Mapping Out Our First Year of Early Retirement

another big thanks to all of you who responded to our reader survey. (it’s still open if you want to weigh in!) we’re humbled by all the love and positivity, and will absolutely be writing a bunch of posts based on suggestions you shared with us!

while the interesting start to the year from a market perspective is making us think that we’re most likely staying in our jobs through 2017, we’re remaining focused on our goal of leveling up our savings this year. there’s no downside to doing this — worst case, we work as long as we’ve been planning for a while, but either retire with more dollars than we’d hoped, or — if we get a real bear market — then maybe we end up with the amount we’d originally hoped for, but with that amount comprised of more shares, which is better for long-term growth potential anyway. and if the markets explode this year and we get extra large year-end bonuses, then maybe this is still our last year of work after all. stay tuned!

so whether our first year of early retirement is 2018 (what we’ve been planning since before we started the blog) or 2017 (what we thought for five seconds might be workable as of the end of last year, before the markets went all bajiggity), we’ve had that mythical first year of freedom on our minds in a big way lately. like any aspiring early retirees worth our salt, we spend lots of time thinking about everything we want to do when we have more time on our hands, but we’ve been getting more specific, and thinking about the things we’ll do as we adjust to our post-work era, and some of the big life goals that we want to tackle right away. and we’ve thought, too, about how we can live our life’s purpose that we mapped out right away in our first year, and not think of that as something we’ll do “later.” (honestly, we’ve spent our whole lives thinking of so many of our big goals as coming later, so it could be hard to adjust just to that change! being able to say “let’s do this now!” will feel so novel.)

here’s our evolving vision for our first year of retirement:

the basics: protecting our health

catch up on sleep — it’s sad that we have to list this one, we know. but it’s true. work and work travel are not good for getting all the winks each night, and we’re 110 percent sure that we’re going to collapse into retirement with a pretty major sleep deficit. priority number one in retirement is to banish the alarm clock from our room… except on powder days.

explore opportunities to hustle for produce — one of the wacky but awesome things about mountain towns is the widespread openness to trading for goods and services instead of exchanging cash. we know of people who work at the farmers market one day a week in exchange for a csa share, or who do some work on a farm for their produce box. we want to see if we could get in on one of those deals! we spend way too much on groceries because we prioritize buying fresh, local, organic produce, and if we could get that price down while also getting some fresh air and interacting with people, that would be a very good thing.

improve our fitness — like with sleep, work these past few years has not been kind to our fitness. we’re still relatively active, but we intend to do better. we want to be able to take on some big, demanding mountain climbs and extended hikes, and since we aren’t getting any younger, we don’t want to put that stuff off too long. so boosting our fitness is not just a health imperative, it’s also key to being able to do what we really want to do in early retirement!

purpose category: adventure

fly on miles while we still have status — we’re hoarding airline miles and hotel points at breakneck speed right now, but we recently realized that these miles will have maximum value to us sooner rather than later. that’s for two main reasons: 1. because the airlines have been known to devalue miles periodically, and another devaluation could happen at any time, and 2. because the airlines make it much easier and cheaper to redeem your miles when you have some level of fancypants status, and same goes for the hotels and their points. since we expect to have some status in our first year of retirement, earned during our last year of work, we want to take several trips booked on miles in year one so that we can actually redeem our miles. where will we go? we can’t wait to decide!

enjoy the “staycation” — when we’re not traveling, we can’t wait to feel like real locals in our mountain town. we’ve lived here four years so far, but managed to move in right around the time when my travel picked up in frequency and mr. onl’s work increased in pressure. so while we love living where we do, we also feel like we miss a lot. we die just a little bit every time we hear that our friends are skipping out of work for a powder day on a weekday. we wish. but once we retire, we hope to skip the weekends entirely and only ski on the weekdays. and now i’m going to totally contradict myself and say that we’re also looking forward to acting like non-locals. locals go with the flow and do whatever seems good each day, but our long-term goal is to get to know all the local trails, peaks and streams, and that’s not going to happen by accident. if we were vacationing in our area, we would make an itinerary: this hike today, this crag the next, this bike ride the day after, and this paddle the day after that. if we treat our extended staycation as a real vacation, and actually plan some of these activities out, we feel like we’ll cover more ground and really get to know the area more than we will if we just keep repeating our favorite spots.

