As part of my year in review and upcoming year plans, I like to take a hard look at my finances and see how things are going. This year, instead of just looking at the past year, I’ve decided to take a look at the past decade…really the past eight years or so. Why? Because that’s when I started doing all my finances on my computer and they’re all in my banking software. And, of late, I’ve discovered the Mr. Money Mustache blog that does a really good job of talking about the way I’ve been trying to live my life.
Taking all of my expenses for the year (ok, this doesn’t include healthcare costs, as those come right out of my check) and subtracting my mortgage payments, here’s how much I’ve needed to live on for the past eight years.
|Year||Expenses without Mortgage||Expenses without Home Improvements|
A couple of things to note. The end of November 2005 is when I bought the house that I’m currently living in. It was built in 1888 and I knew it needed a lot of work going in. The biggest year for the house expense-wise was 2011. That was when I hired a contractor to do a lot of the work that I could not really do myself. That is also an expense that will never be repeated. And this past year, was all of my own spending on my kitchen. By doing it myself, including a fun drywalling day, my entire kitchen remodel cost $10,000. To me, that was an excellent investment in my house. Also, my expenses in these years includes some extra payments to my mortgage. It was too much of a pain to take these all out, so the expenses might even be a little less (maybe ~$1000-$1500) than shown there.
The real reason that I wanted to do this exercise though was to find out approximately what my yearly expenses are. The point of the Mr. Money Mustache blog is basically to show that you can retire much earlier than you think by investing wisely and controlling your expenses. For most of my life I’ve been a saver, but I wish I would have known the ideas in the blog when I was younger. It would have set it better in my mind why I’m actually saving all this money.
Anyway, the good news is that my expenses are somewhat consistent and really not that bad. A big part of the expenses for 2013 and part of 2014 was my new car. (And a big chunk of 2012 was taking care of an old car.) Since I’m hoping this car will last me for a very long time, those expenses should go down a bit. So I guess I could say that in retirement, I’d need $20,000 per year to live as I am now. I could probably get that down a bit by making some cuts to my everyday expenses. But I’m already doing pretty well in not wasting money. I’d probably shoot for more like $30-40K per year in retirement just to have a good factor of safety. But overall, I think I’m in a pretty good position.
My next objective will be to figure out how to get that $30-40k per year without a full-time job. Fortunately, I have a good job that I love. But having this money set up means that I could retire any time and pretty much be set. While I don’t anticipate that happening, I do like the peace of mind that it gives me.