We started to get really serious about reaching Financial Independence in early 2016. We soon realised that the “traditional” path to Financial Independence would take us more time than we were willing to sacrifice. On top of that, we are not planning to retire from work completely; we just wanted to retire from the rat race. Once we took this into consideration it became clear that we don’t have to wait until we reach our FIRE number. This is why we came up with the concept of Flamingo FI – it got us out of the rat race in just a few years and we will still get to FI eventually.
Our goal was to reach Flamingo FI in early 2021 – just under 1000 days from the start of this blog. We actually achieved our goal in October 2020, four months ahead of schedule. We chronicled our monthly progress in the “Project 1000” section of this website. If you are a new reader and interested in the ups and downs of our journey to Flamingo FI you can go back to this section to read our monthly updates.
Our plan is – obviously – to follow the four lifestyle phases of Flamingo FI:
Phase 1 – Accumulation:
The goal of Project 1000 was to complete this phase by early 2021 – around 5 years from when we started getting serious about FI. In order to reach Flamingo FI saved 12.5x our Future Annual Living Expenses:
Phase 2 – Semi-Retirement (our current phase)
In this phase, we no longer actively add money to our retirement nest egg. This means that we are able to downshift and work in a much lower capacity.
The goal during semi-retirement is to pay for our ongoing living expenses only, so a part-time job should do the trick. Another option is to work full-time for part of the year and then take the rest of the year off. We expect to be in the semi-retirement phase for at least the next 10-15 years, so the way we work and the type of work we do will likely change several times.
We will stay in phase 2 until the nest egg we accumulated in phase 1 has doubled. At this point, we will have reached FIRE and could choose to stop working altogether, but we think that’s unlikely.
I’ve written about our plan for the semi-retirement phase in great detail here: Coasting to FIRE (Without Saving Another Cent!) – Our Semi-Retirement Plan
Phase 3 – FIRE:
No explanation needed!
Phase 4 – Traditional Retirement:
If we feel like living it up a little more when we are old, we might decide to draw down our nest egg once we hit the traditional retirement age (5-6% annually).
A quick note on our numbers
- We do not use dollar figures when we talk about our numbers. Instead, we measure our progress in time. It’s not about dollars. It’s about freedom. Allan Roth writes “In actuality, a much better way of measuring wealth would be the number of years of financial freedom that is accumulated.” I completely agree. What really counts is not how much someone has in the bank but how many years of freedom these savings can buy him or her. Using time instead of money as a measurement allows you to compare your progress to that of others – even if their living situation is completely different to yours.
- Our current living expenses have nothing to do with our future living expenses. We currently live and work in Sydney, where the cost of living is outrageous. Our plan is to move somewhere more relaxed and affordable in the medium term. Our calculations are based on our estimated Future Annual Cost Of Living (FACOL – isn’t this a great acronym?).
If you want to learn more about the four lifestyle phases of Flamingo FI head over to the Flamingo FI 101 section!