Living Right with Montana Money Adventures

If you think money is the goal of us FI bloggers, you’d be wrong. Well, I concede that there may be some of us who have a shallow goal, like accumulating a certain amount of money in a certain amount of days.

***looks in mirror, shakes head, sighs***

On the surface, money is the goal. But deep down, living right is really what we’re trying to accomplish.

And Ms. Montana is someone who knows how to live, so I asked her to guest post. She did and included all kinds of wonderful one-liners like this:

We are people who’s life is bigger than their 9-5 job.

Or how about this:

I think that low expenses is the jet fuel to custom design your life.

I like these two as well:

Low expenses give you a lot of options

We are in our 30’s and while not really “early retirees” we are Work Optional

Time to turn the show over to Ms. Montana!

Living Right with Montana Money Adventures

Last year my husband and I took a year off of work. Even though it was our 4th time taking a work gap to pursue big dreams and goals, we got a lot of questions. (Well, really 2 questions, over and over again!)

1. Who does that??!!

and

2. How can you afford to do that?

Life is More than Work

Maybe it freaked people out because we have 5 little kids? Maybe it’s the fact we have never been high income earners? Maybe it’s because we own a 4 bedroom home and minivan and just seem so… normal? But the answer is rather straightforward: We are people who’s life is bigger than their 9-5 job. Those of us with awesome families. Passions. Goals and dreams. We want things on our highlight reel that can’t fit into an occasional 4 day weekend. We want epic road trips with friends. We want to travel overseas. We want to build or renovate a home. We want to launch a new business. And life is short. So we took a year off. We did all sorts of things we just wouldn’t have been able to do any other way.

Work can be amazing. But so are other things. Big things that don’t fit into 4 day weekends and 2 week vacations. 

  • Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Biking across Croatia
  • Building a home
  • Launching a business
  • Writing a book
  • RV’ing across the US with your kids for a year
  • Visiting every national park
  • Starting a non-profit animal shelter
  • Test owning a food truck

And the Money Part

But back to the other question…

How can you afford to do that?

That is actually rather simple. I can boil the whole thing down to 6 steps. If you want to do a 6 week trip or take a full year, it’s the same 6 steps. I have a handy (and FREE) PDF if you want to grab a copy. I outlined the whole process step by step to help people figure out the dollar and cents of it.  Because Mr. 1500 and I share a love of real estate, I wanted to share how that has factored into us creating more financial freedom. And what is possible using just 2 of the steps (step 4 and step 6).

 

Step 4: A Little Passive Income Goes a LONG Way….

Before completely renovating our home, we had never owned a home before. Meaning, we had zilch for renovation experience. So we watched a LOT of YouTube instructional videos. Because we handled most of the renovation ourselves, we had little cash left, and were able to buy our first rental property 6 months later. Which meant more renovation. More nights and weekends. 18 month after that, we used the rental income from our first rental to help buy our 3rd property. Those choices paid off. We don’t have a mortgage and we bring in $1,000 a month in passive income.

Not many places offer pensions these days, but the military is one notable exception (for now).  Mr. Montana was able to walk away with  a military pension of $1,450 a month. For most people retiring from the military, that means finding another job ASAP. $1450 a month is a nice benefit, but does not a comfortable retirement make for the average soldier.  

Our investments sit at about $180,000. So with a 4% withdrawal we could pull about $600 a month. I consider this a backup plan, because I would love to see them grow for the next 10 years.

Passive income: $2450 in pocket or $3050 with investments

 

Step 6: Power of Low Expenses

We rented for the first 10 years we were married. After an awful lot of saving, we paid cash for our very first home! It was a fixer upper to be sure! But that meant we have never had a mortgage payment. Shortly after we married we paid off our $35,000 in student loans. $10,000+ in credit card debt and $10,000 in hospital bills.

I think that low expenses is the jet fuel to custom design your life.

Our fixed expenses are under $650 a month (property tax, home insurance, life insurance, dental, car insurance, cell phones, utilities, internet, gym, etc.). In 2016, during our year off, our spending for the year landed right at $30,000 for our family of 7 or $2,500 per month. And that is with the cost of having a baby, a 6 week road trip, building out our master bath, replacing our upright freezer, dental work, major car repair, you know…normal life.

