OurNextLife.com // Creating a Flexible Vision for Your Next Life / Life Vision in Early Retirement / Post-Retirement Life Planningthe process

Create a Flexible Vision for Your Next Life // Presence Over Absence

Good Things and Impatience

In a few weeks we’ll have our third quarter update (here are the Q1 and Q2 updates), but I’ll scoop my own story and share this: We’re already beyond our year-end targets on our taxable savings and 401(k)s. Even if our year-end bonuses aren’t huge, and even if the market takes a decent-sized dip before the end of the year, we’ll still beat our projections. Aiming higher this year has paid off big time.

We’ve always said we’d quit our jobs at the end of 2017, no matter what, though we had a number in mind that we wanted to hit to feel like we weren’t making a bonehead move. When we set that magic number as our goal, it seemed like a stretch, but it’s now looking like the much more likely scenario — barring a major financial crisis — is that we hit that magic number or come really close to it this year, a year early, and then pay off the mortgage and hit our super safe stretch number sometime in the spring or early summer of 2017.

If all that happens, it will be a major debate in the ONL house about whether to stay through the end of 2017 just to collect those bonuses. Mr. ONL thinks, quite reasonably, that we should stick it out through the end of the year, a sentiment that many of you share. Meanwhile I’m feeling extra impatient to leave work lately, and have a hard time fathoming continuing to work when 1.) we will have more than enough saved, and 2.) we can’t expect to spend more each year anyway without messing up our ACA subsidy calculations, especially given that we might try to work a little bit in retirement to hedge against sequence of returns risk.

We won’t know anything until this December, when we find out what our bonuses for the year will be, and then expect some hearty debate afterward on the topic. Until then, we’ll be over here pinching ourselves for having the best problem ever in the history of the world. #evenmoreawesomethanfirstworldproblems

But back to that impatience about leaving work. That’s what brings us to today’s topic: creating a flexible vision for your next life that’s based on presence, not absence.

OurNextLife.com // Creating a Flexible Vision for Your Next Life / Life Vision in Early Retirement / Post-Retirement Life Planning

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or frustrated at work, I quickly start daydreaming about the day when the work is gone. I’m positive we all do this, especially those of us working toward early retirement. Daydreaming is all in good fun for the most part, except when we’re actively working to put our daydreams into action, like with early retirement, and those daydreams will actually shape our thoughts about that thing we’re dreaming of.

In that moment, by focusing on a life with no work, I’m envisioning a future defined by absence, in this case the absence of work, instead of by the presence of some other, better whatever.

It’s not a big problem when it’s just those random passing thoughts. Clearly we still spend a lot of time defining an affirmative vision for our retirement, and the list of things we want to do is still longer than we’ll be able to get to.

But we’ve heard from a lot of folks that it’s much easier to focus on leaving work than it is to define a future-focused vision for early retirement. Do you find yourself falling into this trap? Do you focus more on what you can’t wait to leave behind instead of what you’re retiring to? Well you’re in luck, because today we’ve got graphics galore to make the case for why that vision is crucially important.

A Vision Based on Absence

Let’s do some simple math. Let’s say you have something, and you subtract a big piece of it. What do you have? Less.

Now let’s say that something is your life, and you subtract a big piece of it, which happens to be work.

OurNextLife.com // Life Minus Work = Smaller Life

What do you have remaining? The answer is still less. All of a sudden, you have a smaller life.

OurNexLife.com // Life Minus Work = A Smaller Life... IF you don't build it around other things.

A smaller life can mean a lot of things: A slower pace and shorter to do list (those might be very good things!), but also less social interaction, less to engage your mind, less to activate your passions. This is a recipe for a life with no purpose, where you find yourself asking, “How will I occupy my time?” And here’s a piece of advice if we ever gave one:

If you’re asking yourself how you’ll fill your time, you are not ready to retire early.

This is an early retirement vision based on absence, and that’s bound to lead to unhappiness, boredom and poor health. (More on that in a sec.) Early retirement is a beautiful gift, an incredible privilege, and it should never be about passing the time. It should be about living your very best life on your terms, as you define it.

So instead, let’s move away from absence and base that vision on presence.

A Vision Based on Presence

Back to that simple math problem. What if you take something, subtract something big, but then add in something else big? What do you have? More! A Bigger Life Comes From Adding Your Next Life Vision

If ever there was a time to live a bigger life, it’s in early retirement. A bigger life can mean anything, and its yours to define. It can be seeing more of the world, reading more of the books you’ve always wanted to devour, getting more involved in your community, scaling every peak on the continent and beyond — whatever fuels your stoke.

This is the time to dream in maximum bigness, to revive your childhood fantasies, to think about the things you see other people doing and think, “That’s so cool!” All of that can be in your new vision.

