$1,120,000! FI!! (and a bad case of Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia)

All the rusted signs we ignore throughout our lives,
Choosing the shiny ones instead.

Thumbing my Way, Pearl Jam



Whoah, last week was interesting. If you’ve been paying close attention, you know that I made my goal*,**:

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And here is the proof:

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Personal Capital! <— WARNING!: Affiliate link! Do NOT click!


What did I do to celebrate? I took the family out to Dairy Queen for a treat. And let me tell you, I went off the deep end. No little cone or mini-sundae for me. As soon as I laid eyes on the Triple Chocolate Brownie, my lizard brain took over and all willpower flew out the window. I scarfed it down with reckless abandon. This resulted in a painful case of sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia***.

540 wonderful calories

540 wonderful calories****

Now that we got that big money goal out of the way, you’re probably expecting me to say something profound, important and moving. I too expected that I’d have something profound, important and moving to say. My brain had other plans:

  • Me: That was a fun ride, wasn’t it?
  • Brain: Whatever.
  • Me: Whatever? Really? We just made our life’s financial goal and you have nothing to say?
  • Brain: Nope. I’m coming up empty.
  • Me: Really? What the hell am I supposed to write then? The main point of this blog is financial independence. This is huge. Now that we’ve accomplished it, you shut up? I usually can’t turn you off!
  • Brain: Sorry dude. I’ve got nothing. Also, I need food. Can we get another one of those chocolate brownie things at Dairy Queen?
  • Me: No.

Perhaps it hasn’t hit me yet. Or maybe something else is going on. While I have the money part figured out, maybe I know deep down that I still need to work on the “life” part which is far more important. Money is nothing more than a tool to live right. Money is easy. Living right is hard.

So, Mr. Brain couldn’t come with anything profound, but I have a couple thoughts anyway.

Broke college kid (spaghetti!!!)

Very little in my life has changed or will ever change. As I type this at 5am on Saturday morning, my “to do” list for the day includes:

  • Change the oil on the Element
  • Cut hair in the garage with the trusty Wahl shaver
  • Clean all of the damn diet Mountain Dew cans out of my damn office
  • Go to Home Depot with the Mrs. to get supplies for our final remodeling project
  • Play Contract Bridge with friends tonight
The boring weekend activities of a millionaire.

The boring weekend activities of a millionaire.

The lifestyle of a typical millionaire isn’t private jets and caviar. I am typical and my life is not exciting. No new car shopping. No visit to a mall seeking out crap to buy. No weekend in Aspen. Boooooorrrrrrring. (Mrs. 1500 note: Speak for yourself. I’ve got some shopping to do…)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m content with my life as it is now. The idea of more stuff actually grates on me. More stuff == more time to take care of the stuff. No thank you. I have enough to do already. I need every minute.

I still feel like the same guy I was in college where all of my food and spending money came from a job that paid me less than $40/week. Of course, my quality of life is a little better than it was then. I no longer eat spaghetti 5 days/week.

And I really did eat spaghetti constantly in college. It was easy and cheap. I still remember the day I didn’t have to eat it anymore. Let’s take a little trip in the Wayback Machine.

Everyone remembers certain days in their lives. If you’re around 40, I’ll bet you remember where you were when:

  • The Challenger exploded: I was in the 5th grade. My principal knocked on the classroom door and told my teacher that they needed to talk in the hallway. A minute later, my teacher came back in tears. After she regained her composure, she blurted out, “The Challenger exploded.” The scene chills my spine to this day.
  • Kurt Cobain killed himself: I had just got back from a university class and my roommate told me that the lead singer of Nirvana was dead. We didn’t like each other, so I thought he was just screwing with me.
  • 9/11 happened: I was at work when a scared and agitated co-worker told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. So what I thought. Some yahoo had crashed his Cessna into a building, no big deal. CNN.com was down, but when I finally got through, my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I realized the horror of it all.

And then, there was the grocery store…  I had just been paid for the first time from my first real job after college. It was for two weeks of work and came out to about $1,200. After depositing the check, the first thing I did was go to a grocery store and buy ground beef. Because a pound of meat was about $3, this was something I never purchased in college. It was a glorious day that I still remember well.

So, here I am 17 years later and some stuff has changed:

  • I can buy meat whenever I want to (although I don’t that often as vegetables are better for my body than animal flesh)
  • My beer expenses have grown as Keystone Light has given way to fancy microbrews

However, the important stuff has stayed the same:

  • That 2003 Honda Element now has 160,000 miles on it. Since it runs fine, there is no need to replace it.
  • I still enjoy hard work. I mow my own lawn and fix stuff myself when it breaks.

