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Weird Urges As Early Retirement Nears

Something we’re noticing, as we pass through 15 months left until early retirement, is that some days that feels like it’s right around the corner, and other days we have a case of Are we there yet?!?! Why aren’t we there yet?!?!?!? in a big way. And sometimes we’re simultaneously super chill and massively impatient. (Okay, “super chill” probably never describes me, but maybe at least “super chill for me“?)

On some level, we probably could have expected that emotional swing on the timeline. But something we hadn’t expected is this:

As we get closer to our ripcord date, we’re having some weird urges. Like pickles and ice cream weird, except without being pregnant.

And the urges seems to be spurred by this line of thinking: “This could be the last time I/we ever ________. Therefore I want _________.” Just what are these urges, and are they actually as weird as we think? Read on and let us know!

OurNextLife.com // Weird Urges As Early Retirement Nears / We're realizing that we're starting to do things for the last time, which is bringing out odd urges in us!

A few things to know about us: We may have been ballers once upon a time, but we are deeply casual people. We have never liked things that are stuffy or formal, and most of the time we can’t be bothered to dress up beyond the basics when we have to go to a work meeting or function.

When we travel, we mostly want to get out and just be in a place rather than spending a lot on attractions or shows that pull us away from the real experience. If we do any fine dining, we have always preferred the unpretentious places where you don’t feel like a neophyte if you put an elbow on the table or let your back touch the back of your chair. You get the idea.

And that’s why these urges are so weird. They all run counter to who we are as people, though they make sense on a basic level.

How They Began

Though early retirement is starting to feel close some days, our default setting seems to be that it still feels a somewhat large distance off. Its imminence is not affecting our work yet or changing our day-to-day financial habits. But even though it still feels far off, the “It could be the last time” thought is popping up more and more. I’ve started going into work travel thinking, “This could be the last time I visit this place,” or “This could be the last time I meet with this type of people.” Mr. ONL’s thoughts have been more like, “We only have a little bit longer with a lot of discretionary income.”

And so those thoughts come and go, and with them they bring urges to do things that are out of character for us, or at least out of character for now us.

The Urges

We’d love to know if anyone else has experienced anything like this on your road to FIRE. Let us know in the comments — or just make fun of us. ;-)

Urge 1: Fashion

That whole deeply casual thing is relevant for one reason especially: I have been having this powerful, out of character urge to be the Fashionable Businesswoman until we quit. Remember when I wrote about how I travel like a minimalist? That’s made possible by carrying a practical travel bag instead of a fashionable handbag, not schlepping a bunch of pairs (or any pairs) of heels, and keeping a very streamlined wardrobe for work travel.

Except now it’s like a switch flipped, and I’m having thoughts like, “This is my very last chance ever to be a boss in meetings with powerful people. I want to stomp in there and impress them.” Um, “stomp?” Who am I, Tyra Banks?

Despite going the last several years — happily! — without wearing heels, I am now craving them. I find myself flipping to the way back of my closet where my sharpest suits live, and glancing online for a few new pieces. And purses — oh my gosh, I haven’t bought a new purse in a few years! Yet suddenly I want all of them. Who is this person??

Our town, like most outdoorsy mountain towns, is not a place where heels, a sharp outfit and a cool handbag would be appreciated, like at all. Most likely, I would be treated as a clueless out-of-towner in need of a pat on the head and a ticket back home, because those impractical fashion pieces have no place in the outdoors. I think it’s this fact that’s behind this urge. If we were living in Manhattan and planning to stay there, I wouldn’t need to have this crisis, because those things would still have a place in our post-retirement life.

But instead, because of where we live, I feel the clock ticking down on my ability to be this person I never even wanted to be before. And suddenly having the chance to be that person feels important.

I indulged a little bit and bought a pair of heels a few weeks ago. I’ve rocked them in a few meetings — sans new handbag — and learned that 1.) Yeah, it does feel fun and different to walk into a room that way, and 2.) Holy crap, heels still hurt. My feet will be glad when early retirement arrives.

Urge 2: Extravagant Travel

Our single biggest budget line item in retirement is travel. That’s even knowing that we’re going to go into retirement with close to 2 million air miles in the bank between the two of us, and a bunch of hotel points too. It’s clearly something we want to do a lot of, and yet we’re feeling the clock tick down on a certain type of travel: the we have lots of discretionary income and are going to travel like it kind.

Which is weird, because we don’t need to stay in upscale hotels, and I’ve even been actively trying on Twitter to talk people out of opening credit card accounts that give you airport lounge access for a higher fee. (Me: “The lounge is just a different place to sit, with crappy snacks.”) I’ll for sure miss my fancy pants airline status once I’m not traveling enough to maintain it (farewell, free snack boxes and occasional upgrades), but not because I need to travel that way. Mostly I’ll just miss the legroom of those seats up front.

