February was a great month on my progress towards financial independence. My SWR went down to 62.54% from 80.47% the month down. My goal is to get my SWR down to 4% at which point I’ll consider myself financially independent. I’m seeing big declines in my SWR right now because I’m saving over half of my income and I’m reducing my monthly expenses. The way I am determining my SWR is by tracking my trailing 12 months expenses divided by the amount of my investments. Since I don’t think the preceding 12 months accurately reflect my expenses going forward I am using my monthly expenses starting in November 2012 to set the average so every low month of expenses makes a big change in the average right now. The big drops in my SWR will slow down once my trailing 12 months average is closer to my current monthly average.
My goal is to save 50% of my income each month and I managed to crush that goal in February. I made $4499.91 and managed to save $3400. That amounted to a 75.55% savings rate. I’m not going to be able to match that this month since I have a $1500 tax bill but I’m still aiming to save 50% of my income. My full-time job ends on April 15th which will make it much harder to maintain my 50% savings rate. I do have a three week job lined up to start as soon as my full-time job ends. It doesn’t pay as well as my current job but I should still have a chance at saving 50% if I manage to sell a few things from my apartment as well.
The 4% SWR translates into having 25x your annual expenses in savings or 300 months of expenses in savings. I have 19.18 months of living expenses saved now. I managed to save almost 5 months of living expenses last month. I won’t be able to do that again this month but I’m sure I’ll add at least another month of living expenses. Seeing my SWR go down every month and my months of living expenses saved go up every month is keeping me motivated.