At the core, I value efficiency and simplicity. In some cases, it may seem like I do things to save money, but that’s not the case. For example, it would take me far longer to go to Supercuts or Jiffy Lube than it takes me to cut hair and change oil myself. Time is everything. A side benefit is saving money.

The best joys in life are still the simple things; a bike ride on a warm day, listening to live music while laying in the grass on a summer evening, having two completely free hours to spend with a great book, walking around town with the kids and writing right here on this blog. It’s trite, but true; the best things aren’t things at all.

But, am I a fraud?

What made FI possible for me, plain and simple, is fear and insecurity. We weren’t poor growing up, but at times, not far from it. Until fairly recently, I’ve been terrified of not having money. I used to have nightmares about it.

The question that I ask myself is this:

If I had grown up under better circumstances, would I still have good money habits?

I have no idea. I’ve always enjoyed hard work. I got nothing but As in university, graduating magna cum laude in Biology and Chemistry. However, there are plenty of other hard workers who spend every cent that comes in and then some.

The folks who impress me most are those who grew up normally, but still somehow came to the conclusion that a simple and frugal life is the way to go. The Frugalwoods and Mr. Money Mustache come to mind.

I suppose that I should stop thinking about all of this as it doesn’t matter anymore. Even if the motivation is different, the result is the same. And my nightmares are gone now. I’m a different and better person. That pile of money equals security and time.

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Where do we go now?

I’ve been thinking about my life a lot lately. The thought I’ve had is that I’ve been living on a superhighway, pedal to the metal for the past 20 years. I’ve had no time to even look sideways. All too frequently, I’ve pushed the speed limit with bad results. It’s time to slow down.

I have no idea what an average day will be like for me in a year. One thing I know for sure is that it will be anything but average. I hope the rest of my days hold the same. It’s so much more interesting to have an open and unplanned road ahead instead of hours behind computer screens, selling my time away, serving someone else.

It’s time to get off that superhighway and start meandering down the country roads. There is so much to see and do. Besides, those shiny signs are boring and repetitious. The old rusty ones have character and stories to tell.

All the rusted signs we ignore throughout our lives,
Choosing the shiny ones instead.
I turned my back, now there’s no turning back.
No matter how cold the winter, there’s a springtime ahead.




*My goal isn’t to have $1,120,000 at the end of 1500 days, but at any time before the day count was up. Why? It all goes back to the 4% Rule. Remember that our little friend, Mr. 4%, is nothing more than the most conservative safe withdrawal rate. So, if I were to quit my job now, I could spend about $44,000 in my first year of retirement. I’d stick very close to that number too because market valuations are ambitious. Let’s say that Mr. Market caught a cold tomorrow and my portfolio dropped down to $800,000. No big deal. This would mean I’d be safer stretching my spending a little north of 4%.

**Careful readers also may have noticed that I moved the goalposts once. My original goal was $1,000,000. I later changed it to $1,000,000 and no debt. This new goal required me to either pay off my house or increase my money pile enough to cover my mortgage debt.

When I started the blog, we were living in a neighborhood we hated and in the process of selling our home. We will be in our current home for at least the next 12 years, so my numbers are on firm footing now. As of my April mortgage statement, we have a little under $120,000 to go on the mortgage. So, to consider myself FI, I’d need $1,119,840.81:

***Who ever said you don’t learn anything here on 1500 Days???

****Go get yourself one of those brownie things at DQ. It is delicious. Just watch out for that sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia…

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152 Responses to $1,120,000! FI!! (and a bad case of Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia)

  1. Congratulations! That double brownie thing looks delicious! I wish I has a DQ near me.

    Oh and nice job hitting the FI goal. I think the Saturday “to do” list is all about how and why you reach the milestone. You can never go wrong taking advice from Bueller, Bueller, ………………..Bueller.

    I hope your sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia feel better.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…What’s Your Financial Personality?My Profile

  2. Freakin

    That is all 🙂
    theFIREstarter recently posted…march update – first full baby budget month!My Profile

  3. Congrats Mr. 1500! That is an awesome accomplishment. I think Dairy Queen would be my first stop as well!

    I am a little sad to hear you didn’t immediately go out and buy a Tesla and have a coke filled weekend in Vegas. I mean, isn’t that what millionaire’s are supposed to do? 😉
    Thias @It Pays Dividends recently posted…Take a Break So You Don’t QuitMy Profile

  4. Chad says:

    Nice work my friend. Great job. Enjoy your time…you now own it

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks so much!

      “you now own it”

      Yeah, true. My boss no longer owns me. That is a very pleasant thought indeed.

  5. “At the core, I value efficiency and simplicity.”

    Wow, powerful summary of what its all about!

