The Intersection of FIRE and Disney

SouthFayetteFan

Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
So a bunch of us that hang out on the "I Love Credit Cards" thread here on the DIS are also chasing FIRE. I figured I'd create a thread where we could discuss where love of Disney and FIRE intersect (we'll see how this goes, lol!)

For those that don't know what FIRE is:
1) People who are or want to become Financially Independent (FI) (which means not having to work for money.)
2) And some people who actually take the next step of Retiring Early (RE) (quitting their career although typically pursuing some other activity with their time)

To achieve FIRE, somebody needs to focus on maximizing their savings rate (money saved as a % of your income). This isn't about saving that token 5-7% in your 401k. This is about AGGRESSIVE savings...many people in this game are saving 50%, 60% even 75% of their income annually. :worship: They are likely maxing out 401k, IRA, HSA, while building up liquid savings too. :teacher:

People in FIRE typically will scoff at excessive consumption (expensive houses, cars :car:, wasteful consumer spending :surfweb:, etc. :crazy:) However, we also respect anybody who can spend modestly but also is willing to spend on a limited number of activities that bring them happiness . This is where the intersection of those who are chasing FIRE and also enjoy Disney happens. :crowded: These people (myself included) make everyday sacrifices to hopefully attain FI at a young(ish) age while not sacrificing trips to their HAPPY place which keep them sane!! :banana: Of course many of us on the "I Love Credit Cards" thread use our travel hacking knowledge to make these trips a reality without sacrificing our precious savings rate. :beach:

While I personally can't decide what's discussed here or who participates - a couple of quick thoughts:
  • This thread is FOR people who have achieved FIRE :thumbsup2
  • This thread is FOR people who are chasing FIRE :teacher:
  • This thread is FOR people who are curious about FIRE :scratchin
  • This thread is PROBABLY NOT FOR people who think it's impossible to save 50% or more of one's income :duck:
Happy FIRE discussions all :-):D:-) I'm always looking for ways to figure out how to continue on my FIRE journey while seeing that castle at least once a year ;)

FAVORITE BLOGS SUBMITTED BY DISBOARDS FRIENDS:
FAVORITE BOOKS SUBMITTED BY DISBOARDS FRIENDS:
  • @SouthFayetteFan: The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley - Just an awesome book! My one sentence summary is this book shows how the people you think are wealthy probably aren't and the people that seem to not be wealthy actually might be.
IMPORTANT COMMENT ABOUT SHARING NUMBERS & PERSONAL FINANCIAL DATA: I invite EVERYBODY to share any numbers they are comfortable with. Please know that anybody sharing numbers is not intending to make ANYBODY feel bad about where they are in their FI journey. Inevitably some people will be doing better than you and others worse, and that's OKAY!

LET'S KEEP THIS A NO JUDGMENT ZONE AND JUST SUPPORT EVERYBODY WHETHER THEY HAVE A NEGATIVE NET WORTH OR HAVE $5MILLION IN THE BANK!!!
 
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SouthFayetteFan

Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
This is always a fun time of year to me...I am starting to polish off my year end financials. There aren't many bills or paychecks left to come (and I can basically estimate them). I know everybody calculates savings rate differently (and maybe we could even talk about how we each calculate that at some point) - but this was a great year for us!

I'm estimating that we'll come out at a 53% savings rate for 2018. This will be our second highest ever (in 11 years of data). The one year that beats it was a bit of an anomaly due to a lot of reasons (which maybe I'll get into someday). How is everybody else's 2018 going?
 

Haley R

With all the strength of a raging fire
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Thanks for starting this thread! I had never heard of FIRE before today and when I asked Dh if he had he just shrugged (his way of saying no lol). I have honestly no idea how much we are saving annually but that’s something important I want Dh and I to sit down now and figure out. We both just started our ROTH IRAs this year and maxed them out so that was new for us. I’ll have to come back later on and post what our savings might have been this year. I’m excited to read everyone else’s stories and see if I can learn a few things. I’ve definitely learned some things from the credit card thread :teacher:
 
  • SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    Thanks for starting this thread! I had never heard of FIRE before today and when I asked Dh if he had he just shrugged (his way of saying no lol). I have honestly no idea how much we are saving annually but that’s something important I want Dh and I to sit down now and figure out. We both just started our ROTH IRAs this year and maxed them out so that was new for us. I’ll have to come back later on and post what our savings might have been this year. I’m excited to read everyone else’s stories and see if I can learn a few things. I’ve definitely learned some things from the credit card thread :teacher:
    Thanks for following along!

