Rant: Calculating how much I need to "retire"

I am not a fan of the word "retirement." It has a bad connotation of working until you cannot work anymore to have enough money to live out the rest of your life. That doesn't sound very good to me. I prefer financially independent where I don't necessarily have to collect social security to stop working. I am currently working on my target net worth number to mark the day I quit working full time.

I have found that a lot of other things have to be considered than just the total amount. I also have to include:

  • Expected income from investments
  • Income from other sources (side work, contracting, etc.)
  • What the other income sources are
  • Cost to travel (I want to do this as much as possible)
  • Expenses that have to be paid after I stop full time work
  • Making sure I am happy with all the above choices
This seems simple enough but each of the above items has a lot of complexity. I have to make estimates on what I will earn from my investments. What sort of side work would I do, how often, and how much could it potentially pay? Travel costs fluctuate wildly. I have to decided where to travel, for how long, and get a reasonable estimate of costs. Expenses are the easiest to predict but not completely. And most of all I want to be happy with my choices and no stressing over these items all the time. Everything has to fit right!

As it stands now I am nowhere close to being able to say with 100% or even 75% assurance of what each in the above list should be. All I do know at this point is that I want to travel at least half the year to various countries worldwide. I have a good grasp on the home-side expenses but still working on the travel part. The expected income from investments is like trying to see the future. I know what sort of returns I would want but attaining them is another story. I am also working on ideas for side work, projects, and contracting to help me fill the gaps.

Being able to stop 100% relying on salary is a long process. I do know that saving as much as I can everyday will get me closer. I am a person who likes numbers and measurable goals so I am going to come up with a target and put 110% of my effort into it. I have a lot of variables to juggle. It's called life. I have to take a step back and not worry about every detail being hammered out. With plan A, B, & C I will make it work somehow. Time to get to work!