    Thanks for writing this post. Achieving financial independence is only one step along a broader path and you’ve highlighted that well.
    Distilled Dollar recently posted…Smart or Stupid? My Emergency Fund ApproachMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, FI is a very small stepping stone, not a destination, but just a part of the journey. It’s a good part though that presents many different roads…

  6. Jason says:

    Woo hoo! And next time get the Peanut Buster Parfait at DQ. Yes, it will set you back on your P90x but with FI you will have more time to work it off. In fact, this could be a regular thing. Maybe you could become a DQ taster. There are worse jobs.
    Jason recently posted…The “Four Walls” Emergency FundMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Oh man, the Peanut Buster Parfait is my go to! Where do I sign up to taste ice cream for a living! Do they have a P180x??

  7. Congrats Mr. 1500 and family! Are you hanging up the working for the man shoes at the end of 2016?
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Fervent Goes WestMy Profile

  8. I could imagine that there’s this big build-up and then… nothing. Where are all the trumpets announcing hitting the mark, all the balloons, people cheering??!!

    Regardless, you reached the goal and can start to let down your guard a little bit and enjoy life a little more so that’s got to be a little bit of a relief.

    Congratulations to you and the family!!! That really is exciting!!

    — Jim
    Route To Retire recently posted…Just One Thing…My Profile

  9. Congrats!! That’s incredible news 🙂

    How will the site change, if at all, now that you’ve reached your number? What about post-February 2017 once the official date has come and gone?

  10. Jeff says:

    Congrats on reaching your milestone! Have really enjoyed following your journey, and have appreciated your honesty, humor and perspective.

    Thank you for this post, really appreciated four things:
    1. Nothing is better celebrating an major achievement like going out for ice cream – or a cold beer if you of age.

    2. I finally found another human being that drinks as much Diet Mountain Dew as I used to – finally gave it up this January for good. I had a bad 2-3 cans a day habit. People always used to look at me funny when I drank it, but actually I liked the flavor.

    3. How great is Ferris Bueller? Thirty years and I still find myself randomly quoting things from that movie regularly. -“The question isn’t what we are going to do, the question is what aren’t we going to do.”

    4. Simple things are the best…like a long walk/run in the sunshine, or watching your child make friends with another child at the playground. Never stop listening to your inner-kid Mr. 1500.

    Best to you and your family with next journey!

    • Caron says:

      What he said – all four points!


    • 1500 says:

      How on earth did you give up the Diet Mountain Dew? I know I should, but I’m thinking it will only be possible once I leave my job. I don’t have issues skipping it on weekends.

      Ferris Bueller is such a great movie! I probably like it a little more because I grew up around Chicago, but if you don’t like it, there is something wrong with you.

      Never stop listening to your inner-kid Mr. 1500. <<<---- LOVE IT!

  11. Stevie says:

    Congrats my friend. I will add to your celebration with a beer or something really expensive like that you know $5. Feel free to start a list that of items under $5 that I can buy you for a celebration. Actually change of plans, I just added your present, let’s see if you notice.

    On that note I’m pretty sure you are in town next week, let me know if you want to stop by the house at all, I could make some fancy meal like tacos or something special like that. Up to you good sir, just let know.
    Stevie recently posted…Spending Money on Life Experiences-NCAA March MadnessMy Profile

  12. Steve from Arkansas says:

    Hey, your brain was just messin with you. You had a lot to say and said it well. As a fellow diet Dew addict and fellow millionaire next door I can identify with the faint letdown of hitting the first million as well as the next couple of millions. It feels great but it feels more “less than” than I expected. I think it’s that fear thing, absence of fear is pretty awesome, by it is also a space that is waiting to be filled with something else.

  13. Congrats!!!
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted…Corporate FogMy Profile

  14. Gwen says:

    Wahoooo! Congratulations!
    Gwen recently posted…Dreaming of FIMy Profile

  15. It sure was nice of Mr. Market to turn that January frown upside down. The recovery got you to your number rather quickly. Congrats!

    I had to laugh reading this post, as I am in my office drinking Diet Mountain Dew, looking for excuses not to go to Home Depot so we can finish the bathroom remodel we started last week. I enjoy craft beer, am 40 years old, remember where I was when those tragedies happened, cut my own hair (and my boys’ hair) with a Wahl shaver, and happened to know that those fancy words are a difficult way of saying “brain freeze”.

    PhysicianOnFIRE recently posted…My Mega Roth Conversion: A $162,000 mistake?My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, Mr. Market has been very kind to me the whole time. I’ve had a nice tailwind.

      You sound like my doppleganger! I even thought about med school, but thought that I was too much of an introvert to handle being a physician.

      Please look me up if you ever make it to Colorado.

