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7 Goals to Hit by 45

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7 Financial Goals to Hit by 45Turning 45 is not good news. It’s feeling a lot worse than 40 for some reason. I guess it’s because midlife probably passed by sometime between those two birthdays. The life expectancy for men in the US is actually just 76.9. I figure I’ll live a little longer than average because I’m not obese, don’t take drugs/smoke, exercise regularly, and live a relatively healthy lifestyle. But that’ll buy me just a few years. I really don’t think I’ll make it to 90. The men in my family don’t live that long. They live an unhealthy lifestyle and check out relatively early for the most part. I guess we’ll see if I can outperform the family history.

Anyway, I’m turning 45 soon. That’s why I’m making this list of goals to accomplish by 45. Most of them are basics, but there are a few challenging goals, too. This type of post is always fun for everyone. You can see how you’re doing and it gives you something to shoot for. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Oh, keep count as you go. You get a point for every one of these goals you’ve accomplished. I’ll give you a score at the end of the post.

1. No Consumer Debt

Debt is bad. When you have debt, it’s difficult to save and invest. Unfortunately, most of us have debt of some kind. At 45, you should have control of your money. The student loans should be paid off and you shouldn’t have any other consumer debt.

Here is my list of what I consider bad debt.

  • Payday loans
  • Credit card debts
  • Store credit debts
  • Auto loans
  • Medical debts
  • Student loan debts
  • Personal loans

If you have any of these, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Bonus point: I consider the home mortgage a consumer debt. We all need a place to live and I think being a homeowner is better than renting. You get a bonus point if your mortgage is paid off, though. That’s a great accomplishment. Nice job!

2. Retirement Planning

45 is not young anymore. At this age, you’re probably more than halfway through your working life. You should have a retirement plan by now. There is still time to save for retirement, but the earlier you start investing, the better off you’ll be. It’s really bad to put off retirement savings beyond this point. Working until you die isn’t a plan because you can’t always do that. Our health deteriorates and our skills need constant adjustment as we age. Employers generally prefer younger and cheaper employees these days.

Here is my retirement plan for example.

  • Age 38: I retired from my engineering career to become a SAHD/blogger.
  • Age 55: Junior goes off to college. I’ll retire from my current SAHD/blogger gig and travel the world with Mrs. RB40.
  • Age 70: We’ll settle down somewhere and enjoy a slower pace of life. This is full retirement.

You can see more detail in this post – Our Unusual Early Retirement Withdrawal Strategy.

To retire early like this, you need to save and invest very early in your career. I started investing since I began my engineering career in 1996 and I’m still contributing to my retirement savings today. I was able to retire early when I achieved financial independence. It’s incredible what happens when you max out your 401k contributions every year.

Bonus point: You get a bonus point if you’re maxing out your 401k and Roth IRA contributions every year. That’s $24,000 in 2018. If your employer doesn’t have a retirement plan, then we’ll count whatever you invest. So you still get a bonus point if you invest more than $24,000 in 2018.

3. Net Worth 10x

We’re working backward on this one. According to the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate, You need at least 25x your annual expense to retire comfortably. Basically, you can withdraw 4% of your investable asset and it should last 30+ years. 25x is just the minimum, though. If you want to retire in your 30s or 40s, then you will need some padding.

For our purposes, we’ll just stick with 25x as the baseline. At 45, you should have 10x your annual cost of living right now. This is because it usually takes 6-7 years to double your investment. In 10 to 15 years, you can grow 10x annual expense to 25x. Then, you can retire comfortably without worrying much about finance.

Figuring out this net worth multiple can take some work. You need to track your expense and see how much you spend every year. If you don’t already do this, then you should start right away. Tracking your spending is a great way to become more serious about your finances. You need to know where your money went. This is an essential step to figuring out if you can retire comfortably.

Next, you need to figure out your net worth. This is everything you have that can be converted into money. I include our primary residence in our net worth, but it only makes up about 5% so it’s not a big deal. You can read more about our net worth here if you’re interested – RB40 Household Net Worth Breakdown.

Bonus point: Give yourself a bonus point if your net worth is more than 20x your annual expense. This means you’re very close to financial independence. You’re almost there!