purpose category: service

increase our board service — one of my retirement goals is to do continual service on the board of directors for nonprofits that i care about. mr. onl is already on the board of a local nonprofit, and there’s one in particular that i have my eye on. but we’re not looking only at local orgs, and may try to pursue some more prominent ones over time, after we build up those chops. but all of that will kick off (for me at least) in year one.

volunteer more — mr. onl does a lot of work for the nonprofit he’s on the board of, and i do some volunteering for a local conservation group, and help organize the signature fundraiser for our local animal shelter. we’re proud of that stuff, but will do more. we also just want to be able to say “yes” to things. walking more dogs at the shelter, serving the less fortunate on thanksgiving, participating in a river clean-up, handing out water at the triathlon.

purpose category: creativity

take the camera — everywhere we travel, whether around the world or around our backyard, we’re going to take the camera. the real camera. not just our phones. and we’ll try to give ourselves time to craft the shots we wish we could get now, but don’t have the patience to capture, waiting for the right light or the right moment instead of grabbing the easy snapshot.

join a writers group — after calculating the number of words i’ve written here in the last year, it really hit home that writing in retirement is not some unrealistic pipe dream. i’m already doing it! heck, i’m doing it despite having very little time to do it, so surely i can devote real time to writing in retirement and get better at the craft of it. but, i will benefit from the insights and critiques of others, so i’m going to join a writers group to hone my skills. i’d love to take some classes, too, but will start with the group.

and there you have it! that’s our plan for year one. our five-year plan is something we’re thinking about, too, and will share in the near future — but it’s going to be a lot longer! it’s possible our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. :-)

do you have a broader vision of early retirement, or do you tend to think like us in terms of things you’ll do in year one, the first five years, the next decade, etc.? if so, have you thought about what you want to take on in your first year of financial independence? we’d love to know how you guys think about this question… and we’d love to hear some of the awesome things you’ve done (if you’re retired) or plan to do in that transition year. please share!

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64 replies »

  1. I love posts like this because I thoroughly enjoy reading about how people plan to spend their time away from the office. For us, we have very high-level “plans” mapped out, but quite honestly, we are intentionally keeping them as vague as possible because, quite honestly, we don’t necessarily know what opportunities that we will have available to us while we are on the road.

    For example, I know that I will be pursuing videography much more aggressively than I do now and producing videos most places that we go – I hope these will be as educational as they are, well, beautiful. Moving around will give me ample opportunity to get out with my camera to take in the scenery and hopefully put together quality films. My longer term goal for this is a documentary about life on the road after early retirement.

    We also have vague plans of hiking and exploring the area, but to be perfectly honest, we don’t exactly know where we will be at every moment so it is tough to map out anything with any degree of precision at the moment.

    We do plan to work camp a lot, which will get us outside and interacting with the locals a bit more. There is a no-kill animal shelter in NM that we’d like to volunteer our time at as well, but again, we don’t have a timeframe for this yet until we get into this new lifestyle a bit more and figure things out.

    For the most part, though, we are “playing it by ear” – much to the chagrin of my wife who is the epic planner in the family.

    One thing that we do know, however, is that we need to control our speed. In early retirement, people have the tendency to get so motivated and excited that they blaze through their first year and quickly run themselves dry. We just want to see the next thing, and the next, and the next. It’s exciting, and most of us want to keep going.

    But this is retirement…what’s the hurry?!? We hope to maintain a fairly slow roll and really take in every place that we visit. We hope to remain parked for at least two weeks at a time, which should give us enough time to explore the area but to also just sit back and relax and enjoy what we’ve worked for all of these years.

    That’s the “plan”! … or something like that. :)

    • Given the on-the-road lifestyle that you guys are building for yourself, I think the play it by ear approach makes total sense. That’s the whole point of living mobile, right? So you can follow whatever opportunities or whims arise. I think that sounds super awesome, and your life will take on its own structure from the rhythm of moving your camp, attending to the housekeeping duties the Airstream will require… and I’m sure you’ll keep up your incredible blogging pace, which will be its own kind of structure. I totally feel for Courtney, by the way, as I’m a total planner, whereas Mr. ONL is the more go-with-the-flow guy. :-)

  2. We’ve got a general plan that looks similar to yours. Being outside and exploring is a top priority. I also really want to devote more time for volunteering and never thought about serving on a board too. That’d be a great way to keep active in the business world in case you choose to go back to work in the future. I also can’t wait to not have to set an alarm. I’m a morning person so I don’t mind getting up but I much prefer to do it on my own time with the sun waking me up rather than an annoying beeping. I also want to devote more time to my blog and developing new avenues of reaching and helping people. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t like putting projects on hold so I rarely do much with woodworking due to having to leave within a few hours notice for work sometimes. So really exploring and improving that is something I want to do too. I want to start a small garden in our backyard too. I’ve had some small ones before but theres,nothing like picking your own vegetables and literally going from plant to plate.

