I believe I might be able to pull off an early exit from full time work within the next five years. Man it would be awesome to own more of my time! Here's how it might look.
Passive Income Stream:
I currently expect to receive about $460 per month (on average) from my investments. This figure includes dividends from the portfolio listed on this public blog plus a small amount of interest from Lending Club. I believe that by early 2018, this figure will balloon to $800-$1,000 per month based on conservative dividend growth assumptions (4.5% dividend growth), and a moderately aggressive savings target ($1,000 per month + annual tax return). I might hit the high end of the target if my name is called for another combat zone deployment.
Army Reserve/National Guard:
Pay: $400 for one weekend per month; full time pay two weeks per year.
Benefits: Inexpensive healthcare, pension, military perks
Other: Transfer accumulated service, opportunity to lace my boots
I'm up to roughly $1,200 - $1,400 income per month so far, have health insurance, and am working towards a pension. Not a bad place to be, but unfortunately I can't live off a sum this small. I would need to find supplemental income sources.
Work I enjoy/part time job. This could be seasonal work as a ski instructor or maybe as a raft guide. Can't get any better than that as far as paid work goes. I might have to settle for a lousy $10/hour job if the fun jobs don't pan out. Maybe 20 hours per week doing something like retail or as a Subway cashier if it comes to that. I would only need to earn enough to cover the rest of my bills, perhaps $800 - $900 per month or so. My stress level would be tiny plus I would own the majority of my time.
Between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Army College Fund in my contract, I am set to receive roughly $65,000 of college money. I don't want to get into the details (because it doesn't matter), but basically I would choose the old option and would receive this amount over a three year period. I'm not really interested in furthering my education... however, I am open to receiving ~$22,000 per year for taking 10 credit hours of underwater basket weaving at a cheap community college, then pocketing the rest. Lasts three years tops.