4. Maintain Your Health

This one is tricky at midlife. Some of us have it together and are living a healthy lifestyle. However, most of us have let ourselves go since college. I gained 14 pounds since then and I’m a lot less active. This is not good. If I continue living this way, I’ll become overweight soon.

My lifestyle improved a bit since I quit my engineering career. I’m more active and I have less stress in my life. However, the weak point is my diet. It doesn’t take many extra calories to gain a pound annually. Overeating is a big problem for many of us. I need to eat healthier to stay healthy as I age beyond 45. The good news is that I have taken steps in the right direction and lost 10 pounds so far!

If you’re looking to lose weight and become leaner, check out Martin’s new Fasting Course. He’ll get you started with fasting and simplifying your exercise program. It’s working really well for me. Hopefully, I can stick with intermittent fasting for the long haul.

Here is a short list what you need to do to stay healthy as you age.

  • Maintain your weight. This means no gaining weight as you age.
  • Minimize junk food, soda, sugar, and processed food.
  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. That’s at least 5 servings/day… Sheesh!
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Always put on your seat belt and drive safe.
  • Be physically active regularly. Shoot for at least 30 minutes/day.
  • Visit your doctor at least once per year.
  • Build a strong social network. It is very important to have good friends and acquaintances.
  • Minimize stress.

It’s not easy to do all of these things above. Life in the US is very busy and most of us don’t have time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This is extremely important at our age, though. Wealth without health is NOT good enough. You need both to enjoy life to the fullest. IMO, health is a ton more important than money. Plenty of poor people have a happy life.

I admit, I didn’t get a point. I’ll have to improve my lifestyle to earn a point here.

5. Stable Family Life

At this point, you should have a stable family life. I’m a bit biased here because we’ve been married for almost 20 years. It’s a lot easier to achieve goals when you have a supportive partner. Marrying Mrs. RB40 was the best move I made when I was young. We are a great team. I wouldn’t have been able to retire early if she wasn’t on board with the idea.

Kids… What can I say? Some people love them, some people don’t. IMO, you should be done with kids by the time you’re 45. What I mean is, you shouldn’t have more kids at this point. They are disruptive. Who wants to chase babies around when you’re in your late 40s?

Anyway, you get a point if you have a stable family life. This means there are no changes in the horizon. If you’re single with no kid and plan to stay that way, then you get a point, too. In fact, it’s probably easier to retire early if you’re single. Changes are disruptive and can easily screw up your finance. Let’s stay the course at this point.

6. Know Your Parents’ Plan

At 45, you’ll most likely be part of the sandwich generation. Your parents are older and they may or may not need help. Now is the time to talk to them about their future. Can they retire and live independently? Each case is different so you really need to talk to them.

For us, all our parents are living separately.

  • My mom: She’s living with us now, but that will change in the future. She has dementia and will need more help soon. My mom does not have any retirement savings. We’ll need to fund her retirement and healthcare. Luckily, my brothers can help here.
  • My dad: He lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand by himself. He is very independent and doesn’t want any help. I trusted him because he has always looked after himself. However, he had a very bad fall recently. I’m not sure what to think now. He’s one of those people that plan to work forever. This plan isn’t working out as well now that he’s 72. He doesn’t have the stamina to hustle as much anymore. He has some asset so he can fund his retirement for a while.
  • My FIL: He lives in California independently. He’s doing well now, but he may need more help in the future. His retirement savings is in good shape so we don’t have to worry about finance.
  • My MIL: She’s pretty similar to my FIL. She is in good shape for now.

You get a point if you know your parents’ finance and retirement plans. Hopefully, your parents saved for retirement so you don’t have to contribute too much.

7. Have A Will

About 55% of Americans do not have a will or other estate plan in place. This statistic isn’t encouraging. I guess most people don’t have many assets to pass down so they don’t think they need it. A will is necessary if you have dependents, though. You need to spell out exactly what you want or else the state will decide for you.

I made a DIY will about 3 years ago. Our situation was simpler then so it was easy to make a DIY will with a program. It’s outdated now, though. Our investment accounts have changed and I need to update the will. This time, I will talk to a lawyer to make it airtight.

Bonus point: You get a bonus point if you have a living trust. It’s a good idea if your estate is sizeable.