    Those are just a few of my plans for FI and I can’t wait to get there. In general it’s just slowing life down that I want.

    Any thoughts/possibilities of negotiating to part time work for you for 2017 to give FI a test run?

    • Your plans sound fantastic! All except the waking up with the sun. ;-) Haha — we’re night people, so a top priority will be installing some better black out drapes so we can sleep in for real! What kind of woodworking do you do? Mr. ONL has done some basic carpentry, and I do some other visual arts including woodblock printing, and that’s something we for sure want to do more of when we have time! And a garden sounds like pure bliss — our mountain climate gives us a microscopically short growing season, so we live vicariously through other people’s gardens!

      As for 2017, we’ve agreed to see where we are at the end of this year, and make some decisions. If we can’t retire fully (which was always a major reach goal anyway), then we’ll definitely explore options for 2017 — maybe trimming back on hours. Our compensation structure gives us a strong disincentive to leave before the end of the year, which is the only bummer — 2017 is kind of all or nothing!

  3. I laughed when I saw yours was sleep – that was mine too! Our first year will most definitely involve a move to a habitable town – so lots of exploring the new area. I also want to improve my fitness – I dream of having time to get into a daily yoga and meditation routine. I also plan on ‘dating’ my husband again. It may sound silly, but with two toddlers, and time-sucking jobs, it would be nice just to hang out with him more!!!

    Oh, and recover from all my ergonomic issues from being strapped to a desk for the last 10 years :)

    • I’m so curious — how long do you think you’ll need to catch up on sleep? I’m starting to wonder if we’ll *ever* catch up! I’m so eager to hear where you guys end up settling… you know my vote. :-) And YES to getting back into yoga. I used to be so good about it, but then the career exploded. And as I wrote to Mr. SSC, I love the idea of you guys dating each other more! So important to take that time, even if it’s not going on fancy, expensive dates.

      • It took me about 4-5 months to find my natural sleep pattern. For work, I often had 7AM conference calls with a group at the office, which meant leaving the house by 6:30. And sometimes night calls till 10 PM, which left me mentally wired. (A global job means someone is always working and wanting a meeting.) My natural sleep pattern is to sleep around 11:30 and up at 8:15. Seriously, 8:15! Almost on the dot, every morning. I always knew I was a high sleep person, so the slightly more than 8 hours doesn’t surprise me.

      • Good to know! It will be interesting to see what our sleep schedule evolves into. We think we’re both night owls by nature, but we’ve been getting up early for so long because of work that we have a hard time sleeping in. But sleeping 8+ hours a night like you do now sounds like such bliss. :-)

  4. I more plan the journey to FI than what I’ll do in FI since I’m still pretty far away (but of course I have a ton of ideas). But I’m pretty sure the first year will have a ton of international travel as a test to see if that’s something I want to do for a prolonged period of time. If not? No worries – I’ll pivot from there.

    • I think that’s a good plan! That’s what the Charltons (interviewed here a few weeks ago) did, and they figured out that they love travel, but not super long-term, and that they wanted a home base. So they shaped their lives accordingly, and they still take 3 or 4 big international trips a year. Love that!

  5. I’ve always like the idea that retirement, for me, doesn’t always have to mean far flung destinations or grand plans. To me it’s almost like, I just get to wake up and do whatever the f I want that day! Woot! No schedules, no pressure, no agenda….It’s kind of like you staycation. Then I can “work” whatever I want but not have to worry about the money!

    • Totally! Especially when you live in an awesome place like you do (and like we do). Even if we couldn’t travel in year one (or longer), we’d be perfectly happy just soaking everything in where we live, and having actual TIME to enjoy it!