Keeping Your Vision Flexible

Of course, that vision doesn’t have to be one thing. You might have something big you want to incorporate into your life after retirement, but that doesn’t exclude learning, new hobbies, passion projects, random awesome things that come your way and maybe even a little work. Create a full vision for your next life in early retirement

The goal is to create a new vision and create space to go with the flow with new opportunities that come your way, things that may only be apparent as opportunities because you’re open and ready to jump at them.

You don’t have to have all the answers right at the outset, but having a vision for your new life from the beginning, to be supplemented by other things that come along, prevents you from falling into the retirement slump.

Getting It At Least Sort of Right At First

Many of us in the FIRE community like to talk about early retirement as though it is some fundamentally different thing from traditional retirement. But it’s not. You have a job or career that at least partially defines you for a long time, and definitely consumes a lot of your time, and suddenly that thing is gone. That is bound to be a tough transition for a lot of people, including those who think we’re nothing but excited to retire.

Rates of depression actually increase when people retire, rather than decrease, by a whopping 40 percent. Divorce increases. Health declines — dramatically. This is true across demographic groups, though men tend to have the hardest time transitioning to retired life. But if you’ve been thinking about your retirement in terms of leaving this one thing, and then suddenly it’s gone, you lose a big part of your identity and your world shrinks big time, it’s no wonder a high percent of people become depressed.

That’s why it’s so important not to go into retirement with the mindset of “I’ll figure out what I’ll do with my time once I get there.” The shock of the transition might make it hard to figure out what to do with your time, and that aimlessness is healthy for exactly no one. Figure out at least a starting vision, some things you want to do the first year, including how you’ll get social interaction, before you leap.

If you truly struggle to figure out what your vision for early retirement could look like, consider trying our purpose mapping exercise. Or keep working until you start to hear that voice telling you what you ought to be doing instead. There’s no shame in work, and no magical karma that you get for retiring early if you retire into a life of sitting on the couch and twiddling your thumbs. Or — worse — you end up going back to work because you were bored!

Chime In!

Do you struggle to envision what you’d like to do when you reach retirement? For those who’ve recently formed your vision, what helped you get over the hurdle? Or are you more like me where your problem is narrowing the list down to a vision that’s actually achievable? We’d love to hear from folks across the spectrum, especially those who’ve cracked the vision nut successfully!



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63 replies »

  1. It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m
    “sleeping” on an uncomfortable fold out bed in Mr. AR’s hospital room, so your post brought me a welcome diversion this morning. In thinking about retirement, it’s easy to romanticize what will and will not happen, and that’s what I see most people doing, particularly people who have made little provisions for retirement at any age. The notion of endless days spent traveling to exotic locales, performing meaningful work of some kind, volunteering and contributing to society dominate discussions. The reality is much simpler than that. Most retirees still have basic chores to complete on a regular basis. The laundry still has to get done, meals have to be prepared, consumed and cleaned up after. Groceries must still be bought, bills need to be paid, appointments must be made and kept. The rhythm of life slows down, but unless you’ve made major changes like moving to a foreign country or trying to live on a few dollars a day, most of what you routinely do while working you still do, you just have more time to do it. I can hang clothes to dry, because I have the time. I can cook more from scratch, and try a lot of new recipes, because I have the time to do so. I can take walks, or read, or do needlework. I recently sewed a pair of sheers, just because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Glamorous? Not at all. But every day in retirement doesn’t have to be planned out to avoid boredom. Boredom comes from the inside. You don’t need elaborate plans or expensive RV’s or a long series of meaningful endeavors to fill your time in retirement. You just need to learn who you really are, and what really matters to you, and that changes in retirement (or at least it did for us). I thought I didn’t want any more pets, because pets bring expense and responsibility and a lack of freedom, which I thought fell outside of my vision of my retired self. Then we suddenly lost one of our beloved little fury family members, and I learned that I was wrong. The price of that freedom means the lack of the presence of a cherished little creature, and that’s more painful to me than missing out on some trip I thought I might someday take somewhere, which I could do with or without pets anyway. I guess what I’m trying to say is that any perceptions you may have about yourself in retirement are based upon your “working” self; your retired self may be a very different person. As you take the time to know who you are as a retiree, you may find that just as you experienced while a working person, most of what you perceive as roadblocks to a happy existence have little or nothing to do with your profession or how much money you have, and much to do with what kind of person you are. Plan to be content, to simplify your life, to surround yourself with positivity, and the rest will take care of itself. For today, I’d be over the moon to wake up in my own bed, in my own house, surrounded by my (hopefully) healthy husband and my pets, sipping a cup of drip through (I can wait the five minutes) on the deck as the sun rises over the lake. World traveler? Maybe not now, maybe not ever. At peace with where I am today? Absolutely.

