to decide yourself to keep or tweak depending on your own beliefs. I tend to personally agree with them since I’m getting these #’s from my friends who are *already* retired, but either of them can be changed easily in the spreadsheet to match your own situation.

Let’s break down the sections:

INVESTMENTS — This is where you put your *ahem* investments. No home equity, cars, property, collectibles, etc. Just straight up income-producing investments since this is where you’ll be getting your money to live off in ER (early retirement). Notice this is an adjustment from having our Net Worth be the center of attention! That gives you an overall snapshot of your entire finances which is also good to know, but doesn’t necessarily paint a good ER picture…

(I left out cash here on purpose since it’s just sitting in a savings account and not making a return, but I know others do like to include it… fwiw)

RETIRE NOW: YEARLY & MONTHLY — This tells you what you have to live off of *right now* should you decide to retire today. Again, based off the same 4% withdrawal rate.

AGE: NOW & THEN – This is where you plug in your current age which will be automatically adjusted in the “Investments” column to the right. Unfortunately you have to match up your ER age manually as I couldn’t figure out how to have that match and automatically adjust w/ that right-side column. You can easily figure it out though :) It’s now updated and will automatically calculate for you thanks to an anonymous reader!

EXPENSES (CURRENTLY) — This is arguably the most important factor here as it determines exactly how much you need to have in order to retire *today*. The higher your expenses the bigger the pot – which is where this 25x number comes in. The total amount needed to live off your wealth is 25x your yearly expenses, one of the main variables we have control over! (BTW in the spreadsheet all you need to do is plug in your monthly expenses and it’ll auto-calculate the rest)

INVESTMENTS (GROWTH OVER TIME) — This is where the return rate plays its role, as well as the amount of money you’ll be investing yearly in the future as well. You can easily see how DRASTIC the numbers change by tweaking either area. Just 1 % point or $1,000 extra can make a huge difference! As it’s all about compounding over the years until you reach that sweet sweet nectar of freedom ;)

That’s it! Nice and simple right? You can easily plug in your own numbers in a matter of seconds (provided you know them off your head or can easily log in and copy/paste from your Net Worth spreadsheet which you’re tracking, right? ;)) and get a snapshot of your own situation.

It’s pretty humbling…

Here’s what the calculations are telling me:

(The numbers in that spreadsheet example are my own)

  1. I can’t retire until I’m 54 at this rate. Which really isn’t “early!!”
  2. I need a nest egg of $2,250,000 in income-producing assets to do so
  3. I’d have $1,383.53 to live off if I decided to retire *today* (not a lot, but VERY COOL TO KNOW!!)
  4. Our expenses are ridiculously high right now…

[UPDATE – our expenses are now roughly $5,200 a mo (yeah no more daycare!!) so we’re looking at needing “only” $1,600,000 now which chops down the years left by 6 and granting us financial freedom at age 48 :) At least in theory – hah.]

So pretty much the opposite of what I wanted to see, haha… Which means that if I’m serious about reaching financial independence early FOR REAL, I need to either drastically cut our expenses, or drastically start saving more again. Something we used to do like crazy before the Perfect Storm hit of income losses, house renovations, baby producing (big factor), and just general change in business.

That’s the bad news.

The good news? Our current situation is only temporary and by this time next year (and probably much sooner actually), we’ll have an extra $40k-$80k a year coming in to completely speed things up again. Something I’m VERY much looking forward to ;) And many of our expenses like daycare and rental property losses will be gone in a matter of time as well – freeing up $2,500 off the bat.

**Which leads us to the other important thing to consider: What we spend NOW can/will/should be different than what we spend in actual retirement.**

Depending on how far away this is, it could affect mortgage/car payments (or lack there of), commuting expenses, healthcare expenses, food budgets, entertainment and the list goes on. Something that Jeremy brought to my attention when I shot him my first “go” at the retirement spreadsheet above.

He made some edits and shot it back to me…

Introducing The Early Retirement / Freedom Spreadsheet v2!

early retirement calculator 2

(You can download this version of the spreadsheet here: Early Retirement Spreadsheet v2)

That’s right! We already have a 2nd version! Haha…

It’s not as pretty/simple as my first one, but it does include a handful of new things to consider:

  • Hourly income
  • Amount of *daily* expenses
  • Principle mortgage payment (right now these are “expenses” but might not be in retirement)
  • After-tax income
  • Savings rate off of that after-tax income
  • Years to FI
  • Years to FI based on reduced monthly spending in retirement
  • Budget area to compare expenses now vs in retirement (or in the future in general)
  • Amount of money needed *per line item in budget* for FI

(FI = Financial Independence)

That last one is a whopper! For example, if your cell phone costs you $50/mo right now, and you want to keep it in early retirement, you will need $15,000.00 banked to cover that alone! (25 x $50.00 x 12 mos) How powerful/scary is that?

Now FYI – those budget areas are totally made up from Jeremy just to give us a working area. He did get our $2,000/mo expenses for daycare correct though (ugh) which means if we were to keep  it around for 10 years+ (which of course we wouldn’t), we’d need $600,000 just to continue paying that area itself. That’s more than ALL my investments combined right now! And you’ll see in his examples that shaving that off plus some other areas drastically reduces the amount of $$ needed in retirement by over $1 million dollars. Which then cuts the # of years to FI down by 10 and allows me to retire in 9 years when I’m 45 instead of 54.

That’s a big difference.

So it’s good to play around with these numbers and see how the changes affect the future. Which shows the importance again of getting your monthly expenses down, as well as continuing to plow money into investments at the same time to improve both sides of the equation. None of which is all that easy, but it is do-able. As countless others outside of Jeremy have proven time and time again. (And who we’ll also be featuring here in our new Earl Retirement Series as time goes on…)

Here’s something else cool to consider: once you have enough money for FI you don’t have to save anymore if you don’t want! EVER!! You still can, of course, but what a different mindset than we’re used to having OUR ENTIRE LIVES, haha… How do you even comprehend this? :)

What this all means…

What all this means is that if you want to get serious about reaching financial independence and/or retiring early if you choose to do so, you need to be aware of where you currently stand and what needs to be done in order for you to get there (just like with budgeting). I joke all the time about how I WANT financial freedom and that I’ll reach it one day, but the truth of the matter is I never sat down to actually play with the numbers (at least seriously) until today. And boy what a shock that was.

I’ve always considered $400k banked to be a major milestone, but in the grand scheme of independence it’s anything but. At least with our current expense ratio and wanting to retire sooner than later. As you can see from either spreadsheet we’ll reach $1 Million in investments in 9 years as-is, but unless we get our expenses in check we’ll continue having to work quite a bit longer until we don’t need to anymore. You already know I’ll still be blogging or doing something online regardless of our money, but the fact remains it’s a necessity and not an *option* until reaching FI!

So the pursuit to get there is growing larger in my heart than ever :) And hopefully these are things you start considering as well. We’re all in different stages of our financial journey, but having a better grasp of what the future does hold, and CAN hold, is a really important one to pay attention to. Hopefully these spreadsheets help you put things in better perspective.

Good luck! Would love to hear any and all thoughts on this stuff, and what your numbers look like as well if you’re willing to share :) Big thanks to Jeremy for not only taking the time to add to my spreadsheet, but for opening my eyes up more in general to this ER stuff. It’s funny how all of a sudden things can “click” and you want to start taking action now.

And I’m about to action the crap out of this stuff!!!

i heart spreadsheets

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PS: None of this incorporates social security or other benefits from the government down the road. Mainly because you don’t get access to it when you’re retiring early, but also because nothing’s guaranteed in life. If we get these addtional income streams later – great! More money to play with! But by focusing on what IS in our control you won’t come across too many nasty surprises hopefully.