  6. Love the plan and the details you have mapped out. So important to have a plan when your retire at any age. So many retire and are left with a hole of the 40-50 hours a week because they didn’t think beyond their 9-5.

    We are in the early stages of mapping out our plans. Our short term goal is to build wealth and help our three children with college and get off to a great start of their own. Once complete we will settle in our our big plans.

    • We’ve heard that same thing from quite a few people who are already retired — how tough the transition was, even if they were excited about it. So that’s why we’re doing more of this planning in detail, to give ourselves a plan to follow instead of just wasting our first year or more because we’re “decompressing from our careers,” and feel the need to sit on the couch all day. On your plans, I love that you’re working so hard to set your kids up for success. What a beautiful gift you’re giving them. :-)

  7. As Mrs. SSC mentioned, exploring our new locale will be awesome and a high priority for us like your stay-cation plans. Plus, this will help out with us “dating” again as she mentioned, because as some once famous internet person once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!!” lol
    My second big goal – locale dependent – is to build a wood strip canoe or kayak. I figure the canoe we could all use as a family, plus I get to build it. Should only take a couple of months, and I already have the tools, so I just need the wood. :)
    A writers group sounds awesome and something I’d never considered, but is now on my list. I don’t know if it was you or maybe Living A FI that mentioned we’re more committed to things when it’s for others than ourselves. He mentioned recently that blog writing was better than journaling, because you craft it more, try to focus it and make sure you get your point across, while journaling tends to be more free flowing and rambly. I fit into that mold and would love to be more accountable for writing more and better content, especially creatively!
    The same with music. I need to find or start a music group and be accountable so I will play more.
    Finally, I realized I find teaching rewarding, and especially with younger kids. I want to find somewhere to get a job or volunteer as mentor/tutor or something and help out either at schools or other places I can try to impact someone’s life.

    • I’m so into this idea of you guys dating more. Love that! Even though we don’t have kids, I do think retiring will give us the ability to put a little bit more effort in. Right now, our “dating” is usually collapsing onto the couch, and falling asleep 20 minutes into whatever Netflix movie we put on. It’s kind of sad. :-)

      I think that idea must have come from Living a FI, and I love that advice too. So true. I want to be able to explore different kinds of writing (honestly, hoping I can build my chops up enough to do fiction!), and I know I need some objective outside help to get to that level. And I hope you’ll find some awesome ways to flex your teaching/mentoring muscles — so many kids are in need of that!

  8. I love this post. For me, I think I’m too far out too think of specifics because then I might get excited and be disappointed if life doesn’t turn out the way I am planning for. I’m 30 and shooting for an ER date at 40, and a lot can happen between then and now. There are things that I want to do and places I want to see certainly, but if I waited 10 years to do all of those things, that would be considered a failure in my eyes.

    I am attempting to have a reasonable savings rate so that I have as many options as possible later. It’s hard to imagine that 10 years from now, that there would be an option that is more appealing than being FIRE’d, but I give myself that possibility.

    I feel like having the flexibility is probably healthy, but not having the specific goal/plan to strive for is bothersome. I’m someone who has really struggled after exiting university because real life is so less rigid. There are no grades or external forces telling you if you’re doing a good job or not. Yet, I don’t feel like the desire for structure in life is a valid excuse to just default to staying in an office 9-5. :)

    • Given that you’re still some years away, there’s certainly no urgency to think in detail about what you want your retirement to be. But the very best advice we’ve ever heard is to make sure you’re retiring TO something, not just FROM something, which ties into what you’re saying about the lack of structure after college. We’ve heard from enough retirees who’ve told us that the transition to retirement is more difficult than they’d anticipated for a range of reasons, and that’s made it clear to us that we need to have a plan so we don’t feel aimless, or — worse! — decide that we actually miss working! :-)

      • This is, of course, very true, but in my opinion, thoughts like “I don’t know if I have anything better to do with my time” is not a good reason to just maintain the status quo in life. I feel like that might hold us back? Some of my favorite moments in life were when I took risks out of my comfort zone.

        That being said, I think as I get closer financially, I will definitely make firmer plans. While I like some spontaneity and experiencing new things, I’d also like to set some roots somewhere…just not here. I mean, I’d much rather be in a mountain/lake town or a beach town if it was up to me. ;)

  9. Learn all the trails, yes! Take the real camera, yes! No more alarm clock, yes yes yes! I probably said the word ‘yes’ out loud a dozen times while reading this. I have to say, I’m a little bit jealous. That’s good though, it’s just extra motivation.