Score

  • 0-2: Not good. You’re 45. It’s time to grow up and enter the world of adulting.
  • 3-5: Not bad, but there is room for improvement.
  • 6-7: Congratulations! You’re a respectable adult.
  • 8+: Awesome! You’re ready for the big 5-0. 😉

How did you do? My score is 7. That’s pretty good, but I’m sure lots of you did better. Hopefully, I’ll check off a few more over the next few years. My biggest priority today is to live a healthier lifestyle. Wealth is good, but health is paramount.

What about you? Are you happy with yourself at 45?

Photo by Jeremy Lapak

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 73 comments… add one }
  • Cathleen November 5, 2018, 10:58 am

    I was curious about the title, and like to see where I am (usually its a Money or Kiplinger article…and I wanted to see where I fell in the eyes of a FIer)–35 and scored an 8. Need to get a will done for my toddler- may or may not be done with kids (just have 1, and its like having 3 kids!). Do those that reached the “things to have by 45” earlier get a bonus point for reaching it earlier? 🙂

    • retirebyforty November 6, 2018, 6:33 am

      Great job! NOw you need to keep that score up until you’re 45. 🙂

  • Alberto November 4, 2018, 11:14 am

    This is really great advice! I’m only 28 but it’s nice to read other’s opinions on this kind of stuff to see if I’m heading in the right direction. I thankfully don’t have any consumer debt, so right now I’m really focused on my retirement planning to build up my net worth. I maximized my company matching plan so I save at least 13% automatically into a Roth 401(k) and then another 17% on my own through my brokerage account and Roth IRA. It’s been working so far!

  • The Other Joe November 1, 2018, 7:52 am

    Sad at 45? Wait until you are 70!

    At 70, I am much happier, satisfied, and comfortable than I was at 45 or 40 or 35. Maybe it is being retired, ha ha. Seriously, chill out man. Stop trying to measure yourself and just live with joy as it is.

  • Marco Demaio October 28, 2018, 12:30 pm

    May I ask something about the will?

    Is it true that in US, in your will, you can give all your money/savings/houses to whoever you want?
    Let’s say you write in your will that all your money/savings will go to some Joe Blow.
    Can’t your family (wife/son) ask a lawyer to contest/discredit the will?

    I’m asking because here in Italy the law lets us give 25-33% of our wealth to some Joe Blow in the will, but the remaining part must go to your children and wife.

    • retirebyforty October 28, 2018, 4:18 pm

      From what I understand, you can do that. The family can contest, but if you did it right, it should be fine. Some people donate their money to charity and such.

  • Lazy Man and Money October 26, 2018, 6:08 pm

    I love these style of quizzes. I scored 6, but there were a couple where I felt I had a half point, so maybe that counts as a 7. I still have 2.5 years to pick up another point or so.

    Some of the things that would earn us more points such as maxing out retirement accounts aren’t compatible with our financial priorities right now.

  • Steph October 24, 2018, 9:23 am

    I’d give myself partial credit on most of these….I’m in my late 30s though and I’m looking at this more as a goal sheet for 45. From that point of view, I’m pretty happy with my progress so far. 🙂

  • Dr. Dividend October 24, 2018, 8:02 am

    Hmm While I cannot score myself very accurately, I am however very pleased to know that come the age of 45 I will be on track to score a solid 6 maybe 7… I have avoided all forms of debt at this point, however the misses and I are looking to buy a place of our own. This will add a mortgage to our names. Aside from that, If we can continue to save and invest the way we are now, come 40 we will have 25x out living expenses. As for the remainder, we actively exercise daily, and we are/have already planned our retirement and those of our parents with their help of course.

    Thanks for the great post retireby40, this list has manged to boost my morning moral.

  • Mr Crazy Kicks October 24, 2018, 7:37 am

    An excellent list of goals! I especially like that you included planning for parents. That isn’t something people usually talk about, and it’s great you have a solid plan in place!

    It looks like I come out around an 8 or 9.. I haven’t made any money to max out retirement accounts since I quit my job, and we do have some work to do on our will… Most of our money will go to charity since we don’t have kids, but we still have a few some strings to tie up there.

  • Steve @ familyonfire.org October 23, 2018, 9:26 pm

    We are ahead of the game on most of these so feeling happy. We are currently looking into wills and trusts but we are finding it very expensive!

