*This blog post is my personal opinion only and contains affiliate/referral links.

Simple marinate of bbq sauce, ketchup, olive oil and minced garlic, my chicken bbq recipe is so easy i can get the grill ready while the chicken is soaking in the marinate. Even though the idea to go picknicking was just hatched this morning, the family received it with enthusiasm. After discussing some necessary outdoor precautions, as pertains to the Covid-19 infection, we headed out with a picnic basket filled with turmeric rice, bbq chicken, some fruits and veggies, water and juice. Our version of 4th of July celebration is not to watch fireworks (this year) but just to be a family celebrating the freedom of being together, yes as basic as it is, freedom is being able to go out and congregate to strengthen that family bond.

As i reflect on this post quarantine freedom, i also look back on the steps that i had taken and continued to pursue on my FIRE goals. Financial Independence is a freedom byword, and something that is earned on a personal level.

Every time i allocate a  chunk of my income for savings and investment is another stream of income made for my retirement. This process is simplified by automatically contributing to my 401K and Roth IRA every paycheck. I always have a small take-home pay but i know i am bulking up my future income resources, not to mention that i am saving big time on taxes because of these two retirement benefits.

Taxes are irreversible or as the cliche goes “inevitable”. The idea is to gain more so it will offset the taxes, that’s why i also try to squeeze some of those disposable income to “taxable” investments like Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Real Estate…. outside of my retirement accounts. 

That is not to say the FIRE dream is smooth sailing with all the automatic deposits i am making, just look at the pandemic market sell-off last March which almost obliterated the Stock Market. The FIRE dream is tested but rose back from the ashes in June. Patience is trusting the process and continuing to dollar-cost-average on your investments.

From as minuscule as every cent saved on grocery, there’s a choice to be made when you want to get ahead, i say this not just as a practical shopper but also as a lifestyle stickler. Every raise and bonus i received changes very little on the way i manage my money and my lifestyle. I can probably trace this mindset on the last 7 years of my FIRE journey. It was not full pledged yet during my early working years, but i wouldn’t have been here now if i did not learn that important lesson. Yes, start your financial literacy education early and be around financial mentors early on too.

FIRE enthusiast always talk about the 4% rule, which boils down to withdrawing 4% of your portfolio every year on your retirement. There are arguments that FIRE could be any comfortable number and as long as one live “within his/her means” then he/she can certainly retire early.  I was in agreement with this theory before, but that has changed when i got married and had a kid. Considering FIRE for a family involves big tweaks and more actionable moves for additional income, savings, investments, businesses and side hustles, while adopting to a practical lifestyle. FIRE needs cushion, a comfortable cushion.

The past will always find a way to intersect on your future plans, that’s why it is important to always take a proactive approach to your retirement goals. And just like the flesh from our chicken bbq, when all had been eaten and done, we want that bone to financially support us for the rest of our retirement.

Thank you for reading.

Jay

Please let me know the tweaks you have made on your retirement goals.