    • Totally agree that it’s extra motivation! We get that when we see people’s vanlife and mountain expedition pictures on Instagram. “They are living the dream now! Let’s get there faster!!” Yeah, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t super stoked about it all. :-)

  10. Ban the alarm clock, except on powder days :) My husband is notorious for early wake ups during boarding trips. Our first boarding trip together, he woke me (and two dozen other people) at 4:30 AM so we could have a morning sunrise hike before our big powder day.

    • These days we’re always so wiped out from work that if we do manage to get a weekend powder day, we always miss out on getting there early, and we end up stuck in traffic with the tourists. Once we’re retired, we’re grabbing that first chair. :-) Your husband’s idea of a pre-ski sunrise hike sounds AMAZING… though also difficult! Hiking in deep snow? That’s dedication!

  11. LOL @ sleep, I know how you feel. :)

    Looks like a great plan, I especially like the idea of taking advantage of your status while they last.

    • That sleep need is for real, though! Can we start now? zzzzzzzzzz

      And yeah, we realized it will get a whole lot harder to use our award miles after we’re demoted, so we decided to get a move on!

  12. Having just completed our first year of retirement, the most remarkable thing that stands out to me is how very differently it turned out than I expected! Primarily as a result of our unplanned retirement (my plan was to work until mid-2018 or more preferably, January of 2020 in order to go directly from COBRA to Medicare), we had no real “plan.” We spent the first three months getting our home ready to sell while simultaneously moving into what was originally supposed to be our vacation home, then spent the next several months renovating the vacation home to accommodate our children and grandchildren. By the time that work was done (we terminated the relationship with the contractor halfway though and acted as our own contractor for the rest of the job), Autumn had already set in and several deferred maintenance issues (clogged gutters, drainage problems, water seepage) kept us hopping until fairly recently. As year two starts, we have made some decisions: slow down on any renovations and concentrate on repairs and maintenance only, plan at least two trips per year, find a way to be of service to the Veteran community locally, and learn to relax! I still wake up before 6:00 a.m. every day (Mr. AR has gotten much better at sleeping in, but he had a two year head start), and I still feel like I’m wasting time if I’m not doing something. I’d like to learn to slow down and me okay with taking my time (I still find myself taking my walk as quickly as possible because there’s bills to pay or laundry to do); I remind myself frequently that we have no schedule anymore, but I still tend to overbook medical, vet, CPA and various other appointments so that we have to jump out of bed to get it all in, when there’s no reason on earth for it except I don’t want to “waste time.” Hopefully I’ll pick up the skill of taking it easy in year two, but as I’m writing this the “To Do” list is my head is already growing.

    • I appreciate how much you’ve shared with us about your experience transitioning into retirement — you have for sure helped us think a lot of things through. For example, we would have planned to take on some home renovations in year 1, but now we plan to put those off a year or two until we have the rhythm of our new life down. We don’t want to make year 1 more stressful than it has to be! And we’ve heard from you and the Charltons (interviewed here recently) that retirement life still feels busy, despite not having a job to do anymore. :-)

  13. What a great list! I love how it includes goals for many areas of your life, not just financial. Financial goals are important, of course, but there is so much to life! Well done and best of luck meeting them all!


  14. Your plans sound very fulfilling, enjoyable, and realistic. Maybe they won’t happen in equal proportions within a year of retirement, but I’m sure you’ll find your balance in time. I really like the first idea of swapping local produce (and walking/hiking to do so). You could strike a couple goals at once with that one.

    We don’t have an exact plan for our first year of a retirement as it’s a ways off and could go a number of ways. But it would definitely involved travel, service, and creative endeavors, and perhaps farm life. We’ll see!

