It’s finally starting to feel real, folks. Mr. Groovy and I are quitting our jobs in early October. Since we set the date a few months ago we’ve been in a holding pattern. But now that freedom is eight months away, it’s time to prepare for a smooth transition.
Here’s an outline of the steps we need to take to go from T minus eight months to liftoff:
T minus seven months: Look for land.
We plan to relocate a few hours north to the Raleigh, NC area. This is where Mr. Groovy’s family lives. We want to purchase two acres of unrestricted land and build a small home. We’re looking at Wendell, Zebulon or Rollesville, which have the country charm we’re so fond of. In addition to searching MLS listings, we plan to find a realtor and post a “Land Wanted” notice on Craigslist.
T minus six months: Clean out Garage.
We’ve already gone pretty minimalist in our home but our garage needs work. We’ve got boxes filled with stuff lining our shelves and clogging up our rafters. Mr. Groovy is pretty organized with his tools, but I’m sure he has some he can get rid of. We’ve agreed to spend at least an hour each week paring down, tossing out, and getting boxes ready for Goodwill. Getting the garage in shape will make the move less stressful. It will also help our house show better when we sell.
T minus five months: Research Traditional IRA accounts.
We can keep our work-based retirement accounts with our employers, but we prefer to roll them over into traditional IRA accounts. Our own IRAs will provide more flexibility and more investment options. Currently, we each have Roth IRAs with Fidelity and additional investments with Vanguard. We may want to move our 401(k) and 403(b) assets into one of those firms, or try something new like TD-Ameritrade or Betterment. We have some research to do on this front.
T minus four months: Talk to an insurance broker.
Mr. Groovy feels certain we can figure out Obamacare. I always feel it doesn’t hurt to check in with a professional. Insurance brokers are state licensed and should have a good working knowledge of the plans available in North Carolina. There’s no charge for a consultation, so why not schedule a call?
T minus Three months: Consult with a fee based financial advisor.
Again, Mr. Groovy thinks we’ve got our portfolio and investment strategy under control. But I’d like to talk with a fee based financial advisor to make sure our ducks are all in a row. I want to find someone smart like Michael Kitces, but who doesn’t require assets under management (AUM) to give advice.
If you know of anyone that fits the bill, please comment or send me an email. ([email protected])
T minus Two months: Plan our retirement road trip.
What says “freedom” better than a road trip? In early November we’re hitting the road for two weeks. Our first stop is Mobile AL, then it’s on to Biloxi, MS. From there we’re getting on the Gumbo Trail in Louisiana. Then it’s on to Little Rock, AK, Hot Springs, and then back to home via Memphis and Nashville.
We thought seriously about doing the Above the Clouds Retreat in November. It would be fun to meet some of our favorite FI heroes in person and learn from them. But one of the goals on our retirement bucket list is to spend a month in Ecuador. Frankly, we can spend an entire month in Ecuador on our own for what it would cost to spend a week with Mr. Money Mustache. (Sorry Paula Pant. Maybe we’ll see you in Nevada when our lithium mine takes off.)
If any of you FI-ers out there want to get together with Mr. Groovy and me along the route, give us a shout. Coffee, beer, beignets anyone? We’re up for anything.
T minus one month: Decide on when to give notice to our employers.
Mr. Groovy feels he should give more than two weeks notice. That’s fine. His work team and his supervisors are a hell of a lot more normal than mine. The culture in my organization is, “If you don’t want us, we don’t want you!” If I give too much notice, they may tell me I’m done. And actually, I probably should add something to my six month to do, which is to confirm I get paid for my vacation days. I currently have five weeks of vacation stored up. We’re allowed to carry eight weeks at any given time. I’d love to stockpile my vacation days and cash them all out when I leave. But if they’re not paid in full, I’ll use them up!
I’m positive I’ve forgotten something important. I can feel it. But this is a start. Each month from now on I’ll be keeping tabs on the countdown. Do you think I’ve left anything out? What would be on your Countdown to Freedom list? Do you have any recommendations for the IRA rollovers?