Concrete Goals

The ultimate goal that unites the authors of this blog is early retirement. In order achieve this goal, it is first necessary to define smaller, concrete goals that encompass everything you want from your early escape. You can’t just say “I want to retire early” and expect it to happen if you don’t have certain thresholds to chart progress.

I have difficulty defining such goals, as I am especially prone to changing my mind and trying to keep my options open (I’m an INTP :)). I have thought long and hard about what I want/need in retirement and these are the loose goals I have come up with:

– A tiny house and a place to park it permanently. I want this to be located in an area where I can ride my bike or walk everywhere I need to go. (I am in love with these salvaged material Tiny Texas Houses: I like the idea of not having monthly rent and having very low utility bills. However, it seems difficult to find a place to install your tiny house. The land I’ve looked at in surrounding areas is often more than the cost of the tiny house itself. Does anyone have suggestions for parking a tiny house? My only idea so far is to work out a deal with a family member that has a house with surrounding land. I am hesitant to rent land because that would defeat the point of buying the house (to eliminate a rent payment).

* I need to research this more and determine the amount of money I will need for the house, land, and installation – then I will have a more clear picture of how much I will save in addition to my retirement budget for my tiny house.

– Around $200,000 in investments. Hoping to pull in around $6,000/year from dividend generating portion. The amount I need may be lower if I do indeed purchase a tiny house.

* I need to estimate the cost of health insurance, food, utilities, clothing, tiny house maintenance, etc, so that I can decide on a more defined goal amount.

These are the things I previously thought I wanted:

– A smart car. I still love smart cars, but I cannot justify spending $11-14k on a new one or even $10k on a used one when that is such a large portion of my retirement goal amount. Also, the costs associated with owning a car are a turn off. I recently purchased a vintage Schwinn Collegiate and I would love for it to be my main source of transportation.

– A normal sized house (ha). I value minimalism and owning anything over 1,000 square feet would probably lead to acquiring more possessions needlessly. Also, I don’t want to have a mortgage or spend my entire retirement budget on a house.

While I continue to research the costs associated with my goals, I will keep saving money every month and split it between cash and stocks/funds.

Readers, does anyone else have trouble making concrete early retirement goals? It seems like it would be easier to just save up for retirement through investments, but my desire for a tiny house won’t go away 🙂

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  1. m741

     /  November 15, 2011

    * I need to estimate the cost of health insurance, food, utilities, clothing, tiny house maintenance, etc, so that I can decide on a more defined goal amount.

    I’ve recommended this before elsewhere, but there’s nothing like keeping itemized records of expenses. It’s illuminating. First, there’s lots of things that don’t fit into categories or that you just never think of because they happen irregularly. For instance, I never really considered haircuts as a regular expense. Other things can get distorted. Before I started recording my own expenses, I would have estimated I spent $200/month on food. When I actually tracked it, the number was closer to $350.

    I’m also a fan of tiny houses, but I feel like most of the resources available are cool pictures, and less focus on the legal aspects, as well as how plumbing, electricity, etc would work out.

  2. Debbie M

     /  November 15, 2011

    Setting goals is easy for me. I want everything I have now, plus loads more free time.

    Sadly, I cannot afford to have everything I have now, plus loads more free time. So I keep researching different ways to hang on to my favorite bits while letting go of expensive bits I don’t much care about. Progress has been slow.

    The hardest goals are the lifestyle/savings goals. If you want to have the sort of lifestyle where you own things that need maintenance, repairs, and replacing (such as refrigerators and washing machines), there is going to be a continuous drain of money even though most months the actual drain is zero. Even if I actually spend far less than $1000 one month, I know that’s not really the cost of sustaining the lifestyle I’m living.

  3. Petra

     /  November 17, 2011

    When, on one of the pictures of the tiny homes in Texas, I saw a toilet so close to the reading chair, I thought: ha, that’s what we have now. Actually, our toilet is currently right next to the kitchen. I can tell you that this is no good…. Or… “something to get used to”. Ventilation options are key here…

  4. I’ve lived in my tiny house for 4 months and I love it. Not cheap to build and it may or may not be in a permanent place but at least i can move it.

    Goal: get rid of excess in all parts of life. There was much more than I thought…

  5. barb

     /  November 23, 2011

    Your desire for a tiny house is probably a good thing.
    So find the town where you could live in and ride your bike everywhere.
    Once you have the town ..start looking for a house. A real house not a tiny house yet.
    This house should be empty so you are open to options. A large backyard to you can build your tiny house in the backyard while your tenants in the front house pay your mortgage (taxes) on the house while you live free in the backyard.
    Or modify the house so you have a tenant and you can have a small apt for yourself.
    Sort of a trial run for the tiny house in the backyard.
    Make sure there is a fenced off garden area before any tenants move in so they know right away what is out of bounds.
    So your goal may be the tiny house but the steps to get there might not be too bad.
    And it may be easier to finance a regular house then build on in the backyard!


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