Monday, September 29, 2008

Progress So Far (Q3 2008)

I can’t believe I made it to the end of September. I really can’t. There have been times when the stress of work and the anxiety of waiting for this process to take it’s logical, deliberate course has been almost too much to bear. But here I am, my dear reader. I am staring at a calendar that tells me that I have survived another quarter and have moved closer to the beginning of something precious: absolute, simple freedom. :)

Now that I am here I figured it was time to check in with the Enemy and see how far along I have come:

Getting Rid of Consumer Debt/Student Loans
Start: Ongoing
End: September 1, 2009

My debt reduction plan continues unabated. By tomorrow, I will be able to say that I retired approximately 62% of the consumer debt I accumulated since I bough my townhouse. I am still on target to finish paying it all off by next September though I could always pay it off in full using part of my savings. The more I put in savings the more this becomes an attractive possibility. I think I will feel comfortable signing a big fat check sometime in the next several months. But, again, this consumer debt is parked in a 0% credit card, so it’s not as if I am incurring a monthly interest charge. I don’t have a strong incentive to pay this off at the moment, apart from the psychological boost it would provide.

The student loan debt is still humongous. I’m continuing to make minimum payments, which is annoying because I am paying a great deal towards interest. Again, I think this will not be much of an issue once I start a new public interest job. As I mentioned, my law school has a program that pays off student loan debt if you work in the public interest field. This will probably be the subject of a future post.


Sale of Stuff
Start: July 2008
End: December 2009

One word: nowhere. After de-cluttering my townhouse earlier this year I was left with five or six items that I put up on craigslist. Maybe the prices I advertised were too high or maybe it’s just the economic times we live in but I got exactly 0 responses for all the items I posted. I will try again in a couple of months and see if I can unload some stuff. If I can’t I will just have to wait until I hold a proper yard sale before I leave the townhouse next year.


Selling the Townhouse
: October 1, 2008
End: September 1, 2009

My dear reader, you have NO idea how gratifying it is to finally start focusing on how to get rid of my townhouse. It is the single biggest obstacle to my freedom, both literally and figuratively.
Starting this Thursday I will be contacting real estate professionals, attorneys and tax advisers to try and outline all possible options. Once I get all the facts I will be in a better position to plan my exit strategy. I can’t wait to get started! :)


Leaving My Job
: December 17, 2009
End: December 31, 2009

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I came to terms with the possibility that I could, in fact, leave my job earlier than next December. This is actually the most significant development since I started this process and I am grateful for it. :)

From the beginning, I could justify leaving my law firm because by the time I did I would have enough cash to feel comfortable and secure for years to come. While the plan calls for having enough money in the bank to make $10k a year in interest, the reality is that I could probably live off whatever salary I get from the dream jobs I am currently researching without tapping into my savings. Bottom line, even if I were to leave my job in 6 months or even 3 months, I would still have enough in savings to make leaving my job early worthwhile.

What this all means is that the date of my departure from the law firm is no longer based on how much I have in savings. In fact, freedom for me now depends on how soon I can figure out the practicalities of getting rid of every unnecessary physical thing in my life. As soon as I can dispose of the townhouse and get rid of my furniture I will be in a position to quit my job. What a difference a change in perspective can make.


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