Net Worth Goals till FIRE


Several people have asked (after reading about my background and financial goals) how I plan to retire in 14 years with 4 million, while still paying off a significant amount of student loan debt and a mortgage.

To clarify, 4 million is what my husband and I both intend to retire on, and this amount would also include the value of our (then to be) paid off house.

I realized this wasn’t clear at all from my post. So sorry about that!!

I put together a quick overview of our net worth goals from now until my husband and I both turn 45, and how we intend to achieve those goals.

I didn’t have much time to write it, so it’s sort of a back of the napkin explanation.

Of course, any number of events could cause us to deviate from reaching our goal.

  • This plan does not build in the cost of having a kid (which I’m still on the fence about)
  • It does not factor in medical emergencies and other catastrophic events
  • It does not factor in a job loss or a job change (which might result in a lower salary)
  • It factors in receiving side income, outside of our base and bonus, the amount of which isn’t predictable and could easily change.
  • It also does not factor in sibling support outside of what I currently already budget for
  • It only accounts for a 2.5% annual cost of inflation for expenses over 14 years. Whatever the actual cost, this plan assumes we’ll find a way to stay in our budget.
  • It does not factor in any change in the value of the house, either positive or negative.
  • On the upside, it also does not factor in any estimated salary or bonus increases over the next 14 years. It’s likely our salary will increase over this time, at least to keep pace with inflation.


Here’s a breakdown of our current income sources.

  • Our combined compensation from work (base and bonus) is 257.5k. I earn 141k, the husband earns 126.5.
  • I’ve also recently started consulting on the side, and what I currently make per month equates to about 36k per year. I’m trying to get the ol’ husband to do this too, although he’s been putting up a struggle ;o)
  • We have 2 extra rooms in our house, which we recently started renting out through Airbnb. We live in a popular area, so demand is high. Our monthly Airbnb income equates to about 10k per year. We could easily triple this, but sadly the husband doesn’t love having strangers around the house. Humpph! :o(
  • I’m also eligible for SPIFF awards at work, which could range from 5k per year to up to 20k, depending on how hard I compete for them. I usually only mentally plan on getting about 5k per year, just to be safe, although I often get way more.
  • I am eligible for stock awards as well, although our company is steering away from that. These could actually go away any day.
  • Both my husband and I also get 401k matches from our employer, which adds another 5k.
  • Combining all sources of income, we can bring in over 300k in income per year, but I’ll just round down and assume we bring in an even 300k before tax. That way, anything above that would be a nice surprise.


  • Once our student loan debt is paid off, our annual spending (including the amount I budget to help some of my siblings out) equals 70k per year.
  • Because we’re doing a 15 year mortgage payment plan, our expenses appear really high. If the mortgage was paid off, this cost would equal 35k per year (expenses including support).
  • In our budget, we also plan to buy a newer used car ever 10 years. It also includes all home related expenses – home repairs and maintenance, property tax and insurance, HOA, etc. We also add monthly to our emergency funds, and we have a separate ‘travel’ budget as well.
  • This is an extremely generous budget, with plenty of buffer. We could spend much less than this if we needed to! (Owning our house, for instance, is a huge luxury and not a good long term investment. If we really wanted to minimize expenses, we could go back to renting.)
  • If our income is 300k, assume a third of it gets deducted for taxes.
  • Out of the 200k left, 70k (35%) will go to expenses – housing costs & mortgage payments, living expenses, and helping family. The other 65% (after our loans are paid) will go straight to investments & saving. I plan to increase this to 70% over time, but for now I assume we can only do 65%.
  • Note that the 2.5% increase in expenses annually doesn’t apply to the 35k out of the 70k which goes toward the accelerated mortgage payments, since that’s a fixed cost.


