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What’s Our Money Really For? // There’s More to Life Than Future Goals

Now that the markets have dropped the volatile act for a while, our numbers are back where we like to see them. We’re hitting new peaks so far in March for retirement balance and liquid investment balance. In fact, we’re on the verge of a *very* significant financial milestone, which could even happen this month with a little help from the markets. Or in the next month or two from our savings. But…

We’re facing down a pretty expensive April. We have three different trips planned, though most of the big elements like flights and event tickets are already paid for, which does help. We also have that monster tax bill the IRS will subtract around the 15th, and that’s going to hurt — no two ways about it.

When you’re saving like crazy for early retirement, any money not going into the savings pool can feel like a setback. I’m sure it feels the same way if you’re saving for another big goal, or working hard to pay off debt. When you put this much of yourself into the effort, it’s hard to see funds pass through your hands that don’t serve the ultimate goal.

There’s More to Life Than Future Goals

This is something I often remind myself these days, that there is more to life than the future, and there’s more to life than goals. Future goals are great, important, critical even, but they shouldn’t always take precedence over today. And those goals also shouldn’t take precedence over our values.

If we dumped every dollar we could into our retirement funds, there’s a chance we could be retired already, or at least we could retire sooner than the end of next year. But we’d live a far less joyful existence, and we wouldn’t be able to support the causes and people that we care most about. That wouldn’t be worth it to us.

There’s More to Money Than Future Goals

It’s easy to think of money as somehow separate from our lives, but it’s not. Money is a clear representation of our life force, something we receive in exchange for our time and energy (concept borrowed from Your Money or Your Life). It’s not a perfect representation, of course, and those who earn more aren’t more worthy human beings than those who earn less. But how we spend our money is not just a proxy for what we care about, it is directly what we care about.

And while we care a real whole lot about our future goal of retiring early, we care about other things too. And that’s why we try hard to ask ourselves, especially in those times when we’re most impatient to save fast to early retirement will hurry up and get here already, what our money is really for. It’s an important question that we all should be asking ourselves.

What's your money really for? There's more to life than future goals! We ponder this question a lot: what we really want our money to do for us. Our answer: we need it to sustain us in retirement, of course, but also to be a source of support for friends and family, and to let us enjoy experiences that make major memories!

A Little Living for Today

We love music and the arts more than just about anything, and while we’ve scaled back a ton on the number of concerts and performances we attend, we still place huge priority on them. So we have a few big splurges coming up in April that are so totally worth it to us:

World-class ballet — This is me redeeming my birthday present from last fall with a trip for both of us to see one of the top ballet companies in the country. Much of the travel is covered by points, but there was still the cost of the tickets themselves (not cheap), and there will be a nice dinner afterward.

Our favorite music festival — In April we’ll make the long trek to Coachella, to soak up some sun and enjoy the best the festival circuit has to offer. At $375 each, tickets aren’t cheap, but we see on average 30-40 bands over the course of the long weekend. And it’s just generally one of the highlights of our year. Well worth the money!

Seeing Elton John with my dad — David Bowie dying earlier this year made it really hit home for me that the musicians of the 60s and 70s won’t be with us forever. If we want to see them, we need to get on that already. I took my dad to see the Rolling Stones a few years ago, and he still talks about it all the time — it was super special for both of us, but a major life highlight for him. This time I’m taking him to Las Vegas to see Elton John, another one of his favorites whom he’s never seen. It being Vegas, you know the tickets were a small fortune, but travel hacking covered all the rest. Plus, my dad’s only a year younger than Bowie was, so I can’t pretend like he’ll be around forever either. Having the privilege to get to do something like this with him, knowing that he’ll carry the memory with him until his last days, is the true definition of priceless.

Supporting Those We Care About Most

Speaking of family… we’ve made some decisions that others might disagree with (or actually have disagreed with, right here on this very blog!) to support family. Family is super important to us, and we wouldn’t feel right if we were prospering and selfishly socking all this money away, but then refused to help family members in genuine need. And not just in genuine need of seeing Elton John or the Rolling Stones. It’s why we made that personal loan to a relative, against the well-reasoned counsel of many of you, and why the year before, we bought a house specifically to rent to a relative and we helped move that person cross-country.