So it’s weird that we’re currently planning a trip to Las Vegas where we are not going to stay at the most budget-friendly hotel, but instead are going to stay somewhere hip, with a spa that we fully intend to patronize. Even though paying more for a hotel adds very little extra to the experience of a trip, and we can get value-priced massages at home.

And we’re talking about planning one or two more international trips before we quit that will involve travel to pricey countries. We’d probably go for the more budget accommodations for those trips, but it’s all relative, and we’re still talking about spending a small fortune. We can “afford it,” sure, but it’s crazy how strongly driven we feel to make this stuff happen while we still have a lot of spending flexibility.

Do this urge and the last one sound a little like a midlife crisis to anyone else??

Urge 3: Gear Hoarding

Though rationally we know this thought is ridiculous, we keep finding ourselves thinking, “We won’t be able to buy anything new after we quit, so we need to make sure we’re fully equipped with X, Y and Z.” Which, lest you ever held any false notions that we are frugal despite our protestations, means that we now own eight pairs of skis and duplicates of several other types of outdoor sports gear. Yes, I said it: We own eight pairs of skis. (And if Mr. ONL had his say, it would be nine pairs. Maybe 10. Or 14. That guy likes skis.)

The best way I can describe it is that we feel like we’re little chipmunks preparing to hibernate, and we want to be sure we have everything we need stored away for the long winter ahead. Because somehow in this equation, future us won’t have access to stores, gear swaps or Craigslist, and we have to go into our extended winter with everything we’ll ever need. We know it’s not true rationally, but the emotional urge is no joke.

I’m convinced this is how true hoarding begins, and I’m super thankful that 1.) We hate clutter, which motivates us not to acquire too much, and 2.) We have been there with buying many things in the past and so are aware of these thoughts. Both tendencies are keeping the gear hoarding urges in check, but the urges themselves are still there.

Your Turn

Anyone feeling compelled to confess weird urges you’ve had when thinking about early retirement or other big life changes? Like is what we’re going through akin to what it feels like for people expecting their first child, who are facing down the end of their irresponsible years? (Using “irresponsible” facetiously there.) We don’t have kids so haven’t been through that, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Or that midlife crisis question — I’m only half joking. Is early retirement bringing on a premature midlife crisis for us? We’re all ears!



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99 replies »

  1. On our campervan trip to Germany and France this year, we decided we’d holiday in the UK next year, so the next time we’re in Europe, it’ll be for our first long winter trip -post-retirement – in 2018. That feels really weird!

    We’re also planning to move house when we retire, so we can live back near the sea again . The research and planning has become a bit of a project (I’m a project manager in my day job), which has become something tangible to focus on as we hit the ’18 months to go’ mark.

    Enjoy the last few months of ground-rush!


    • What a cool thought, that the next time you’re in Europe you’ll be retired! :-) I can definitely relate to how all-consuming that planning can be. Good luck in your home stretch — we’re on such similar timelines!

  2. I’m starting to think along some of those same lines. For example, I’ll be working throughout the Christmas holiday weekend, but I’m fairly sure this will be the last time that happens, which is a most wonderful feeling.

    My thinking is somewhat contrary to yours in terms of spending and hoarding. We want to start minimizing our “stuff burden” between now and the ripcord date. We’re also aiming to maintain or cut back on spending (just posted our last 12 months tracked expenses). The less we spend in the next couple years, the larger the nest egg will be, and the larger the allowable spending in retirement. I’d love to have a very low withdrawal rate in the early years of early retirement.

    I’ve never liked pickles. Always loved ice cream.

    -Physician on FIRE

    • Good to know you can relate! I can definitely see how reminding yourself that whatever you’re doing is the last time would make it much easier to deal with the unpleasantness. I still haven’t gotten to a point of wistful nostalgia when I have to work all-nighters, but maybe soon. ;-)

      We WERE in completely the same place with regard to spending, and have gotten our natural spending down below what we have budgeted in retirement. But then :::poof::: this set of bizarro urges came out of nowhere! Super weird.

  3. I am hating the idea of buying more dress clothes for work right now! I was only working part-time but have to fill in a few clothes to even get through the temporary gig. We are looking at the discretionary income I am bringing in right now to upgrade ideas for our RV/camper :) I still need to chat with you about your ideas on that! So yeah – some of the same weird urges, but we might be really happy with the result!

    • That WAS me until just recently! I was already finding ways to incorporate my outdoorsy casual clothes into work meetings. So this recent urge is quite the 180 and totally disorienting.

      Let me know when you’re ready to chat RV! Happy to share what we’ve learned since it’s otherwise just taking up space in my brain that could be used for other things. ;-)

  4. We did similar things on a much smaller scale before we moved into our new house while living at my parents house.

    “We won’t be getting sushi once we have a mortgage again” type thoughts

    So – I don’t think you are crazy!

  5. What a neat phase to be in though… Experiencing things that you know will be your last time. Although weird I’m sure it is a wonderful feeling. Enjoy these moments as best you can, 15 months will go fast!