PPS: If you’ve found/made any great spreadsheets or calculators on ER calculating, please send them over so we can check them out too! I’ll start a little list here :)

Tweaked Early Retirement Spreadsheets:

UPDATE: Here are a few more spreadsheets readers of this blog have since shot over to improve my simple one. SO COOL to see people tweaking and updating this thing – we are such nerds! Haha…

  1. Early Retirement + Real Estate + Pension [Spreadsheet] – This one was put together by Hannah J. who updated my original spreadsheet to include “Present Value” of Pensions and the “Present Value” of the Cashflow from Real Estate. She adds “Present Value is just a fancy of way of saying how much should you be willing to pay for the future cash flow if you bought it right now. (Or conversely if you were offered a lump sum for the asset, what is the minimum amount you would want to get for that)” and “Present value hinges on the idea of a discount rate which is for all intents/purposes how much money you could get if you deployed this money elsewhere” and lastly, “The FIRE Present value basically tells me how much is this worth if I use a discount rate of 4%.”
  2. Monster Retirement Budget [Spreadsheet] – This is by Robert R. who factored in the following: Taxes, Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medigap, healthcare coverage pre-Medicare, dental and vision, Social Security, and using Roth IRA Contributions and the 72t rule for pre-tax accounts to cover budget expenses prior to age 59.5 as well as calculating the required minimum distribution on pre-tax accounts (after age 70.5) and checking to make sure withdrawals exceed RMD. He also states, “The effect of a Health Savings Account on your medical expenses in retirement is HUGE,” as well as “In some situations, taking Social Security early actually increases your account balances in the long run,” and “Having money in a brokerage account (or any non-retirement account) is important if you want to retire before age 59.5 to avoid penalties for early withdrawal, but there are some loopholes for using pre-tax retirement account money if you retire earlier than 59.5 without penalties.” Running his own calculations also showed him that he’ll be paying Uncle Sam and the state of Arizona over 1.3 million dollars while in retirement – ouch! So maybe you won’t want to use this spreadsheet? ;)
  3. Early Retirement + Dividend Investing + Passive Income [Spreadsheet] – Here’s another tweaked version of my original spreadsheet that fellow blogger Tawcan just posted about on this site.  This one incorporates dividend investing as well as other passive income streams you may have (and some Canadian references as well, for you Canadians out there ;)). Hope this helps!
  4. Early Retirement + Taxes/Distribution Simulations + Roth Ladder – A more expanded version of my spreadsheet by Kate S.. She added in a cell for Roth contributions to date (since these can be withdrawn at any time), what withdrawals would look like using the 4% rule and 3% to be conservative, and then some extra tabs. The second tab is a simulation of distributions, as well as an estimate of tax owed. This tab assumes that funds from tax deferred accounts will be converted to a Roth, with a minimum being the amount of the standard deduction and exception since this would be tax-free (based on Gocurrycracker’s info). It also assumes that you’ll first withdraw money from a brokerage account, then Roth, then tax deferred accounts. The third tab is a simulation of what the distributions would look like if you were to try to convert all tax deferred accounts prior to 70.5 years old, to avoid taxes due to required minimum distributions. The fourth tab is a simulation of a 5-year Roth ladder, as Justin at RootofGood.com advocates. The last tab shows the tax brackets and is for information only.  The simulation tabs pull the standard deduction and exemption info from this tab (based on filing status) but the tax % must be entered on the second tab to calculate any estimated tax due.
  5. Financial Life Plan – This is a simple one page spreadsheet by reader Wilfred Waters. The purpose of the template is to calculate when you can retire given a starting balance, inflation rate, savings rate, desired retirement income and lifespan. With a focus on “lifespan” which really hits home as there’s a section for expected death to remind you to appreciate your days! GENIUS! (I ended up writing an article around it here if interested: A Simple Spreadsheet on “When You Can Retire” (And Also How Long You Have Until Death!))

And here are other articles I wrote on financial freedom that might help out:

[Photo cred: ToGa Wanderings // Tweaked by J$]

{ 173 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Petrish @ Debt Free Martini February 18, 2015 at 5:43 am

I have to be honest….I would be really scared to sit down and do this right now. As I was reading I am curious and before I retire from the military which is this year, I have promised myself to sit down and do this. It is a really great idea.

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2 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

It is pretty scary, I’m not going to lie :) But just like with everything better to know where you stand so you have the opportunity to change the future if you desire to!

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3 Sarah @ #hartzogswag March 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm

oh man, so sad. 48. at least 18 after my goal.
Anyone want to offer me a ridiculously high paying job that i’ll leave in 5 years?

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4 J. Money March 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

Time to get your hustle on ;)

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5 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness February 18, 2015 at 6:38 am

I did the first worksheet and it looks like I could retire in 6 years at age 38. But since most of my wealth is rental property equity I’m not sure it works the same way. To access 4% of my equity I would have to set up a line of credit which is basically a loan and that doesn’t feel like freedom to me. That said, the rental income is not taken into account so that will definitely help.

I’m going to do some tweaks to see how it might work for RE Investors.

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6 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 11:55 am

Yeah, equity doesn’t exactly pay cash flow does it? :) But fortunately monthly rent does!

If you end up tweaking it let me know and I’ll link back to it for others in the same boat who may find it helpful!

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7 Jon @ Money Smart Guides February 18, 2015 at 6:40 am

It’s awesome you sat down and created your own spreadsheet! My wife rolls her eyes at me when I do this type of stuff and it happens fairly regularly.

I like both versions, but think most people should start off with version 1. Not that there is anything wrong with version 2, it’s just a lot more detail. When first starting out, it’s best to start out slow and then dig deeper. Version 1 gives you the info you need and as you want to learn more, like your daily expenses and hourly rate, you can do that in version 2. I just worry people will jump into version 2, be overwhelmed at the info and do nothing instead of getting inspired to better their odds of FI by using version 1.

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8 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

I’ll agree.

The 1st spreadsheet is 90% of what I think is important to know and super easy to do. Which is why I started it that way :) Then I had to go get some input from J-Dogg and he totally complicated things! Haha… j/k, his stuff of course is also incredibly good to know. And also scary to know :)

(Funny about your wife too – mine is the same so when I told her about this new one I was making I was QUITE surprised when she said “Woah! That’s awesome to know! I had no idea!” For some reason this made more sense to her than any other spreadsheet I’ve ever sent her way so thought it would be a good thing to share today on the site :))

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9 Mrs. Frugalwoods February 18, 2015 at 7:08 am

You and Mr. Frugalwoods really are old men together… ;). He has a somewhat similar set of spreadsheets for us, which I do greatly appreciate. There’s nothing like making these decisions based on cold, hard numbers–it’s the best way! We like the cFIREsim calculator as well.

We came to the same conclusion about the need to lower our expenses in 2013 since we realized it makes it a two part equation: with lower expenses, we need less in order to retire early because we’ll be spending less per year once we are retired. We’ve calculated out all of our early-retirement expenses too (like healthcare and a bunch of homestead-related stuff) and figured out we’ll actually be spending more in our first few years of early retirement (thanks to homestead start-up costs). But, over time, our expenses should decrease even more dramatically thanks to growing our own food, etc (but I fully expect to kill all of our vegetables the first year… which Mr. FW kindly took into account ;) ).

We spent about $13,000 (other than our mortgage) in 2014 and since we’ll be renting that house and likely owning the homestead outright, hopefully housing costs will at the very least break even. The big question mark of course is how much future babywoods will cost us… from what I hear, they’re expensive! Frugal Hound is on retainer as nanny-in-residence.

At any rate, I love doing these exercises. I could look at your spreadsheets all day long! And, I have confidence you’ll get there a lot sooner than 54–you’re the original savings hustler!

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10 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm

How scary is that – we go through $13,000 in 2 months which lasts you a year! Dang kids and daycare and health care and arghh……

haha… all temporary though, all temporary! (I repeat this line at least 30x a day to myself :))

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11 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 18, 2015 at 7:35 am

I think 54 is still pretty sweet for retirement age- especially as a worst case scenario. My parents are in their 60s with no sign of stopping any time soon. That’s the price of having 5 children I guess :/

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12 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Good thing though or else you may not be here today! :)

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13 Petra February 21, 2015 at 11:42 am

On the other hand, if her parents had stopped after two children (and Stefanie is the third, fourth, fifth or sixth child) there would be no Stefanie who could complain about not existing. I mean, my parents stopped after three children, and we never heard from our fourth or fifth sibling of how they didn’t exist and how that wasn’t fair. Not existing is not too bad, at least I think it’s very likely that it isn’t…

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14 TIM March 3, 2015 at 2:08 pm

HAHA that’s great!! I haven’t heard any complaints either..

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15 How to Save Money February 18, 2015 at 7:49 am

I tried a template from Excel once and my target then was to retire by 40. With that, the result is I can only live for 10 more years! Scary but motivating at the same time.

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16 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Hah! Time to make some changes like me then :)

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17 Kristy February 18, 2015 at 8:01 am

Quick question: Does the yearly investment include everything for the year: taxable accounts, 401K’s, Sep, IRA’s etc?