We’re not suckers. We aren’t just handing out money left and right. We’re not like those horror stories you hear where someone in the family strikes it rich and all these leeches come crawling out of the woodwork to ask for money. The loan is a loan, and we are making money on it, but it’s also helping a family member who is serious about getting out of debt do so. The rental house is a long-term investment on which our family member is paying fair market rent, but he also got plenty of say in choosing the house, and he gets a guarantee of never getting evicted or getting some unreasonable jump in rent.

Rather than view these instances of helping family as financial setbacks, we made them part of our financial plan. The loan principle is an asset that we count in our net worth, and we’ve reduced our bond investments while the loan is outstanding since they cover the same hedge against stock declines. The rental property was a decent deal for us, and will be a better deal for us once we’re in a lower tax bracket post-retirement. It also provides us with a number of contingency options in retirement in case any of our other investments go south.

What’s Our Money Really For?

We are big fans, whenever we’re questioning some decision of using the “when you’re looking back on your life…” measure. Like the adage that no one ever says, on their deathbed, that they wish they’d spent more time at the office. We don’t want to look back and feel like we hoarded our money selfishly when we could have helped others, or that we missed out on major joys in life because we were so focused on saving.

We want to know that we lived well, if not every day, at least every year of our lives. That when we saw opportunities to help, we didn’t look away, we stepped up. That we supported causes we care about, not just with lip service, but with dollars. That we put our money where our values are. 

That’s a life we’ll be proud to look back on. :-)

What’s your definition of what money is really for? Do you have anything you’d like to be able to do besides early retirement or debt payoff that contributes good to the world or even just to your own life? We’d love to hear!

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72 replies »

  1. So many concerts! I went to an Elton John concert like 15 years ago. I slept through most of it. Don’t be like me! Ha!
    I agree with you, but it’s something that has taken time for me to get used to. I’m learning to be more generous and to enjoy the generosity. To be fair to myself, I’ve only had money for the last 2 years. But before I was too attached to my money and couldn’t see a benefit to someone else equal to or greater than my own, so I didn’t give. Now it doesn’t hurt to give and I’ve matured to see other’s reactions.
    On the experience side, we cut back too far and are trying to find a more balanced sweet spot. With my debt payoff, law school and his debt payoff, we’ve been on a slim budget for a long time. We were talking about this this weekend and Hubs is still kicking himself about not going to see Rammstein a few years ago. Next time (there better be a next time!) they are in town, or they do a full show in the midwest, we are going! So you aren’t in the dark about my music taste, I make sure to go to every Eric Whitacre concert that comes through town. :)

    • I will not be sleeping through Sir Elton, especially since *I* paid for the tickets — haha. I did sleep through Hootie and the Blowfish once, though… my friend was not happy with me, but it was not my thing, and I was tired… obviously! :-) And you guys make quite a couple, between Rammstein and Eric Whitacre — haha!

  2. I have a hard time reconciling this sometimes myself. While I’ve cut back on a lot of things in my life, I still do have wants…yes, WANTS, not needs. I have to try and figure out what is worth “robbing” future Tonya for what Tonya wants right now. And sometimes it’s justified and sometimes it’s not…but I wrestle with it. The ballet trip sounds amazing btw!

    • I feel strongly that there’s nothing wrong with wants — it’s just a matter of separating the real wants from the fleeting wants. And the real ones are often worth indulging. Like I might see some gadget and want it in that moment, but I know that’s just an impulse buy trying to happen. Going to see music and arts, though — that’s a want that’s always stuck with me. :-)

  3. I’m trying to be better at balancing spending now while still achieving my FI goals quickly. I definitely don’t mind spending on experiences but it’s a balancing act. I think once I get to those goals it’ll be much easier to concentrate on giving my time and skills to other things that do a greater good. Whether that is money coaching friends, family and my future community, or getting involved with causes I’m concerned about such as the environment and financial literacy.

    • You for sure seem to have a good handle on things, but the best advice we have ever received is “Don’t wait.” If we all waited until we reached our goals until we did the things that are important to us, we’d miss out on a lot of life. :-)

  4. For me, money is a tool to realize a fulfilling life.

    Part of that is raising our two children (and soon, our niece) into productive adulthood. The older daughter is already long out of the house, training as a professional dancer and touring with her academy’s troupes. http://www.shenyun.com/ She’s on her second tour of the Pacific Rim in three years, earning her scholarship. I’m very proud of her! Go see Shen Yun when you can.