  • bellbang October 23, 2018, 6:16 am

    As per financial gurus if you are 45 you got to have paid off your mortgage and have to be debt free. You have included that mention here. Creating will is something additional that not many talk about. Good writing keep up good job

  • Helen October 23, 2018, 5:12 am

    Hi Joe, very good advice. The age 45 is a good check point. For retirement planning, 45 is not early, but not too late either. Put it to the front burner, plan ahead, and see when they can get out of the rat race. That’s some homework people have to do themselves, and it matters a lot.

    • Helen October 23, 2018, 5:39 pm

      Just a quick thing: sorry to hear your dad had a bad fall. Hopefully he recovers very soon.

      • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

        Thank you. He’s getting physical therapy. I hope he recovers soon too.

  • Financial Orchid October 22, 2018, 8:29 pm

    I just did a list for 30 by 30 . Maybe we have close birthdays. Let me know what advice you’d give for a 30 something female. The only difference I’d point out is most women are probably done with having kids biologically and mentally before 40.

    Sometimes I think if I had a kid at 25 then I wouldnt be doing biological counting everyday. But it happens or it doesn’t right?

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:10 am

      Hmm… I don’t know. I guess the advice would be the same. I don’t have anything specific for females. Mrs. RB40 might have a better idea.
      I’m glad we had our son a bit late, at 37. We were comfortable financially and were finally mature enough to handle it. Earlier would have been rough on our marriage.

  • Lily | The Frugal Gene October 22, 2018, 8:16 pm

    A lot of these goals people should have by the time they’re 30 – 35 even! We need a will…OK might need to figure that one out.

  • Jane Has Debt October 22, 2018, 6:33 pm

    You reminded me that my CU offers a will & living trust package at discount. Something I tell myself year in and out that I need to get done. Thank you for the reminder. And that is a great list you put together.

  • MayanQueen October 22, 2018, 2:01 pm

    I have to admit that at 55 I spent too much money. My husband is also 55, thank goodness he spends less. I did terrible in this score. I don’t think I can relate to this article. I don’t have any debt and don’t owe any mortgage. I do eat healthy and husband is begetarian. We don’t have meat available in the house but I have to admit I am a dinosaur the moment I see meat in front of me.

    For the last couple of years I noticed I was having a bit of hair loss, so I joined the Hair Club in Glendale CA. I saw great improvement and have been paying $250.00 per month to maintain my hair. I feel good, their products and monthly treatments make my hair grow healthy. It is a big expense. In addition I just purchased the latest laser hat for $3,000.00. Yeah, call it vanity or health. I want to die happy with hair!
    Maybe some of the readers will probably had invested don’t Ming going bald. Saving money might be their priority.

    I have been debt free since I was 39. I buy everything I feel it is necessary and pay for it so I don’t have to pay interest! But I also spend in what makes me feel happy, healthy such as travels and beauty. I am not constantly thinking on saving and on retirement. It is not an obsession.

    My two children already finish college and it was not that expensive. I guess it all depends where they attend. I went to Cal State Northridge and they both did the same. I never saved for their college and since I didn’t have a mortgage…I could just pay their tuition and books without a problem from just my salary. They lived with me and they always had a part time to pay for their own clothes, etc. College tuition was never a burden and they never had to get a loan.

    I started young having my children, by 22 I already had 2 in diapers. They are in their 30s and we have been children free for a long time already. Both college graduates and debt free…I hope!

    Scenario and priorities are all different for all and we must not go to the extreme because life is short! Enjoy a balanced life and don’t forget God! Blessings!

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:07 am

      Right. You have to make your own priorities. I think you’re doing the right thing. Hair is important to you.
      I’m a guy so I don’t care that much. I already have a buzz haircut so it matters even less. 🙂
      Great job with your children. Congratulations!

  • Tigermom October 22, 2018, 10:46 am

    I lost a point for having a baby at 47???? We are now at such a point in our careers that if we don’t climb higher we are content, and can leave on time, or take a break at end of day and take care of her, and finish work after her bedtime.

    Gotta get that will done though!