    Also side note to anybody joining us...if you have a favorite FIRE related blog/book share in a comment with a short explanation why you like it and I can add it to the first comment (giving you credit of course)
     

    speedyfishy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2016
    I’m so excited you started this thread!

    I’m on the path to FIRE. SO and I are 24 and started our journey a year ago when he started his first full time job. Going from college students with no money to a full time tech position allowed us to save a decent amount without feeling any penny pinching.

    I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s FIRE story.
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    Full disclosure: I have read every single MMM (Mr. Money Mustache) post ever written. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of the profanity...or a lot of the environmentalism propaganda...BUT if you want to know how FIRE works I think THIS POST: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/ explains it pretty well.

    It's called The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement and it was written in 2012. It does assume a whole lot of things remaining constant so pay attention to that as you read.
     

    speedyfishy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2016
    Full disclosure: I have read every single MMM (Mr. Money Mustache) post ever written. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of the profanity...or a lot of the environmentalism propaganda...BUT if you want to know how FIRE works I think THIS POST: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/ explains it pretty well.

    It's called The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement and it was written in 2012. It does assume a whole lot of things remaining constant so pay attention to that as you read.
    I’m not a fan of MMM but I do like that post. He is just so pompous and he doesn’t recognize his privilege that he has that he is able to obtain FIRE. I think a lot of middle class families can if they weren’t so focused on consumerism but there are many people who don’t have the opportunity to FIRE.
     
  • calypso726

    Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time
    Joined
    Dec 11, 2006
    Glad you created the thread! Count me in the curious camp. :scratchin I loved the book, Millionaire Next Door and it was the catalyst to our journey in saving towards retirement. We came in a little late in the game but seem to be on track to retire within the next ten years. I don't think either of us would be into the super aggressive savings and sacrificing to the extreme of not enjoying our lives. I'm old enough to understand that tomorrow is never guaranteed. I doubt anyone on their deathbed has ever regretted not saving more than they did for retirement over not spending more time with family, friends and checking off the bucket list. I think we strike a balance between saving for early retirement and YOLO. If there is something else we can do or change to help us on our journey to retirement that doesn't significantly impact the escapes we need for our sanity, then it's all to the good. Thank goodness for travel hacking and our beloved "I love credit cards" thread.
     

    AlohaNow

    Just keep swimming...
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2008
    I’m not a fan of MMM but I do like that post. He is just so pompous and he doesn’t recognize his privilege that he has that he is able to obtain FIRE. I think a lot of middle class families can if they weren’t so focused on consumerism but there are many people who don’t have the opportunity to FIRE.
    Agreed. MMM's complete inability to admit that he got his start down this path because he timed the real estate market quite perfectly, which one cannot just replicate, is what turns me off to him. Regardless, interesting thread here!
     

    piccolopat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2014
    I like the "Freedom is Groovy" and "Retirement Manifesto" websites. I came into this very late but reading these and a few others helped me make a plan and retire this year, a few years earlier than I originally thought possible and also allowing my DH to postpone taking SS until his FRA. We're also planning our next trip to WDW and a couple of trips elsewhere for 2019 so we're definitely not of the mind to sacrifice everything in order to FIRE. I will say that once we started to really look at past spending as I was trying to plan a future retirement budget, we saw a lot of areas where we were spending a lot and not even realizing (or needing to). Those areas became the start of more aggressive saving and was pretty painless. The key was to reduce spending that doesn't really add value in our lives first. Once you do this, you can more quickly become debt free and the growing savings balances become a bit addicting. The freedom and peace of mind that comes with this kind of financial freedom is so worth any sacrifices we made.
     

    QueenIsabella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    Joining in!

    First off, we are FI, but DH has not yet retired. We think. He lost his job a couple weeks ago, is actively looking for another one, and already has some promising leads. It's very comforting for him to know that, if he never works again, we're okay. He's 56. I don't see him sitting home, in any event, but he might choose to work a less hour/less stress job after a few more years.

    There's a new "Millionaire Next Door" book that came out this fall. I don't remember the exact title--I got it for DH for Christmas, and it's already wrapped.

    I enjoy reading Mr. Money Mustache, but I can't say I fully embrace it. There are plenty of interesting threads on there, and it does help me to keep focused on saving money. I find the hardcore, "dumpster dive and sell plasma" types to be a bit off-putting, but to each his own. I prefer Bogleheads, but it's really more of a site for people who have a lot of money and want to keep it (or spend judiciously).