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18 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Yup – I just threw everything in there to make it nice and simple. The tax stuff of course will change stuff down the road, but I wanted a simple snapshot here to guide me so I left all that stuff out. You can tweak it if you’d like though (and if you do let me know and I’ll share it! :))

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19 Fervent Finance February 18, 2015 at 8:09 am

Great job with the spreadsheet. I’ve tried to replicate a similar effort multiple times but it is really a shot in the dark my “early retirement age” since I’m just beginning. A few of the variables that I am referring to are 1) I currently live in NYC but don’t plan to retire here, 2) I currently don’t own a car or home, but will most likely down the road, 3) since I’m still somewhat early in my career, my income has increased pretty significantly since graduating, and I can’t predict with certainty how much it will increase going forward. Anyways even though my expenses and income will change dramatically over the next 10 to 15 years before I reach FI, it is still a run exercise and planning tool.

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20 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Yes, for sure. No one knows what the future will hold and when there’s tons of variables like that all we can do is guess best.

What I like most about this spreadsheet is that it just gives you a snapshot for the future as things stand *today*. It’ll all change as time goes on, but if we update it along w/ it then in theory it should always be correct for any given moment in time :)

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21 Rebecca@TheFamilyFinder February 18, 2015 at 8:22 am

I LOVE a good spreadsheet. I can wait to play with it! Thanks for putting all the work into making this.

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22 Brian @ Debt Discipline February 18, 2015 at 8:32 am

I know you said income increase is on the horizon, what’s the plan to shave that 54 number?

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23 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Get back to investing a ton more like we used to, sell our house sooner than later, and eventually get both kids outta daycare. Either when they’re old enough to start school or some other combo that makes better sense. Right now we like them there to interact with a lot of kids and the center is SUPER safe and just bad ass, but can’t be spending $2k every month forever. So with the major income boost and changes in expenses, I reckon this # will go down a lot as the months/years go by… But for now, it is what it is!

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24 Lance February 18, 2015 at 9:07 am

OK, so I’m a spreadsheet nerd and have my own I’ve worked on for a while. I think the big thing that isn’t considered, (or maybe it is, you can decide) is inflation. If your assumption is your real after inflation return will be 8% then you’re covered. If not, then you definitely would want to lower your investment return by what you think inflation would be. Personally, I figure 8% return on my investments but 3.5% inflation over the long run so really my real return would be 5.5%. Of course, I’m sure this is conservative.

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25 Lance February 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

Apparently I can’t do math early in the morning. 4.5% real return is 8 – 3.5 :)

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26 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm

That was 1 thing I was having a hard time figuring out, and in the end decided the inflation just comes out of the 8% return exactly how you mention as I’ve seen this in other people’s spreadsheets/articles as well. So it does change stuff for sure, but in this point of the process (ie getting a handle on everything and righting the ship) I’m cool how it’s set up for now. Perhaps we’ll tweak more in v3 :)

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27 Will @ firstQuarterFinance.com February 18, 2015 at 9:19 am

$2.25 million. Easy to remember! I agree with Stefanie up above. 54 isn’t too shabby! My parents are in their mid-60’s and seem to still have their minds mostly intact! We get along well so I can say that. :)

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28 Kim February 18, 2015 at 9:21 am

I’m quitting at 50 even if I have to change my name to Oscar and live in a garbage can. Thankfully our rentals should be paid off by then and that income will cover our expenses. Thanks for the spreadsheet. It’s always fun to play with the numbers.

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29 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:35 pm

Hah! That’s another route too – retiring at a hard date and just dealing with it :) Truth is most of us could actually adapt to that fairly well as we tend to think we need a lot more than we do to survive!

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30 Done by Forty February 18, 2015 at 9:26 am

Awesome tools there, J Money. I recently did something similar, though nowhere as well thought out as you did. Our new goal is $1M in invested assets + our rentals. Without the rental income, I think we’d be in a very similar ballpark.

Again, really cool analysis there. I had unfortunately only been focusing on what I save and spend every month, without doing the hard work of actually figuring out the numbers you’ll need. I’m going to give v2.0 a look and see how our numbers compare.

Thanks for sharing the docs!

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31 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Let me know what you think once you’ve played around!

The rental income is bad ass too – way to do that :) We have it too by default (couldn’t sell our old home cuz too underwater at the time), but unfortunately we *lose* money every month so it’s a different situation, haha… We’ll be fine in 5-10 years, but I doubt I’ll last that long.

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32 Done by Forty February 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I actually like spreadsheet v1 better. I like the simplicity of it.

So, played around with the figures and it looks like we can hit FI right in between age 39 & 40…though I think my goal now is to try to work until the day before I turn 41, to be extra safe.

This also ignores any rental income, which I guess would be our buffer.

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33 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 10:08 pm

That’s pretty sweet man. You should find a way to update the spreadsheet to incorporate the rental income somehow simply. That way I can use it too when needed, haha… (it’s actually the one thing people seem to want to be added from the comments so far today. a good problem to have!)

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34 AJ Smith February 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

Love the spreadsheets – very inspiring! It makes such a difference to have a plan and to see how your actions can make it happen. I just sent them to Walter and hoping it will help get him on board with ER. I’ll keep you posted!

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35 Martin February 18, 2015 at 9:56 am

It’s fun to run the numbers. I personally want to purchase a few more rental properties as income generating assets before I think about retirement. Have you read The Millionaire Fastlane? It’s an excellent book that covers all of this stuff. I’m currently half-way through.

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36 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:38 pm

No, I suck at reading things that are non-blogs :( My a.d.d. hardly allows it. (And I connect more with short personal stories, though some books I’ve been able to finish like Millionaire Next Door and other classics! Here are my favorites if you or anyone reading wants to take a look: http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/recommend/ )

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37 John @ Frugal Rules February 18, 2015 at 9:57 am

Very awesome J! Like others have said, I don’t think 54 is too bad at all, and God only knows how that’ll accelerate once you have that additional income in each year. It is sobering to look at those expenses and realize how those decisions now can impact the trajectory you’re on. The spreadsheet is awesome – homework that I’ll enjoy doing. :)

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38 Paul February 18, 2015 at 9:59 am

Have you considered residual income? In my case, I am retired from the Air Force and already receiving income that I am no longer working to earn. I also receive VA disability benefits. The current total for these is about $3000 after taxes each month. This is $3000 in income per month that I would not have to replace. Each year I get a raise which is supposed to cover inflation, but usually really doesn’t. Also, I could increase the amount of take-home from my retirement by moving to another state which does not tax military retirement pay (or income in general), like Nebraska does.

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39 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Nice!

And the answer is no: I didn’t include an area here for that.

I think it needs to be included in the next version of the spreadsheet though – good idea :) And of course you can tweak the spreadsheet yourself to include it as well if you want to start using it.

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40 Kate Horrell February 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Paul, here’s what I did: in the boxes where it says Expenses (currently), I put our current expenses minus the military pension.

I’m pretty sure that has the desired effect, at least in version 1.

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41 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm

That’s a creative way to do it :)

I guess you could even create a new row to list it out (especially if you have others) and just calculate them to be subtracted out from the Total expenses too. Same effect, only you get the power of *seeing* these sexy streams which is much more fun than looking at expenses! Hah!

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42 Doug February 18, 2015 at 10:16 am

Excellent conversation starter for long-term planning!

As I was looking through it, three things sprang to mind, one which was mentioned earlier, and two that I haven’t seen yet:

1. Real Inflation – it’s (yet) another level of detail, but some expenses in your life will be fixed and maybe time-bounded (mortgage P&I, life insurance costs, etc.) and others will be subject to increases/inflation (utilities, property taxes, food, clothes, etc). I use one full sheet to plan expenses into the long term, and pass the yearly totals to a summary sheet.

2. Taxation on non-Roth distributions (or on the growth within an after-tax account) – I’m assuming your plan would be to take distributions of contributions or already-taxed rollovers from your Roths prior to Age 59.5 so as to not be penalized on IRA distributions, but you do still need to account for the tax burden on the traditional IRA money. It’s obviously impossible to predict the tax code 20 years from now, but I don’t see any allowance for it anywhere in the sheets. In my planning there’s three separate asset buckets – tax free, tax-deferred, and after-tax – because they all have different growth and distribution formulas (and different considerations before age 59.5).

3. That 8% rate – since of course the investment world doesn’t move in smooth curves, I use Monte Carlo simulations to generate multiple scenarios and use % chance of failure given the proposed strategies. I use third-party stuff for this.

I really enjoy your site and your posts!