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:04 am

      Yes, you lost a point in my book. Sorry! It’s too hard to deal with kids when you’re older. Our son wore us out pretty quickly these days.
      You can write your own list, though. 😉

  • GYM October 22, 2018, 10:09 am

    Great post, happy birthday Joe!!

    My husband is turning the big 4-5 in a few months. He says he doesn’t feel 45 haha 🙂 He actually doesn’t look 45 either, people think we’re the same age.

    I only scored 5 points because my mom refuses to talk about planning for the future!! She also does not have a will.

    We don’t have a will yet but are working on that shortly! Great reminder.

  • nicolenadmaggie October 22, 2018, 9:37 am

    8– go us.

  • Mr. Groovy October 22, 2018, 9:21 am

    Damn, Joe. You’re making me feel old. I turned 57 a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, congratulations on turning 45. You’ve reached middle age, and that’s a bit alarming, but trust me, you have plenty left in the tank. The key is money, family, and health. You got those three things under control at 45 (which you do), you’re going to rock old age (which I’m sure you will). Great post, my friend. Cheers.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:02 am

      Lots of responses on this post made me feel old too. 🙂
      Thanks for your advice. I’ll keep working on it. Health is the key from this point forward.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire October 22, 2018, 8:32 am

    I’m 43 and scored a 9, so that’s not too shabby. For me, the hardest part is getting on track health-wise. I’m excited to make working out a regular part of my routine when I’m done with the 9-5 in a couple of months. I know I should be doing it now, but I struggle with this because I end up making working out something I can take a pass on when I need to get something else done.

    I think you nailed it with that last line… “Wealth is good, but health is paramount.”

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:01 am

      Wow, a 9. That’s awesome. I’m sure you’ll do better with health when you have more time. Thanks!

  • Young and the Invested October 22, 2018, 8:30 am

    These are some great goals to have in place and met by 45. I’m not still on the other side of 30 but that just gives me more time to set up myself to make these goals accomplishable.

    I’ve got consumer debt in three forms:
    1) mortgage on our condo (rented to a long-term tenants, cash flow positive)

    2) mortgage on our double (we live in one side, long-term tenants and Airbnb offset mortgage, cash flow neutral)
    3) My wife has student loans from medical school we will begin paying next year. Luckily, this is a manageable amount relative to our income.

    We have a retirement plan in place and continue to max out our Roth IRAs and I recently began maxing out my 401k. I had contributed probably 80-90% of the max for the past 5 years but finally decided to hit the limit.

    I do not have 10x my expenses in net worth value just yet, but in 5 years, I hope that to be the case. I have my health and practice a healthy and active lifestyle. I’ve been on the ketogenic diet for over a year for the long-term healthspan benefits.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 9:00 am

      I forgot to say that business loans don’t count. Those are good loans if you’re making money. Nice job.
      You’re doing really well at this point. Way ahead of me when I was 30. Keep at it!

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early October 22, 2018, 8:16 am

    I’ll let you know how I feel in 14 years and change 😉 Again I’m reminded that we are so lucky that both sets of our parents are in very stable situations and won’t ever need our help financially, which I imagine puts is in the minority. It’s easier to plan for our financial future when we don’t have the family wildcard waiting for us in the wings.

  • Dan K October 22, 2018, 7:21 am

    I’d have to say I wasn’t happy with myself at 45. Didn’t like where I was living nor did I care for my job. Forget about my finances, with two mortgages and child support, it was in shambles. Now, twelve years later, I am debt free, living where I want to be and enjoying life so much better. Too bad it took me so long to get to this point.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:58 am

      Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you made huge strides over the years. Great job putting it together.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance October 22, 2018, 6:45 am

    I really like #5. I’m 31, and I’m done having babies! They are cute and all but so disruptive to our lives >_<. After having baby #2, both hubby and I agree we will only have 2 kids instead of 3.

    Neither Mr. FAF nor I have a will. It's mainly because we didn't have anything not long ago. But maybe we should really think about it. Thanks for the reminder, Joe! 😀

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:58 am

      Kids are great, but they’re so much work. I’m ready to be an empty nester. 🙂

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify October 22, 2018, 6:34 am

    Good advice for living life well Joe. There is not much here to debate from my standpoint. Tom

  • Young FIRE Knight October 22, 2018, 6:10 am

    These are some great things to think of! I think for the most part I’m on track, a few of those will be things I need to remember to do for sure in the future when they make more sense. 7 is a great score and I’m sure you’ll be over 8 in no time! ?

