By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch
One millennial couple just took the plunge and, in a matter of days, will be embarking on an adventure of a lifetime: A one-year journey across 40 countries.
The primary hurdle, of course: money.
But ThatStuffAddsUp, as the husband goes by on the internet, is a firm believer in the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) philosophy, and he has a plan.
“It’s been a tough past 15-20 years where I’ve been going 100 mph to try and be successful, create wealth and simply enjoy life,” he wrote in Reddit’s “Financial Independence” group , which counts 559,000 members. “Problem is, I’ve been so focused on being successful that I’ve rarely allocated time to enjoy life... to truly live with child-like wonder without worrying about a constant income.”
So ThatStuffAddsUp quit his well-paying job, knowing the risks such a bold move involves, and is only days away from beginning his adventure. He says checking off these goals was the key for him to realistically make it happen:
Eliminate all debt, incl. their $100K in student loans, cars, etc.
Fund the trip with their own money, points and miles.
Save enough to last one year upon return.
Don’t sacrifice retirement contributions while employed (last 2 years).
Don’t buy a home, yet.
Don’t have kids, yet.
Stay healthy and don’t get injured.
He explained that achieving the first four steps meant sacrificing some of the normal things in his life. The couple downsized their apartment, sold one of their vehicles, got a Costco /zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite COST -0.10% membership, ate at home more often, cut the cord, etc. — all basic tenets of FIRE.
All in, the couple has budgeted $70,000 for the trip, including all transport, housing, meals, visas, activities, insurance. Everything. He says his goal is to ultimately come home well under budget.
“I understand that tomorrow is not guaranteed,” he said. “We may not live to be 60. And, if we do, we may not have the health to travel the way we want to at that age. So, we decided now is the best time for us to take a sabbatical.”
The overwhelming response has been one of support and congratulations, with words of advice sprinkled throughout the thread.
The one tip that kept popping up focused on the itinerary, which calls for just a few days in each destination: “When you are two months into your trip, and tired of traveling, please look at this reply: Spend more than 4 to 14 nights in each country,” advises Tbrooks0807. “If you spend that much time in each location, you will be so tired of traveling in two months that you won’t want to do it anymore.”
And some reality checks, from the likes of Zdth:
“Okay, honest question, how do you plan to explain this 2-year work gap on your resume when you return and look for jobs? Or are you planning on not having to do 9-5 work ever again?” he asked. “I’m so confused by this part of it — how do you return to full-time work at a high salary after traveling like this?”
No immediate response to that one. Apparently, reality can wait.