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43 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Thanks! Appreciate you stopping by and chiming in too – all valid points :)

I won’t pretend to know any of the answers here because I’m still so new and learning about this stuff, but I do know I’ll be enacting a lot of the “hacks” out there for pulling from retirement accounts no matter how they’re taxed.

Here are two articles to give you a better idea (and both sites have even more insight if you wanted to poke around):

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/
http://www.madfientist.com/retire-even-earlier/

Perhaps in a few years when I’m ready to up my game I can check out your spreadsheet(s) and dive into more detail then :)

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44 Doug February 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Took a vacation sans laptop and am just coming back to this. I’m intrigued by what I was reading on gocurrycracker.com’s site, but feel like it’s banking an awful lot on consistency of the tax code 15-30+ years in the future. Maybe I’m just too nervous because it’s unfamiliar territory, but I worry about relying that much on our politicians (on all sides of the spectrum) to leave things alone that far into the future.

Cool insights though!

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45 J. Money February 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Something good to consider too, agreed – haha…

I guess it works well for all of them so far since they’re retired NOW and going with what’s *currently* working, eh?

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46 Mrs. Maroon February 18, 2015 at 10:22 am

The Maroons LOVE to make spreadsheets. We are huge nerds and find it to be fun! Especially when we are building something to estimate early retirement. Both of us have made several that we go back to over and over. We take a bit of a different approach though… Mr. Maroon is REALLY targeting ER to coincide with his 40th birthday. So we look at the numbers to see what it will take to hit that date. The good news is that we can make it work with just a little bit of discipline!

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47 Brian @ Debtless in Texas February 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Love of spreadsheets is a sign of good people – y’all Maroons sound like good people!

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48 The Roamer February 18, 2015 at 10:32 am

I also created an excel calculator which I first used to track my budget but its evolved a lot since then. I use it to also calculate my debt pay off, and now it tracks our net worth. I’ve been meaning to share it on my blog but I don’t know how to use wordpress well enough to do that. Still learning.

At worst our number is to retire by 40 but that is calculating a lot of contingency really we are aiming for the 10 yr plan.(I’ll be 28 this year) We are going to save aggressively for that time. Though after reading afford anything’s post I am thinking we might sprinkle in some mini retirements and push out full retirement. Well see. I enjoy playing with excel I’ll give your a whirl

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49 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Totally share it on your blog when you’re able to – you never know how it’ll affect your readers’ lives/money :) I’m sure there are fancy ways to do so in Wordpress, but all I did here was take a screenshot and then link to the uploaded Excel spreadsheet. That shouldn’t be too hard for you to do :)

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50 Budget Nerd February 18, 2015 at 10:44 am

Great spreadsheet! How would you compute income producing real estate income? I have plenty in my IRA, etc, but will have have roughly $3000 a month in income from my investment properties coming in once I pay off the mortgages (hopefully about 10 years down the road. What do you think?

Budget Nerd Out

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51 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

I think you need to update the spreadsheet with it so we can share around :) That was something I missed in it probably because I don’t have any myself! Haha… at least outside of investments that’s passive like that (I used to say blogging $$ was passive but boy was I wrong).

A good “problem” to have in calculating!

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52 Budget Nerd February 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Agreed. I think many of us in the FI community own investment properties that will HOPEFULLY give us an awesome return a few years down the road. I’ll work on that spreadsheet tonight and send you a copy!

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53 Zee February 18, 2015 at 10:45 am

I’ve tried calculating this many many times. My biggest problem is calculating my expenses. I have a rough idea and I think that it gives me a pretty good idea but I know that my expenses will change eventually. Right now I live with 2 roommates because… well it’s just so much cheaper to have other people paying my mortgage. But I don’t want to live with these people forever, I know at some point I will either kick them out and live by myself or downsize and live by myself. Either way I know that my expenses will sharply increase which is why I find it so difficult to calculate this.

But I always have the option of selling my house and moving to some place like Nebraska and retiring today if I want…. I just don’t think I want that, but it’s sort of nice to know that I could do that if I really wanted. Sort of.

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54 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I think everyone has the problem, so you can only forecast with what info you have *today*. And if you did that every month, or quarter, or whenever, everything should be accurate in that given point in time :) And as time progresses all the variables will be accounted for on the day you hit the “go” button.

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55 Bridget February 18, 2015 at 10:55 am

AMAZING

I just released the “Millennial Money Spreadsheets” on my site earlier this week. I haven’t done a post on them yet but they’re already getting lots of downloads.

IMMA LINK U #pfpower

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56 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Rock on! Thanks!!

More spreadsheets = heaven!

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57 Kristy February 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

I just put my numbers into your first spreadsheet. I estimated our expenses, which admittedly are quite high due to young kids in activities and our love of dining out. I’m 36 and based on the first spreadsheet, we could retire when I turn 44! Wow! However, I am shooting for 55 based on our kids and when they will hopefully graduate from the college. My youngest should be finished (if he graduates in 4 years) when I am 52. That gives me 3 years of work and making sure we have enough money and enough outside activities after the kids leave the house. Thanks for the spreadsheets! I look forward to playing with the second one when I have more time!

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58 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Sounds like a great plan! And you seem to be on the right track so far – well done!!

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59 Kristy February 21, 2015 at 7:09 am

Just showed my husband the spreadsheet last night…he couldn’t believe it. Of course it doesn’t take into consideration college expenses for the kids and/or our future expense, which is always a crapshoot. Plus, he wants a beach house….which I didn’t include because I wanted to show him what could happen if we did not purchase one! I love the first spreadsheet!

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60 Darrell February 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Ha, that’s the danger of this. On the one hand…if you keep your nose to the savings grindstone…you could retire in only 8 years. But if you add this and that’s to the list, It might at 11+ years. I think that’s the hard part for families is figuring out where you want to draw the line. I think it’s great that you are doing it now. Over the past six months, my wife and I have been trying to do the same. Planning out 20+ years is hard. The things I want now are certainly different than 20 years ago, you know? What’s cool is that we have the same retirement plan date for the same reason. Get me out from college on my gaggle of kids…then I think I’ll be able to breath. Are you saving in 529 plans?

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61 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

I hear that :)

Yeah, we do 529s for our two boys but only when we’re gifted money to them currently. Filling it up is on pause until we get our cash flow situation back to normal.

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62 Todd February 18, 2015 at 11:29 am

I guess I’m one of the cheep people who don’t have Excell. I gravitate to google docs as it does what I need. Except this time. When I try and import the v2 spreadsheet there is an unspecified error. Looks good in the blog though.

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63 Even Steven February 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

I like the simple spreadsheet for V2, looks good and simple. I combined efforts with Slowly Sipping Coffee and made a deluxe version of what are investments, future budget, projected investments, etc would be I also use that as my monthly budget tool.

Since my early retirement relies heavily on real estate, I worry more about the expenses in retirement and what the cash flow from the property will be, so the investments are not as important, but still used as my secondary investment.

Also I’m trying not to go crazy on some of these budget items! I had no idea Daycare cost so much first off, but alcohol, housing, and health insurance stick out to me, also I see you drink less in early retirement…..Good for sir!

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64 Even Steven February 18, 2015 at 11:44 am

I’m going to disagree with the early retirement at 54 isn’t so bad. Go back and ask 25 year old J Money and ask if he’s cool with working till 54? My guess is he puts his foot through the cubicle with a confirmed NO.

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65 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Hah! J. Money at 25 didn’t even know it was a *possibility* to retire before 64 or whenever! So he would have jumped at the opportunity to retire 10 years earlier!

Fortunately current J. Money knows what’s up now and will not stop until he’s financially free in his 40’s. Or even 39.9999 to be able to say I retired in my 30s :) A long shot, but still a shot!

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66 Darrell February 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Current J$ doesn’t even have a cubical to put his foot through. I’m sure if he did, his opinion of his retirement date would be different. I think he’s a little more lax on the target than some because he kinda/sorta already has a lot of the perks of retirement that we all want. I’m wearing a fancy suit sitting in an office trying to solve problems for 1,500 people. I bet J$ is sipping coffee with slippers on right now. So of course, I’d wager I obsess over retiring more than he does. If someone handed me a check for $2M, I’d probably “retire” and write a blog, too (or my version of that).

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67 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:11 pm

You’re right on that, brotha ;) I’m not wearing slippers, but I’m doing what I’d be doing in “retirement” for the most part right now…. I like to think I’m already retired, only without the benefits of HAVING ALL THAT MONEY! Haha… minor detail.