  • freddy smidlap October 22, 2018, 5:58 am

    hey joe. i just turned 50 this year and likely had 10x 5 years ago. i think we scored a 7 and most important for me is a stable home life. what a great feeling that is to want to be around your spouse/partner is you have one. we still don’t have a will and need to get that done, even a d.i.y. one should be fine. as i understand it, you will really only will cover your real estate and possessions. all of the investment accounts should be free from probate so make sure the beneficiaries are up to date to reflect your wishes, including contingents. most of us in this community have 5-10 accounts if you include bank/investment. do you have a “magic binder” with all that info in one place? i would include that in preparations. nice list. you’re definitely one we probably need to worry about.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:57 am

      I’m very grateful we have a good home life too. We enjoy each other’s company.
      I don’t have a magic binder, just a spreadsheet on the computer. I will put that on my todo list for 2019.
      Make your DIY will next year. Good luck!

  • Pennypincher October 22, 2018, 5:32 am

    Brilliant post, Joe. I passed w/flying colors-thanks!
    Everyone should have a will, trust, and all those extras in writing. Even give your computer and phone passwords to a trusted family member. If anything should ever happen, at least a loved one can access your medical records, etc. etc. Even college students should do this.
    How does this guy keep writing great posts?? : )

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:55 am

      I don’t understand the trust part that well so I need to look more into it. It sounds like you need to pay an ongoing fee. I usually don’t like that.

  • Susan at FI Ideas October 22, 2018, 5:20 am

    I’m 59 and my husband is 61 still don’t have a will. I shouldn’t even admit this! However, I’m in Greece right now and in 15 minutes I am having a one-on-one with JL Collins and I plan on brainstorming ideas for a will. I’m looking for FI related charity. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Mrs. Groovy October 22, 2018, 4:53 am

    I’d count on living past 90 if I were you! Stepping away from the work grind and living right might weigh more in terms of longevity than genetics.

    I recommend saving 15x annual expenses by 45. That’s coming from someone who had less than 10x at that age. But if you keep your expenses in check and start saving/investing in your 20s it’s not that far a stretch.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:54 am

      Really? I’m not sure I want to live past 90. Older people I know aren’t healthy. It’s hard. The net worth target is tricky. I think 10x is really good for regular people. You still have a good chance to increase it to 25x for retirement.

  • Xrayvsn October 22, 2018, 4:45 am

    The health one is tricky for me too. The body just does not respond as well to exercise and it seems food gets stored a lot more efficiently unfortunately. This is probably an evolutionary thing.

    Yeah it is a bit sobering to realize your tank is less than half now on your journey. Hopefully this downhill segment is made more enjoyable by the early life choices you made

  • RC October 22, 2018, 4:32 am

    Great post! When you calculate the figure of having 10x or 25x your yearly expenses, do the retirement accounts you can’t touch until you’re 59 go into that, too? I’m just wondering how people who retire early calculate that number…

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:52 am

      Yes, I count everything except our primary residence. Investment accounts qualify. You can use that money later.

      • RC October 24, 2018, 4:16 am

        Thanks for responding! I’m coming to the FIRE community backward from trying to build equity through rentals, so it’s taking me a while to calculate how much I need to save for in index funds vs. retirement accounts vs. real estate… so this post is great in how you lay out where one should be!

  • Cubert October 22, 2018, 4:25 am

    Hey Joe! Happy impending birthday! I just celebrated mine, and let me tell you, 46 is just as fun as 45. You ain’t getting any younger! 😛

    You’re doing a fine job checking all those boxes. Maybe insert more meatless days with big-a$$ salads in your diet to help the cause? But parents and loved ones are the biggest variables. You can’t control what you can’t control – i.e. parental health and choices. We’d love to travel too, once our little ones are off to college in 12 years or so. But by then, it’ll be interesting to see what our parents’ situation is.

    • retirebyforty October 23, 2018, 8:51 am

      I’m not a big salad fan. I prefer to eat cooked vegetables, but I guess we’ll have to eat more salad. Salad is way easier in the summer when we can get greens from the garden. Thanks!