  • We’re both passive investors and favor index funds (I like Vanguard) over active investing. Since we’re relatively young and have a decently long investment horizon, we favor Total Stock Market Index Funds. We will eventually shift some percentage to bonds, but not for awhile.
  • For our investments, we’ll assume an annual return of 7%, after inflation.
  • On top of this, we also have a 15 year mortgage at a 2.5% interest rate (14 years left). I’d love to pay this off in under 10 years, although I know it makes more sense to funnel that additional money into our VTSAX accounts with Vanguard instead.

Net Worth:

  • Here’s what our net worth (assets – liabilities) should look like at the end of each year, over the next 14 years, if we continue with this plan.
  • Note: our net worth factors in our total investments (taxable and non-taxable accounts) + cash + equity, – all expenses (including the mortgage liability). However, I don’t include the value of our paid off car or anything else we own.
Net Worth w/ Mortgage Liability Expenses w/ Mortgage Age Year
$ (303,459) $ 70,000 31 2017
$ (139,939) $ 70,875 32 2018
$ 123,593 $ 71,772 33 2019
$ 372,443 $ 72,691 34 2020
$ 634,308 $ 73,633 35 2021
$ 910,197 $ 74,599 36 2022
$ 1,200,942 $ 75,589 37 2023
$ 1,507,563 $ 76,604 38 2024
$ 1,831,150 $ 77,644 39 2025
$ 2,172,866 $ 78,710 40 2026
$ 2,533,957 $ 79,803 41 2027
$ 2,915,754 $ 80,923 42 2028
$ 3,319,683 $ 82,071 43 2029
$ 3,747,262 $ 83,248 44 2030
$ 4,192,527 $ 84,454 45 2031

Our net worth will be negative through the rest of this year and next, as we pay down debt and build equity. This is mainly due to our remaining mortgage liability, which drags that number down.

If we sold the house at the end of this year, our net worth would technically be 140k, because of the equity we already have in the house + investments.

By the end of 2019, our net worth (inclusive of mortgage liability) will be only slightly over 6 figures.

4.5 years from now, it will be over 600k. If we sold the house then, we’d have ~918k.

Below is a breakdown of what our net worth would look like if we sold the house at any point in time.

Note: this doesn’t factor in that our expenses would increase with ‘renting’ costs, but also be reduced by the costs related to owning a house.

Net Worth with Mortgage Net Worth w/o Mortgage Expenses w/ Mortgage 4% of Net Worth with Mortgage 4% of Net Worth w/o Mortgage Age Year
(303,459) 141,000 70,000 n/a 5,600 31 2017
(139,939) 219,197 70,875 n/a 8,768 32 2018
123,593 458,506 71,772 4,944 18,340 33 2019
372,443 682,459 72,691 14,898 27,298 34 2020
634,308 918,733 73,633 25,372 36,749 35 2021
910,197 1,168,318 74,599 36,408 46,733 36 2022
1,200,942 1,432,027 75,589 48,038 57,281 37 2023
1,507,563 1,710,859 76,604 60,303 68,434 38 2024
1,831,150 2,005,883 77,644 73,246 80,235 39 2025
2,172,866 2,318,241 78,710 86,915 92,730 40 2026
2,533,957 2,649,156 79,803 101,358 105,966 41 2027
2,915,754 2,999,937 80,923 116,630 119,997 42 2028
3,319,683 3,371,985 82,071 132,787 134,879 43 2029
3,747,262 3,766,796 83,248 149,890 150,672 44 2030
4,192,527 4,192,527 84,454 167,701 167,701 45 2031


This post assumes readers have a basic understanding of the 4% Rule, or the Safe Withdrawal Rate (SWR). If not, Jim Collins has a great post on the topic, which also links to other brilliantly helpful posts further down in the Addendum section.

In order to retire and live on the passive income, we need to build a portfolio of 25x of our targeted annual spend, and be able to keep a constant standard of living through retirement.

Our portfolio would have to have at least a 50/50 mix of stocks and bonds in retirement – preferably much more in stocks.

So if our targeted annual spend is 40k, our retirement number would be 1 million.