    • And, we didn’t include this, but we also plan to bike for transportation as much as we can — so that ties into those same goals! We have a bike trailer and can bike to the farmers market, natural food store, etc. Can’t wait until we actually have the time to bike that route, instead of having to drive. And I don’t think you NEED an exact plan now or maybe ever, so long as you know what you’re retiring TO. :-)

  15. Really interesting post – made me think about my plans for sure (even though I’m not as close as you guys so it feels a little like daydreaming ;)

    I love the idea of “crafting” a life you want to live versus just living the life in front of you / that happens to you. Maybe you’ve inspiring a post…

    • Hi Emma. We’ve gone through a few exercises lately to think about our lives in retirement, and the one that I think is never too soon to think through is the purpose exercise. It could very well feel too far off to do actual planning of activities, but it’s never too early to think about your priorities, what you want to get out of life, and what you want to contribute to the world. :-) We’d love to read the post you write about crafting that life!

  16. You know I think my location will change in the next couple of years, but assuming i’m in sunny florida, I plan for it to be lots of outside activities. I also plan on the local parks and beaches to factor in immensely to my day, taking the dog out to explore, and little online/blog activies to round it out. I guess I’m just far enough away that I’m still calculating savings rates, 401k balances, principal paydowns on the mortgage, etc.

    • That sounds pretty dreamy… some time by the water every day will be so blissful and grounding. And of course it’s super important to focus on the finances, but it’s also never too early to think about your purpose or priorities in ER. :-)

  17. Our fire year is so far away that we have not yet thought about it. We are for now focusing on the how-to-live-now. The idea to work in the community is very appealing. We already do it now, no reason to stop doing.

    That said, your plan looks nice, and can be if inspiration.
    I look forward to read your travel stories and associated pictures.

    Amber tree

    • Hi Amber Tree. I think the how to live now focus makes tons of sense. And it’s great that you’re doing work to improve your community! And we will for sure share all the stories once we quit! :-)

  18. I love your list. :) And I think it’s super smart to make health a high priority. I also love how the term “powder days” came up not once but twice in this post — skiing must be a huge part of your lifestyle. I have no idea where you guys live, but my brother moved to Boulder several years ago “to be a ski bum” (his words), and even though he now has a pretty darn good job doing something totally unrelated, he still seems to go skiing extremely frequently…I guess if the mountains and fresh snow are right there, it’s kind of a no-brainer!

    For me, the “what would you do in retirement?” question is essentially a thought experiment…which is probably a good thing since I have no idea what the answer is. But I think it’s a really, really valuable question to ask oneself, even if retirement is many years off, and I plan to keep thinking about it. :)

    • Hi Sarah! Haha… it was probably remarkable self restraint not to write “powder days” 10 times in the post. :-) Can you tell it’s winter, and that’s what we have on our minds?! And yeah, it’s kind of THE thing to do when you live in or near the mountains. Skiing powder is the closest humans can come to flying… definitely recommend everyone try it (just maybe not on the days when we’re out there — we don’t need longer lift lines!). Haha.

      I think focusing on your purpose and maybe long-term vision is a great thing to do when you’re still a few years out. I can’t imagine this will ever be your problem, but we do see a good number of FIRE bloggers who write a ton about what they want to escape FROM but never talk about what they want to retire TO. That is a major red flag. I think as long as you have some sense of what you’d do after you don’t have to work for money anymore, you don’t need any sort of detailed plan until you’re close. :-)

  19. I loved reading about what you plan on doing once you pull the plug. It’s inspiring to read such posts from fellow aspiring early retirees. I have been definitely thinking about this more and more; while what I would like to do and what I may actually end up doing will be quite different, I’m still definitely looking forward to it. Two years ago, my plan for early retirement looked very different from today – the responsibility of taking care of another human will do that! The plan to possibly pull the plug for myself sometime this year is looking more and more a reality, but I am still afraid to let go of that ‘safety net’, aka a full time paid job. But like all fears, I’m sure I can only plan so much, and worst case, I can always go back to working if it comes down to that (which I really hope it doesn’t!).

  20. This is awesome having such a detailed plan of what you want to do! I am inspired to do the same. My goals I wrote for myself are a lot more general but I do want to dial it in a little more.

    Early retirement stories like yours are amazing. It’s something I’d like to do as well. Not just retire at 65 like you’re “supposed to”.

    • What we hope is that this is *just detailed enough.* We also don’t want too much detail in the plan, which would make it either unattainable, or would make us keep feeling overscheduled like we do now. We for sure want lots of unscheduled time, but we also don’t want to fritter our time away completely… all about balance, right? And I’d love to read more about your thinking on early retirement… we for sure agree that ER is a way better option than working for 40+ years like most people!