Low expenses give you a lot of options. If you want to take a year off, frequently sprinkle in mini-retirements, take a year of two to build a new business or even go full-blown early retired: low expenses will be the key to making that happen sooner rather than later. As you can pay down each debt, cut out unneeded expenses and reduce others, not only will it give you more financial freedom but also open up more cash to spend on things you really do care about.

Our monthly expenses are $2,500. Rental income plus pension= $2,450 or $3,050 including investment income. We also saved up $50,000 in cash sitting in our checking account to buffer the gap. Even if we don’t earn another dollar, we could easily take off 5-10 years before we would need to tap our investments.

Incredible Outcomes from Minimal Inputs

You know what I love about our story? All the elements are rather unimpressive, but the outcome has been life changing. We never earned high incomes (our combined income averaged between $30k-$70k a year.) We started with a ton of debt. Our expenses are low, but we have a big family, so not crazy low. Our rental income is moderate. Our pension on the small side. Our investments paltry ($180k). But the outcome is amazing. We are in our 30’s and while not really “early retirees” we are Work Optional . As in, we don’t do work that sucks anymore. We don’t worry about paying our bills. We can take as much time off as we want or need, from a few months to a few years at a time. We only take on projects that we are legit excited about whether they pay or not. We might never work the 9-5 again (it would have to be a seriously amazing gig!).

Buying fixer uppers and learning to do the renovations has been the key factor for us. It means we don’t pay the average rent or mortgage for our area ($1,100 a month), plus it puts $1,000 in our pocket.  We could have just as easily bought a nicer home for our first home and used the cash we had saved as a down payment with none left over to buy rentals (actually that would have been MUCH easier!). But we wanted something different. We wanted financial freedom.

Every season of life brings different opportunities, and sometimes if we are just keeping our head down to push through, they will pass us by. By following these 6 steps, we can create the financial freedom to lean into each season of our lives. Mr. Montana and I have worked these 6 steps over and over during the last 15 years. It’s allowed us to travel through 27 countries, live abroad, adopt 4 kids, pay cash for our house, travel the US a few times over, and custom create a lifestyle that fit us and can flex each year as our needs change.

We had planned to just take a year off this time, then dutifully head back to the 9-5. But…. honestly, we just have too much going on. We are traveling more, gardening more, spending more time with our kids. I’m writing more for my site and a really cool start-up company. Mr. Montana is taking welding and electrical classes at the community college, and doing more renovations on our properties. I’m coaching and mentoring people on creating more financial freedom and custom-creating their ideal lifestyle (is there anything more fun than talking with people about their money and dreams? I think not.) We are hiking more, at the lake more, camping more, drinking more coffee, and I get to speak (for free!) to awesome organizations at lot more. All because of a little passive income + low expenses. I’m not going to say it was easy, but it was rather simple. If you are looking for an extended vacation, year off, flexible lifestyle or early retirement, these two steps will take you 80% of the way there.

Thanks you Ms. Montana for you words of wisdom!

Readers, give Ms. Montana a visit over at Montana Money Adventures.

Join the 10s who have signed up already!

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62 Responses to Living Right with Montana Money Adventures

  1. I love Ms. Montana’s story!!! I have been following her over the last year and she’s got an amazing financial journey!!! I especially love how she has become work optional 🙂 Having the ability to control your life and how you spend your time is such an amazing feeling.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Are You Afraid To Retire Early?My Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Yes to the “control your life/how you spend your time”!!! A 1000x yes! The worst feeling for me were the times I felt stuck. Like I had no choice. No options. Just keep your head down and don’t make waves. And you know what? I like making waves. =) I like being able to look around. I grew up poor like dirt, and that fits me like a coat 4 sizes too small. Not my cup of tea at all! I much prefer this…even if it’s meant driving my beloved beater car for 10+ years or packing a lunch. Peesh! I heart you Honda Civic!