  16. Rae says:

    That’s wonderful – congratulations for the accomplishments of this last week! I hope that things ease up for you a bit logistically now, but more than anything, I hope that you and Mrs. 1500 take some time individually and couple-ly to imagine concrete transitional goals to the life you want to lead in the next few decades 🙂

    I have no problem imagining myself reaching my financial goals: it’s what to do next that troubles me. I know that in theory, I have a lot that I could do, it’s just – I hate the idea of losing the meaning that my very meaningful job gives me. I love being a part of what I’m doing and may not actually retire while I can still work.

    • 1500 says:

      “…it’s what to do next that troubles me. ”

      Me too! I can’t quit unless I know that I have something wonderful to quit too. I can think of loads of little things that I’d like to do each week, but I need one core activity for like 20 hours of my time. When you figure it out, please clue me in!

  17. Mrs SSC says:

    Wow! That is great news! We are getting close enough that we are beginning to feel like when we hit that magical number it may be anti-climatic. I am thinking that I may need to plan something in advance – so when our portfolio hits the FI number, suddenly fireworks shoot off and confetti (and maybe some dollar bills) rain down from our ceiling! Hmmm… maybe I can find a disco ball at a yard sale that will come down from the ceiling too – and some party lights and dance music. Man – I wish I was a programmer, then I could probably hook something like this up to automatically check our net worth and go into party-mode on the right day…
    Mrs SSC recently posted…Half Marathon – Yeah, I did it!My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      “maybe I can find a disco ball at a yard sale that will come down from the ceiling too”

      Oh my, now that is funny! Do IT! I’ll keep an eye out for one!

      And I’ll program it for you! Would be easy too!

  18. Mattattack says:

    Congrats Mr and Mrs. 1500!!!

    Speaking of oil changes I’m taking the car to get one on my lunch break today. I have a coupon for $16.99 which is the almost the same price as the cost of the oil itself. I used to change my oil all the time, but it wasn’t something I ever really enjoyed. So for me, I just wait until I find a coupon.

    Hopefully, y’alls exit on the “superhighway” is in sight. I remember one of the first posts I read on your sight that I thought was inspiring. I’m gonna paraphrase: you were talking about your typical day might once you transition into FI:

    waking up to take the kiddos to school,
    going biking on some trails by the casa,
    heading home for lunch and to work on some project in the garage or maybe write a little,
    picking the kiddos up from school,
    enjoying a home cooked dinner,

    I look forward to the post when that happens! And congrats again!
    Mattattack recently posted…Post 4 Student Loans, How I Loathe TheeMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Wow, nice memory! I need to hire you as a retirement consultant! 🙂

      I’m super picky about oil (OK, I fully admit this is ridiculous) and only go with synthetic, so my DIY oil changes cost me like $25. Maybe I’m a fool for doing this. Who knows.

  19. zut says:

    i want to breathe
    follow the scene
    i want to taste
    everyone i see
    i want to run when i’m up high
    i want to run into the sea
    i only want life to be…
    i just want to be…
    i will feel alive as long as i am free…


    • 1500 says:

      So many good songs by that group.

      Vedder’s, “Into the Wild” is like a soundtrack for FI people.

  20. NMD says:

    F+I (fear plus insecurity) = FI (financial independence)

    Job well done!

  21. I think we are doing it wrong! Earlier this year we hit FI, and then this month hit a BIG financial milestone, and we didn’t go to Dairy Queen! Darnit! Maybe I can convince Mr. ONL to go have a raincheck Dairy Queen day with me. 🙂 Or maybe we’ll go there when we quit our jobs next year.

    Congrats, you guys. Awesome achievement. And loved this thoughtful post. I remember all of those key events too (watched the Challenger explosion live in kindergarten, actually), as well as what I did with my first real paycheck. Mine was more along the lines of wasting money at happy hour, but it felt like an adult moment at the time. 🙂
    Our Next Life recently posted…Make Sure Your Vision Includes Joyful GenerosityMy Profile

    • Lynne says:

      I finished paying off my student loan a few months ago and didn’t go to DQ either! I think I have also been doing it wrong. 😉 I bet it would feel less anticlimactic if it were an occasion marked with a peanut buster parfait!

      Really, though, while it might mean less stress in your life, hitting a financial milestone is probably not going to feel that significant – it’s only a number! – unless it’s accompanied by an actual lifestyle change like quitting your job. Definitely looking forward to the 1500 post about that.

    • 1500 says:

      I’ve always been obsessed with space. I remember that our dick of a principal didn’t think kids had any right watching something like that during school hours. Even though it would have taken only a couple minutes and there was a teacher aboard. Jerk!

      I probably had a beer or two shortly after I bought that pound of ground beef…

  22. beth says:

    Now that you have hit your goal you can spend more time with the Mrs. I think I read she has been wanting that. More time is the reason people spend money to have others do their chores for them. You don’t have to do that but maybe you can cut back on work a bit for more relationship time.