If you’re looking for a retirement calculator to help you calculate how much you need to retire on, try this one: FIRECalc. (Note: use Chrome or FireFox or else you won’t see all of the features offered.)

We don’t plan on spending anywhere near 4% of our portfolio in retirement. We expect to be much more conservative – probably closer to 2%, maybe 3%.

By the time we retire:

  • Our 35k in expenses (reduced from 70k after the mortgage is paid) will then equate to about 50k, thanks to inflation.
  • At the end of 2031, we’d likely sell the house and funnel the proceeds into our investments. That way, we have maximum flexibility to travel and do whatever we want!
  • We will be retiring with far more than we actually need to cover annual expenses, but I don’t want to retire before I’m sure we have ‘enough’ money so that:
    • a) we don’t have to be TOO frugal in our day to day living
    • b) I can continue to support family if needed (extremely important depending on how late my younger siblings stay attached to the cult)
    • c) I can use the extra money to start a foundation to help others transitioning from cults, in a more practical way.
  • Notice we reach financial independence at 40 with the mortgage, BUT if we sold the house at the 35 year mark we would also have enough saved (~900k) to technically retire early. Our expenses without the mortgage would be 39k adjusted for inflation, so it would be pushing it. I’m 100% positive I won’t want to do this anyway for the reasons above.
Net Worth w/ Mortgage Liability Expenses w/ Mortgage 4% Rule Age Year
$ (303,459) $ 70,000 n/a 31 2017
$ (139,939) $ 70,875 n/a 32 2018
$ 123,593 $ 71,772 $ 4,944 33 2019
$ 372,443 $ 72,691 $ 14,898 34 2020
$ 634,308 $ 73,633 $ 25,372 35 2021
$ 910,197 $ 74,599 $ 36,408 36 2022
$ 1,200,942 $ 75,589 $ 48,038 37 2023
$ 1,507,563 $ 76,604 $ 60,303 38 2024
$ 1,831,150 $ 77,644 $ 73,246 39 2025
$ 2,172,866 $ 78,710 $ 86,915 40 2026
$ 2,533,957 $ 79,803 $ 101,358 41 2027
$ 2,915,754 $ 80,923 $ 116,630 42 2028
$ 3,319,683 $ 82,071 $ 132,787 43 2029
$ 3,747,262 $ 83,248 $ 149,890 44 2030
$ 4,192,527 $ 84,454 $ 167,701 45 2031

Waiting to retire till we hit 4 million is probably overdoing it JUST a tad ;o)

If our expenses are around 50k a year by 2032 (after paying off the mortgage and selling the house), we’d have 82 times our annual expenses saved up, instead of just 25.

Yes, I realize how overcautious it is to wait that long, but I have vivid memories of living hand to mouth growing up! I never want to go back to that ever again, especially not as I get older.

Right now, I only see the upside to being extremely conservative before quitting work, because I know in my bones that life is unpredictable and messy. I don’t see how being over prepared before retiring can be a bad thing.

MAYBE I’ll throw all caution to the wind, be wild and daring and decide to retire at 40. At that point, if we sold the house, we’d have ~2.3 million. Adjusting for inflation, our expenses would be ~45k. We’d have 51 times our annual expenses saved up, instead of just 25.

Again, I’m not sure that’s likely to happen. I expect to still be providing some level of support to family, and I want to be able to financially help people transitioning from cults, like the one I grew up in.

Ideally, we could allocate 1-1.5 million to starting a foundation, and if we’re careful, we could use the passive income generated (40-60k) to sponsor individuals (with a focus on teenagers and young adults) transitioning alone from a high-risk, cult environment for a period of 12-18 months, while they get on their feet.

The foundation would be dedicated to my older brother, who died shortly after my 14th birthday. He was unsuccessful in trying to start a new life on his own outside of the COG cult that we grew up in, with no support.

By the way, the husband is fully on board with the idea of using a portion of our retirement savings to start a foundation. He actually loves the idea – he’s a good man :o)

So there’s the very basic, back of the napkin overview of where we hope our net worth will be in 14 years.