  • www.LifeInFIRE.com October 22, 2018, 4:16 am

    You are SO correct. Being 48 now, I realize that my early 40’s were the last time I could qualify as “young -ish.” Now middle-age is a fact, but life is awesome.

    Your checklist is spot on. Definitely take care of yourself/health and family first!

    Lead by good example.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 4:56 pm

      Ugh! Sometimes, I don’t want to be right. I want to feel young-ish for a little longer.

  • Mr. PIE October 22, 2018, 4:03 am

    Great stuff. I retired four months ago at age 51. Health and wellness are awesome. Managed to to lose 15 pounds in weight in 5 months. Gulp!!

    Exercising a ton.
    Just do little and often. Those pounds will fly off!!

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 4:55 pm

      That’s great! 15 pounds is incredible. Nice job and keep at it!

  • Bernz JP October 22, 2018, 3:58 am

    A 6 here. Number 4 (maintaining our health) is probably the most important investment here. Make sure our stress level is in check, don’t miss our annual physicals and make sure to take care of our partners.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 4:54 pm

      Good call. I think the same and probably should put health at #1.

  • Half Life Theory October 22, 2018, 3:54 am

    15 more years, but I love this… I feel like I’m on the right track. I like this too because I feel like this could apply to anyone, not just people in the FIRE community… we get a little too elitist sometimes.

    I feel this list is very plausible for most, especially if they start at an early age.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 4:54 pm

      Man, you’re lucky to be young. Enjoy your youth while you can! 🙂

  • Caroline October 22, 2018, 3:36 am

    Great list Joe, unfortunately you can’t control everything on the list. You have to hope for the best:)

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 9:07 am

      Thanks! We just have to focus on what we can control and try to worry less about the rest. That’s life.

  • David @iretiredyoung October 22, 2018, 3:27 am

    I’m 49, so your post is making me feel a bit old?, so because of that, I’ve decided to award myself an 8+ score, so that I can feel awesome again! Definitely agree with including healthy living on your list, it’s super important, and the rest doesn’t mean too much if you don’t have that.

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE October 22, 2018, 3:23 am

    I have 7 points. I don’t have a will or trust. I guess I need to get on that 🙂

  • SmileIfYouDare October 22, 2018, 1:46 am

    Unhappy at 45? Wait until you are 70!

    Actually I am happier at 70 than I was at 45. Something to look forward to, may I suggest.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 9:05 am

      I heard from many sources that people generally are happier when they’re older. We’re just too busy in midlife to enjoy life much. Thank you for confirming that.

  • Michael @ Financially Alert October 22, 2018, 12:49 am

    Hi Joe, I guess I get the bonus point for having a living trust… which puts me at an 8. 🙂 I’ve seen the usefulness of a living trust a few different times in my life with my own parents, and extended relatives. It really does make things a lot easier in transition.

    I’ve got a few more years to reach 45, so I’ll be working on stretching our cash reserves for when my in-laws “retire”. I don’t know if they’ll need to be supplemented at all, but it’s better to be prepared than not.

    Finally, I’ve been eating much healthier the past year and my blood results are reflecting that. So, I just need to stay the course and try to increase my exercise frequency.

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 9:04 am

      Nice job! I need to find out more about the living trust. It sounds good, but it seems unnecessary at this point.
      Good job with eating healthier. We’re trying to do the same.

  • Mr. Tako October 22, 2018, 12:41 am

    I scored 7 points, so I guess that’s pretty good! We have a pretty stable life with plenty of investment income. With any luck, it will be smooth sailing into our “official retirement” years.

    I think you’ve got a good plan in place Joe. Aging parents can be difficult, but they also spend a lot less too. If you needed to, I think you could probably buckle down and spend a lot less.

    Not only that, but you could also move to a lower cost of living area. Portland (and much of the West coast) is very expensive. Thailand would be a very cheap place to live and you could totally continue writing your blog from there.

    • Pennypincher October 22, 2018, 5:35 am

      We could all be spending a lot less, ha,ha!

    • retirebyforty October 22, 2018, 9:03 am

      Nice job! The cost of living is too high for me on the west coast. We’ll most likely stay put until our kid is done with school. But who knows.
      I’d love to live in Thailand for a while, but it will have to wait.

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