    • Oh this is totally a great problem to have, reflecting a pretty kick ass place to be in our lives and finances! :-) Not complaining. Just confused by these urges!

  6. First of all, stomping into a board room type setup holds no water unless at some point during the meeting you also throw your phone “demanding results”, hahahahaha

    And yes, the airport lounge is a different place to sit with crappy snacks – and free liquor. :) That alone could pay for itself if you’re used to having even 1 airport priced beer before your flight when you travel. I always get there early to avoid any stress (ahem, cue panic monkey) and then usually have a beer while I wait and read. If I flew more, I could justify it paying out fairly easily. :)

    And double yes, that IS how hoarding starts. :) I swear every time I’d visit dad, he would show me a new bag he got that would be perfect for disc golf (he didn’t play and he already had 5 “perfect” bags), or a great deal he got on a set of golf clubs (he ended up with 6 sets and he never played golf). You see where I’m going here? Yes, you guys use your things, but it’s a slippery slope, (slope… skis… anyone?) hahahahaha

    Back to the original question though, yes we have similar feelings but more related to travel. As in, we’re going on an overpriced Disney Cruise before we “retire” because it won’t hit the budget so hard. We’ll even probably go to Disney World too for similar reasons.

    I’m on the opposite end of clothes buying though and I have 2 more years. Mainly, I’m looking at everything dual prupose like – could I still wear this shirt untucked with jeans and sandals? If yes, then buy, if no – re-evaluate, do I really need this shirt? Same with shoes, I could use some more, but maybe I just need new insoles and a shine instead…. Ugh… This is probably all buoyed by the fact it comes from my personal fun money, so new clothes equals less free capital for other things. Ahhh, fun money. :)

    • I was thinking less about screaming and throwing my phone, and more about being the icy boss who never raises her voice but still terrifies people. Like Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada. But who am I kidding… I could never pull that off. Haha.

      If you’re able to have a beer while flying, you do not have my life. I am working practically every second, which takes a lot of the fun out of getting upgraded — I can’t get drunk on the free booze! LOL.

      Good note on the slippery slope (Ha!) to hoarderville. We’ll be careful. :-)

      I’m glad you guys are doing a few splurgy trips before you quit, because why the heck not. And I WAS just like you on clothes, loathing the idea of having to buy anything new before we quit. But suddenly it has changed and I am quite surprised by this development! A former client told me that my style is “hiker chic,” so you know I’m rocking the dual-purpose clothes even at client meetings normally. :-)

      • Well, since you mentioned Tyra Banks, the phone throwing was the first thing that popped into my head, lol.
        We figure the splurgy trips will be easier to cover prior to losing income, and we won’t stress about it as much. Especially reading the stories of people retiring, spending too much the first few years and wrecking their nest egg.
        I’m really more of a shopper/spender so I’m appreciating the non-need to buy clothes currently, however I feel like it will probably change at some point in the future. SAHD’s still need to look good too right? hahahaha

  7. It sounds like these urges could be what manifests in other people as One More Year Syndrome. “If we had an extra year of income saved up, then we could travel more extravagantly and make sure we can buy new equipment.”

    The fashion urge (and your explanation of it being your last chance to dress up like someone that you never wanted to be in the first place) made me think of graduation goggles from How I Met Your Mother. “Like with high school. It’s four years of bullies making fun of kids with braces. But then on graduation day you suddenly get all misty because you realize you’re never gonna see those jerks again.”

    • I think if our jobs were less stressful, we’d be susceptible to the one more year thinking in a big way. So maybe it’s fortunate that we aren’t willing to stretch our timeline to spend more money in retirement?

      And haha re: HIMYM! It’s funny how things get more appealing or nostalgia-inducing when you know the clock is ticking!

  8. This post brightened my day but not too many weird urges here. To wear heels at work I would have to go out and buy them first and instead I keep planning what I will do with the space when I can ditch the work clothes (only three months and counting). 8 pairs of skis sounds like serious hoarding, I’m no ski expert but surely ski technology will improve and you will just want the next best thing and don’t they all take you downhill:) The only weird thing I have done is buy some new lovely fluffy towels recently and I did say it was worth doing now as we might not be able to afford such expensive towels when we retire. Also we’re off for a weekend city break with friends in a few weeks, that might be for the last time. Next year I think our still working friends will be in a spa hotel and we will be camping down the road – but I think we will be happy slumming it:)

    • Thanks! :-) Take my advice and don’t go out and buy those heels — even my “comfortable” ones still about killed me. ;-) As for the skis, I’m not trying to excuse what is clearly an area of excess for us, but it’s not actually crazy for skiers: We each have 1 pair of powder skis, 1 pair of regular resort skis, 1 pair of backcountry skis (completely different bindings and function), and 1 pair of old resort skis we just haven’t gotten rid of yet but keep so that we can ski when the snow is thin and rocks are poking through. ;-)

      I think your towel purchase sounds lovely, and makes total sense. It’s nice to know that you can retire with a few luxurious things around you, especially because they won’t be in the budget later on. I fully support that. :-)

  9. It’s weird, but I kind of live my life like this. It’s possibly a bit over-the-top, but it really helps make the best of any situation. When I feel like I am running on fumes (seriously…it’s only September!), I try to think, “If this was the last lesson I taught, what would I want my students to remember?”