    I could be overstepping here but the main thing financial freedom buys is free time.

    • 1500 says:

      No, not overstepping at all. Our life and relationship should get better as my worklife dwindles down…

      • Kurt says:

        Beth said what I was thinking – when you think about it, early retirement without someone to share it with would be a very sad existence. Improving my own relationship with my wife and kids was a huge driver of why I ultimately left the rat race, and 7 months in to early retirement, the change is remarkable. Now that I don’t need to pour so much of myself into my work, I have the time and attention to be a much more present father and husband. After so many years of pushing so hard to achieve goals, it has been an adjustment to chillax and realize that we have finally arrived and it is time to, as MMM would say, “start living like a rich person.” That means that next project can wait — taking my wife out to lunch or building a fort with the kids in the backyard can’t!

        I should also say that while I beat you to early retirement by a few months, I doubt I would be here now were it not for great blogs like yours and MMM and the FIRE community that you have spawned. Thanks for leading the way and enjoy the next leg of the journey — it is indeed the cherry on top of the DQ sundae!

  23. Congrats! What a crazy feeling that must be. Surreal. And Exciting. And fleeting. All at the same time. You’ve worked hard. You’ve showed us all it can be done. And you get to keep enjoying what you do. And that DQ thing looks amazing. Seriously.
    Maggie @ Northern Expenditure recently posted…The 4-Year PotentialMy Profile

  24. Shay says:

    Congratulations! ? What a wonderful accomplishment! I hope now that you will slow down a bit and go on more date nights.

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks! And life should only get better from here on out. We shall see what happens in this real time experiment!

  25. Believe Fire says:

    Congrats! Glad to see you’ve met your goal. I’ve never had the triple chocolate brownie from DQ, but used to enjoy a Blizzard on occasion. Mint Oreo and Butterfinger are my favorites.
    Believe Fire recently posted…How to Retire Early, Part 2 – Planning for RetirementMy Profile

  26. Huge congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. 1500! And thanks for all the inspiration you’ve provided along the way!

    With all this edible temptation you’re putting forth, maybe you should look into whether DQ does affiliate links 😉
    Matt @ The Resume Gap recently posted…Should We Be Afraid to Travel to Turkey?My Profile

  27. Marla says:

    Congratulations! It has been very inspiring sharing your journey to date. The next part is sure to be even better!

  28. Congrats on reaching your goals! I knew you’d make it! We did something similar when we reached financial independence. I think I made the wife dinner than night and told her it was our “million dollar dinner”.

    As smarter people than me have said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters”. I really liked your metaphor of the country roads.

    There’s no need to go ‘fast’ anymore, is there? Where will your next journey take you?
    Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes recently posted…Getting Sued and Mental AgeMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks for the kind comments!

      The beauty of FI is that you can take any road you want. I love the possibilities!

  29. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to seeing what changes you make in your life. I guess that will mostly be with respect to your employment since you are living – simply and efficiently – the way you want to right now.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted…I Learn Something New about Taxes Every YearMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, life will not change much. No new stuff, just new activities as I wind down my work life.

  30. Evan says:

    ANIMAL! I love it.

  31. Sabbaticalia says:

    Congrats on reaching your milestone — relish your brain-freeze! 🙂

    Meantime, as your mouth thaws, start brainstorming what other bits of fulfillment for your household still needs to slot in. You might well be missing nothing of importance. Tweak with your excess funds, and enjoy enjoy enjoy!
    Sabbaticalia recently posted…2016Q1 passive incomeMy Profile

  32. Tawcan says:

    Congrats man, when are you buying cakes for everyone? :p

    I only remember what I was doing when 9/11 happened… I was snoozing in a CPSC class in university.
    Tawcan recently posted…How we increased our net worth by 250% in 5 yearsMy Profile

  33. Mom says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goals! I bet that DQ tasted great! *raises glass* here’s to your new adventures, where ever they take you.
    Mom recently posted…March 2016 Early Retirement ProgressMy Profile

  34. JC says:

    Congratulations on hitting your goal. But I consider what you have done is hit the bottom, the least, the minimum you need to be FI. Now you need a buffer. Life throws you curves. You don’t want to live on the very edge of financial security. Its time to set a new goal. I think you should now work towards increasing your nest egg by 50%. And you’ve go time to do it. You’re not even 40 yet, right? Raise that goal to $1.5mil and hit it in the next 5 years and you will live a much more secure and comfortable life. 50% more than the minimum you need is a wonderful place to be. Ask me how I know. 8^)

    Just my 2 cents…

    — jcw3rd

    • 1500 says:

      I already have a little buffer. The 4% Rule states that I can now spend $44,000 my first year. We can get by on just under $40,000, so we’re good. In 12 years, the house will be paid off and then we’ll need $1,000/month less. The Mrs. and I still work, so our trajectory will move up for at least a little while longer. Also, that number doesn’t include my house equity which is close to $300,000 now. And there there is social security in a couple decades.

