Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you’re having a great holiday. Are you going anywhere this year? We are in Tahiti this Christmas! Usually, we don’t want to travel during Christmas, but we wanted to splurge a bit for my 50th year. I didn’t plan this trip very well so I hope it works out. The weather forecast said rain for the next 10 days, though…

On to the bucket list! I like to review my bucket list during Christmas vacation because it’s the end of the year and we have a few days off. I can go over the list to remove or add new goals as needed. 2023 was a strange year for me. I turned 50 and had a mini midlife crisis. But life was pretty good in general. We crossed one thing off the list this year – take our son to Disneyland. That was a great trip.

Alright, let’s see the rest of the bucket list.

Financial Bucket List

My main long-term goal is to simplify our finances and generate enough passive income to cover our cost of living. 2023 wasn’t good. We spent more money than usual. Let’s hope we can keep it stable next year.

  • FI Ratio > 100% average over 3 years (Still good!): The FI ratio is our annual passive income divided by expense. For this goal, I average it over 3 years instead of looking at just one year. This gives us a better picture because things can be lumpy from year to year. The numbers for 2023 aren’t finalized yet so this is an estimate. I’ll update again next week. For the last 3 years, our average was 128%. That’ll work. 2023 was a bit rough because we spent more than in previous years. Let’s see if we can keep our spending at this level next year. You can read more about how we generate our passive income here.
  • Mrs. RB40 retires early: Originally, we thought she would retire in 2022. However, Mrs. RB40 wasn’t ready so she took a sabbatical instead. She had a great time, but she decided to go back to work. She plans to retire when our son goes off to college in 2029. Financially, she could retire in 2022 if she wanted to.
  • LWR > 100% (Done in 2020!!!): Check out my Lifetime Wealth Ratio post for more details. Basically, this is our net worth divided by cumulated earnings. Wow, we earned more than $3 million over 30 years of work. That’s a lot of money. Most workers earn a huge amount of income in their lifetime but most of the money flows through our hands like water. This is a difficult goal. Our LWR crossed over 100% at some point in 2020. We had a dip in 2022, but we’re back on track! Bring on 2024.
  • Become debt-free (2029): A few years ago, we had 3 mortgages on 3 properties. We consolidated a bit. Now, we have 2 properties and just 1 mortgage. Our ultimate goal is to have no debt at all, but that will take a while to accomplish. I don’t think we’ll get rid of the mortgage until we sell our home. It’ll probably be after RB40Jr goes off to college.
  • RB40Jr graduates from College (2033): We want to help RB40Jr graduate from a 4-year public college with no debt. If he wants to go to an expensive private college, he will have to get some scholarships and/or student loans. Gosh, I just realized I’ll be 60 by 2033. That’s what happens when you put off having kids.
  • Net worth > $10 million (2040): Ten million dollars sounds like a lot of money, but we still have 17 years left to work on it. If we can increase our net worth by 7% per year, we can get there. I’m optimistic about our chances.

Fun Bucket List

Whew! Now you see how a personal finance blogger (ex-engineer) thinks. Yes, I’m a numbers nerd and I’m quite happy with that. After all, it helped me retire early. Of course, life isn’t all about numbers. That’s why I have some fun stuff on my bucket list, too.

Let’s see… I already tried skydiving, bungee jumping, snowboarding, surfing, riding an elephant, white water rafting, shooting a gun, and a few other fun activities. I’m glad I did these when I was young. Right now, snowboarding doesn’t sound fun at all. My right knee is gimpy and I can’t handle the cold anymore.

Here are my fun goals.

