The Road to FISE: Can It Be? Projected Retirement Cost Plummeted? WOWZER.
March 28, 2021
I enjoy my life. Before middle school, my family did not seem to have a lot in material wealth. My father worked a lot. I don’t remember seeing him much as he was at the office building his business until 9pm most nights. At home, we lived very frugally but always seemed to have more than enough. My mother is a phenomenol home-chef so we always had nutrtious and delicious Vietnamese food, which I realize now was heavy on seafood and plants. We were in good public schools. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, and I had cousins to play with that lived next door. My mom took us to the library anytime we asked, so I spent a lot of time as an elementary school student at the library just reading. And that was life. Filled with family squabbles with cousins and siblings, running around like mad children in the woods behind our house and having backyard chickens before they were cool. My grandparents would have garage sales frequently where they bought things at other garage sales and then sold their stuff at a markup. I thought they were brilliant.
Because of this background, I don’t really need much to keep me happy. We are in the stage of life where we can buy material goods that we want. But because I became a plogger (jogging and picking up trash), I realized that unncessary material things were destroying our earth. And it’s brought me back to where I started. Not really needed much, and realizing that home-made is usually best. And that includes happiness, home-made happiness.
We are a generally happy family. Some of this may be a trick of genetics. My father-in-law was actually adopted when he was 10-years-of-age. Essentially given up by his family to a wealthier family, and then raised by an overcontrolling mother. He’s never gone through counseling. It kind of makes sense now that he hoards things? Wow. What a revelation. But he is such a happy person, and through raising four amazing children (including my husband Mr. Plastic Picker) has healed those wounds. I’m generally happy as well. I’ve gone through trauma in my life that I won’t go into. But with a supportive set of parents and a loving family unit, I’ve continued to work through my issues and it’s brought me much richness knowing that trauma history has informed how I think about my career and raising my own children. And dealing with those issues has brought healing.
That was kind of tangential. But what I am amazed about this early morning, while I am sitting at the kitchen table and it’s still pitch dark and my father-in-law is puttering around the kitchen is that our projected retirement cost have just plummeted quite a bit! Wowzer. I’m not really at the planning for retirement stage because I’m trying to save the earth. I espouse FISE, Financial Independence to Save the Earth. With targeted donations we have saved or planted over 600,000 trees and preserved over 9,000 acres of wildnerness mostly rainforest through targeted donations. I have also now picked up over 400 bags of plastic pollution, and salvaged over 1500 items from the landfill or ocean and redeployed these “things” into human circulation. I make trashart, and I also am trying to reseed the local places I go to with native pollinator wildflower seeds particulary California poppy. If you see the bright yellow/orange California poppies all around Pacific Beach, our HMO office and at Rohr Park – then yes that was me. I was just doing what the birds are supposed to do, but there are less birds now. These will help bring the pollinators back. I saw a bee for the first time on our roofdeck buzzing around one of my dwarf citrus trees. Therefore one bee, means that it’s a pollinator roofdeck!!!
I’m more commited to minimalism, but more important being a responsible financial steward because I realize that I can make an impact just by donating money strategically. I don’t waste my money, and many have asked for it. I only donate to my work as a climate advocate with San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air or the AAP Climate Change and Health Committee, or to vetted organizations like the Rainforest Trust or Eden Reforestation Projects. Given that I’m financially responsible, I’m in the process of refinancing our primary home into a 15-year-fixed mortgage at 2.7%. That is crazy great! By 58 which is about the time Mr. Plastic Picker and I plan to early retire, our mortgage will be paid off completely. I just redid our projected retirement cost and it is only
Projected Retirement Cost with Still a Mortgage : $110534
Projected Retirement Cost without Mortgage: $26150
This is absolutely bonkers! To be fair, I haven’t put in property taxes and some insurance cost. I don’t account here for our bunnies nor our pet costs. This is barebones retirement, electricity (we have paid off solar panels), water (we have rain barrels), generous food costs (this is projected before we started cooking more and it’s much less now that we make everything), pest control, cell phone, cable and entertainment. Again I’m not really at the retirement budget planning stage yet, although we’ve always maxed out on our retirement funds and have more than enough. We just paid off both tiny car loans off because it was just annoying the small amount left, and we may just pay off Mr. Plastic Picker’s school loans off this month. Mostly symbolic.
This projected retirement budget is also contigent on raising two self-sufficient children and saving the earth. So that is it. Just marveling on what refinancing and a paid off home can do for retirement budget planning. But at Dr. Plastic Picker Dot Com, I’m not really looking to retire yet because I need money to save the earth! Also because I need to work on greening the healthcare sector and one can only do that as a middle manager and from within. Pharmaceutical waste and overprescribing???? Here I come for you!!!!!! But first, I must bring back butterflies to the HMO grounds.
Also yesterday I made cilantro pesto! So pretty.