On a side note, here’s what I’ll be doing in the 1st month of retirement! Looking forward to aging rapidly under a tropical sun, while sipping on a frozen drink or two ;o)


What age are you planning to reach financial independence and/or retire at, and what will your ‘enough’ amount be?

It’s okay if you don’t want to share the dollar amount, but interested to hear your plans!

12 thoughts on “Net Worth Goals till FIRE

  1. You and your husband have an awesome plan, Ava! I’m really impressed!

    We are on a path to FIRE, but we need to sit down to calculate our numbers… I think we are in the ~15 year range for true FIRE, but that depends on a few things (we have one kid… will there be more? what will our jobs be like over the next 5, 10, 15 years, etc). We are also interested in looking at an earlier “fully funded lifestyle change” where one or both of us leaves the 9-5 to do a lower paying but more enjoyable job that aligns with our passions. We would want to have a bulk of our investments lined up so we could cover expenses with the lower paying jobs, leaving our investments to grow for a later date retirement. Who knows!

    1. Thank you so much, Adventure Rich!!

      Looks like we’ll be potentially retiring around the same time – I love it :o)

      I totally get the “fully funded lifestyle change” appeal. It’d be an incredible feeling to be able to fund switching to a job or career that you’re actually passionate and excited about, while still letting your investments grow for a later date. I could get on board with that myself!

  2. This is laid out great! Very ambitious but seems doable given you are both high income earners. 🙂

    The only thing I’d say is – don’t work just for the money. If you guys are in a position to retire early, don’t be afraid to do it. “Just Another Year” or “Just Another Dollar” syndrome can get the best of you and keep you working forever. There’s something to be said for being a bit over-prepared, but keep an open mind as you approach and blow past your 25x benchmark to decide what you truly want to do.

    Maybe that means working – if you enjoy what you do – but maybe not. That could drastically alter your plans at age 40 and may be a great opportunity to explore something new!

    1. Thanks, Dave!!

      Agh, you sound like my husband. Last night, he bet me 1000 bucks that we’d retire at 40, and sell the house then. I bet him 2000 that we wouldn’t ;o)

      You’re right though about how it’s easy to fall into the trap of working “just another year” out of fear of the unknown. Who knows how we’ll feel in a couple years. Either way, it’ll be so cool to have options!!

  3. You’re my hero, Ava! I also grew up in a cult, but not the one you did. It’s so motivating to see your plans in detail. Do you think it’s more important for someone like me to focus on raising my salary or on cutting costs to retire early?

    1. Aww thanks Hannah :o)

      I think both are critically important – lowering your costs and trying to get that income as high as possible! You can only slash your living expenses so low, but there’s no limit to how high you can raise your income.

      I’m SO glad you got out of whatever cult you grew up in!!

  4. Brilliant post and gave me so many things to think about. I’ve never broken it down in detail like you have, even on my site, and it looks like I need to. This’ll be a great post you can refer to year after year to see how well you projected.

    Are you able to gradually retire? Meaning cut back on time. That’s what I’m doing because my profession allows for it luckily. That way it’s not an all or nothing situation and we can do mini tests of how well we’d do without our income & relying on our investments.

    You’re right about one thing, kids will definitely alter your projections quite a bit. I know that’s a very personal decision, but for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

    1. Well, now you’ve given me a lot to think about!

      I haven’t really considered as a serious option just cutting back on work in the future (maybe when we pass the 33x mark), and then gradually retiring over a few years. I’m sure we could work something out if we’re both in similar roles compared to now. At least for me, I work remotely and I think I could switch to hourly or part-time pretty easily. I like it!

      I’m sure having a kid would ruin our lovely projection. We’re really back and forth on it! Most of the time, I think it’s a terrible idea. But then I hang out with my nephews for a few days, and I’m all of a sudden convinced we HAVE to be parents one day ;o)

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