    I cached enough to take a six-month sabbatical for the last half of 2015. I’m still milking it. :-D Feels like a trial run at retirement, though it’s more of a pause on the run-up to FI. Playing with blogging and some other business ideas, though I think I’ll be back into the contract/job market come spring break. We’re eight to nine years out from early retirement, closer if something in one of the businesses takes off. Enjoying the journey regardless.

    • I love Shen Yun! Haven’t seen them live yet, but have seen lots of video. How cool for your daughter! That must be an amazing life experience, in addition to fulfilling her dreams. Wow.

  5. This is an important topic. When you don’t know what you want and you stockpile money, you’re essentially hoarding your money for some future use and that’s just not a very fun feeling to have. Yet, forcing yourself to spend carelessly in the present obviously isn’t going to be productive in putting money (or time) to good use. At this point, I just try to say yes whenever someone gives me an opportunity to do something fun with my money. Or if somebody is raising $$ for some cause.

  6. I love this post. You guys understand the balance. We often think of our money in terms of how many minutes (or hours) it took to earn it. Then we can judge the relative value of the purchase or event. Is that fancy dinner out really worth 3 hours of your hard work? (usually, no). But Elton John, however? Most definitely worth a week! Memories that will last the rest of Dad’s life! Enjoy Vegas! – And as for helping your family…well, I could tell by reading that you are just good people!

    • Thanks, EV! :-) We’re doing something similar in terms of value, but rather than thinking of how long it takes to earn the money (stupidly fast these days!), we think about how long that money would sustain us in retirement. Our ballpark number we use is about $100 a day in retirement, so that’s what we measure things against. So, yeah, seeing Elton with my dad… worth several days. :-)

  7. It’s so important to live a life that reflects your own priorities. I think you’ll be greatful for keeping everything in perspective along the way. I wouldn’t be opposed to helping family members, after we take care of our own financial problems.

    • I agree with you on taking care of your own problems first! That’s certainly most important. But once you’re on solid footing, then you have a lot more options. :-)

  8. I agree, if you can’t have fun with it, and just fuss and worry over it, then what good is money. I think when you cross the line where you cringe about every dollar not put towards savings you’re kind of missing the point… This was why my first reaction to FIRE was so strong against, because I just pictured a life of no fun, and tons of worry because we’d be broke all the time, and through our own choosing no less. :) Now that I realized that’s not the case, well, it makes things easier.

    The balance for us comes with allowances, and even convenience things that we might be able to get done cheaper ourselves, but we can pay someone to do much more efficiently – similar to your driveway snowplow guys. I like seeing live music, and while we haven’t gotten to do much lately, we’re way more into experiences over stuff.

    • That was my fear with FIRE, too… that we’d live this weird life of poverty by choice and be resentful that we’d given up cushy jobs to do it! But yeah, now I see that isn’t true. :-) We don’t do allowances like you guys do (but it seems like a good system!), but I do foresee us actually budgeting for some music and festivals each year in retirement. It’s something that we’ll do until we just can’t put up with those younguns anymore. :-D So might as well plan for it!

  9. We are striking a balance between short term goals and long term for our money. If you just focus on long term it can become stale and not to fun. We want to enjoy some family vacations and experiences while the kids are still home. The times goes quickly. We had a couple of seventeen year olds turn up this week seems like yesterday I was changing their diapers.

    • I think with kids at home, it’s a completely different ballgame. You have such limited time with them and have to make the most of it. Based on what you’ve shared on your blog, I think you guys are doing it right! :-)

  10. The article says it all… Money is there to give us the life we want now and later!
    I hope you enjoy the ballet and festival nd other activities you will be having soon!

    A few years back, a manager on an assignment thought me this: work hard, party hard! I did for a few years. Now I am more mediocre on both…

  11. Awesome post and a very important topic. I think it is the mark of true financial success when we consciously splurge on things that we know to be important to us, and only do so when it is reasonable. Going to concerts every month (or even every other month) can get expensive, but some people do. For you, it’s more than just entertainment. You aren’t getting trashed in a mosh pit. You’re spending time with the Mr. and your dad. The meaning inherent in your decision to spend money is incredible, and *meaning* is what separates wise spending from unwise.

    I will be the first to admit that we don’t give as much as we can, but we are okay with that. After we quit this damn full-time work crap, we actually plan to spend quite a bit of time volunteering around the country. I guess we prioritize giving our time rather than our money even though we haven’t done a lot of that yet. Gotta have the time first before you can give it! Soon…

    To us, money is to be spent on things that are meaningful. You definitely have that concept down pat. We feel like we do as well. We could spend less, but compromising our enjoyment of life is not worth the additional monies we’d have in the bank. Of course, there is a line that divides what is meaningful and what isn’t, and the more disciplined we become with our financial choices, the LESS fine that line becomes.