    I also think this was our philosophy as a couple when we first started dating. How else could I explain all the eating out we did? Better try this. Better order that. Hoard all the carbs! ;)

    • I totally do that, too! And it really does help boost my motivation and gratitude. This is completely lame, but I especially do it if I am for some reason staying in an especially nice hotel. I appreciate it so much more knowing that this is a fleeting thing that I may be enjoying for the last time. :-)

  10. We’re going through something similar. We’ll be moving next spring to a new town as we enter the next phase of our lives – more like semi-retirement rather than full-blown retirement (we’ll be 57 and 60 years old when this happens so not near as young as you guys!) My husband will transition to a part-time job and I will still work full time for a few more years, although I’m hoping to have a much less stressful job than I do now. I’ve found myself making a bucket list of places to visit in and near our current town since we’ll be moving away in less than 10 months. And yes, I’m already starting to think about going to these places and considering that this may well be the last time I go here. Once we move we’re planning to take about 6 months off before working again and are planning a European trip during this time since after we start working again we are not sure when we’ll be able to take such a trip again. Since we will be moving the thing we will miss most are our friends so although we are excited to start this next phase, there is definitely a sad side to it.

    • Good to know that you guys are having a similar experience! I’m sure it’s all the more pronounced because of the big move you have planned, and the knowledge that you’ll be leaving behind good friends. Before we left the big city, we made a local bucket list, too, and it’s fun to look back on the memories we made in those final months there! Hope you guys have fun checking things off the list!

  11. Very interesting topic! I admit that we also have the feeling “We should take care of X things now while we are still working”, but honestly, that’s about it. The rest of our lives are pretty much the same. No strange urges that we can determine. The only REAL change that I’ve seen is telling my boss “No” to projects that I don’t want to work on, which has been a seriously liberating thing to do.

    But, I also get those “it’s right around the corner”, and the “aren’t we there yet?!?” feelings. More of the latter than the former as we move closer to the epic escape date. Patience is a virtue that has always come more difficult to me. :)

    For us, it’s not a midlife crisis. Rather, it’s midlife exhilaration!

    • OMG — Sooooooo jealous that you can say no to projects. We are not at that point yet. Soon!

      You guys not having any big weird urges also makes sense to me since on some level you’ve already made your biggest change. Selling your houses and moving into your Airstream is such a BFD that actually quitting your jobs won’t feel quite as huge — that’s my prediction anyway. ;-)

      And I love that — “midlife exhilaration”!

  12. Ok let’s talk about that credit card. I love my CSR. I bought a last minute flight to Dallas for the weekend and instead of paying $1k+, I paid $.27 thanks to some miles and getting reimbursed $300. And when I fly, I get to sit in a lounge and have free snacks instead of sitting out with everyone else where there’s no power, no free wifi and no free snacks. It’s a win-win for me!

    • You know that my ultimate rule is spend based on what you value. And if you value that, then awesome. I mostly just try to demystify the club for folks who haven’t spent much time in them. Most airports have really improved their free wifi, so I no longer find connecting to be a challenge, and ditto on power plugs at the gates. Compared to five years ago, or even two years ago, it’s so much better. And you’d have to buy a lot of snacks to make up for that annual fee, BUT again, plenty of people get good value out of those cards, and if you love the club, then it could very well be money well spent. :-)

  13. Since Mr. AR ended up retiring after becoming disabled, and I retired in an instant when my employer finally crossed a line I couldn’t tolerate, neither of us had the luxury of planning (hence our handles “accidental retirees”). Had we had the benefit of clear knowledge of the last meeting, last conference, last court appearance, last whatever, I’m not certain we would have approached any of it differently. Most of the work related stuff becomes shockingly unimportant in retirement. I gave away all the nice clothes, fancy coats and jackets, expensive shoes and designer handbags. I stopped the mani/pedis and high end hair coloring and styling. I don’t really know if that stuff became unimportant to me, or never really was important in the first place and I justified the expense for some internal emotional need that had nothing to do with the job. I’m fairly certain I could have performed my work professionally without the Louboutins, but did I love them? Absolutely. I worked very hard and was paid well, and those short term rewards kept me thinking I couldn’t “afford” to retire because I’d have to give up my lifestyle, which seemed like some kind of death to me. Eventually the job became so stressful, the demands on my time so outrageous, the returns on my emotional investment so lacking, and the baggage from employment for a heartless, unethical company such a barren existence that all the baubles I could acquire in an effort to balance the scales just couldn’t get it done. You have the clear advantage of a good job with a clear exit strategy. Buy some heels, take a pricey vacation, invest in some skis, get a new roof (sorry, that’s what I would have done while I was still working if I could have), relax and enjoy these last few months as a fulltime employee receiving those lovely paychecks! You’ll never be exactly where you are right now again, so indulging in a few harmless urges in a secret celebration of your imminent departure sounds like fun to me. Enjoy the ride!

