what we mean by “retirement”

we’re working toward our goal of retiring in december 2017, when we’ll be 41 and 38. but of course “retirement” means different things to different people. here’s what it means to us.

fundamentally, our goal is to never have to work again. we almost certainly will work at some point in the future since we plan to have many retirement years in front of us, but we’re hoping to save enough that we are never forced to work, and we’ll only do jobs that provide us with worthwhile benefits (like free ski passes, free travel or helping a nonprofit organization we love).

bottom line: we’re not trading our careers for jobs, or for some second career consulting vision. we are doing this so that our next life will be centered around everything but work. the outdoors, travel, adventure, time to live slowly… these are the new bosses we hope to have.

but we’re also total realists. we know that there are a lot of things we can’t control, and that we have to be flexible. so when it is time to say goodbye to our careers, our plan is to do it in a way that doesn’t burn bridges, and still gives us the chance to consult if we need to. and we’re both willing to do odd jobs if required. and to cut costs. we’re pretty great at being frugal when necessary, so we can cut our expenses way down if our savings underperform or dwindle.

a couple of years down the road, when we start telling our colleagues about our plans, it will be interesting to see what reactions are like. most of our colleagues are the types who seem totally defined by their work, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they view us the same way. we certainly don’t try to fight that perception now, since doing great work and being compensated for that is in our best long-term interest. that’s what lets us save for retirement, after all. but neither of us are compelled to work. and while we may miss certain aspects of our jobs, we are looking forward to defining ourselves in other ways that are more personally and spiritually fulfilling.

we completely respect people who love working, but for us it’s just a means to an end. and we hope our next life gives us the freedom to define different means, and different ends.


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Categories: goals

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15 replies »

  1. I have just stumbled upon your blog and I’m binge reading.

    I initially plan to resign from my job on Dec 2017 but got laid off on March 30, 2017. Hubby and I are financially prepared hence we are excited on this new chapter of our lives!

    • You get a medal if you’re going back into those super old posts! ;-) And how exciting that you were able to accelerate your timeline by several months thanks to a layoff that many, many people would view as a tragic event! How exciting!!

  2. How cool is this! I also am targeting a December 2017 retirement. So excited and will read your posts to see if our paths are similar except for the fact that I am in my late 50s. Better now than later!

  3. Howdy neighbor- starting from scratch! Love this post – really relate to what you’re saying about your identity and work. You expressed my own sentiments perfectly. I love my work, but it requires a lot of life energy that I would love to reclaim a bit of. Look forward to reading more. 😊

    • Wow, you’re back in the lowercase title posts! The suuuper early ones. ;-) The identity stuff is a big issue that I don’t think most people think enough about — if you keep reading, it will come up several more times!

  4. Like the other commenters I’m going back to read from the start. I have to say I really like your writing style and the topics. My wife and I are somewhat similar to you guys with the outdoors yearning but the stressful careers and are planning to retire in early 2022 at age 46 and 41. Jealous of your location but Michigan still has so much to explore for us too. And congrats to you guys on making it finally! Still waiting on a Detroit meetup someday…😁

    • It’s a BiG undertaking, going all the way back to the beginning! ;-) Thanks for that nice compliment — and for reading! And there’s so much that’s great about the midwest. If you ever get jealous of where we live, remember that it costs almost double what most lower cost of living places do. ;-)

  5. I am excited that I have found this website. It is quite amazing. I am early into my career but would like to achieve financial independence and retire early. I think this is the place to be and I am optimistic that I will find the posts quite helpful to help me plan my journey. To be honest, I am currently not sure on where to start from to achieve the dream of retiring early as my annual income is just above 5000 US$ yet I am a bread winner of a family of 6 people in rural Africa. Any ideas on how I can use this to retire in 10 years from now? I would be grateful. Thank you.