Day 112 | $50,944 paid | $39,773 till freedom
When I started this challenge, I didn’t know what could happen, but I knew that no matter what did happen, I wanted to maintain two things: my health and my friendships.
I’ve been living a frugal lifestyle for almost four months now, and I’m still going downtown, spending time with my friends, even making new ones, and and I’m still working out five days a week. With the exception of my lack of dating–since I still haven’t gotten comfortable with dating cheaply–hedonistic adaptation is really starting to kick in. I don’t miss spending money and I don’t miss consumption. If anything, my life has gotten simpler.
If my bonus is what I think it will be in March, then I have line of sight to having my student loans paid off by the end of June and having critical living expenses down to about $30k/year.
Now here’s the kicker: I always thought that I would graduate with my MBA and work my way up to a high-level, $500k/year position at a company and retire when I’m 65. I’d live a life of luxury and have a powerful career.
But after almost four months of living frugally, my mindset is beginning to change, and I can feel myself coming to a critical juncture in my life at the end of June. I realize, looking out over the next 20 to 40 years, that I don’t have to stay on this treadmill. I can turn it off and jump off. I can dare to be different.
- Option 1: If I just keep my current level of income constant and continue to live frugally, I can actually retire at age 44 and live off the interest of my savings.
- Option 2: I could take a lower-paying job doing something I really enjoy or something I think will make a meaningful contribution. Or I could start my own business. However, I’d potentially retire as late as age 65 or later.
- Option 3: Stay on the treadmill.
These are revolutionary thoughts, and it’s throwing me for a hell of a loop–I still haven’t gotten my head around it, and I really, really don’t know how to think about it yet.
Below are four dramatically different directions my life can go after I pay off my student loans, including their associated penalties, rewards, and risks. (Click to zoom.)
I’ve been building that flowchart in my head for the past week, and I finally put pen to paper today and formalized it. It’s quite broad and general, so I’m sure there will be many edits coming its way, as well as many future posts about it.
This post could quite easily go on for hours, but I’m going to cut it off here; I think there’s enough meat contained within these few paragraphs and this chart for folks to chew on for several days.