    At the moment, that line is written using a brand new Sharpie (I love the smell of those things!). Soon, we hope the line gets redrawn using a small paint brush. Eventually, it’ll be a giant roller.

    Keep on rockin’!

    • Maybe I *am* getting trashed in the mosh pit! Hahahahahaha. JK. We’re now the old people dancing in the back, because we don’t like it when the kids knock us over. :-) I like how you made the distinction — spending that has meaning — and that’s completely it. And I think our Sharpie line *has* gotten to be thicker over time… maybe we’re up to like a Marks-a-Lot level line. :-) And the stuff on the meaning side of the line is stuff we’ll always spend money on happily!

  12. Garrett and I had this conversation tonight on a walk, perhaps invoked by the tweets I read at work today. ;) His health has taken a dive, which makes me really wonder what our money is for. Sure, we’ll be debt free soon and well on our way to FI, but what do we sacrifice in the process? I imagine that this theme will be ever present in my writing and self-reflection for the foreseeable future.

    • Sorry to hear about Garrett — I hope it’s nothing too serious! Couldn’t agree more that health is the absolutely most important thing, and never worth sacrificing for work or money stress (don’t know if that’s what’s going on with him — just saying this generally). Making sure we can always afford health care is priority number 1 for us!

  13. This post hits home. I struggle most of the time choosing between ‘enjoying the now’ and ‘delaying gratification’. Last year, I chose the latter about 90% of the time only to learn in the end that I should definitely strive for balance. I’m still gutted I missed the Rolling Stones the last time they came here, but I’m happy I was able to see Bob Dylan live even if it felt like we were in a spoken word show rather than a concert (he was still awesome, nonetheless). I think after Glenn Frey passed away early this year, and not having seen The Eagles live, my boyfriend and I decided that we’ll never miss seeing someone we’ve always wanted to see anymore. So. Much. Regret.

    I can totally relate with you on the helping family out part, too. I guess you know the story. I don’t think I can ever live a happy/fulfilled life knowing I’m perfectly fine while my family struggles. And I know they are the same and if in the future the tides turn and I will need their help (knocking on wood), I know that they will lend me a helping hand too.

    Thanks for witing this. It’s definitely one of those posts that I need to read these days. I hope you guys have a great Easter break.

    • I’m glad this post was well-timed for you! How great that you got to see Bob Dylan, but for sure a bummer about the Eagles and Stones… though the Stones might still come back. They always say a tour is their last, and then they keep going… :-) I spent kinda major bucks to travel to see them during their “last” tour a few years ago, but they’ve done at least one if not two more tours since then. Oh well… still worth it. :-) And yeah, the family stuff. We all gotta do what feels right, and there are folks in the family I wouldn’t be as eager to help, but others I would help in a second. And I know you can’t go on without helping your family if they need it, which earns you big karma points. Hope your break is great! We don’t have an actual break here, but I’ve gotten a few sick days for a nice winter cold. :-)

  14. This sounds like a conversation I have with my wife fairly regularly. I’m very much on the plan for the future side of the fence, but I do have my moments where I indulge wants. She’s very much on the live for today side. I think… maybe we’re starting to meet in the middle. Of course, the past month and a half have been a little hectic and short on the careful planning and restraint. Still, we’re managing to stay on track. It gets frustrating for me though because I see some of the frivolous expenses in terms of extra weeks before escape (which is still like nine years away, honestly).

    Ah, life :)

    • I am not recalling the source just now but I’ve seen a study referenced several times in the PF space that says we can only maintain motivation toward something for about three years, and then we lose our steam. I think if you put all your juice into planning for the future, you’re more likely to flame out, but if you balance it with some living for now, I bet you’ll have all the motivation you need to keep going. That’s definitely been true for us. I’m sure if we’d been depriving ourselves of all the fun through all this FIRE saving, and for house purchase saving before that, that we’d have thrown up our hands long ago. Just my two cents. :-)