      So many things to fall back on, but I don’t think I’ll need them. Nice to know they are there though.

  35. Ree Klein says:

    So awesome and congratulations on a goal well achieved! It is amazing what we can do when we set a goal and keep it front-and-center.

    However, you don’t strike me as a guy who will just rest on your laurels…how about getting on those Smarties?!?!?! You knew I couldn’t let that go unaddressed 🙂
    Ree Klein recently posted…March 2016 Progress UpdateMy Profile

  36. Congrats on reaching your goal! “At the core, I value efficiency and simplicity.” Very powerful saying you had here that captured the essence of your article. I look forward to seeing where you go from here and what you do. My biggest question is if you do indeed retire, have you factored in major cost? Life can be funny and throw you many curve balls. I know you probably have supplemental income but just a thought 🙂 Congrats once again!
    Stefan @Mllnnlbudget recently posted…Millennial’s Guide to ETFsMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, that does worry me. When my roof dies, I’d like to put a metal one on. There goes $10,000 if I do it myself ($30,000 if I didn’t). I’ll need a car eventually. Other stuff will break.

      The Mrs. and I will work a little longer to build a little buffer. My paychecks are also 3 months behind, so I have a big buffer right there as well.

      I’m not too worried. It seems lately that the more I try not to make money, the more money-making opportunities present themselves.

      • Arrgo says:

        Something else to consider is taking (engineering?) a layoff with severance plus you can collect unemployment. That will probably be almost a years worth of expenses as a bonus. You wouldn’t want to disapoint the Financial Samurai and just quit would you? 😉

        • 1500 says:

          I work for myself! Well, I have a client, but my own corporation pays me and takes care of stuff like the 401(k). So, a severance is out the window. I think I still have to pay unemployment though, so perhaps I can lay myself off!

  37. The Roamer says:

    Super happy for you!!!!!

    The mysteries of life a year out. . so much to ponder.

    Also sheesh your writing…. It still strikes me how you are able to mix such serious things and then just as easily bounce back to light hearted tone. ( I.E. 9/11 reference to ground beef??? Seriously, what? And how do you do that)

    Where on the to do list is clearing out the garage? Let me know if you need my lean manufacturing services 🙂
    The Roamer recently posted…Minimalism without wasteMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Ha ha, when are you in Colorado again! We’ll make more pizza! Plus ,the house is just about done.

      And my brain is crazy. Half the time, I’m as immature as a 7 year old. The other half, I fret over WW3! Go figure…

  38. Estrella says:

    Congrats! I love your blog and have been following for a few years. Your down to earth writing hits some points with me. Sometimes I laugh out loud, no joke.

    My University go-to was peanut butter sandwiches. I could never eat them again once I was out. Reminds me to pass it forward when I see a student next time, those are rough years.

    Anyhow, just felt the need to connect and congratulate you and your family. Your life experience has brought you to this accomplishment. You are not your past, and the future is still unwritten.

    • 1500 says:

      Estrella, thank you so much for the kind comments. Hearing people like you tell me that makes it all worthwhile. True.

      Peanut butter sandwiches! Me too, but with jelly. Crazy story that I remember about mine: I had this reusable plastic container that I’d put my sandwich in every day so I wouldn’t have to buy sandwich bags. One day, my lab partner mocked me for using them. She said something like, “Why don’t you just use the disposable plastic wrap?”

      It bothers me to this day. Why must we toss stuff in the trash when we can reuse? Oh well…

      Thanks again for reading and for the comment. I’ll sleep well tonight.

  39. jlcollinsnh says:

    The day the Challenger exploded was the same day as my mother’s funeral. We watched the news footage while getting dressed to go.

    I was in my mid-thirties. If someone had taken me to the door of your 5th grade class that day and said, “Time will come when you are friends with one of these kids…”

    I’d have said: “Not till they clean the snot off their nose.”

    Just shows how wrong I would have been… 😉

    Time for a new goal.
    jlcollinsnh recently posted…Stocks — Part XXIX: How to save money for college. Or not.My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Whoah. Not a happy day.

      I remember where I was when the Columbia disintegrated too; Lake Shore Drive in our common city. Where were you?

