Ever heard of a NINK? Probably not… because I just made it up.
But you’ve heard of DINKs, right? Yeah, well, I’m throwing out a new acronym for those young couples out there that don’t have kids and don’t have to work anymore.
NINKS = No Income, No Kids
By “Income” I’m talking about a day job. When I hear the term “DINK”, I think of a power couple in which both partners bust balls every day in high paying jobs. These couples work extremely hard, barely take time off to travel, and often over-work because they have no parental obligations at home.
I know the life of a DINK pretty well. I used to be one.
The DINK phase is usually short lived, ending when the couple decides to have kids and prioritize their family. Or, when one of them burns out, and decides to quit.
NINKs on the other hand, have their living expenses paid for them, without needing income from day jobs. Money constantly flows in from various investments that the couple diligently set up earlier in life. Ideally tax-free, this money pays all the bills for living, travel, hobbies, charities, and whatever else the couple wants to do in life.
The NINK phase can also be short lived when the couple decide to have kids, or find lower stress jobs in areas that they are passionate about.
NINKS Here We Come!
In our case, this NINK phase is going to be a trial period. My wife and I have built up a real estate portfolio and other investments sufficient to live off of (for a while) so we have some breathing room to travel and enjoy life. I left my job last month, and my wife will be leaving hers in a few short weeks.
Technically, my wife and I aren’t fully FI yet. Here’s my rough estimate of where we are on the FIRE scale:
OK, let’s be more specific…
We Are Entering “Stage 4”:
I recently read this article by J.D. Roth called The Stages of Financial Freedom. He describes 6 stages, and I believe my Wife and I are exiting the rat race and entering Stage 4.
- Stage 0: Dependence. Your lifestyle depends on others for support. Everyone is born here.
- Stage 1: Solvency. You can meet your financial obligations without needing help from others. Personally, I became self-sufficient in my late teens when I got my first full time job.
- Stage 2: Stability. You no longer have consumer debt, and have a cushion for emergencies. I breezed through this phase because I’ve never been in (bad) debt, and my savings rate has always been high ever since I started earning.
- Stage 3: Agency. Freedom to work and live as you choose. Most people stop here and stay in this phase forever. This is where you live a happy, comfortable life, but still depend on work to survive. You have and continue to grow “breathing room”. You can change careers, take regular vacations, focus on growing and supporting your family, and stash money away for “retirement”. Personally, I’ve been in this stage for probably the past decade.
- Stage 4: Security. The first phase of FI. This is when your investment income can cover your basic living expenses, but not a whole lot more. “Lean FI” some people might call this point. My wife and I are here currently. NINKS can survive here 🙂
- Stage 5: Independence. Investment income covers the basics, and most personal luxuries. You don’t have to work for the rest of your life. You’re done. (As long as you don’t screw it up and spend too much.)
- Stage 6: Abundance. You’ve reached a point where you can make all decisions based on happiness, not dollars.
2018 is a Celebration!
For me, it’s important to celebrate the big things in life, as well as all the small things along the way. Although this probably isn’t my final retirement, I’m going to live 2018 as if it is.
My wife and I are planning to road trip this summer with our loyal, yet pain in the ass, German Shepherd. First stop is camping near Bass Lake, in Yosemite. Then we’ll be driving slowly up the west coast until we cross the Canadian boarder sometime in June.
NINKS… With no income to work for, and no kids to support, this is our first taste of true freedom.
Hang on a sec…. What if we spend too much and accidentally slip back into phase 3?
As I’ve always said:
“You can take away every single dollar that I have and put me back at zero… I’ll complain for a second, then immediately roll up my sleeves and earn it all back (and more) in a better, faster way. I’m not scared of starting at zero again.” – Yours Truly.
**I just read a funny article by Mr. 1500 talking about LeanFIRE, FatFIRE, and his new term FartFIRE. Hilarious. The financial independence glossary is still evolving.