      • Yes to “making waves” and no to “being stuck”. That’s where I am right now- stuck in the job which punishes for making waves. A couple more months of being stuck and I will take some time off from work. Mini sabbatical in September to figure out what I really want in this life and if I am able to embrace uncertainty and uncomfortable.
        Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. You know there are to philosophies in the world, living to work and working to live. In the former you end up focusing so much on that extra dollar and work becomes your life. I know people like that. Some of them are even happy doing so. Most of the rest of us need a passion or reason for being beyond work. Work is but a means. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy work. I’ve gone on record as saying I like my job and even if I had my number at the moment I wouldn’t leave. But it does mean that work is not my focus for being and neither is money. Being a PDF blogger money is a hobby and a way to pay the bills.
    FullTimeFinance recently posted…Retiring Abroad, Travel, and Purchasing Power ParityMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I have a post in the hopper about this but I think there might be a third stage. Where the line between work, hobby, life, passion gets really, really blurry. 18 months in and it’s almost entirely disappeared for us. Which part is work? Do I define that by social norms, or by if it produces income or saves us money or requires effort? If I am working if I am gardening? getting my kids ready for school? writing this comment? talking with a pf blogger friend? talking with a MMA reader? traveling? grocery shopping? taking the family on a hike? Mr. Mt taking a welding class? writing a post? presenting a talk? talking to people after the talk? Honestly, at this point, it all kind of feels the same. It’s just stuff I love. Things that are meaningful or important or good for my soul.

  3. Love it. Glad more people are getting exposed to your story over here, because it is powerful. If the average person understood the things you can do by keeping expenses low, we would probably live in a very different world.
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…How to Grow Your MindMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Preach. Sometimes I just want to hug all my friends who are struggling with money and say, “Life doesn’t have to be this damn hard, read my blog!” But I just hug them instead…cause it would be weird if they knew my net worth. Maybe one day…

  4. Matthew in Michigan says:

    Great post! Its nice to hear that FI can happen at moderate incomes as well with just a little more frugality and planning. It really is about owning your life!

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Absolutely! We hit work optional when we were 32/37, but did a whole lot of living before then! I had almost finish the list of things that were originally “life goals.” But no worries, I now have a much longer and more ambitious list made! Hitting FI didn’t mean opting out of life, but doubling down! Because now we have the advantage to stop wasting time chasing money.

  5. You have such an amazing story. And like you said, the thing that makes it great is just how accessible it is. You continue to be a great advocate for the FI community and I look forward to hearing about your future adventures!

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Thanks so much! I stared blogging because I wanted to be an encouragement to people who felt a bit average in their potential because we all have real life things that make this path to FI bumpy. Other dreams (like travel, giving and adoption for us) and set backs (like debt) and some challenges (like we wanted to do social service work which doesn’t pay amazing.) I hope people see our story and can fill in their own equation to create enough financial freedom. =)

  6. I want to be you in a few years! Work optional sounds optimal!
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…A Letter to My 22 Year Old SelfMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the steps. I am in a similar situation but perhaps at the start of your story. I want to retire early and travel and really enjoy life. I want my passive income to support this. I’m not talking millions, I’m talking 30k or so. I really hope one day I can make a passive income that will far outweigh the expenses. Cheers

  8. You guys are awesome! Very inspiring story to say the least. Thanks for sharing

  9. Tara says:

    I love stories like this, as they prove you don’t have to be tied down to a terrible job if you just learn to live on less. I have friend couple who are like this too–they live in an affordable co-operative apartments (where food is also included as they all have “chores” to do in addition to rent payment), and they get by on what cash they can earn from side jobs. Being a cooperative housing place, it’s no Hilton, but for those who can live in that standard of living, it is the perfect way of living affordably so one doesn’t have to work for money and also a great example against home-ownership for those who don’t want the responsibility. Anyhoo, my only question for Ms. Montana is what they do for health insurance? I’m sure living a healthy lifestyle helps keep those expenditures in check. I long for the day that we can all have affordable access to quality health care so that everyone, including those with health issues no fault of their own (meaning, it’s not just diabetes from being overweight), can live a lifestyle like this.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I’m always fascinated by intentional communities! There were a few like that when we lived in Germany.

