Today I tried recreating a data viz that I found really helpful when I was paying off my student loans. Back then, I would chart how many months of debt I saved myself each month by overpaying on my loans. I would do this by tracking 2 metrics:

- How many months I saved with each payment. Ex: This month I doubled my minimum payment thereby saving myself 2 months of debt.
- How many months total I saved myself. Ex: In total, I have saved myself 14 months of debt.

Translating the progress of debt to time helped keep me motivated and encouraged me to keep making extra payments. I thought I’d try recreating a modified version of this for my FI/RE progress.

While I’m quite a ways away from actual FI/RE and can’t really know for sure when I would reach either, I can try to translate the progress I’ve already made into how many months of freedom I’m buying myself each month. I abandoned the 4% rule for this viz because otherwise the outcomes would not be very interesting.

In the graph above, the blue line is a running measure of how many added months of expenses my portfolio got every month (contributions + growth/decline) while the grey bars are the running total of how many months worth of expenses I’ve already put aside. So for example, in February of 2017 the market and I contributed roughly 2.2 months worth of savings to the pot bringing the total number of months of freedom bought to 21 months.

### Viz Verdict

Meh. This is an interesting way to look at the information, but there are so many caveats that I’m not sure this chart is worth it:

- The lack of 4% rule cardinality…
- The ambiguity of what the market will do in the future and the fact that I will “lose” months at some point…
- Not knowing how many months of eventual retirement I will have…

All of these make this a harder sell for a useful chart.

Oh well, worth a shot :).