Where Do You See Yourself in the Next 4 years?

Now that the election has come and gone, I’m sure President Obama and his staff are busy at work trying to put together a plan for the next 4 years. In some ways, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s already been 4 years since he was last elected – as it so often seems, time seems to be moving along at a blistering pace.

The First Term

Here’s what I’ve been able to accomplish in the first 4 years:

  • Finished off grad school, M.S. degree
  • Promoted from intern to full-time senior engineer
  • Went from $5k in savings to ~$180k in net worth
  • About $60k dividend portfolio for early retirement
  • About $110k portfolio for traditional retirement
  • Purchased my first rental property


Not bad. I’ve definitely come a lot further than I could have ever fathomed just 4 years ago. For that, I am most grateful. I realize how hard it has been for many young professionals to get their careers started, so I would say luck definitely played a role in my progress. I was fortunate to be able to land an internship, graduate, and be promoted to a full-time position without any gaps in-between. For that to happen, everything had to fall into place perfectly, and somehow it did. Most companies I know in high-tech implemented some form of hiring freeze in 2009, so I was extremely lucky that my employer at the time made the exception for me.

Lesson Learned

One thing I do regret, however, is waiting to get started in dividend investing until this year (2012). When the markets collapsed in 2008-2009, a window opened for that perfect “once in a lifetime” opportunity to invest in. I was an intern at the time, still very naive, and shunned away the markets when I saw older co-workers panic. That’s no excuse, though, and I should had known better. I had a gut feeling that I should be investing in the fear, but didn’t have the conviction to pursue my hunch any further.

The Second Term

Fast forward 4 years later to present day. Here are my preliminary goals to achieve by November 2016, when I will be 32:

  • Approach the final years of my engineering career
  • Start running FireCalc and Safe-Withdrawal Rate simulations/calculations to determine how soon I can check out
  • Stop investing in my 401k (should have enough of a foundation to allow for the compounding to take over)
  • Stop investing in my Roth IRA (hoping that my salary will be too high, thus making me ineligible)
  • About $140k dividend portfolio
  • Purchase 2 additional rental properties that generate positive cash-flow

The Gameplan

To make the above possible, I will of course need to stay employed at, or above my current salary. If I can save $50,000/year in net income (which is where I am roughly at), this will give me $200,000 to invest.

If I can secure two additional rental properties at ~$70,000 each for the downpayment, this will leave me $60,000 to invest in my dividend portfolio.

Based on the current market value of my dividend portfolio of $60,000, the additional $60,000 investment will allow me to double the portfolio’s value to $120,000. The other $20,00 will have to come from: share price appreciation, dividend re-investments, and any extra contributions made from windfalls – bonuses, stock options, etc.

If we rely strictly on share price appreciation, to take a $60,000 portfolio to $80,000 in 4 years would require an annual growth rate of 7.46%. I’m not counting on relying on share price appreciation alone, but this isn’t an absolutely outrageous growth rate figure either.

Who knows, maybe the president will come up with a plan that will actually help accelerate economic growth 😉


If the dividend portfolio can reach $140,000, at 4% yield, this provides $5600/year in dividend income. This equates to ~$467/month which is about 31% of my current expenses.

If the rental property acquisitions come through, I am going to estimate that each unit contribute a conservative $350/month in profit. This would net an additional $1050/month (from 3 units, including the currently owned rental).

So, that works out to $1516/month in passive income, which covers 100% of my typical expenses in a given month ($1500). Thus, if everything falls into place, I will have *achieved early financial independence!!!


The president has received a lot of flak over the past 4 years for the lack of economic growth in this country. Many Americans have struggled to find work, and many more speak of possibly having to work until the ripe young age of 80.

However, not everyone should have to be confined to this fate. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be blessed with good-paying, stable jobs, should have the foresight to plan for our futures. Anyone who was working and witnessed the financial meltdown knows first-hand how sudden a company’s philosophy can change. They will go from Hiring Frenzy Mode to Workforce Reduction Initiative in the blink of an eye. So, we must look out for ourselves.

If we rely on ourselves, save heavily, and invest wisely, extraordinary results are possible!

When President Obama first won the presidential election in November 2008, I was just starting off my career, working as an intern. I never would have dreamed in a million years that it would be possible for my working career to start at the same time as his presidency and to end at the closing of his second term.


*allowing almost 0% margin of error 😉

So, where do you see yourself in the next 4 years? What are you goals, dreams, and ambitions?

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Dividend Mantra
7 years ago

FI Fighter, Awesome stuff. Sounds like a rock-solid game plan there. I love it. You’ve made tremendous progress in only 4 years. You are LIGHT YEARS ahead of most people your age. You’re light years ahead of me, and I’m two years older. 🙂 I’ll be 34 years old in 4 years. I hope to be generating somewhere north of $6k in annual forward dividends by that time. We’ll see how it goes. That would put me just under half-way to my goal of generating about $14k a year in dividends. That would be on track to retire by 40.… Read more »

Edward Antrobus
7 years ago

Congrats on reaching a senior level position in just 4 years. My situation has improved tremendously in the last four years, but that is mostly because up was just about the only direction it could go. I opened my first retirement account, a Roth IRA. I don’t come anywhere near maxing out my contributions, but it’s really more of an insurance policy in case I one day get too sick to continue working. My grandfather managed to stay working until 74 when his doctor would let him work anymore. And then he was miserable for last year because he had… Read more »

Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin

In the next 4 years I see my wife and I putting our financial independence goals into overdrive. By that time both our children will be out of daycare and in public school so my wife will be able to go back to work. Currently we can live off of my income and still save 26% Our Net Worth is currently around $250k and will likely be around $450k by then. We want to put all of our additional income into dividend stocks and rental real estate. I have yet to find a good deal on real estate but am… Read more »

JC @ PassiveIncomePursuit

Congrats on all the progress over the last 4 years. I’m sure you’ll exceed your expectations for the next 4. I sure would love to reach FI in 4 more years but I don’t see that happening, although I should be getting a raise soon which would average out to about an extra $10K per year based on the number of days I worked so far this year. And the best part about that is that every extra bit of income will be thrown at early FI. If I reach FI earlier than expected I might work a little longer… Read more »

7 years ago

I think it is amazing and very commendable that although you obviously make a great salary, you still live a frugal lifestyle in that your bills are only around 1500 a month. I am sure you could afford a much more lavish lifestyle.

7 years ago

I just found your blog today! It seems that we have similar goals and we both work in high-tech 🙂 I would love to be financially independent by age 30 (2018), but I think that’s a bit too aggressive of a goal. Congrats on keeping your expenses at only $1,500! I’m not very good at that, though I do still save 50% of my net income most months and all of my bonuses. At the end of 2016, at age 28, I plan to have: 1) The mortgage on my condo gone (so around $360,000 in equity) 2) At least… Read more »


[…] and I wanted more… lots more! In November of 2012, I reasoned that it would probably take me 4 years total to complete the quest to financial independence. Finally, I could start to see some light at […]


[…] Maybe I even got a little carried away, because towards the end of the year I started having thoughts that I might be able to retire at age 32! […]