December Freedom Fund Update: We Are Very Close to Declaring Financial Independence

Welcome to the monthly update of our journey to financial independence, where we report on the progress of our FI tree, aka Freedom Fund. Our mangoes are almost ripe and we’re projecting to reach our goal by July 2017. This means that we’ll have enough investments to live off of without ever having to work again to pay for living expenses.

We’ll consider ourselves financially independent when our Freedom Fund is able to support our lifestyle indefinitely. Our Freedom Fund is comprised of all of our income-producing assets such as index-based investments, short-term reserves, and a real estate property.

I can’t believe the end of the year is already upon us. December is a joyous month for me. Aside from my birthday and holiday celebrations, December is also a great month to set financial goals for the coming year.

Freedom Fund Progress

Percentage of Freedom Fund reached in November

Our Freedom Fund has increased to 94 percent! This represents a 3% increase over the previous month. If we retired today, our investments could cover up to $32,905 in annual expenses. That puts us $2,095 short of our $35,000 annual income goal!

Declaring financial independence

Our goal is to achieve financial independence by the summer of 2017. When we reach FI, we don’t have to quit our jobs or give up our anonymity. It means that if we didn’t care about having enough money to pay for our future custom home, we could break up with corporate America instead of renting or saving for other goals.

In that case, we’d have to supplement our income by doing side jobs we’d enjoy.

Quitting our jobs after FI and bringing in some side income would allow us to postpone withdrawing from our accounts and save for other financial goals we have in mind.

Most importantly, it would grant us the much-desired freedom of owning our time. The ultimate goal of FI is to completely own our time!

We will, however, remain in place once we reach FI. I mean, our jobs aren’t bad, and yes, there are some things we don’t like, but we’re not looking for a new job. We relocated very close to work to avoid the stress of commuting. We try to avoid climbing the ladder because it involves double the stress, little extra pay, and more corporate bureaucracy.

So we’ll stay put until the time comes to pull the plug. That would be a year or two after achieving FI.

We’re ahead of our FI goal

If market trends continue, we could reach our Freedom Fund target by April. That is insanely exciting! I still can’t believe we were able to save and invest for early retirement in less than four years after getting married.

It’s happening, and you’re there to see it! Thank you for following along on our adventure.

I understand that declaring financial independence does not cause drastic changes in our lives, but it is important to recognize and celebrate milestones.

Sometimes just having one reason to get out of bed in the morning is enough to keep you going. That’s why, since the beginning of this blog, we’ve been counting down to our FI day.

FI is a path to greatness

It has never been our intention to live below our means in order to achieve financial independence. We could live below our means our entire lives, spend the majority of our money without incurring debt, and still never achieve financial independence

FI is not the typical route to financial well-being that most working Americans take. It is not the path of home and car loans, expensive college tuitions, credit card debt, saving 4% of income in a retirement account, and working for a paycheck until you are 65. It is not the path where you simply pay your bills and then die.

Financial independence is a road to greatness that is littered with pure awesomeness! It’s a path defined by a high savings rate, a debt-reduction strategy, and a strong desire to make your money work for you until you no longer need to work for money.

Financial independence is a path in which you work while doing what you truly enjoy without regard to pay. It’s a path that will reward you with fulfillment, royalties, passive income, and unrestricted time with friends and family. And, best of all, you have an infinite number of options for achieving your true happiness.

Do you truly desire it? Then go find it. You have a chance as well.

What were your financial goals for the month? Did you meet them?

Risk disclosure: All investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. The material contained on this website is for discussion purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice.


After dedicating 13 years of his career to Vanguard, José retired from the corporate world at the young age of 44. During his tenure at Vanguard, he expertly coordinated the production of both electronic and print educational materials for 401(k) participants. Now, he relishes in his early retirement, cherishing time spent with his family, indulging in his favorite hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and savoring meals in the comfort of his own backyard.

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Jackie Christianson
Jackie Christianson
7 years ago

Congrats! We’re far from as close as you guys but it’s awesome to see someone so close to independence! When you’re there do you plan on quitting your jobs right away or tapering down? I’m in the unusual but fortunate position where I actually really like what I do and don’t plan on necessarily quitting when I’ve hit FI, but I’m curious to hear what you’ll do.

7 years ago

Hi Jackie,
It’s good to be in that situation where you don’t need to quit your job after becoming FI because of dislike.
We just reached our FI goal last month but are staying put for a little longer. Since we’re planning on moving abroad after retirement we can’t just pick up and go due to our obligations in the States. So we’re giving ourselves between now and next fall to clear our plates from these obligations. While that happens, we’ll continue to save to build a house abroad. Thanks for dropping the congratulatory note! 🙂

Dividend Diplomats
7 years ago

SO CLOSE!! I’m sure you can taste it right now. You have the right attitude, you don’t have to suddenly stop everything you are doing, but with FF, you have the freedom to do what you want when you want. That’s the ticket right there!

I don’t know if you are a fan of the office, but I picture declaring financial independence much like how he declared bankruptcy (heres the link


7 years ago

That’s a funny clip! I’d love to do that at one of our departmental meetings!

7 years ago

Hey congrats on reaching 94% of FI. What side hustles will you consider next year when you reach the goal? Will you move after also, when you officially resign? I have a longer way to go to reach my goal, but its good to see others accomplishing it. I think Ill be able to reach FI in 8 years. IF the DOW goes to 100K ill join you sooner. Good Luck.

7 years ago
Reply to  EL

Thanks! We’re not thinking of resigning next year since we want to save some more for a house in the future and have extra funds to help our parents. I can see us working for another 1-2 years after we become FI. It will depend on our circumstances but it’s a great feeling to know that we can pull the plug anytime after we reach our FI goal and do side hustles if we want to accumulate more for the other priorities listed above.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought of what we would do after we officially resign. I’m trying to stay focused on things that I want to do without money being in the equation. We’ll continue to blog because we enjoy it even if it doesn’t bring a penny in profits. I’ve been getting back to piano lessons (on my own) so maybe I get good enough to play at piano bars! 🙂 Who knows? I might be known as a PF blogger and musician over the next 20 years.

We’ll be moving after we resign since our location is best for work but not for the activities that we truly enjoy.

Congrats on your FI goal as well. 8 years is not bad at all. If the DOW gets to 100k soon, don’t quit your day job!

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