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Financial Independence Number: Everything You Need To Calculate Yours

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Knowing your Financial Independence number is one of the first steps on the journey to Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE).

Most people who achieve Financial Independence (FI) do so by carefully planning their financial years.  

This is why they are successful and are even more prepared for surprises.

 

What Is Your Financial Independence Number?

Your Financial Independence number is equal to 25 times your annual expenses.  For example, if your annual spending is $40,000 a year, your Financial Independence number would be $1 million.

This is assuming you will be using a 4% withdrawal strategy.

 

What Is The Formula For Financial Independence?

The formula for financial independence looks like this:

Financial Independence Number = Annual Expenses x 25

Once you have your FI number, you can calculate how long it will take to reach financial independence.  This is based on your savings rate and the growth of your investments.

I recommend using Personal Capital to help track your yearly expenses.  (Get a $20 Amazon Gift Card With This Link)

It’s also a great tool for tracking your net worth.

I first started my Financial Independence Journey by using Personal Capital.  This made it easy for me to see that I spend about $35,000 a year.

 

Financial Independence Number Calculator

Using a Financial Independence Number calculator is easy once you know your annual expenses.  You plug your annual expense into the formula.

FI Number = 25 x (Annual Expenses)

So, calculating my Financial Independence number would look like this ($35,000) x 25 = $875,000.

To make it easier, I created a Financial Independence Calculator that displays the potential growth of all your investments.

It helps determine precisely when you will reach financial independence and how much money you will have in each account.

It’s completely free and all you have to do is plug in your numbers.

JL Collins FIRE Calculator

Calculate Your FI Number With My Free FIRE Calculator

I believe it can be an amazing tool.  What makes this calculator different is how it considers your money from different accounts.

This helps you plan for a better withdrawal strategy once you reach financial independence.

 

Best FIRE Calculator

I believe this is one of the best FIRE Calculators because it gives you a breakdown of all your accounts.  Each account likely has a different set of rules dictating when and how you can withdraw funds.

Since you can’t treat your Health Savings Account (HSA) money the same as your Roth money, it’s important to know how much you will have of each.

As another example, you might be contributing to both your 401k & 457 plan.  However, they have very different rules when it comes to withdrawals.

Using My FIRE Calculator gives you exactly how much money will be in each account, which helps you plan your withdrawal strategy.

Planning your withdrawal strategy helps you pay fewer taxes and avoid penalties during your early retirement.  These also help you keep more of your money throughout your Financial Independence journey.

 

Calculate Your Financial Independence Number 

The Financial Independence calculator gives you several vital pieces of information:

  • Financial Independence Number
  • Financial Independence Date
  • Account Balances

Let’s say you are planning for financial independence and know that your yearly expenses are $35,000/ year.  You can easily calculate your Financial Independence number: ($35,000) x 25 = $875,000

This is based on a withdrawal rate of 4% ($875,000 x 0.04) = $35,000

This calculator will also estimate a Financial Independence date by showing how long it will take your portfolio to grow to this amount.

This is how it looks:

Financial Independence Number

You can see we reach our Financial Independence Number of $875,000 in 10 years.  Based on a 4% safe withdrawal rate, that gives us $35,000/year to cover expenses.

The calculator also gives a breakdown of how much is in each account.

You can later strategize accessing those funds efficiently while paying the fewest taxes possible.

This breakdown is a huge help when using different early retirement tools like a Roth Conversion Ladder.

This example gives you a much more accurate and responsible calculation of Financial Independence.

 

How To Calculate Financial Independence

The last part is making sure you calculate your Financial Independence and confirming it will last throughout retirement.  Since we are planning an early retirement, our money needs to last us a long time!

Luckily, I found the best Post-Retirement Calculator. It’s a simulator that tells you how safe your withdrawal strategy is, based on the stock market’s past performance.

This is the final tool for calculating your Financial Independence from start to finish.  With the Post-Retirement Calculator, you can be confident your money will last you well into retirement.

The simulator assumes you retire with your nest egg and never make or receive money for the rest of your life.  I believe this is unlikely.

It is almost a certainty that along the way, you will make more money, either through a passion project, windfall, or social security benefits.

So, I like to think of this as a worst-case scenario.

To use the post-retirement calculator, input your savings of $875,000 and your annual spending of $35,000, which is 4% of $875,000 (total nest egg).

I ran a scenario for illustration.

The assumptions are:

  • Withdrawals Starting At Age 45
  • 25% Flexibility During Bear Markets
  • 10% Average Tax Rate

This is what it looks like:

Calculate Financial Independence

This scenario accounts for all 60 year periods in the stock market from 1871 through 2016.  The results show we have a 99% success rate!

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How Do I Find My Financial Independence Number?

  1. Track Your Expenses
  2. Calculate Your FI Number
  3. Confirm With Post Retirement Calculator

Without earning any money after the age of 45, there is a 99% chance this person will still have money at age 100.

“Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.” – Albert Einstein

Having these simulations test your financial independence number allows you to have peace of mind.

Knowing your portfolio has a 99% chance of success helps you focus on enjoying early retirement to the fullest.

This activity helped me visualize my early retirement plan and thoroughly evaluate my withdrawal strategy, so I know it can do the same for you!

 


Disclaimer
This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!

This information is my opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
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