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68 The Lion's Shares February 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

THIS IS SO AMAZING! My wife and I are 25 and are dreaming of early retirement. This is going to help make our goal more tangible, as well as sober us up to the reality that we need to save and invest more. Thank you for this!

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69 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Good! Jump in and start embracing reality! :)

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70 Kim @ Money Under the Cushions February 18, 2015 at 12:57 pm

J$- I kept reading and mulling two points over and over. 1) Needing 2.3 mil in income producing assets; and 2) What we spend now is not how we should spend in retirement. Sobering and illuminating. I think this would be a fun exercise to do with the hubby. It always motivates us to do more. Thanks!

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71 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Scary, right?

But here’s the beautiful thing: we have full control of changing the outcome :) And now that we know what the deal is it’s time to start tweaking!

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72 Crystal February 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm

I liked the simplest spreadsheet the best for just a quick check in. I took into account our rental income when I typed in our monthly needs and it spit out that we are currently on track to retire at age 55. That’s with our expenses at $4000 a month and only investing $11,000 a year the whole time.

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73 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Not too shabby!

I love how we put “only” in front of $11,000 year too haha… it’s “only” to us but like 10,000 x better than the average person :) Good to motivate us to do more though!

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74 ZJ February 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for creating these spreadsheets! I kid you not, one of my to-do items for the day was to calculate my retirement date (which was inspired by your guest post earlier this week). lol
So, based on your v2 spreadsheet, I will become financially independent at age 51 (I’m currently 34). I was actually kind of bummed by the realization; I wanted to reach financial independence in my early 40’s so I could run around with my kiddies before they think they’re too cool to want to hang with me. ;-)
The good news is that this exercise gives hubby and I hope to accelerate our plans. We’re currently only living on one income so that one parent can be at home with the kids. I imagine this will change when the kids get older. AND your spreadsheet assumes that income will be the same throughout the years…there have to be a couple of raises/promotions headed our way. :-)
For now, this spreadsheet gives me a good idea of the minimum contribution level I need to hit to retire at 51. But I’ll still be gunning for FI in my 40’s!

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75 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Well look at that! Seems Jeremy’s post got all of us to do some good thinking and exploring on ER :) And you’re definitely right – the spreadsheet focuses on what things are like *today* vs future, well at least the 1st one does. Just keep tweaking it as time goes on and the numbers will hopefully continue to go in your favor! At least we know what’s up now!

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76 Melanie @ Dear Debt February 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm

This is so awesome! I love your nerdery. I don’t often think about ER, but once I’m debt free, I’ll be back plugging everything in. I have to focus on one thing at a time, or else I’ll overwhelm myself, lol.

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77 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Good idea :) I’m sure you have plenty of debt spreadsheets anyways to drool over! Haha…

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78 Monique February 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Love the site!
Thanks so much for posting this. My husband and I were just talking about this. Cant wait to play with this spreadsheet!

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79 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Glad to hear it! :) Let me know how it goes.

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80 Tiffany A. February 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Good stuff, J! I love that you’ve jumped on the ER bandwagon :) I first got into this stuff early mid last year ish and it has reallly changed my life. I had an idea, you know, that I didn’t want to do the 9-5 that everyone feels they are destined to do, but I didn’t really have a plan either. It all changed when I started reading and absorbing and living and breathing this stuff :)

I’m making some pretty supreme sacrifices now but I know it’s all about hunkering down, embracing it and being patient. For the latter half of the year (after my bro moves out of my rental) cash flow from my investment properties should cover most, if not all, my living expenses. That means I can divert all extra $ to growing the stash! I don’t expect that # to be very high this year since I’m just starting my business and have to grow my clientele… but its a marathon and the habits will be automated so hopefully will start reaping the rewards here soon. Yes, it means I live in college housing when I’m not in college, have roommates, don’t have cable, and try to eat as cheaply as possible. But I have what I need and I’m happy knowing that this money machine I’m building (can’t take credit for that, it’s all Joshua Kennon) is gonna take care of me and my family for years to come.

So, yeah it’s tough being patient. But it will all be worth it in the end!!! Just keep swimming!

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81 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Nice!! I’ve said for years we should all live like we used to in college – where we somehow managed to survive just fine on much, much less :) I’d even take it a step further and move back in with my parents if i could get away with it to ramp up savings! Haha….

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82 Tiffany A. February 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm

LOL! I’m actually writing this from my mom’s dining room table… I’m crashing here while I get internet and all that good stuff set up at my new place… and I’m fully convinced that I want this to be. the. last. time. I ever live with her again…

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83 Tawcan February 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Great Excel sheets! Thanks J Money for putting them together.

Just ran some quick calculations looks like we are on track for ER in about 10 – 15 years. The expected age for ER came out more or less the same on both versions of Excel sheet. I’ll have to play around with the monthly expenses a little bit later in Excel v.2 later this week when I have a bit more time.

I think all of the PF bloggers are secretly Excel sheet nerds. Seems that we all love Excel.

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84 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Agreed :)

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85 Christine @ The Pursuit of Green February 18, 2015 at 4:33 pm

I can’t wait to sit down and fill all of this out. And scared because I don’t want to see what the numbers tell me! What if they tell me I won’t retire til I’m 80? I would be doing something seriously wrong right now of course though if it’s going to tell me that.

Thanks for doing all the legwork and giving us an awesome spreadsheet!

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86 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Hah! In that case you’d be just like most everyone else in the country ;) So something tells me that will not be the case.

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87 theFIREstarter February 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Hehe… I have a spread sheet that looks very much like your V1 but with lot’s of extra features packed into it. It’s not that easy to follow though so won’t post that one for now!

I do have a decent and easy to use one I posted here though:

http://thefirestarter.co.uk/january-expenses-income-report-plus-free-spreadsheet/

Which you can do your budget or track spending each month, income and other savings, you then fill in your net worth and it will work out your savings rate and the Years till you reach FI based on the amount you spent that month, and your overall average savings/spending rate.

It’s obviously free so feel free to download and have a look (it’s a google sheet so you need a google drive/google docs account to edit it)

Any comments on how to improve it welcome :)

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88 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Rock on, thx man – will check out and add to the list above for others to see too :) You can never have too many spreadsheets, right?? (right!)

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89 Prudence Debtfree February 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

As I was scrolling down the comments, I happened to see these words from Mrs. Frugalwoods: “At any rate, I love doing these exercises. I could look at your spreadsheets all day long!” My reaction is just the opposite. Spreadsheets make my head hurt. I just see a mass of numbers and I’m filled with dread. But both you and Mrs. F. are doing extremely well with your $. Hmmm… Clearly I’ve got to find a way to start loving spreadsheets. And numbers.
(By the way, I think you’re going to make it before 54.)

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90 J. Money February 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Hah! Well, perhaps you’re living your life more and we’re glued to our computers like big ol’ nerds ;) I will say though that it’s much more fun to look at numbers when you’re in the black. So maybe you can run them as “future you” and see if you get more excited? Paying off debt sucks but It’s also sexy as hell cuz gets you closer to freedom by the payment!

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91 Prudence Debtfree February 19, 2015 at 10:34 am

My new mantra: Paying off debt sucks but It’s also sexy as hell!

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92 Dividend Mantra February 19, 2015 at 1:39 am

J$,

Nice spreadsheet, brother. I’m horrible around spreadsheets. A calculator and a piece of paper is generally all I use.

It looks like I’m on pace for FI by 38/39, which is ahead of pace. Score!

Although, I’d argue that we’re both fairly close to FI already since we’re really doing what we love for a living. If you had your $2.5 million and you’d still blog/write/share (perhaps a bit less), then you’re right where you want to be. Life is good!

Best regards.

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93 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:07 am

Indeed on that good sir. We’ve gotten that part down in life at least :)

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94 Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions February 19, 2015 at 4:50 am

J, have you used FIRECalc.com yet? Very cool — it tells your investments, based on past stock market performance, will do. It takes into account your withdrawal rate, too.

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95 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:24 am

I came across it but didn’t plug anything into – too many words on the page, haha..

I’ll go and add it to the list at the end of the article though, seems like it’s a popular one :)

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96 bobebob February 19, 2015 at 7:02 am

Nice article. The subject matter has inspired me. I’ve done some fairly advanced retirement planning, but hadn’t yet made up a dedicated spreadsheet to track my progress. Don’t know why I haven’t done that yet?