    • [Note to Mr. ONL: Don’t take the advice about buying more skis! We’re good! ;-)] Haha.

      What’s funny is that my big “splurge” on heels was nothing like what you’re talking about — I bought some clearance Aerosoles and felt all sassy wearing them. LOL.

      On some level I wish your retirement had been spurred for different reasons and had been on your own timeline, but it’s SO clear that you feel no conflict or second thoughts about it, so maybe that’s an odd sort of gift.

      Thanks as always for the great counsel from the “other side”! :-)

  14. I wore heels to work last week for the first time in about three months… D*mn those hurt!

    I can relate to your urges to do the things, and be the person, you don’t really want to be, very much. Our retirement budget will be a bit higher because I am uncomfortable with completely going without the ability to say YES to that fancier hotel + spa treatment (okay, for me it would be the three star hotel in the Swiss Alps–I don’t do Vegas except as a layover on the way to Zion NP, but whatever).

    If I knew I would be okay with going without, I’d be retired tomorrow. But not having the option would chafe. So I’ll keep working OMY. Good for you for committing to give that up for a while. I do think your plan to increase the budget later in life helps here, and makes a lot of sense.

    • Yeah, boooooo heels! And mine are even Aerosoles, so I can only imagine what it would have been like if they’d been an actually fashionable brand. :-) The being-some-other-person thing feels pretty strange, but on some level I get it too. It’s my last chance to play this kind of dress-up, and I want to make the most of it I guess. And to your point, YES, it’s way easier giving up the cushy stuff for a while, knowing that we can get it back to some extent when we hit age 60. It would feel odd to quit well-paid jobs for a life with no discretionary spending ever!

  15. Very interesting post. My experience is mostly opposite. Over time, I find myself less interested in work-related things like global travel, driving for results, and clothes for work and more interested in non-work things like time with my kids, outdoor exercise, hobbies, investing, etc. Maybe this means I dislike my job more than I think? I really don’t think there is much about work that I will miss but maybe I’ll be surprised when it happens.

    However, I can totally relate to the gear hoarding since I plan to use my outdoor gear a lot more when I have more time (luckily, my outdoor hobbies are pretty cheap).

    I also feel the urge to make a few large purchases (new roof, replace my 14 year old vehicle) before I start living off my savings. I know it doesn’t matter if I spend the money now or after I retire but it will feel worse to spend the money once the paycheck ends. It will be great to start early retirement with lower spending to help ease into such a big transition.

    • How far are you from retiring? Overall, we’ve found the exact same thing you have — that it’s easier and easier to spend less and less (we’re already spending less than we’ll have to spend in retirement). This set of urges is a recent phenomenon that’s all the more perplexing because it comes out of having adapted to a pretty low rent lifestyle and being completely happy with it!

  16. These thoughts make our FIRE number much higher than it probably needs to be. What if I want X? What if I need Y? What if we want to visit Z?

    It’s also realizing things aren’t all good or all bad. While retirement is the overall hands-down iron-clad winner, working does have some redeeming factors too.

    In sum, you’re normal. And congrats on being so close!!!

    • Thank you for the affirmation that we’re normal! Haha. Yeah, same here. If we were willing to give up more stuff, we could be done by now, but we don’t want to box ourselves into a life with no budget for discretionary spending.

  17. I definitely had travel envy hard core when I early retired. 30+ countries later and I’m more content hanging out stateside and relaxing while I work on building up my blog and online presence

  18. I’ve never particularly liked fancy clothes. My biggest excitement about career break? Less dry cleaning. Ha. I kid about it being the biggest excitement, but it will be nice.

    • Oh I hate dry cleaning. I don’t buy many clothes, but these days I refuse to buy anything that requires it. Though most things don’t and can be washed just fine at home so long as you do the delicate cycle and then hang it to dry. :-)

      • Don’t test my theory on your favorite shirt or anything, but yeah, most things truly don’t need it. Especially men’s shirts — if you know how to wield an iron, you can definitely launder them and even dry them at home. I’m convinced most people don’t question the dry cleaning tag just because they like having someone else do the pressing and ironing!

      • I actually can wield an iron! When I did my 6 week Australia/new Zealand trip a few years ago, a lot of the hotels had irons that we utilized from our shirts getting wrinkled in our suitcases/backpacks. I found that whole experience rather calming actually.