    As for the Disney part...this gets dicey, because I know this is a Disney fan site. I can't justify Disney any longer, they've priced me out. I also have to say my family has outgrown it--my youngest is 12, and he go to WDW, for sure, but if it was his choice, he'd pick anywhere else. I just don't find the value for my family any longer. We're doing Universal next spring--beyond that, it'll be more likely international travel. There have been so many changes at Disney in the past 5 years or so, not (IMHO) in a positive way. When it gets to the point where you can take a a really nice trip to Europe for about the same money--well, we're going to Europe.

    That said, I'm sure plenty of people still find value in a Disney vacation, and that's fine for them.

    Bottom line, financial freedom is all about balance, and making the choices that make sense for YOU. We rarely eat out, for example, because we don't find the value there. OTOH, we have a large house. We shop at thrift stores, but I bought a new minivan a couple months ago (that I hope to drive for 10-15 years).
     
  • 3 DD love princesses

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2015
    curious to see what this is all about. We are no where near saving at this point but hope to one day. going to have to look into the book as I'm sure many of the kids friends think we are rich because of all our vacations, house, etc. But we are paying for all those things.
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    Discussion Question for those following along: How do you calculate your savings rate? Of course the simple answer is Savings Divided by Income but there can be nuance to all of that.

    Here's how I choose to measure it:
    • Income = "Take Home Pay" (i.e. the total of all our paychecks throughout the year) + 401k Contributions + 401k Employer Match + Medical/Dental Premiums Withheld (which are also added as an expense) + HSA Contributions + HSA Employer Contributions + Net Income taxes refunded or owed for the the year
    • Savings = 401k Contributions + 401k Employer Match + IRA Contributions + Net HSA Contributions (net of disbursements for the year) + HSA Employer Contributions + Liquid Investment contributions + Mortgage Principal Payments + The net result of my checking account for the year (or minus if this is a negative number)
    I then take my total Savings and divide by my Income. Of course all of this is built into my financial spreadsheet and sounds a little more complicated when typed out. I don't include interest income or money from winning a fantasy football league or Ebates or whatever in my income figure. I put that just below the "income" line into "Misc Cash Inflows". I just like income to be the income derived from gainful employment. One other quirk that could go either way is Mortgage Principal Payments. I choose to include it in savings vs. an expense as I'm paying myself (building equity in my home). The INTEREST component of my mortgage payment is absolutely an expense though so I just divide the annual mortgage payments up accordingly.

    I reconcile our finances to the penny - it's just a fun hobby to me (that happens to help us in our effort to achieve FIRE)!

    I'd be very interested in hearing how others track this and what you may do differently :-)
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    I’m not a fan of MMM but I do like that post. He is just so pompous and he doesn’t recognize his privilege that he has that he is able to obtain FIRE. I think a lot of middle class families can if they weren’t so focused on consumerism but there are many people who don’t have the opportunity to FIRE.
    Agreed. MMM's complete inability to admit that he got his start down this path because he timed the real estate market quite perfectly, which one cannot just replicate, is what turns me off to him. Regardless, interesting thread here!
    Yeah he discounts his good fortunes and seems to explain it as though everything good that happened to him is because of him. I fully acknowledge that our journey towards FIRE has been tremendously boosted by a handful of major events that occurred in our life where I was just in the right place at the right time (not the least of which is being born to the parents I was blessed with)
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    I’m so excited you started this thread!

    I’m on the path to FIRE. SO and I are 24 and started our journey a year ago when he started his first full time job. Going from college students with no money to a full time tech position allowed us to save a decent amount without feeling any penny pinching.

    I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s FIRE story.
    How did you first hear of FIRE? Were you pursuing it before you heard of it (and just didn't realize it) OR did you read about it and say "I want to do that" and decide to make some changes?
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    I like the "Freedom is Groovy" and "Retirement Manifesto" websites. I came into this very late but reading these and a few others helped me make a plan and retire this year, a few years earlier than I originally thought possible and also allowing my DH to postpone taking SS until his FRA. We're also planning our next trip to WDW and a couple of trips elsewhere for 2019 so we're definitely not of the mind to sacrifice everything in order to FIRE. I will say that once we started to really look at past spending as I was trying to plan a future retirement budget, we saw a lot of areas where we were spending a lot and not even realizing (or needing to). Those areas became the start of more aggressive saving and was pretty painless. The key was to reduce spending that doesn't really add value in our lives first. Once you do this, you can more quickly become debt free and the growing savings balances become a bit addicting. The freedom and peace of mind that comes with this kind of financial freedom is so worth any sacrifices we made.
    Thanks for sharing - I added those sites to our first post and I'll be sure to check them out :D