Of course if you remember my budget spreadsheet, you know I’ll have to make my own complicated arrangement. :)

There are the differences in tax bracket in retirement, the differences between Roth and regular IRA and 401k, source of budget money prior to unrestricted access to retirement accounts, and source of health plan payments and out of pocket medical expenses. Where to start? :)

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97 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:26 am

Exactly why I have to make my spreadsheets simple! Makes my head hurt and then I give up before I even start! :)

So more power to you, brotha… if you get around to the spreadsheet, pass it on over and we’ll add it up here in the resources section for people. I’m sure there’s plenty of advanced nerds out there to appreciate it, haha…

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98 EL February 19, 2015 at 9:53 am

That’s great you figured out what it takes to reach FI. If you will shed expenses as mentioned, and increase income by 80K, bro you will be FI in no time. I doubt you will actually be FI though as you enjoy blogging. One thing that is important is what inflation will do, and what the markets will do. IF the markets take a dip like in 2008, but you continue on course investing the same amount you will build up investments at a cheaper clip, and speed up the dividend income. Too many scenarios to predict, but as long as you enjoy the ride modestly while consistently investing, you cant go wrong.

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99 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:28 am

Agreed :) always a set of pros to the cons, especially in terms of stocks (provided you’re able to at least continue to contribute! my heart went out to all those who were already retired when it came crumbling down in ’08 :().

I’ll still be blogging regardless, but I’d have an extra skip in my step if I were doing so while financially free ;)

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100 Hannah February 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

I noticed a couple of people asked about residual income or real estate income. Those are actually not so difficult to account for.

You can basically create a “Present Value” of future income streams by multiplying the future annual income stream by 25 if the income stream will be indexed for inflation- if not then you typically will multiply by 15-20 (essentially 4% less inflation of 1-2%). This has an additional benefit to help you know whether you should take your pension in lump sum format or not (the answer is almost always yes, since they will typically offer greater than the present value).

Real estate is more complex because you need to estimate whether or not the income stream will grow relative to inflation, stay in step with inflation, or decrease relative to inflation. To do this you have to figure out your expected increase in expenses vs income. So if rent goes up by 2.5% and expenses go up by 1%, you have an additional 1% growth in cash value each month, which equates to a 3% safe withdrawal rate meaning you should . multiply the value by 33 instead of 25.

Real estate investors are known for being a little bizarre in their estimates though, so it is probably safe to assume that income and expenses are either in lock step or that expenses may outstrip income under certain scenarios.

In conclusion, you have to have a special real estate tab where you calculate the present value of future cashflow and then just add that as part of your investments tab.

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101 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:29 am

I think you just nominated yourself to update the spreadsheet for us ;)

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102 Hannah February 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

I’ll send it to you when I’m done, but my email is going to have a lot of words :)

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103 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

Bring it!

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104 Kayla @ Everything Finance February 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

Love the spreadsheet, but it didn’t turn out well for me either. :( Guess I have my work cut out for me, haha.

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105 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar February 19, 2015 at 11:29 am

This is really cool. I somewhere in the $1,000,000 range. I don’t need a lot more than that, and even that’s probably living luxuriously. I’d most likely blog more and sell on eBay anyways, or something similar to that, so it’s good to have that hobby which actually generates money!

It’s good that it’s going into the correct direction though!

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106 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:31 am

I honestly thought in the back of my head I’d be fine with $1 Mill too. Which is why running these calculations – even if just basic like this spreadsheet I put together – is important to do. The numbers don’t lie! :)

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107 Steve February 19, 2015 at 11:37 am

I have a similar spreadsheet although I use the same % for return rate and withdrawal rate. I may want to revisit that idea but my thought is if I am just spending what my investments are generating and never touching the principle, I should be good with that. At the point where my calculations say I should be able to retire, 12 years from now, the monthly income from the investments will be more than my current expenses by at least 3K per month and in addition, my mortgage, which is currently 20+ % of those expenses should be paid off giving me an additional 2K per month.

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108 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:33 am

Nice! I like that train of thought too in the equal % amounts. Then any surprises will just be nice ones to have vs the opposite if you were counting on a higher return ;) (Not that I’d be counting on it, but plugging in 4% vs 8% puts out drastically different #’s of course)

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109 SavvyFinancialLatina February 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

This is a great resource. Can’t wait to try it out. My husband and I have been talking/dreaming about being FI by 40.

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110 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:34 am

Let’s see if the numbers say the same! :)

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111 Andrew@LivingRichCheaply February 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Thanks J! This is really timely for me because early FI has been on my mind a lot and while I’ve mentioned it to my wife, I haven’t had a real blueprint or plan. It was more of a vague goal I had with vague plans. But this spreadsheet will definitely help see where we’re at. Also, I check out an early FI forum where the members mention this calculator so you might want to check it out:
http://www.firecalc.com/

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112 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:34 am

Hopefully your reality w/ the numbers and what you have in your head matches up a lot more than mine did :)

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113 Nick February 19, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Dude I was just about to make one of these myself (already have a net worth tracker, but adding in the other elements), so thank you for saving me the trouble!

Unsolicited Internet marketing tip: ask people to opt-in to your email list to download the file :)

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114 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:39 am

Mash it on in there with your spreadsheet! Like a true nerd! :)

And, yeah, totally hear ya on the download thing. It’s hard for me to do things I know I wouldn’t do myself though (ie exchange an email for a spreadsheet), but I know it’s smart to do biz-wise. I figure I could still give it away as a bonus for signups down the road though if I change my mind? doesn’t have to be exclusive, yeah?

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115 Grettman February 19, 2015 at 7:38 pm

I appreciate the spreadsheet, and the website as usual. I like the simple one. Of course when I get closer to retirement I will make sure my calculations are more dead-on-balls-accurate but this spreadsheet has much less noise than many of the others. Good for someone who is 15 years out. Thanks man.

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116 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:40 am

Glad you find it helpful :)

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117 Michelle Barber February 19, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Both spreadsheets were awesome and confirmed the data I’ve been building for the last 10 years! Feels good to know I’m on track – thank you!

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118 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:41 am

Awesome!! Much better news than what I’ve thought over past handful of years! Haha…

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119 James@StartingNegative February 20, 2015 at 12:25 am

54 is still earlier than most. Definitely earlier than I’m likely to see (looks like I’ll be 60 on the sheet).

The sheet was pretty helpful, as it gave me a good idea of how much harder I’ll need to work (or how much more I’ll need to save) in order to reach FI. Really puts things in a clearer light how far out I truly am at the moment.

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120 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 12:42 am

That’s the best part about it if you ask me. A kick in the ass to up our game!

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121 weenie February 20, 2015 at 10:05 am

Thanks for this, J$.

I plugged in my figures into the first spreadsheet which shows me that I have 12 years to go, so ahead of my goal of 15 years!

A lot more detail required for the second spreadsheet but I’ll have a go on that one too.

I’m with the others – 54 is young, especially with kids!

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122 J. Money February 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

Great!! A better surprise than what I found :)

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123 Jessica Olson February 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

I am so excited to dig into this!! Thank you for providing this tool to help me get started:)

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124 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm

I’m glad!!! Isn’t this stuff so sexy????

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125 middle class February 20, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for this simple-to-use spreadsheet. This is time I’ve ever filled one out that calculates how much I need to retire early. Not surprisingly, I am NOT on track to retire early. I’m not on the retire early bandwagon but I know a lot of older people get laid off and are forced into early retirement!

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126 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Yes, ER is not for everyone but much better to *know* where you stand in the off chance it’s forced upon you. Plus, it’s really more about Financial Freedom than it is “retiring” anyways.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2014/10/retiring-early-means-being-financially-free/

Nothing saying you can’t work until the day you die if you want to, but it’s better to do it on your own terms while the $$$’s all stacked up vs working because you’re forced to.

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127 connie kolita February 20, 2015 at 2:02 pm

As usual, AWESOME stuff here. I personally think that given today’s times/financial challenges in general, ANYONE who retires at 55 or earlier — whether they have kids, no kids, whatever else going on or not — is a freekin’ personal finance Genius. And I think that each one of we commenters on here — including the J$ Man himself — should give ourselves a pat on the back for being so laser focused onto the topic of early retirement! Go us! :)

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128 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Amen to that :)

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129 Anne February 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Well we’re at 51 (currently 37). Not horrible but I’m hoping to bring it down into the 40s. Retiring at 40-something just sounds a lot more badass than 51. The kiddos sure complicate planning though. We too are plowing about $2k into childcare/preschool expenses right now which is ~50% of our non-mortgage spending. We could drop this a bunch if we switched from a nanny to a lower cost childcare but our nanny rocks. For instance, she will show up on the weekend to cheer on the kids at soccer games. I guess some things are worth paying for even if they delay retirement a bit! I’m hoping to shovel most of the money into savings once the little one starts school in 1.5 years. Although the way these boys eat, the savings might just end up going to groceries!