  19. Love the picture today!

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about those urges – it seems like you have way too much self-control to let them get out of control. Semi-retirement is still years away, but I still have to fight one urge . . . the one to quit my stressful job. But I keep reminding myself that although five years seems like a long time, it could be so much worse.

    PS – You should make a monthly countdown chart like Mr. & Mrs. Groovy!

    • Thanks! I have a bit of a thing for light houses. :-) (Pretty sure that’s not unique!)

      I know five years has to seem like an eternity, and I’m not going to lie and tell you that it will fly by. I’m sure it will seem fast in hindsight once you reach your goal, but it will seem much slower while you get there, especially since you have such a stressful job. I’m always all ears if you want to vent about it! #piercedPFchicks stick together. ;-)

  20. Haha, nothing comes up for me. I dress pretty casually for work. I’m trying to load up on my hotel and airline points for future personal travels but we’re still a few years away from reaching FI.

  21. Ba ha ha ha. I love it! Does “I want to quit my job and quit my blog” count as a weird urge? I’m ready to be done NOW! I just want to spend my days learning new things, playing with my kids, keeping things organized, and creating! Boo to office drama! (And no, I’ve never had any desire to wear heels… though if it meant being Tyra Banks, I’m on board!)

    • Dude, you know how I feel about you quitting your blog! (Though I think we’d all understand if you need to cut back your posting schedule. I’d vote for that over quitting!) And OMG — the thought of being Tyra is hilarious. Maybe when I’m on my way out, I’ll shout some Tyra-esque things in meetings. “Smize!” “Work it!” “Mmm-hmm!” Hahahahahaah

  22. The way I can help is from my being-a-parent. The irresponsible years stopped indeed when the first was born. There was some buildup towards the first born of doing items because it is the last time…
    It lasted till the second was one year and then gradually the irresponsible things came back: mini-bachelor trip to Ibiza anyone, road trip with friends (no wife, no kids) to Italy and Germany, technoparties?

    I think it is a question of doing not what feels impossible later. Once later, you will realise it is actually still possible.

    • That’s interesting that you experienced something similar before your daughters were born! I’m glad, though, that you’re able to do those fun things again. You know how I feel about making time to dance to techno. :-) Agree with you 100% that of course those things are still possible — it just sometimes feels like they won’t be!

  23. It is mainly defining a prioritized list of what needs to be done in the home (if anything) to help sell it. There are a few things such as some front of home landscaping due to losing three trees in a micro-burst weather event about 6wks ago. Curb appeal is generally important but there is a fine line to walk in terms of how much to make it “appealing”. i.e HGTV super finesse versus good and tidy enough.

    Squirreling away more money (like PoF above) is also an important ongoing effort without compromising our current lifestyle too too much.

    Finally, resisting the urge to mess with asset allocation yet have clear thoughts on what the final tax-deferred and taxable breakdowns will look like in terms of equities (US, ex-US), bonds, REITs. We perhaps have some tweaks we can do but nothing major. We talk a lot about cash needs also and what will be an acceptable amount given an income floor we will have. On that latter point, there is always an urge to build a higher cash position but when exactly to do that in terms of timing before the paychecks stop flowing?

    • Given that you’re planning to sell your house, all of your expenditures on that front make sense, and don’t strike me as weird at all! Same for looking at your allocations and ideal mix but not wanting to mess with things. That’s just good sense! And we’re still mulling over the same question re: when to build up the cash position. Right now we have about 1.5 years, but want to take it up to 2.5 or 3. We’ll know much more after we find out this year’s bonus amounts.

  24. This totally makes sense — I’m sure on some level the thought of pulling extra funds for these things in ER would be a little unsettling. But you and Mr. ONL have likely added a lot of these costs into your budget projections so, even if you did spend the money on them, they are likely covered in your annual budget anyway.

    I LOVE purses and only recently ended my addiction so that one I can totally relate to! If you do splurge be sure to check out Kate Spade’s clearance section online and the Coach outlet stores (and online outlet). I have purses from both and they’ve held up great over the years :)

    • Okay, I am clearly not a purse person because I just looked at Kate Spade’s sale page and nearly spit out my coffee seeing those prices. Hahaha. But then what I’d spend on ski equipment would probably cause the same reaction in lots of other folks! All about priorities. ;-)

  25. Interesting thoughts! I miss my dressy wardrobe since becoming a stay at home mom! Now that I can wear casual stuff all the time, casual clothes aren’t as much of a treat as they were in my working days. I love your thought process of trying to “splurge” more now while disposable income abounds. Kind of ironic. I’m excited for you to be sort of in the homestretch to retirement, although I can see how over a year still seems a bit long to wait!