      New goal indeed…

  40. Congrats on finally meeting your goal! It really is always the simple things that count. That brownie must have been awesomely amazing and I’m kind of drooling right now because my sweet tooth has not been fed in awhile…

    But again congrats and can’t wait to see where your journey continues to go.
    Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life recently posted…When Temptation Strikes…My Profile

  41. TheMoneyMine says:

    It might feel anti-climatic because you’ve been writing about this so much, but put this in perspective and this is mind-blowing. The 90th percentile of working families have 273k$ in retirement savings when they retire. The top 1% has 1080k$.

    You have more and you’re not 65.
    Institutions typically don’t even include the 1% on their retirement analysis.
    You’re completely off the chart.

    Maybe you need a 2nd brownie, because this is definitely freaking impressive and you need to celebrate this! 🙂
    TheMoneyMine recently posted…Ask the readers: When life gets busy, how do you protect your time?My Profile

  42. Katie says:

    Congratulations! That is super exciting, your brain will eventually catch up. 🙂 If I was in your situation, I would probably coast for a couple years and then minimize and travel. I’d like to travel more.

  43. Thomas says:

    Congratulations! I follow you for several years now. I hope your life will become calmer now.

  44. I don’t even know what Dairy Queen is but it certainly sounds classy. What a way to celebrate!

    This makes me think of my 6 year old – we let her choose where she wants to eat on her birthday and she always chooses McDonald’s. Obviously she doesn’t have expensive taste, which can only be a good thing if she aspires for early retirement like her parents!

    Congratulations 1500 family. From everything I’ve read on your blog it seems like you well and truly deserve your success.
    InsiderAccountant recently posted…Small firm versus big firm – the client decisionMy Profile

  45. Mr. PIE says:

    Wicked awesome. Did I really say wicked?

    “You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream”, C.S. Lewis

    That’s what keeps us all going. New challenges, different experiences, endless possibilities. Gotta keep the party lights on…!
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Ten ThingsMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Mr. PIE!

      And hell yeah, one goal just leads to another. Life would be so boring without good goals.

  46. Team CF says:

    Brilliant, congratulations on this milestone. Hope you are able to finally enjoy the country roads rather than the highway (once your current contract expires obviously).
    Team CF recently posted…Real Estate and Financing in the Netherlands – A Quick OverviewMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Team CF! Yeah, country roads, soon. Maybe even on Saturday. Still have the job, just a little time off…

  47. OnlyKetchup says:

    Congratulations! Now figure out how to slow down your “part-time” work arrangement and start enjoying it.

    • 1500 says:

      Teah, “part-time” has been full-time+ so far. It will all change soon enough though with multiple weeks off. I sure as hell need a break…

  48. This is amazing news! I have been following your journey and have been pretty inspired.

  49. Jeff says:

    Congrats! This is awesome. Your inner dialog sounds like mine 😉 “Ok, so you hit that mark, now what?” I find that I typically need some kind of new challenge to work toward (money is only one aspect like you said). I can’t wait to see what the next goal will be. You might have to change the blog to 3000 days to ??? so we can follow along some more! It’s been a fun journey so far.

    • 1500 says:

      Ha, I’ll never run out of goals. They may not revolve around money, but a worthy life must have goals…

  50. Kyle says:

    I still remember vividly when my college roommate told me the drummer from Avenged Sevenfold died. One of my favorite bands and I loved them because of their awesome drummer “The Rev”, One amazing musical talent.
    Congratulations :D, I’m sure the magnitude of achieving your goal with hit you more once you quit your job.
    I’m approaching a baby step of paying off one of my student loans in a couple months, I’ll do a tiny celebration when I hate $50k in investments later this year, oh how I wish I started saving earlier, like most.
    Look forward to hanging out Saturday, I’ll bring some beers to celebrate.
    Kyle recently posted…Deep in Thought: How We Relate to PeopleMy Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks Kyle!

      If Saturday goes according to plan: motorcycle museum: 9-11, Toppling Goliath at 1 (just to pick up bombers), quick stop in Madison around 4 to see a friend and then you around 6 or 7…

  51. QCI says:

    Congrats! The market certainly has been on fire as of late. Every time I checked PC this week I was in awe of what I saw, then I went back to vacation 🙂 – your money truly can work harder than you can.

    This is only the start, I can’t wait to see what comes next for you!

    • 1500 says:

      Yeah, markets have been great almost the whole time I’ve been blogging (1/2013). Sure makes life easier…

  52. Eric Bowlin says:

    Interesting word for “ice cream headache”..

    So, now that you have reached the goal..does that mean no more website?
    Eric Bowlin recently posted…Gross Rent Multiplier – What is it and How to Use it.My Profile

  53. Linda says:

    Congratulations! I love it when people reach their goals. It makes me so much more motivated to reach mine!

    Ha! Society by Eddie Vedder just started playing on my Pandora station.

