Thanks everyone, I hear that. If it’s motivating for any of you then I’m not worried about a bragger critique.
Jim, you make a good point about this being the right audience… anyone turned off by J$'s net worth tracking wouldn’t be here in the first place.
Today’s number on Personal Capital for my spouse and me, taking into account a richly-valued stock market and a stupidly overheated Oahu real estate market along with a more realistic appreciation of Berkshire Hathaway, is $3.15M. That’s after giving away over $200K in philanthropy & gifting during the last decade, which would have compounded to a higher value. My spouse’s pension (starting in 2022) will pile on top of that.
I can handle the growth curve of a $300K investment. I’m not so familiar with handling the growth curve on a 10x magnitude. Good “problem” to work with.
Our lifestyle creep has been minimal: an occasional hotel suite or an overseas slow-travel month in a rented apartment. Even then the places we enjoy traveling (Andalusia Spain, Italy hill towns, Bangkok) are cheaper than Hawaii.
One secret of early retirement is that you can choose to spend very thoughtful time on the things that bring you value, while eliminating even more of the wasted spending. It’s the equivalent of giving up the gym membership and the yard service to get your exercise by mowing your own jungle. I get tremendous satisfaction from doing my own work as long as I’m able to handle it. I don’t enjoy running a household of Team Downton Abbey while I sit on the couch eating bon bons.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done our share of hedonic experiments. Our 30th anniversary on a luxury cruise last summer: enjoyable moments but overall too much fuss. (We felt like teenagers at a grownups party.) We’ve tried first-class air travel (ironically on frequent-flyer upgrades) and… we don’t see the value. (But military retirees have the time flexibility to fly Space A on C-17s where you sprawl on the cargo deck with a sleeping bag and a pillow.) Our house is already big enough, and we prefer DIY home improvement. We’ve hung out at a friend’s home that’s literally on Diamond Head, but we don’t want beachfront real estate in tsunami country. We don’t need to have a yacht or a NetJets card or helicopter flying lessons.
Our classic debate on this situation is his & hers Teslas: we can afford them, and I love the engineering. We’d recharge the batteries from our photovoltaic array and never pay for electricity. However we live on a 600-sq-mi island where we drive less than 3000 miles/year. I can’t see rolling into the White Plains Beach parking lot with a Thule roof rack and a longboard on top. If I got surf wax on the dashboard then Elon Musk would probably personally repossess the car. In the meantime we have his & hers Priuses from 2005 and 2006… but we have the driver’s seats and the A/C vents tweaked just the way we like them. And my dashboard is smeared with sand & surf wax.
Anyway, that’s the number. It’s not getting much smaller. I’ll draft another thread here with more context on asset allocation on a military pension and why we can take extraordinary volatility risks with our investments, but you can also read this post:
@Earlyout01, @MrsBITA, I think some of that will give you more confidence in the ways of papering over the cracks in the 4% SWR.