      As to health care, we were really fortunate to have insurance via the military retirement. It’s 80/20 after a deductible. But we don’t have monthly fees if we don’t use it that month. We do take care of ourselves and are rather healthy, but there are expenses. I had about $2,000 out of pocket for having the baby. Our total out of pocket caps at $3,500 for a year, which is nice to know. I do pay for dental insurance at $60 a month, but I might cancel because I pay more out than I ever receive in benefit. I think 90% of the years it would be cheaper just to pay cash. With all the chaos around healthcare right now, I am really thankful we have a stable option!
      I didn’t mention it in this post, but I have talked about it a bit on my site in “Can’t waste good” but our oldest son whom we adopted had Type 1 Diabetes. It was a very expensive condition between the medication and dr. appointments. He ended up passing away from it almost 5 years ago when he was 20.

  10. Ms. Montana hanging with the 1500’s!? Wow, what a great day! Ms. Montana showing the world why she’s one of the more fascinating PF bloggers out there. Great story, the right priorities, and a world class writer!

    Great to see you Guest Posting here, MM, congrats on doing so many things right.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Ah, thanks Fritz! It’s is a great day to get to hang out with the 1500’s! Now I just need to convince them to make another trip to GNP! Oh, and when are you stopping by again? =)

  11. I loooove reading about MMA’s structured sabbaticals. I’m sure that having a year off work would make continuing to work much more bearable than a panicked sprint to the FIRE finish line.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…How I started a blog while working full-timeMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of panicked sprinting (mostly because I despise running!) =) This last one will be a bit more open ended. We are testing out adding “work” that is so enjoyable and so non-constraining on our time or schedule that it doesn’t feel at all like work. Ideally I would like 2 months a year unstructured, but not more. Like feels a bit like a choose your own adventure book lately.

  12. A great example of squeezing the most juice out of life. Being frugal and smart with money doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time too 🙂

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I really enjoy having a great time! =) My goals for our money each month is to have the most fun humanly possible and spend hardly any money doing it. It’s like a game of how much fun stuff we can shove into 30 days. I actually feel bad about all the really cool free stuff we miss out on around here. Even without jobs I need more time than money. I might hire a house keeper….like for realz.
      Ms. Montana recently posted…Guest post over at 1500 days till Freedom!My Profile

  13. Mrs. BITA says:

    How nice to run into you here. I love your story, and the icing on the cake is that you are a writer whose prose is so easy on the eyes. I wish you and your family many continued adventures as you journey through this life.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…Of Generosity and GratitudeMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Well I love icing…and cake. =) And I can’t see the adventures slowing down anytime soon. Now that I don’t have to waste time or energy chasing money, I think we will make 3x the progress! =)

  14. Mrs. Montana – Thanks for sharing your story over her on 1500 days. I know I have seen you comment around my neck of the woods, but am embarrassed to admit that I never took the time to check out your site and read about your story.

    All I have to say is WELL DONE!!!

    I have since added you to my Feedly and look forward to reading more content from you.

    Although I worked way too much in 2016, I am happy to say I find myself getting closer to that blurry line you described, and will continue to work my way there.

    Cheers,

    Dom
    Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…March 2017 – Detailed Financial Report #27 – Net Worth $541,510 | Income $24,434My Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Blurry lines are the best! I heard a great quote about Picasso who said, “When he was with this wife, it was passion. Playing with his kids was passion. Painting was passion. It was just all passion.” I’m not sure that had ever really made sense to me until this year. Now it’s all passion. All things I love. If I am doing so much one thing so it feels like a burden, I adjust. (Like a garden that is too big!) A little is fun, too much and it starts to feel like a burden.

  15. SpacemanFry says:

    Very impressive story! I may have to devour your blog in my usual binge-reading way 🙂

  16. Looks like a nice life! I miss the mountainous areas. Like you, between rental income and simple living, I was able to hit the ‘work optional’ point last year. It is a great feeling, and I think most people could achieve it a lot sooner than they think… so, that’s great that you are mentoring people!
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Why You Need a Balance Sheet for Your SoulMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I LOVE chatting with people about their money, goals and dreams! It’s one of those weird things that is taboo in “real” life but adds a heap of value when it’s semi anonymous. =) I’ve done it for years for friends and acquaintances, but this is even better because I feel like people have a bit more skin in the game and really get crap done. It’s a blast to watch!