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130 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

HAH! Looks like we’re in the same kid-pickle over here… though a nanny who does that might be worth switching for in our case! :)

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131 Darrell February 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm

This is my favorite post so far this year. Any time you bust out spreadsheets, I get excited. I had a couple points to add…

Why are taxes always ignored in these equations? If you need $42k (as in version 2), you have to consider that you’ll pay some tax on your withdrawals as ordinary income. Especially if you’re retired early and using non-qualified accounts. Even the best strategies should end up with 10 – 13% effective tax rates, or more likely, a 15% capital gain tax in early retirement…so you’ll be short 10-15 cents on every dollar needed if it’s not accounted for.

Secondly, inflation needs to be accounted for, too. Misc expenses at $250 will likely track with inflation at 3%-ish. You can plug in a FV formula in cell N21 that says =FV(0.029,15,0,-L21). That will tell you that the same $250 worth of misc stuff will cost you $384 in 15 years. Apply that logic across all the appropriate categories, and your expenses will actually increase $1,606 per month in 15 years, which you’ll need an additional $480k to sustain! Inflation sucks! Remember that rule of 72 isn’t always your friend. At 3% inflation, the cost of things will double every 24 years. remember when you were a kid and a candy bar was $.45? Take a look at the prices next time you’re at the checkout and it’ll all make sense.

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132 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Glad you liked this one bud :)

RE: Taxes – Definitely good to consider for sure. I plan on trying to implement those bad ass strategies that my early retiree friends have hacked together where they pay $0.00 more or less every year (they’re beasts!), but odds are we’ll be paying at least something unless we get super hardcore. I kinda wanted to keep the spreadsheet nice and simple too just so that we’d all *actually use it* and give us a better forecast than not doing anything at all. But you’re right, taxes will play a major factor.

RE: Inflation – Something else to pay attention to, yes. You could always just change the 8% growth down to 5% or 6% or whatever to account for that.

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133 GE Miller February 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm

$90K expenses?!?!?! I want to pimp slap you so hard right now, my man.
There is no reason a humble family living in a humble location as you are would need to spend more than $30k annually. Get that house paid (which might require a bit of downsizing). Once you crack that nut, you can retire in 5 years (less when you consider your savings boost) instead of 19.

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134 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Ohhhh is that all we need to do? Man, why didn’t I think of that!

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135 Victoria February 21, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Nice! I was wondering if there is anyway to account for the net worth of a defined pension plan in your calculations?

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136 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

There isn’t currently, I’m afraid :(

You can always tweak it though and make it work! Kate Horrell above in the comments had a clever way to incorporate income streams into it :)

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137 fourpercentrule February 21, 2015 at 11:57 pm

JMoney!

I know you visited my site once (when you added me to your blog roll at rockstarfinance), but I’m not sure if you tried out my retirement calculator. Try it at http://www.fourpercentrule.com I spent quite a lot of time on it, but really never made much of attempt to put the word out about it, so thus far it hasn’t gotten much use. I do (if I say so myself) think it’s one of the better calculators out there and it’s fun to slide the various sliders and see how various levels of saving before retirement, and different withdrawal rates affect your retirement. Give it a try! Would love to hear what you think. I was actually toying with the idea of having other finance bloggers incorporate this into their websites, but haven’t pursued this yet.

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138 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Oh wow, look at that! So pretty! Haha…

Let me go and add it to my list above for ya – hopefully it’ll let more people poke around and give you feedback :) Thanks for reminding me of it!

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139 fourpercentrule February 22, 2015 at 12:11 am

I hadn’t read to the bottom of your post before commenting. I see now that you already compiled a list of retirement calculators. I’d appreciate a link! Thanks. Love your blog.

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140 Dividend Dreams February 22, 2015 at 11:02 am

Thanks for the SEXY spreadsheets :-)

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141 J. Money February 23, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for reading the blog :)

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142 Mark February 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm

“=IF(B21<E6,D6,IF(B21<E7,D7,IF(B21<E8,D8,IF(B21<E9,D9,IF
(B21<E10,D10,IF(B21<E11,D11,IF(B21<E12,D12,IF(B21<E13,D13,
IF(B21<E14,D14,IF(B21<E15,D15,IF(B21<E16,D16,IF(B21<E17,D17
,IF(B21<E18,D18,IF(B21<E19,D19,IF(B21<E20,D20,IF(B21<E21,
D21,IF(B21<E22,D22,IF(B21<E23,D23,IF(B21<E24,D24,IF(B21<
E25,D25,))))))))))))))))))))"

Ugh.

Try this instead: =INDEX($D$6:$E$25,MATCH(B21,$D$6:$D$25,1)-1,1)

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143 J. Money February 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm

didn’t work for me but I could be plugging something in wrong…

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144 Mark February 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

If you put in your V1 spreadsheet, you’ll need to change the B21 to B20 as you moved the “needed to retire early:” line between the versions.

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145 middle class February 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

I don’t know if you already mentioned this but is the early retirement age of 54 for both Mr. and Mrs. J$? I did the spreadsheet and got the age of 63 for retirement, so not an early one for sure. However, it’s not too bad if we have enough for both me and my husband, considering that his freelance income fluctuates a lot.

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146 J. Money February 25, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Oooh GREAT question!

I had never thought about it before, but I guess yeah – it would be for the *both* of us since all the household expenses are included here and our combined wealth for that matter.

So yes! As long as you’re incorporating all assets/liabilities/etc combined between you two, you’d both be able to reach early retirement together :) You might be different ages by then though if you’re not exactly the same age now, haha…

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147 Joseph Hogue February 25, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Excellent! Both are great but I do agree that if people don’t want to be too shocked they should start off with the first one you made. :) And although it may seem scary, it does put things in perspective and hopefully will motivate people to make necessary changes. Thanks for sharing!

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148 Aja McClanahan February 25, 2015 at 4:43 pm

We just paid off all debts in 2013 and then I started feeling this weird tug to do something more. This is it! This spreadsheet helped me put a name to this goal. We are waaaaaaaaaaay behind in retirement savings, but the good news is we have no debt, not even a mortgage. I have a crazy goal to make $1.5M in 2 years to retire hubby (I work from home, kinda) It’s crazy, but I specialize in crazy goals!

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149 J. Money February 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Crazy is good! Let ‘er rip! :)

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150 Becky March 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Love the spreadsheet! According to it and my current financial situation, I will be able to retire when I am 56…. Also, quick question: Since the multiplier is 25, does that only account for having 25 years worth of expenses? For example, if by some miracle, I was able to retire by the age of 40, then 25 years from that would be 65, and I am hoping to live to be older than 65 years old. Does the spreadsheet account for the time after the 25 years or just kind of a rough guess if you account for 25 years of retirement?

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151 J. Money March 2, 2015 at 10:44 pm

From what I’ve seen and read, it should cover you for the rest of your life at least in theory. Since you’re mostly pulling from returns every year and the nest egg keeps compounding :) I could be wrong though, but the 25 multiplier is in like every calculator I come across so I assume it’s for the long haul.

Great question!

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152 Jason@LiveRealNow March 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Yuck. That puts me not able to retire until 65.

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153 J. Money March 2, 2015 at 10:45 pm

You don’t like being normal? ;)

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154 Dawn March 3, 2015 at 11:10 am

Glad I love my job(argh) and wonder if this is why our delivery guy is 70 & still working full time? Thanks for heads up, need to change some major things!

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155 J. Money March 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

I hope not! I like to think they’re just trying to be active and having fun so it doesn’t depress me :) I know I’ll still be doing stuff for as long as I’m on this Earth – whether I need the money or not!

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156 AustinTXTracy March 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Thank you so much for this spreadsheet! I’ve become obsessive over it! I am in much better shape than I realized but the downside is that I don’t have passive income that will help tide me over between ages 55-59 1/2. I should be able to retire at 57 since my husband is older than me and can access his retirement accounts. It isn’t really that early to the big money savers on this website but it is to many others. And I will be doing well financially at that time too so I won’t be worried about leaving work too early. I like my job, have great benefits and good pay so it’s not terrible to stay at all but it will be nice to be in charge of my own time!