  15. Such an important topic. I have the benefit of reflecting on my dad’s financial decisions as a point of reference. An undeniably brilliant man, he chose to deprive himself of many things in order to create great wealth. We didn’t stay in hotels or eat in restaurants, we camped and my mom cooked every night (even though she worked fulltime). For years I said I’d never live like that. When we were both working and making good incomes, we went on lavish vacations (with all three kids), owned multiple RV’s, designer clothes, jewelry, etc. It’s taken many years for me to see, and understand, the wisdom of his ways. While he was much too far on one side of the equation, we have a tendency to be much too far on the other. Striking a balance has proven to be a very difficult undertaking. I tend to postpone costly, fun activities like vacations until some financial goal is reached and use them as a reward. Lately I’ve begun to feel that’s not the path I’d like to follow going forward (probably because there’s a lot less forward these days). I’d like to plan fun into the budget and simply get in the habit of putting money aside for no specific purpose other than that, but it feels like a very foreign concept and I haven’t made much progress. We are always willing to help family (we have two loans out to the kids at the moment); that’s not an area where I even hesitate. It’s much easier to be kind and generous to family than it is to ourselves, apparently. We just cancelled a vacation originally scheduled for April because we felt it was too costly and frivolous. I’d really, really like to get over that feeling that the expense must be justified, but I guess we’re still too new at the fixed income game to be able to loosen up. Hopefully with time we’ll get to a place where we can spend money on fun for ourselves without feeling like criminals, but we are not there yet.

    • Your story about your dad, your reaction to his penny pinching ways, and then your swing back in the other direction really shows how important it is to try to find balance. I’m sure the adjustment to living on a fixed income has got to be discombobulating (we sure expect it to be for us!), and I hope that’s what’s behind you canceling your vacation. I hope as you settle into the new normal, you’ll allow yourself some of those fun expenses — because otherwise what’s the point of being retired?? :-)

  16. Yay for spending money on things that are important to you now! Your trips all sound super fun!

    It just so happens that I purchased eight weeks’ worth of Spanish classes at the community center earlier this evening, even though this is definitely not helping me pay off my debt any faster. I reeeeeeally want to be fluent in Spanish and I’m studying a lot on my own, but I think I’m at the point where spending some time in a structured environment with a native-speaking teacher would be really helpful. And I feel really good about the purchase! Not only will it be fun for me, it will also definitely help me do my job better.

    I also want to make a point of seeking out new and meaningful experiences this year, even if they cost a little bit of money. While part of me is tempted to sort of hunker down in my apartment and do nothing so I can throw every extra penny at my debt, the wiser part of me knows that this would probably not help me pay off my debt *that* much faster and would also hold me back from trying new things and having meaningful experiences. So I’m thinking a lot about where the balance is. I’m thinking some mini-trips to places near Boston (LOVE the Boston Harbor Islands) and maybe going to see my brother in Colorado. We’ll see. Still brainstorming. :)

    • A thought: if you’re working on Spanish for work, can you get them to reimburse any part of it? Often even small employers have some sort of tuition reimbursement program. Worth asking…

      And yeah, we have to do SOME of the fun stuff or we’ll go crazy. There would be some serious cognitive dissonance between making very good salaries and trying to act as if we have no means whatsoever. There’s actually something that feels icky about that — does that make any sense? Not to mention miserly. I feel like we have some responsibility to share the wealth, which we for sure do through taxes and charitable giving, but I also want to be able to support artists and friends who are doing cool things, and there’s a big element of that in our wanting to go to shows and such. I’m super excited for the next month! And I do hope you can go to CO to see your brother!

      • Ah, I wish. I get $200 per year to use for professional development (so…not a lot), and I’m already going to a conference that costs more than $200. :/ Ah well. Plus I don’t *have* to learn Spanish for work; it’s just that I know it would help me. But really I’m happy to pay — it’s $160 for eight 2-hour classes, which really is a pretty good deal, especially compared to what universities charge for a semester-long course!

      • Ah, okay. Makes sense. But I totally agree that it’s worth it. Improving our Spanish is high priority for both of us, too, because we want to travel all over Central and South America, and right now it would be a pathetic sight. Hola! Donde esta el abogado? Sabado gigante! Dos chilaquiles, por favor! Yep, we pretty much learned what we know from menus and bus ads. :-D

  17. We are still paying down debt and with my wife in grad school will likely have loans for a while, but we still don’t completely deprive ourselves of spending money today on things that improve our lives. Don’t get me wrong, I like to save, invest, and be frugal, but we are slowly renovating our house. The first room will be the bathroom and it will require sinking some $ into it but I think it will greatly improve our quality of life. Just have to not go overboard on the budget!

