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>> I assume this means- draw off 5% a year? Or do you mean something else?

I am 36 and hoping to FIRE in 9 years.. there are some HUGE if's in there but that is my goal.

Probably about 4%. The thing is, assuming an 8% return on investments and contributions to my retirement funds at the present rate (plus wage growth/inflation), it would probably take about 15 years to get to that level. But by then, I'd be old enough that I could probably do it on less than a million.

As far as mortgages, yes, I still owe on a mortgage that still has 13+ years to go (at 5.00% interest), but if we FIRE'd we have enough home equity to downsize the house and pay cash on a smaller home in a place where it's more FIRE friendly. (This area isn't bad, thanks to no state income tax, except for property taxes which are positively brutal. I actually would prefer a modest state income tax -- which can be managed by how you derive the funds to live each year -- over no income tax and a hefty property tax.)

Think of two lines superimposed on one time-phased graph -- the first being the value of all my retirement funds (about $320K right now at age 39), and the second being the amount of money I'd need in reserve to FIRE (right now, probably about $1M). The former line should generally rise over time and the latter should fall. At some point they intersect, and at some point after intersection (perhaps erring slightly on the conservative side) is where I feel I could FIRE safely.

The main reason why the second line (cash needed to FIRE) might not fall much, though? Health insurance -- that's the big question. That's the 800 pound gorilla of FIRE, the "wildest" wild-card, and it's what will trip up many who would otherwise easily be able to FIRE securely.

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