  17. Team CF says:

    Great story, there are so many people that can learn major lessons from what you did, do and plan to do. A big hat tip to all 7 of you. Best of luck!

  18. Mr. Tako says:

    Wow, those are some really low expenses for having 5 kids. That’s pretty incredible. Count me impressed!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…The Economic GardenerMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Thanks! I publish a monthly expense report each month. It’s actually one of my favorites. Mostly because we have a lot of fun each month. I like to dispel the idea that spending money=fun. Most families would be hard pressed to do more fun things than we do month in and month out. =) That’s my real badge of honor.

  19. Dave says:

    Love your blog. I too work to live. Money just gives me options how I want to live. With money, we have freedom of choice. I have a good job. That can change. I can get a boss that I don’t mesh with. If that happens, I just bow out. Money = freedom of choice.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Awesome Dave! And I’m glad you like the blog. =) Boy, just being able to bow out when a job turn sour. That alone! I’ve worked a crap job or two in my time. To be able to say “never again” is the best reward. =)

  20. My spouse already thinks I am out there for wanting to retire at 40, which I will do soon. I can’t even imagine suggesting her to take a year off, or so, in between. My only hesitation with doing this is it would delay my end game, which is near.

    Imagine the look on her face when I told her I had no plans to quit, but would instead asked to be fired with severance? She assured me it wasn’t possible, and I was a bit surprised at how quickly my boss liked the idea (guess that’s a bad sign, whatever?).

    Are you planning on going back to work? Personally I think self employment, such as blogging is better, but then again I don’t have any self employment income yet, so perhaps it’s not.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Our plans….hum…My goal for now is to tackle the other big life goals I have burning in my heart. There are things I want to build. Things I want to create. A message I want to share. There is impact I want to have and people I want to help. I want to go out like a burning flame and have the world be exceptionally different because I was here. Could a 9-5 help us further that goal? Um..maybe? I can’t really see how at the moment. But if it did, I would be game. Money is an amazing tool for us, but not the goal. Expect for maybe giving it away. I would like to see a big number there, but there again, it’s the impact I am after, not the number for a numbers sake.

  21. I think it’s great to see options that are just not the traditional route, like work a 9-5, save a ton of money, THEN you get to retire or at least reach FI. Looks like you’re able to really work that lifestyle design!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…March Rewind: My Net Worth RevealedMy Profile

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I think there are a lot of cool options people can come up with. A lot of people I work with want to get the money side figured out so they don’t need a ton of income on the passion side. The kinds of “work” they want to do is amazing and awesome. It’s been great to be a small piece in those stories. But you are right, 4% of a huge pile of cash is just one way to make it happen.

  22. I love reading about the life you’ve engineered, Ms. Montana! You’ve been a great inspiration to me – and a great friend too! I would love to take a similar path with real estate – and can’t wait to get my hands on that first property to get things moving. Thanks for sharing your story here! 🙂

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I can’t wait for your first property too! I think I am just as excited. =) And you are like my BBFF (blogging best friend forever) or BBB (blogging battle buddy). I can keep going all day with these awesome acronyms.

  23. It’s refreshing to a different approach to the pedal-to-the-metal attitude that me and quite a few other FIRE bloggers have taken. When you can afford to take it easy and enjoy the time you have with your family as they grow and learn, you are wise to do so. Keeping your expenses low and and learning to DIY affords you those opportunities.

    It’s no wonder the home viewers voted you in as Ms. Montana. 😉

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I wish I had a tiara or some place to wear one. 😉 Maybe at FinCon, that’s how you can find me in a room. 6 foot tall, way too long of hair, wearing a tiara….oh that will be a sight. =)

      There are a few advantages to never earning a bunch of coin. One, it’s easy to jump in and out of the job market as needed. Between babies, adoptions, traveling, ect. Where most people feel like “What if I can’t find another job that pays this well?” I’m like, “I’ve averaged $14 an hour most of my life, I’m fine!” There is a really awesome coffee shop downtown where they earn that. And they love me. =) Shoot, I’m already there 3 days a week!