    I haven’t been to a DQ in years, but one of my favorite desserts from there is the Turtle Pecan Cluster. Sooo good.
    Linda recently posted…My Personal Finance ReviewMy Profile

  54. Mike says:

    Congrats; really impressive! I’ve enjoyed reading your wacky stories here and even more so over Chicago beers!
    Mike recently posted…Book Review—Zero to One by Peter ThielMy Profile

  55. Kendall Frederick says:


    I’ve enjoyed your blog for the past couple of years; you have managed to be interesting without becoming preachy, a valuable and rare trait. Hope you have some non-average plans to share soon!

  56. Congratulations! I just recently started my journey to financial independence, and seeing your success definitely gives me confidence and inspirations.

    Fortune Cookie Millennial recently posted…Welcome to Fortune Cookie Millennial!My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks! Keep at it and enjoy the rid as it will be over before you know it. One thing I did wrong was focusing too much on the end and not enjoying life in the meantime.

  57. Congratulations, I love it when an FI blogger makes it and achieves their goals, it’s like watching all these caterpillars building cocoons for years and years and finally butterflies. Brings me a lot of joy. I can’t wait to read about the next part of your life.
    Quit Work For Life – Susie recently posted…You Need a Mall DietMy Profile

  58. Lisa says:

    This is AWESOME! Congrats to you and the Mrs.!

  59. Awesome and congrats. Crazy stuff to see numbers grow that quickly. That’s what hard work and saving money does for you though!

  60. Congratulations! A big well done! Have you drafted your letter of resignation yet? 🙂
    mrssmellingfreedom recently posted…Financial Independence: Am I there yet?My Profile

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks MSF! No resignation letter yet, but there will be a talk with the boss…

  61. Kyle says:

    Congratulations Mr. 1500! I hit a similar milestone in my life couple of years ago, in which my portfolio and passive income could sustain my normal household expenses.

    After working on it so long (10 years for me), I thought once I achieved the goal, there would be much more fanfare with clouds parting and angels playing trumpets. Of course that didn’t happen, and like you, I took the family out for a small celebration.

    I started the journey thinking that FI would be the end goal, but I realized that it’s really about life and life’s work and ultimately I could have done that day 1. Good luck on the rest of your journey and congratulations on your fantastic achievement!

    • 1500 says:

      Hey Kyle! Thanks and I like your comment, especially this part:

      “I started the journey thinking that FI would be the end goal, but I realized that it’s really about life and life’s work and ultimately I could have done that day 1.”

      Yeah! And for me, this is the hard part! The money is easy. Just figure out how much you spend every year, multiply by 25 and then save your ass off. Now, learning to live, that is the hard part…

  62. Scott says:

    I knew it all along. You like your paychecks too much to quit! Nothing wrong with that, however, blogging about retiring in 1500 days or when you hit your mark is a bit fraudulent considering you are now to fearful to pull the trigger…..

    • 1500 says:

      Hey Scott- I never said that I would retire when I “hit the mark,” I’m not going to quit my job and leave my co-workers in a bind because I’ve hit some personal financial goal. My bosses have been good to me and at the very least, I’ll fulfill the terms of my contract and smoothly transition out.

      My goal has been to retire on 1500 days which comes up February of 2017. I also never stated that I’d stay at my job if I didn’t make my goal. You are harsh to call me a fraud.

      I do enjoy my paychecks, no doubt about that. However, I also value being able to take a two hour long walk on a Wednesday afternoon. My life will change and it will change soon.

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  64. Terri says:

    I am new to your 1500 days and I am very impressed!
    You are my role model now and I look up to you.
    I will start my own 1500 days soon and hope will be as successful as you did.
    We share a very similar philosophy of money and life that I was happy to see them in words. Enjoy your peace of mind! : )

    • 1500 says:

      Thanks so much for the kind comments Terri! Best of luck on your own journey; it’s been work, but loads of fun!

  65. Yoma says:

    Your thoughts on being impressed by people whi grew up normal and still value frugality resonates a lot about how I think too. My husband grew up with a lot of wealth but is very grounded and saves every penny he can. I still cant fathom how or why he does it! May be a gift fromGod! Fortunately my only child is very careful with everything that is given to her. Bought her an expensive phone 3 years ago and it is still intact/ not a single scratch or speck of dust!

  66. sunil aggarwal says:

    Congratulations! I am new to your blog. Can you share your investment choices in those 1500 days?

  67. Jerry Chang says:


    I was just reading your blog and it is amazing. Congratulations on reaching your goal! What comes after reaching your financial goal and how do you continue to invest and maintain your lifestyle?

    Do you have any tips you can offer for investing? Would really like to be on this path as well!

    Amazing accomplishment and would appreciate any feedback.

    Best regards,


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