    • Thanks! I can totally see missing the dressier clothes if you’re dressing casually every day now. I wonder if I’ll feel that — though given that I’ve worked from home for years now, I bet I’m already mostly over that. I just want to be able to look sharp in a few meetings, not dress up every day. :-)

  26. During grad school (in the upper Midwest) a fellow grad student who from the east coast tried to impress me with his $300+ NorthFace parka by saying “these are so coveted where I’m from that people are getting SHOT for wearing them and they will be stolen off their backs.” Uh, wow, what? Needless to say, it did not impress me in the least! So being from “the middle of nowhere” has its advantages in that people care very little about what you wear, and will probably judge you more harshly for being overly “fashionable”! :)

    • Haha — that’s a pretty weird selling point! Yeah, we can definitely relate to people in small towns judging others for being too fashionable — BUT, there is plenty of expensive outdoors gear on display here, since it’s a ski town. It’s okay to wear expensive ski gear so long as it’s from legit brands, not pure status brands, but something that’s only for fashion and not function would get the side eye. :-)

      • Yeah I remember stopping through Aspen on a trip through Colorado and wow, what a weird town! It was like Los Angeles fell into a Patagonia outlet. Very posh – I felt totally out of place in my hiking clothes. Most other places in the mountain west you can definitely feel a “keeping up with the joneses” effect in terms of gear, and I’m sure it’s amplified when you live out there! But we’re always tourists so what do we care :)

  27. So many correlations to when I was pregnant with our first child! I felt like I needed to stock up on household items, as if I’d never enter a store again. I wanted to go out with friends even if I was super tired, because it felt like I’d never have the freedom again. And we definitely tried fit in as much travel as possible. I guess preparing for a big change brings out the “carpe diem” in us!

    • It makes so much sense that you would experience this when pregnant and that we’d likewise be feeling it now — must be some phenomenon about preparing for change! Or a carpe diem thing, as you said.

  28. Hmm, I have some of these feelings, but more towards people than things. E.g.: this will probably be the last time I can have lunch with this or that colleague, he’s a nice fellow but I won’t have any reason to keep in touch with him once I FIRE, I should have lunch with the guy.

    • Those are urges that make a lot more sense! :-) We’re pretty surprised that the things popping up for us are feelings in favor of spending, which is completely counter to how we normally think. I’m sure the urges to spend time with people will also follow — just not quite there yet. ;-)

  29. I think it’s hilarious you’re having cravings–just because the word is so closely related to pregnancy. Maybe you’re preparing to “birth” a new life?

    I would never have expected you to have written about this or for people about to retire to have cravings like wearing high heels, etc. Very interesting post.

    Finally, the only “weird” thing I do when moving out of a home or apt or office is to say goodbye to it. I loved my second to last apt and I remember taking one last look around, kissing my hand and touching the wall, and saying goodbye.

    • We are surprised by it too! ;-) Definitely not opposed we thought we would ever write! And I love so much that you say goodbye to places. We do the same thing. ;-)

  30. We’ve been experiencing the same thing. This week we were at the mall, for the first time in months to years, and caught ourselves saying that we didn’t want to not be able to shop at the mall because of early retirement even though we shop almost exclusively at the thrift store. We are also leaving in two days for Ireland and then a week in Cabo San Lucas in three weeks because we felt like we needed to get in any bucket list trip before we pulled the trigger.

    Like you guys, we have a bazillion miles stored up if we wanted to do any of this, and our travel budget is never all that frivolous. It’s just that feeling of “what if we’re wrong”.

    I’m guessing this just comes with the transition and we’ll all get through it. Timely post though.

    • So glad you chimed in! Sounds like you guys are having a pretty parallel experience! We’re like you — we don’t need to shop at all, and when we do need a few things, we’re happy with used for the most part. But there’s something about thinking that some possibility is disappearing forever that changes the way you think about it! Have a fantastic time in Ireland and Cabo!

  31. So I can’t compare the FIRE as of yet, no crazy urges…that I know of, but a couple debt free urges, oddly enough mostly bike related:

    *Buy a new bike because well the old one is “so old”, Yes New Bike and I love it.
    *Buy a new backpack because well the old one is “so old”, haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
    *Go to the “Big Game” sporting event, Yeah I’ve done this once or twice.

    I’m sure there are a few more, I think in both of our situations it involves freedom, we get a little case of the “I can and/or should buy everything” and we end up in a weird urge zone which can take us down quite easily. However we have built up over time and I’m sure we won’t be buying fancy heals or new ski gear forever.

    • That sounds pretty similar! I remember when I was paying off my consumer debt, I bought essentially nothing, and I had a bit of a splurge list ready to go when I hit the end. It mostly involved outdoors gear, and maybe a pair of shoes or two. ;-) Also, I swear the new shoes I bought are not fancy! They were Aerosoles on sale. Very reasonable and practical. Hahaha.

  32. Man you’re going to love Las Vegas so much! I went there with my buddies and I wanted to stay at a budget friendly Airbnb while they wanted to stay in the strip in the fancy hotel. Am I glad that they didn’t listen to what I wanted to do, it was so worth it! (Especially cause it was split between 4 people).

