Wendy shares with her House of FI Family how 450 days into their FIRE journey, their net worth decreased. Continue reading to learn why she says “It’s Ok!” This post was originally posted on Wendy’s website Girl FI Day.
2550 Days to FIRE……450 days into our FIRE journey.
I really cannot believe we are over a year into this journey. It feels like we just started. We still have the same excitement, the same passion for our vision for our future. Our “why” is big and requires some big moves. These quarterly updates fuel that fire. Speaking of big moves…
I did it! I retired my law practice. I never would have imagined that this is where I would be if you had asked me, even just five or six years ago. Then, the goal was to build a successful practice – a business – and I was on my way to doing so. I have always been a working mom, working outside the home, that is (All moms are working all the time). But adopting the boys – doubling the size of our family – it changed everything. Anyone who has heard our adoption story would understand that.
From the time we increased our family, I felt the pull to leave my practice and to work from home. And it was a gradual progress. First, switching my focus from trial work to appellate work so that I could work mostly remotely. Next, it was closing out as many of my cases as possible to decrease my caseload to only a handful at a time. Even then, it was just too much. These were serious cases with serious issues. I was long past full burnout by this time and approaching critical mass. I was not serving my clients in the way that they needed or being the best version of ME for my kids.
So, the final stage was to start closing out each case and not replacing them with new ones to let my practice just naturally phase out. The thing about appellate work, though, is that if the Court of Appeal wants to have an argument on an issue – it’s not like you can say no. I felt like I was in the mafia – I kept getting sucked back in every time I thought I was close to being finished.
After getting another email that one of my cases was going to be set for argument and having a complete mental meltdown at the thought of the preparation it would take and the several trips back to Phoenix that would be required – I knew I just had to pull the trigger. I had to just make a clean break or it was not going to happen. I called the county and turned in my contract. Next, I filed Motions to Withdraw to formally be removed from my remaining active cases. That was it – it was that simple. I was really done. An enormous weight was lifted and I no longer had this undercurrent of tension – just waiting for another case to be set for argument. …and so, I am now retired.
Retired from LAW is more precise. But I am not truly retired. My attention is now focused on my other businesses, my real estate business and our podcast, House of FI. The passion and excitement I used to have as a baby lawyer has returned, and it feels so great to be enjoying what I am doing. I highly recommend if you are unhappy in your job – find a way out. If you can’t find a way – make a way. Life is so short.
Financially speaking, it was not the best decision, however. And because of that, it’s one that brings my husband quite a bit of angst. You see, for the majority of our marriage, I have been the bread-winner. And now the roles are reversed. This is new for him and I completely understand his fear. I am the risk-taker, the dreamer. He is my yang. He is the level-headed one; being a W-2 employee brings him comfort and stability. And that is totally OK. In fact, with my income not being predictable at the moment it is a good thing, for all of us.
What does all of this have to do with our Quarterly Net Worth Update? Well, it leads to the reason why I am not freaking out about or net worth taking a dip. GASP! Yes, we are on the path to FIRE and we decreased our net worth. That’s not how this is supposed to go.
Well, there is a good reason and the decisions were not made lightly, nor were they made without bouncing several different scenarios around with trusted input from others. You see, quitting meant a significant reduction in our household income. In order to prepare for this, we had to make some additional extreme cuts to our budget, with no real means to do that, except one. Our house.
We made the decision to take a small amount of equity from our home to pay off a few of the monthly expenses that were impacting our monthly budget the most. Overall this will result in a decrease in our monthly budget of about $1,500.00. And that’s huge.
The other VERY temporary step we took was to put all retirement contributions on hold. These will resume as soon as I can increase my income and do so consistently. My expectation is that should be no more than six months.
It’s a scary thing, quitting a lucrative job, for one where the income is uncertain. But reducing our monthly expenses in addition to increasing my husband’s net payroll deposits will smooth out this transition period (and will let my Hubbs exhale a little bit.) In the short term the decision gives us a bit of anxiety – but in the long term, this is what makes sense for our family. We have four little boys, some with special needs, that need us to be available – physically and emotionally. These changes are an investment in them – and that is worth more than an amount of money.
Now for the numbers:
In our 2nd Quarter update, we had cut $4500.00 of expenses from our budget since beginning this journey. Since then we have made the following additional cuts:
- Completely cutting cable down to just internet, $60
- Credit Cards: $300
- Taxes: $1086
- Cell Phones: $54
Now to our net worth. The decrease in net worth was only about $1700.00 overall since March 2018. One of the ways we were able to lessen some of the impact was by selling our trailer in July.
I think having decreased our monthly expenses by $6000.00, quitting a job that was draining my spirit and to only have taken a hit of $1700.00 to our net worth is still pretty spectacular. Since beginning this journey 450 days ago we have increased our Net Worth (decreased our negative Net Worth) by $84,588.00! Nothing to be upset about there.