    I love that phrase "reduce spending that doesn't really add value in our lives first". I know our frugality at times rubs people the wrong way (other parents at school, some family, co-workers etc.) but I look at each dollar we spend and determine if it adds value. I always like to say that you can become a millionaire by just saving $1 a million times...
     

    piccolopat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2014
    Thanks for sharing - I added those sites to our first post and I'll be sure to check them out :D

    I love that phrase "reduce spending that doesn't really add value in our lives first". I know our frugality at times rubs people the wrong way (other parents at school, some family, co-workers etc.) but I look at each dollar we spend and determine if it adds value. I always like to say that you can become a millionaire by just saving $1 a million times...
    I also use the phrase "supermarket syndrome" a lot when I am talking with friends and family. You know how it works - you go into the supermarket, buy a whole bunch of 69 cent items and walk out with a $100 bill. Little things spent (and saved) really do add up!
     

    1st*toright

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2017
    I started getting serious about our spending/savings rate a couple of years ago when DH and I both had pretty substantial salaries and I couldn't figure out why we weren't saving more. We were saving some, but I didn't have a good handle on our spending. Enter YNAB (You Need a Budget), which quickly showed me exactly where our money was going, and our savings rate improved significantly within a couple of months.

    My main motivation for heading down the FIRE path was that DH absolutely hated his job. His whole career, really. He wouldn't consider quitting (even though I recommended it for the sake of his health and sanity) because he wouldn't be able to make as much money doing anything else. He worked all the time, and although we had plenty of money for travel, he could rarely extricate himself from work for a real vacation (sending documents to a client at 1am from our hotel room at Disney, emailing Egypt at 11:30pm on New Year's Eve). I really wanted to get to the point where we had enough socked away so I could convince him to quit, even if that took several years.

    In one of those barely disguised blessings, he was let go from his job about a year ago, fortunately with a nice severance package. This gave him some breathing room to do a lot of thinking and reconsider the path he was on. We quickly figured out that we can live on my income, and he could afford to change careers entirely and do something that is enormously satisfying, but not very lucrative. So I'd say he has already done the RE part, in some ways. The goal is to be living the life you want, right? So I am in a job I enjoy, and fortunately pays well enough to support our lifestyle. DH works 3 or 4 days a week at a job he loves and does a lot of the kid-care stuff. We get to live pretty comfortably. So I'm not sure that we will be work-free for a while (2 kids to get through college first), but I'm hoping to be work optional by the time my little one is out of highschool - I'll be 54.
     

    pillow

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 21, 2007
    I love that you've added this thread. I love the FIRE movement - although I'm not sure I consider us participants due to our age. I am 51 and DH is 52. I would love for DH to retire in about 5 - 6 years or so. So, if that is considered early, then we're onboard. Our primary goal right now is to get our youngest through college (she is a freshman right now). Then we'll re-evaluate.

    I read Millionaire Next Door I'm guessing at some point around the year 2000. It inspired me to purchase our first rental property in 2001. Our plans right now are to keep one of the rentals in retirement as the return is greater than the 4% safe withdrawal rate from retirement accounts (even after adjusting for insurance/taxes/repairs, etc).

    I really enjoy the Frugalwoods.com site. You might consider adding that site to post #1 as she gives great tips on frugal living. She also typically holds the "Uber Frugal Challenge" in January, which some may want to attempt. I also do enjoy MMM a great deal but have only read maybe 20% of his site.

    Overall, I think we're somewhere in the middle of the Frugality/savings/FIRE spectrum. We're onboard with many concepts but are certainly not extreme. I've cut my grocery budget to about $300 month; however, I'm willing to spend $600 on our Broadway tickets . . .
     

    Cruising Engineer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2018
    This is a great thread I want to follow and learn from others. My DH is retired and I am back at the university seeking my Ph.D. in CE (civil engineering). I keep a tight budget but am open to learning new ideas for the long run. Newest Ahh-Haa moment was discovering I can pay for the DVC dues with Disney GCs and purchasing the GC when deals are available. Want to learn more.
     

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