    At times a splurge that I do want to go is just travel to wherever I want to travel to without worrying about the costs because I can pay for it. That will severely damper my plans of early retirement, however, so I try to refrain from it but it can get very tempting at times..

    • Glad you had a great time in Vegas. We always enjoy it in small doses, though we’re ready to go home after about 48 hours max. ;-) And yeah, if we won the lottery, we would for sure spend that money on travel around the world without worrying about what things cost.

  33. I can’t wait to stop spending money on business attire. I literally never wear suits unless I’m going in the office and I find myself needing to “retire” certain shirts and ties after they start to look worn out. I potentially am four years away from retirement but retirement somewhat scares me as I am unsure how I will be able to occupy my time. My wife certainly doens’t want me at home watching tv and my son is too young for us to travel all around the world. So I may end up continuing to work until I find a new “passion” to occupy my time.

    • Our advice would definitely be to keep working until you have a clearer vision for your “next life.” ;-) You don’t just want to be occupying your time — you want to be living a life that makes you super excited to bound out of bed every day. Keep looking — I know you’ll find it. :-)

  34. These are fascinating Ice Cream and Pickle thoughts for sure. With pregnancy, some of the cravings will not pass until they are satisfied and some won’t be remembered when you enter the next room. Human brains are interesting machines. You almost have enough to safely retire and it is reverting to a scarcity mindset. Change is hard on brains and other adaptive systems, but not impossible as long as the loads are properly channeled.

    • Yes, there is definitely some reptile brain rearing its ugly head these days. :-) If only we could convince the reptile that, no, we don’t need this stuff! But it doesn’t respond to reason!

  35. I’m not near retirement, but when fall comes around, I always want a more polished wardrobe (more Olivia Pope than Tyra, though!) I was just looking at my closet and missing my East Coast outfits — including heels — that just don’t make sense in my casual Bay Area office, but I can’t bear to give away.

    • Haha, yeah I actually have zero desire to dress in the wacky stuff Tyra wears. ;-) But I totally understand your desire to hang onto your old wardrobe even though it doesn’t fit your current life anymore!

  36. I totally got into “must accumulate gear” mode before we quit our jobs. It started with legitimate things we needed for the van and international travel but also turned into a bit of a slippery slope into some new backpacking stuff that we haven’t even touched yet. Whoops. Maybe next summer?

    I haven’t missed the “business look” or high-end travel once. The only time I’ve put on a dress shirt or tie in the past six months has been for a few weddings. In fact, my last month or so in the office (especially once I had put in my notice), I started showing up in jeans and outdoor gear. Nothing to lose!

    • That’s good to know! If you bought backpacking gear, then I don’t feel so bad. :-) And yeah, I for sure won’t wear any of this stuff again after we quit, so it’s silly to buy anything new. But then it’s that FOMO thing again, and it feels like my last chance!

  37. Ha, this reminds me of when I was engaged and went on several shopping sprees “for the honeymoon” or whatever. Really I wanted to “stock up” on pricey clothes before combining finances with my soon-to-be husband. I wanted to ease him into the true cost of my lifestyle. It turned out to be a complete non-issue (I didn’t even shop that much to begin with!) but I remember the urgency with which I planned to get my hair cut, buy anything I might need over the next 6-9 months, etc. right before getting married.

    I will say it may not be the best sign if you’re even subconsciously expecting your life to change that much after retirement. For one thing it’s not rational, as you point out. If you buy stuff now you’re just investing that much less today – which is the same thing as taking money out of investments to buy stuff later, financially at least. If you truly think you won’t be able to afford things you want now, later, you may want to work a bit longer and pad your portfolio until you can. You’re not going to wake up one day and not like massages and nice hotels anymore, and that’s OK!

    • I can totally see the desire to do exactly what you did! What’s funny is that the feeling of wanting to wear certain clothes or whatever isn’t driven by a feeling that we can’t afford to buy them later, but just an awareness of how ridiculous I’d look in our mountain town wearing work-appropriate city clothes. So it’s more about a ticking clock and less about money. :-)

  38. Fashion yes. So weird. All these Tory Burch dresses I’ve collected are going to look out of place living in a trailer in a few years.

    At least I bought them all second hand for a fraction of a price and can sell them on eBay and break even at a minimum.

    • Hahaha! Yeah, you’re right about that! And that’s great you can break even when you sell those dresses back. I will be happy to ditch my suits, but think I’ll keep most of my dresses just because I’m a way bigger fan of them than of pants… but I’ll probably have to invent occasions to wear some of them! ;-)

  39. We’re about 3 years away and haven’t felt the urges but I did get the first taste of “this might be the last time…” I sometimes test off-road trucks in the CA desert (tough job but somebody’s gotta do it) and I thought my most recent trip could be the last so I said special good-byes to some of the people we work with out there. Fortunately it looks like I was wrong and will probably enjoy a few more, capped off with fantastic stays in San Diego before flying back home! But I certainly expect a lot more of those feelings as time marches on.