Guinea Pig Experiment

Guinea Pig Experiment

Welcome to the Guinea Pig experiment, the experiment where we watch the entire journey of someone going from $0 to financial independence!

In this experiment, we follow two different scenarios – one baseline scenario and one optimized scenario.

The baseline scenario invests all savings into a taxable investment account and the optimized scenario utilizes some of the advanced tax-avoidance strategies I write about here.

For example, the optimized scenario:

Comparing these two scenarios will allow us to see how many years earlier someone could retire if the strategies and tactics discussed on this site are applied in real life!

This page serves as the main hub for the experiment and will be kept up-to-date with the progress of the Guinea Pigs throughout their journeys.

To read the past annual updates for the Guinea Pig series, visit the Archives page.

Graphs

Here are the FI Laboratory graphs for the two Guinea Pig scenarios, showing their progress from the start of the experiment (Jan 1st, 2014) to the most-recent update (Jan 1st, 2018).

The FI Laboratory is a web application I created that allows you to easily chart your progress to financial independence, as recommended in the classic book on financial independence – Your Money or Your Life.

If you haven’t started charting your own progress yet, sign up for a free Personal Capital account to automatically calculate your net worth, monthly spending, etc. and then plug those numbers into the FI Laboratory to see if you can keep up with the Guinea Pigs!

Normal Scenario

Normal Guinea Pig - January 2018

Normal Guinea Pig – January 2018

Optimized Scenario

Optimized Guinea Pig - January 2018

Optimized Guinea Pig – January 2018

Net Worth Values

  • Normal Scenario: $160,269
  • Optimized Scenario: $209,217

Experiment Assumptions

Both guinea pigs are single (with no kids), live in income-tax-free states, invest all money into Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), and adhere to the following numbers that Mad Fientist readers voted for at the beginning of the experiment (numbers are adjusted annually for inflation/raises/etc.):

  • Pre-tax Income: $81,203 ($6,767 per month)
  • Spending: $27,582 ($2,299 per month)
  • Employer 401(k) Match: 3%

Numbers

To see all of the guinea pigs’ numbers (i.e. contributions, account balances, etc.), check out the full spreadsheets here.

Check back at the beginning of every month for the latest Guinea Pig numbers and graphs! And if you haven’t already, sign up here for a free FI Laboratory account to start tracking your own progress to financial independence!

FI Laboratory

FI Laboratory

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FI Spreadsheet

FI Spreadsheet

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Join the List

FI Spreadsheet

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