our bloggy buddy steve, who writes think save retire, started the about series a few weeks back that all bloggers are invited to continue, and more recently wrote a series on his own blog that he dubbed the “our next life” series. we love the name, obviously, and thought — why not also make it a series that we all contribute to? so this is our take. and we’d love for you to write your own and link back! who’s in?
our take on the series may be a little different from steve and courtney’s, but our idea is to do a little daydreaming about what your next life will look like, after you reach whatever you’re planning for, whether it be early retirement or financial independence, paying off debt, saving for some other major goal, or achieving a major personal milestone.
some questions you may wish to answer in your post:
- what will your transition be like? will you be quitting a job? making a move? how will all of that go down?
- what are the big goals you have for your next life, or just the goals for the first five years or so?
- what are the little day-to-day goals you have for yourself?
- will you quit working, change what you do for work, or stay the course?
- what will a day in the life look like?
- how will you manage your finances in the next stage?
- what will excite you about getting out of bed every day?
our next life’s next life — the transition
(forgive us for the blatant use of our own blog name — let’s blame steve, since he named the series!) ;-) our next life begins sometime around january 1, 2018, when we’ll be fully retired at ages 38 and 41. the goal is to be no longer reliant on a paycheck, though we’re planning to quit whether or not we’ve hit our numerical goals. we’re not opposed to working some, but plan to be very picky about it. we only want to do work that is fun, has perks like free ski passes or free travel, has redeeming social value, or is a favor to a friend. and we won’t take on work that will push us above the obamacare subsidy limits! that means that the first step will be to quit our jobs, which at that point, we will have had for 16 years and 20 years (!!!!) respectively.
we haven’t decided yet how much notice to give, and will have to figure that out early in 2017. having been around in our jobs for such a long time, and having senior leadership roles, we definitely can’t just give two weeks and peace out. we’re also both the sole operators for our companies in the region where we live, so we have to allow time to transition several clients over to other colleagues, get people up to speed, and make things as seamless as possible for our clients. right now the mr. is leaning toward giving a lot of notice — like possibly as much as a year — whereas my company is a smidge more corporate in feel, and it seems like a shorter notice makes more sense, something more like two or three months. of course, we are both hoping that we’ll still get year-end bonuses in 2017, but we know realistically that they’re not guaranteed if we’ve made it known we’re leaving. tune in in early 2017 for news on whether we’ve figured out a solution to this problem. (or, if you have a solution, please share it in the comments!) after we quit, we’ll throw ourselves some sort of party (i’m leaning toward a jazz funeral for our careers in new orleans — you’re invited to join our second line!), sign up for cobra or obamacare (though we won’t get subsidized coverage for a year, because subsidies are based on the previous year’s income), and then start really living in the mountain town where we’re based.
the big goals
we have a long list of things we want to do after we retire at the end of 2017, but our single biggest goal is to travel a lot. but we actually have a pretty specific vision for the places we want to visit and how, that goes beyond the vague “travel more.” we’re 100 percent willing to travel like dirtbags in this future we dream of, mostly camping or living in not-so-fancy circumstances to make it all happen. sort of like ski bums, but with the money saved up to do this indefinitely. (our friends at eat the financial elephant coined the term “dirtbag millionaires,” and it so perfectly describes our travel dream.)
in our vision, our first year of retirement will be mostly staycation, spending time getting to know the mountains and trails in our own area a lot better. we want to become walking guide books for our region, which we can only achieve by putting in the time and the miles. during this staycation year, we also expect to do a lot of camping across the region and hosting friends and family, including at our most epic thanksgiving feast yet. we’ll probably also go to quite a few music festivals, beyond the two or three we currently attend a year, because we love them, and have gotten over the fact that we’re often the oldest people dancing. :-)
after our first year, we want to do some more extended trips of the dirtbag variety, and we’ll probably rent out our house while we go travel to help pay some of our expenses, while ensuring that we always have a home base to come back to. we’ll also make good use of the massive hotel and airline points we’re currently stockpiling! we don’t yet know the order in which we’ll do these trips, but we know we want to spend a season or two backpacking southeast asia, a season or two traveling around europe in a campervan (along with an extended trek in the alps), a summer in alaska in our planned-for small travel trailer, a year or more driving down through central and south america, at least a month on a sailing vessel going somewhere warm, a few stints as wwoofers in unexpected places, some seasons as campground hosts in farflung places, a month or two paddling the boundary waters between the u.s. and canada, a season spent hiking the pacific crest trail (or at least the john muir trail portion of it), a bunch of jaunts to climb all the 14ers in the lower 48, and who knows how many roadtrips with our trailer to visit every u.s. and canadian national park. (seriously — if you are an american, and only have the u.s. national parks on your life list, do yourself a huge favor and add the parks in canada, too, including most of the provincial parks. it’s an amazing country.)
the day-to-day goals
our biggest day-to-day goal is to spend a lot more time being physically active. we moved to the mountains to make it easier to ski, climb, bike, paddle, hike, camp and do anything else you can imagine outside, but the reality of our jobs is that we don’t get out much. most days, we consider it a success if we can take time to walk what we call the “short loop” on our neighborhood singletrack (it’s maybe a mile and a half?), and a major coup if we can hike the “long loop” (maybe two and a half). we plan to spend a few hours being active every day, sometimes more, and will make that priority number one, along with improving our skill at said activities. priority number two is cooking all of our own food, which we’re pretty good about now, but we do occasionally give in to convenience foods, and we can’t wait to banish those for good. for goals three and four, we want to read a lot more books, and devote serious time to artistic pursuits like photography, painting and drawing. goal five is to sleep more, another biggie.
what will get us out of bed
i have no idea where i first heard the adage “only the boring are bored,” but i believe it wholeheartedly (and i once wielded this phrase mercilessly when i was a camp counselor surrounded by “bored” 12-year-old girls in the middle of majestic nature). these days, i might amend it to say “only the boring and the beaten down are bored.” for sure, work beats us down and can make the best of us feel bored, or stuck, or out of ideas. but in our next life, we get to shake that off, and start acting like kids again, following whatever interest happens to be in our heads that day. my dad has told several people our plan, and quite a few have responded, “but won’t they get bored?” and i love my dad’s response. he always says back, “you don’t know them.” maybe it’s that whole curiosity thing, but we never lack ideas of things we could do. right now, we have a lot of obstacles for why we can’t do them, but we’re leaving our careers behind to mow down those obstacles, leaving only possibilities in their place.
now it’s your turn! how would you answer any of the questions we posed in the post? share in the comments or — better yet — add your own post to the series!