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.
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 :).