      I think it’s easy to look at one situation and say, “Well, that can’t work for me! No fair!” I have opted to embrace the challenges as creative opportunities and carve out a path that does work.

  24. Wow! They sound like an amazing family! I like the term “work optional”. I’m going to pitch it to my husband tonight, he’s always been a little leery of early retirement.

  25. Joe says:

    Life is just too good to live the 9-5 lifestyle.
    Your story is pretty amazing. Great job living life on your own term!

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Right? There is SO many cool things to be doing. We still don’t have nearly enough time to fit it all in. But we love how we are spending 99% of our time now. (I still don’t care for deep cleaning the house! But who knows, maybe I’ll hire a housekeeper!) 😉 Won’t people flip out the? “Frugal FIRE blogger pays for housecleaning!” But it makes perfect sense to me. More time for things I love!

  26. Jason says:

    I must say that I find this to be fantastic, especially the notion of being work optional. Any advice for those who are potentially seeking to create more optionality (is that a word) with regard to real estate. I think this would be great for my wife who is struggling with employment (finding what she wants and she would love to stay home with our kids when/if we have them). I will continue my job because enjoy it.
    I think what keeps us from pulling the trigger on real estate is the high amount of student loan debt we have. It just crowds other things out, but I have certainly thought about it. Cheers to MMA living.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Thanks! I try to do one real estate post a month on my site. But take the time to really do the research first. Know your market, run numbers, look at what things are renting for, estimate repairs, try doing some reno, talk to a mortgage broker, read books or blog, join local fb groups, watch zillow every day, scan craigslist ads for searching and renting, ect. And if you find something with good cash flow, make an informed choice then leap. 🙂

  27. MrWoW says:

    Great Post!! I think we’re slowing starting to realize that this is the way we should be living our lives. Taking it day by day, living for the moment, and having the wherewithal to make things happen for us.

    I think a sabbatical could be right up our alley here in the near future. Figure out what it is exactly we want to do, where we want to be. Keep doing your thing! Enjoy it!

  28. I absolutely love Ms. Montana’s story. So wonderful! I hope we can run into each other one day 🙂
    Michelle Schroeder-Gardner recently posted…How To Camp For Free, Even In Beautiful and Desirable PlacesMy Profile

  29. COMtnadventure says:

    It’s a remarkable story kudos on the FI and keeping the expense so low. I’m impressed.

    There is one reply to a question posed by another reader that made my eyeballs nearly jump out of their sockets.

    Someone asked what they did for health insurance and MM’s response was

    “It’s 80/20 after a deductible. But we don’t have monthly fees if we don’t use it that month. We do take care of ourselves and are rather healthy, but there are expenses. I had about $2,000 out of pocket for having the baby. Our total out of pocket caps at $3,500 for a year, which is nice to know.”

    That is a staggering benefit for a family of 5. My current healthcare costs under ACA in the cheapest plan available…$500/mo with an out of pocket max for an individual at $11,000 !. That adds $6K to the base annual fixed cost with $11K ceiling before insurance pays a dime.
    Would be nice if ACA was actually what it was touted to be. Throw the entire country into the same risk pool and reduce everyone’s costs to the same level.

    • Ms. Montana says:

      Yeah, the military insurance is really decent. While my husband served in the Army, it covered 100% with no monthly payment on base, which was amazing. The base pay for an enlisted soldier started at about $1200 a month, but we had good healthcare! 😉

  30. Pingback: Why Wait Until You're Financially Independent to Live Like It?

  31. Amber tree says:

    Work optional: the sweet spot of life!
    The budget is amazing: Living on a minimal pension and rental income. Everything else you make is a bonus.

    It has been in my mind already: what if we do something similar: design work life so that it covers all expenses (including travel). There would be no extra saving. The current FU money could then compound for later…

    • Ms. Montana says:

      I think if people have been on the FIRE path for a while, they have more flexibility than they think. Once we stepped away from the 9-5, a number of things opened up. 🙂 I’m glad we tested it for a year, instead of pushing though for another 6 or 8 years.

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