    • Is Mr. AR going to be okay??? I’m sorry to hear he’s in the hospital. Sending you guys lots of good thoughts! xoxo

      I think all of what you’re saying makes total sense — it reminds me of the book I’ve referenced before, “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,” by Jack Kornfeld. That mundane stuff never goes away!

      I agree with you that you don’t have to fill your retired life with a whole slew of busy new endeavors, but doing *some* visioning is important for most people. It sounds like you guys have beaten the odds in adjusting to a more “open” retirement easily, and I’m super glad for you for that. But YES, you said it a lot more clearly than I did: retired you might be different from working you, and it’s worth giving that some thought in advance!

      Hope Mr. AR gets better quickly!!

  2. My friend and I were just talking about this yesterday! I definitely default to defining retirement by the absence of work, though I do have a set of possible paths I would like to pursue thereafter. I think it is hard for me to express my desire for those paths now because it makes me feel… mournful? Like in thinking about a positive future I am recognizing some loss in my current potential.

    • Great minds. ;-) I hadn’t thought about that possibility, that you’d feel like you were mourning the loss of your potential, but I get it. I think that’s easily flipped around, though, by just letting yourself get excited about all the things you’ll be able to do that most people will be too busy working to contemplate seriously. :-)

  3. Congrats on hitting your goal already! That’s got to feel good, especially being so close to the date when you plan to make your escape.

    I love the graphics and the math. I’m a big fan of your framing of keeping your vision flexible. It’s good to have a balance between having something to retire to rather than from and having the freedom to jump from project to project and find your way. I am totally on board with retiring to a number of different smaller projects.

    • It DOES feel good! Thanks!! And it sounds like your head is in the right place — being flexible is key, but retiring to something (even if that something completely changes over time!) is so important. :-)

  4. I’m definitely with you as one of those day-dreamer about life after the 9-5 when the work day is stressful.

    Our vision is starting to come together a little better right now. For a number of years, I wanted to just quit and sit on my #$% for the rest of my life. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve realized that there’s more that I want to do. I would love to invest more time and continue to grow my site, write a children’s book, spend time with and educate my daughter, and start to build a healthier lifestyle (garden and exercise).

    My wife is planning on continuing to work although she will likely shift into a volunteer type of role (thank God for people like her!).

    I can only imagine as you’re getting closer to the finish line that you’re ready to jump ship sooner if you can (I’m ready to jump now!). Maybe you quit and not wait for the bonus and Mr ONL pushes through the rest of the year? If he’s not opposed to that, of course.

    — Jim

    • Daydreamers unite! :-) So awesome that you’ve been watching more of a vision come together — and I LOVE the idea of writing a children’s book, having loads of quality time with your daughter and dedicating big time to your health. :-) And haha — Mr. ONL would NEVER go for us quitting at different times. He’s older, so already feels the indignity of having had to work a few years longer than I will have. ;-)

  5. I know this will be shocking, but if/when we retire (early? late? who knows!), I’d love to open a library or a literacy outreach program. I also think that this is a really important exercise to do while work is in the equation. A lot of days I’m one big circle – teacher, teacher, teacher. And that’s a blessing and a curse. Being flexible with how we see ourselves and what we perceive as our purpose matters a great deal.

    • Shocking!!! I’m shocked!!! Hahaha. You are probably more clear on your purpose than any of our other blog friends, so something tells me you’ll be fine. Though, having such a strong purpose in work *could* lead to a major vacuum in your life after retiring. But since you have a clear vision of what you’d do after work, I’m not worried about you. :-)

  6. I am definitely in the “too many visions” column here. With two young children at home I know I will not be completely bored, although I will need to fill the hours between 8 am -3pm. I could simply do laundry, cooking and cleaning. My biggest fear is that I will JUST do those things, and won’t get to the long list of other things I dream of: volunteering/community building, DIY home remodeling, starting my own blog, painting, learning Spanish, learning to play the piano… My goal now is to prioritize, and to figure out how to motivate myself to stick to one project to completion.

    • Oh, amen sister! Too many visions all the way. :-) I think that’s a totally reasonable fear to think you could get sucked into just being a SAHM and doing chores, but I think knowing that potential pitfall and honing in on your most important future priorities will help you avoid that. I love your list, too… that’s pretty much exactly my list if you add skiing a lot more! ;-)

  7. Thanks for bringing up a really good point, arguably the most important point – the purpose.

    Prior to my first “mini” retirement I was in a lot of pain. Literately my hands hurt all the time and working on a computer made it worst (and was the cause). I was not in a mental (or physical) state to focus on anything but wanting the pain to stop. After suffering for a year, I quit my job. I had enough money saved up to live at least a year without working. My only plan was to move to the mountains to heal, to get strong, and get my life back. That is what I did. I healed slowly, I hiked, I read, I rested and slept well, I skied, and I found a new passion – to ensure everyone has safe drinking water. In this case I left a toxic environment with no real plan. Thank you F-you money. This turned out well, but it did take effort to make it work. I found that I couldn’t ski or hike every day all day. I needed rest days and I needed to interact with people, and to engage my mind. I had to seek those out.