I tweaked the spreadsheet to be more conservative (i.e. 5% inv rate) but I was curious about the 25% expenses. I assumed it was for 25 years of living expenses so I increased it to 30 but I’m not sure if that was necessary. All in all, I’m feeling really good about where I am and my ability to have a decent retirement. Several other financial websites’ retirement calculators had me thinking I wasn’t going to retire early or with enough money. Thanks J!

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157 J. Money March 4, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Well that’s good to see! Way to run the numbers and tweak stuff! I don’t know how hold you are right now, but I reckon you’d be more than able to figure out ways to get that passive income going by the time you need it :) Or you can just check out all those hacks the ER bloggers talk about and still access your retirement $$ tax-free, hah! I haven’t dared go down that rabbit hole though until I get my expenses and income in order again… Keep on running the numbers over the years till you reach it!

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158 Passive Income Mavericks March 5, 2015 at 5:31 pm

That’s a nice spreadsheet to see when one will be FI.

I liked the part where you can tweak your expenses and control when you want to be FI. Totally agree, one need to evaluate where one stands to take the right steps towards the ultimate goal.

Keep the good work,

Best,
PIM

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159 J. Money March 24, 2015 at 12:53 pm

great blog name :)

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160 Gr8expectations2025 March 21, 2015 at 2:20 pm

First off, really dig this spreadsheet. I’m wondering if the ER/FI spreadsheet compounds all the investments listed as 1 investment, wouldn’t it project a sooner age to FIRE than is realistic. So if you invest $50k per year, this adds it to the entire amount i.e. 100k. Now we are compounding $150k rather than the actual smaller amounts i.e. (18k in 401k, $5500 Roth1, $5500 Roth 2, etc). Wouldn’t this give us false hope of retiring earlier than we really can? Btw, i’m not a finance person.

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161 J. Money March 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm

You’re probably right, not sure :) I think it’s best to use this as a more accurate guess to what the future will hold vs trying to do it in your head – hah. And so you can play with the different variables to see how big (or not) changes in your lifestyle will affect your future finances. If you wanted to be more conservative, you could always drop the amount invested yearly down a bit to account for any wrong compounding? And then be pleasantly surprised if you end up with more later?

Always better to get a GOOD surprise than a BAD one :)

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162 Jason @ Islands of Investing March 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Hey J. Money, thanks for linking my calculators here! (and for making me blush by calling them ‘pretty’). It’s an awesome collection of spreadsheets here, and a great idea to bring them all together in one place. Hopefully people use this to continue to improve and enhance these tools to be as helpful as possible for others!

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163 J. Money March 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Yeah dude, thanks for sharing them! You can never have too many spreadsheets to peruse ;)

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164 Mr. Enchumbao April 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for sharing. I know the frustration of not finding the exact FI spreadsheets that you want and end up creating new ones. I hope to share some in our blog eventually. We did our numbers 4 years ago and have less than 4 years to go until we get there. We’re not willing to share them at this point but let’s just say that it is remarkable how soon you can get there the minute you do the numbers and start planning accordingly. We have cut our expenses and continue to do so and just keep what makes us truly happy. It doesn’t feel like we’re sacrificing anything.

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165 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Yes! Brilliant!

*Knowing* the situation does amazing things for motivation and action. Congrats on being so close! :)

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166 Shannon November 12, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Hey J, I’m new with all about financial world since my eyes always hurts with just looking down lots of numbers, hahah :P

But thanks to you, I sit down in 3.36 am now and take the spreadsheet v2

Until, I stuck with some investment thing

1. Im 21 and looking forward about any investment that I could start to. Any advice, J? Cause I completely have no idea about that

2. And since I know you run your own business, may I know about how you manage your biz and personal income?

I run my business, but sometimes it confusing me on how to pay myself. So thats why, in order I dont know how much I earn to myself, I cant make budget and always end into so many unimportant expenses

3. Last! So, lets say, if we make $1000/month

$350 : rent apartment
$250 : food budget
$200 : health insurance
$100 : invest
$100 : save

Is it should be like this, or not?

Lots of things going on my head now, haha. Sorry Im asking too many question

Thanks, J!

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167 J. Money November 13, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Good job taking the time to look into it all! :)

RE: INVESTING — Only way you’re going to learn about investing is to just start reading and poking around. Here are some of my favorite blogs who focus on investing: http://rockstarfinance.com/best-investing-blogs/

You could also check out Acorns.com which will get you to physically start investing right away by rounding up your daily purchases. They’ll help build a simple portfolio for you too :) Here’s my review if you want to check out: http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2015/03/acorns-app-review/

RE: BUSINESS/MONEY — I separate all my biz $$ from my personal $$ by having separate accounts, and then once a month I pay myself a set amount and pay all my bills with it for the month. If there’s anything leftover I let it sit in the biz account as I know some months I’ll make less and thus have the padding there to pull from it :) It took me a while to figure out a system that works for me, but it’s been 3 or so years now and I think I’ve got it down. Maybe that’s an option you can try?

RE: BUDGET BREAKDOWN — Hard to say what’s good or not without knowing you nor your goals, but I’d say if you can bank 20% of your income like in that case it’s a damn good start :) Really concentrate on your “WHY” and what type of lifestyle you want to create, and then work backwards from there.

Here’s a post I just wrote on it if it helps – good luck!

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2015/11/how-do-i-stop-spending-start-saving/

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168 Undergroundhousewife January 27, 2016 at 8:33 am

I have a some input similar to Doug’s question. He mentions waiting until 59.5 to withdraw from non-Roth IRA accounts. You said you had not considered the tax, but were going to figure out a hack to access your money when you are ready to retire, regardless of age. I found a nice article on US News about how to avoid this penalty, but you do not seem to fall within that realm. (The website: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2013/09/23/11-ways-to-avoid-the-ira-early-withdrawal-penalty.) Hopefully, you will find the following information helpful and to be constructive criticism.

I took a look at your spreadsheet (version 2) and it does not contain enough information to account for the early withdrawal penalty from retirement accounts. Here is the IRS answer on early withdrawals: https://www.irs.gov/uac/What-if-I-withdraw-money-from-my-IRA%3F

You can withdraw the principal from your Roth IRA free and clear, no tax, no penalty (you already paid the income tax on it). You don’t have separate entries for your principal and earnings on your Roth lines. If you touch the earnings, you need to deduct 10% off the top for the penalty and tax yourself at the full 100% as income (the earnings only become tax free at age 59.5). Any withdrawal from the SEP IRA follows the same rule, deduct 10% off the top, but tax at 100% as income. Fool.com has some great example scenarios.

To end on a positive note, you clearly put a great deal of work into these calculations. I hope to play around with my downloaded copy and customize it to my family’s situation. If I have some success with my efforts, I will definitely share them with you. This is my first time visiting your blog, and I will definitely be exploring further to see what other helpful information you share.

While I am one of those rare people who absolutely loves my line of work, DH will retire very soon from his current career, and I want him to be able to do whatever he wants for the remainder of his life. I think your work will come in very handy in looking at our numbers. Thank you!

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169 J. Money February 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

Awesome – I think it’s def. a good starting point, yes :) Tweaking it to your own situation and what you want to track is the other half of the puzzle for sure. I’m still relatively new to the ER game so I’m learning right along with everyone else. And thankfully bits and pieces are starting to sink in – hah! Good luck to you and DH!

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170 Leticia February 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm

When I see this table I become glad.
My monthly living expense is so low (I am way too frugal), I may be able to retire soon if I want. Yeah me!!
My overall living expense in a month is $770 (that is rent, all utilities, food, and fuel).
I have not debt and my car is paid in full.

Living simple does pay off guys.

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171 Chris March 17, 2016 at 12:46 am

Thanks for the spreadsheets bro, very helpful! Mind if I use them on my site? I could always link back to this site for you, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind that!

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172 J. Money March 17, 2016 at 6:33 am

go for it :)

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173 FI Champion July 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Great post — it IS definitely scary, fun, exciting, humbling when you finally do the calculations in this way to learn WHAT it takes to achieve financial independence.

I have a really cool spreadsheet that I put together that also takes inflation into account. I’ve also tried to work in withdrawal strategies to make sure enough is available outside traditional retirement accounts, in order to help us survive between now and age 59 1/2.

I’ll see if I can tweak it a little bit more to make it better for sharing. Where could I email it to for your review? Or do you just want a link to it?

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