  • A total solar eclipse (Done in 2016!): We experienced totality in 2016 at the beach in Oregon. It was such a powerful experience, totally awesome. It made me feel like I’m a part of the universe. Everyone should experience totality at least once. It was so much better than a partial eclipse. I’ve seen many partials and wasn’t impressed.
  • Take RB40Jr to Disneyland (Done in 2023!): Mrs. RB40 and I grew up in Southern California and visited Disneyland several times when we were young. We’d like our son to experience Disneyland too. We visited in 2023 and had a great time. The park was a lot more expensive than when we were kids, but it was worth it.
  • Hot air balloon ride (2024): Mrs. RB40 has always wanted to do this. I think this will be a fun family activity once RB40Jr is a bit older. He’s not a big fan of heights at this time. We’ll try to do this next year.
  • RTW trip (2030): I want to take a year off and go on a family trip around the world. I figured we could take RB40Jr out of school after 5th grade and just go. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. We’ll put the RTW trip off until 2030.
  • Take Mrs. RB40 and Junior on a long road trip around New Zealand (2026): I drove around New Zealand for two weeks in my 20s. It was so much fun and I’d like my family to experience it, too. I’ll try to get this done by 2026.
  • Ziplining (2024): We missed the chance to try ziplining when we visited Costa Rica in 2015. RB40Jr was too small. He’s braver now so we’ll try to do it next year.
  • Live in Thailand for a few years and explore SE Asia (2030): I want to live in Thailand for a few years and explore SE Asia. I think this will work out nicely because I’m very familiar with Thailand.
  • Live in South America for a few years and explore (2035): After we get bored of SE Asia, we’ll go live in South America for a few years.
  • Swim with whale sharks (2040): This sounds like an incredible experience. Is it worth $2,000 for 30 minutes of fun? I don’t know. I’ll try to get this done by 2040. Background here – Am I depriving my family?
  • Visit space (2040): This is a stretch goal. Hopefully, space tourism will be somewhat affordable before I’m too old. If not, maybe I can get my ashes shot off into space. It’s the final frontier, right? Why not? This is my stretch goal.

Ultimate Goals

Here are my life goals that didn’t quite fit the categories above.

  • Stay married: Mrs. RB40 and I have been married for over 23 years! I think that’s a huge accomplishment. We have a great relationship and we need to keep it up. My goal is to stay married to Mrs. RB40 until I kick the bucket. Who else would carry my weight? Hahaha… We had a good year in 2023. She worked from home often and we spent a lot of time together. We went out to date lunches and enjoyed ourselves. Life was good.
  • Build my RB40 Villa (2050): I want to buy 3 to 5 acres in Hawaii (the Big Island) and build a family compound. It’ll have a large communal structure – kitchen, eating area, workspace, crafting area, BBQ area, and a nice garden. We’ll build several small huts, just a bedroom and lounging area. Families and friends can visit the RB40 Villa and hang out as long as they want to. We can put these dwellings on Airbnb when they’re available.  I don’t know if I can achieve this pipe dream because there are a ton of obstacles. Hey, a guy can dream, right? I might have to change the location to Thailand because it’ll be a lot cheaper to build there. This is a stretch goal.

Some Easy Goals

I need to add some easy goals so I can cross them off the bucket list occasionally. All of the above goals are very difficult to achieve. It’s no fun when you can’t achieve anything…

  • See the Olympics in person (2028): The Olympics are coming to Los Angeles in 2028! It’d be a ton of fun if we can see a few events. Mrs. RB40’s family lives near Palm Springs so we could make it a family visit.

Goals I gave up on

I removed all of this stuff from my bucket list. There were too many things on it and these aren’t important to me anymore.

  • Learn Tai Chi: I just not interested enough to put time and effort into it.
  • Join the Peace Corps: probably not realistic. Mrs. RB40 doesn’t want to do this anymore, either. She already volunteered in her 20s and doesn’t want to deal with that kind of stress at our age.
  • Join Toastmasters: I haven’t been able to work TM into my schedule. It’s probably because I don’t really want to do it.
  • Become a Buddhist monk for a season: I’m too materialistic to become a monk even for a few months.
  • Learn to speak Mandarin: I doubt I’ll put the effort into this unless I go live in China for a while.
  • Build an outdoor pizza oven: I rolled this into my RB40 compound goal.
  • Build a treehouse: This will be at my compound.
  • Volunteer to help recent immigrants: Maybe I can do this later when I’m not stressed out all the time.
  • Ride in a fighter jet: I might get to this someday, but it isn’t a high priority.
  • Own a convertible again: Not a priority right now. Maybe when we move to a sunny location.
  • Live in Santa Barbara for a while: Not a priority anymore. We’ll probably just visit.
  • Various travel goals: Pyramids, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, etc… We’ll get there when we get there. No hurry.

Whew! My trimmed-down bucket list is still pretty big. I’m happy with it, though. Most of these goals are realistic and I can work on them a bit at a time. I will get them done and update this post every Christmas.

What about you? Do you have a bucket list? Please share some of the things on your bucket list here. Don’t wait until you’re 65 to make one because cliff jumping at Rick’s Café in Jamaica won’t be so appealing anymore (done).

Happy Holidays! 

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors. 

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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