    • I’m so glad to hear it! It can be such a grind paying off extensive debt, and it’s easy to lose motivation if you don’t balance all that frugality and scrimping with some fun as well. And I love that you’re improving your home — that will pay off for many years to come in terms of quality of life, as you say. :-)

  18. It is reassuring to read perspectives like yours on FIRE blog sites. We really do think frugality is important, but perhaps intentional spending is what we’ve most appreciated about having started our plans to save more and retire early. Sometimes we feel like spendthrifts when we read that MMM is spending only $20,000 per year for a family of three while we plan 3-week trips to Europe, etc. But, yes, we are prioritizing what’s important to us–and we are spending mindfully.

    Good luck reaching your destination. It looks like you are going to get there a week before us–and about 10 years younger to boot!

      • Well hello there, Julie and Will. :-) We’ll reveal our actual names when we quit our jobs. Until then, it’s the inelegant Ms. (me) and Mr. ONL.

    • Glad to hear it! I’m glad that MMM is enjoying his life, but it sounds a bit joyless (and far too sanctimonious) to us — we’ll take our slightly higher rent life and be perfectly happy. :-) Excited to connect with you guys since you’re on such a similar timeline!

  19. Wonderful post! I think you captured the essence of the tight-rope we all walk with our money. There are no magic formulas to happiness. The trajectory to financial independence isn’t a straight line. Life happens. Personal and family challenges arise that require money. Personal and family opportunities also arise. I like this principle-grounded approach because it’s flexible enough to make sense in the realities of life. Kudos for writing a great message!

  20. I think you’ve hit the nail on the most perplexing problem in this space. I know we have gone too hard on future goals in the past and have just decided to put some of my bonus on a family holiday (above the normal domestic ones).
    I’m coming to the conclusion that the values I have now will be the same in the future so as long as I’m true to my values and align my time and money with them, they will all be congruent. Trick is to do that on a daily basis :)

    • Thanks, PE! And I love how you put it: the values you have now are the same ones you will have in the future. So yes, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which future you looks back and regrets spending now that aligns to your values!

  21. Great post and good reminder that life isn’t always about being frugal and saving ALL THE TIME. I do come across that problem as I get excited when I can dump extra into savings and investments when sometimes I need to take a step back and enjoy the present.

    We definitely budget for fun and entertainment, but sometimes I think I agonize too much over not making a purchase when maybe it wouldn’t kill me to splurge once in awhile.

    • Thanks, Vic! I completely understand what you’re talking about — I’m the most impatient about wanting our balances to get bigger and closer to our magic number. :-) But we also gotta make sure we’re not accidentally sucking the joy out of life in the meantime, or refusing to help out family who genuinely need it. This post is a good reminder for us too. :-)

  22. This is exactly why we are so undecided with our plan. We can’t hit that big number before the kids are gone… and then, part of the point is gone! Thank you for your wise words. I constantly struggle with the “any funds not going toward the ultimate goal” thing – but I have to realize that I can get there… it will take longer, but I only have ten years left with Penny – I have to make those count as well!

    • Yeah, I feel like it’s a completely different calculation for you guys, with kids who will only be home for so long. There’s always quality time later (which I’m trying to cram in now with my dad! And even more after we quit!), but this next decade has to be your priority. I know you’ll make it count. :-)

  23. Not being an early retiree in most sense of the word. I just retired at the age of 60. I really had no interest in retiring sooner. What made my decision to retire was actually a song by Lucas Graham called “7 years”. It is a song about his life with his father. At 60 his father basically says that at “60” look back on your life and it will be a better one. That was it for me it hit home.
    You are right on about doing things when you are younger. Goals that I wanted to do such as raft the grand canyon or visit Alaska are not as important now. I told my sons if there is anything they want to do when younger do it asap. Your goals and desires change or just disappear with age.

    • I still think you can call yourself an early retiree if you want to, because you’re getting several more years of freedom than most people do! But what an inspiring reason to retire!

      And thanks for your perspective on goals and age. I’ve heard others say they are in the best shape of their lives in their 60s or 70s, but you make the different point that that stuff isn’t important to you anymore. All so helpful to know!

  24. So pleased to have found your blog, My husband and I retired 9 years ago at 46, at times I felt like an alien, others like a peacock amongst penguins, it was only when we started to do exciting things we came across lots of other like minded people and started really living it without embarrassment. I so relate to all of the content here.