  21. It is so important to have a dream isn’t it. I love the plan and all of the details you have provided. Now this is retirement planning. Regardless of age, we all need to do this kind of thinking, including all of the granular level details. Enjoyed it!

    • Hi Laura Beth! Yeah, we love the dream, and we also love getting concrete about it all. As we get closer, it starts to get more real… so exciting! Thanks for commenting!

  22. This. All of this list. Absolutely incredible! You have definitely touched on a lot of pieces of my life I try to carry out right now, but OH what it would be like to not have that big chunk of the day devoted to work (thankfully my new company is very flexible, and pays its employees to volunteer for 4 hours a month!). I look at our Google calendar and it seriously looks like Tetris. All of my coworkers now are incredibly active in the community serving on boards, volunteering, groups, exercise classes etc. but we are literally here, there & everywhere on what seems to be Sonic like speed. I absolutely love how in your 1st year of retirement you wish to continue those efforts – and not just completely unplug/live off the grid. I could only imagine the contributions you will be making towards all those activities (with more rest!) will be incredible. I look forward to hearing about your 5 year plan if you write a post about it!

    • Calendar like Tetris — LOL. SO TRUE! But that’s seriously cool that your new company gives you so much flexibility, including the volunteer time! And yeah, I think if we go off the grid in year 1, we’ll just waste the year sitting on the couch! We want to be sure that doesn’t happen. :-) We’re debating whether to do a five year plan… I think it’s more like a set of goals. But we’ll definitely share *something* on that soon. Have a great weekend, Alyssa!

  23. You have a wonderful plan for retirement. As a mother of three, I may be most envious of an opportunity to catch up on sleep. I love how early retirees make plans for active adventures, because you’re still young enough to do strenuous activities. We need to make our own health more of a priority so that we can make similar plans, even though we will be 40 when we semi-retire.

    • I’m hopeful that you’ll be able to catch up on sleep once your kids are older. :-) And even though we’re ahead in terms of time, I also think we’re older than you — we’ll be 38 and 41 when we pull the plug. So we don’t have endless time to be super active either! :-)

  24. Ok, I’ve been thinking about this since your post. The first few days of FI will be slow, mostly comprised of thinking. I think a steady diet of citrus fruits will be in order–there is something cleansing about grapefruits. I don’t “move” as much as I would like to, so I also want to invest more in fitness to achieve specific goals I have for the first year. Over time, we’ll have to work on a slightly more specific plan than this. Ha! Thanks, as always, for the thought-provoking posts.

    • Those sound like some great first steps! Even if juicing and thinking might get old after a little while, it sure seems like a grounding way to kick things off. :-)

  25. The reality of year 1: It took me a while to slow down, to realize all household work and errands did not need to be done on the weekends, to not over plan days and leave some time to just be, to enjoy a 2 hour cup of coffee with an old friend. Things I did “do”: created my LLC and a networking plan to build potential clients, took 2 writing classes and a bunch of computer classes (switched to an Apple as no longer work computer), visited an old friend I had been putting off for years & went on a first ever mom/sister trip, put together a 5 year plan (involves caregiving issues and right sizing house), started an exercize program, started a foodies club, & researched retirement transition and creating a new life. Theses days I have an “out & about” plan – involves everything from stay-cation seasonal activities to fun with friends (hiking, new restaurant exploration) and time with Tim (hubby). I have a list of 150+ possible things to do that I regularly review, add to, and check off. I hate to say I am busy, because I always have the option to rearrange my schedule to do nothing…sit in the sun & daydream! That is the freedom of retirement.

    • Thanks for sharing all of this, Pat! We’re definitely assuming we’ll have a lot of transitions to go through that we haven’t anticipated yet. We can’t wait, though, to do more errands and fun things like skiing on weekdays, to avoid the weekend crowds. It sounds like you achieved a good amount in year 1, so that’s nice to know! We sometimes worry that we want to do too much, too soon, but it sure seems like you’ve checked off a lot of boxes!

  26. Lol…. those elusive and incredibly short lived powder days at the resort …. my ski buddy always says – there are no friends on powder days – how does that work with the spouse?

    • Hahaha — there ARE spouses on powder days, mostly. ;-) We’re pretty good about splitting up when we need to, and Mr. ONL is very patient about staying with me when I’m going slower than he is. (Not that I’m slow, just that he can CHARGE.)