    My motivation for early/mini retirement is to be able to work on projects that I find enjoyable and to play outside when the snow/weather is great (not only on weekends and holidays). I have the experience from my first mini retirement to know how wonderful it was and how I will structure my life to make it work. I have had a difficult time communicating that experience to others. I have developed a vision of skiing, hiking, biking and working on meaningful projects (whether for pay or not) that drives me to make wise financial and career choices today.

    I believe that everyone can attain financial competence and to be on solid financial footing. I do think that early retirement will be mostly attained by those driven to make it happen. That drive comes from having a greater purpose.

    Thanks for spending words and graphics explaining important issues such as this. Congrats on achieving your goal early!

    • Thanks for the congrats! It’s exciting times. And so much YES to your comment! I’m so glad you were able to heal yourself and take that break from working to do so. And I agree 1000% on finding ways to engage your mind and passions beyond the outdoors stuff which is super fun, but can’t be everything all the time. Plus, oh my god yes, no more weekend-only skiing! :-) I think your vision for your future is pretty darn close to ours — here’s hoping we both get what we wish for. ;-)

  8. If your numbers are ahead of schedule have you considered leaving work early and let Mr. continue to the end of 2017? Or just ask to scale back your work schedule?

    We don’t struggle with things we’d do in retirement, the struggle is where we’ll do them. We are not set on where we want to live. We don’t think we want to stay in the Northeast (cost, weather) but have to take into account where our three children land. We certainly want to be close to visit often.

    • A totally fair question, and I’ll just say that us quitting at different times is not on the table. ;-) Whoever is stuck working would get way too resentful, so we’ve agreed to quit at the same time. But the scaled back schedule is an interesting idea that we’ve just begun to consider — more on that after we know how bonuses shake out!

      I love that you’re thinking about where to live, and I know we’ve talked about that before. Since you have three kids who could all stick close together or scatter to the four winds certainly complicates that decision!

  9. Great strategy. Like with giving up a bad habit, it’s easier to focus on what you’ll add rather than what you’ll take away. The old habit will just get crowded out.

    Congrats on meeting your goals early–I can’t wait to hear all about your next life!

  10. Congrats on getting to your goals early – pretty sweet! I still chuckle at “fueling your stoke -brah” because I internally add “Brah” every time I read it, lol.

    Oh, what to retire to… 2 kids, a Prof. SSC that will keep “Prof-fing” at least for a while, maybe longer, who knows? I know we’ve discussed me working one more year, because money. Yep, dang incentives are pretty sweet! However, I am pretty darn sure after collecting my 2018 summer incentive, I’m only 1 “bad” week away from giving everyone a big smile, hearty pat on the back and a “So long and thanks for all the fish!”

    I like work, I like my company, I like the people I interact with, but they’re not my family, and I’d much rather spend time with them. Like accidental retirees pointed out, there’s always the normal stuff to do like cook from scratch, laundry, yada, yada, yada and being the SAHD I’ll become the new default parent. Thanks for covering that role currently Prof. SSC!

    As Lucky Girl pointed out, I’m worried that with 2 kids to take care of I may JUST get to do chores and the like. I’ll build a schedule like Root of Good that lets me run, swim, maybe even fish occasionally, play music, and video games PLUS cover all of the mundane chores, so it will be busy. :) Anything extra like volunteering whether with the kids activities/schools or outside of that with something new means a tradeoff of one of the above mentioned items.

    I’m okay with that, because while fun, most of my items probably won’t provide meaning or ikigai, rather a nice way to spend my free time. I’m sure they’ll get boring by Christmas and I’ll find something more meaningful to do. Until then, that’s my plan, and it may work out better than I thought, but I am trying to keep it realistic. :)

    • Thanks, bro brah! Because that’s just how I talk all the time, while I’m shralping the gnarl. I think your new life plan (with Prof SSC — warms my heart to see that title sticking) ;-) sounds pretty darn full. You have PLENTY you’re thinking of doing, plus you’re the least eager FIREr I know to actually leave work. Lucky you. :-) I don’t hear you guys saying much about absence, mostly just the stuff you’re looking forward to (more fancy guitar-type instruments! mountain living!), which is full of all kinds of presence. :-)

  11. Love the graphics and how a new vision can lead to an equally big or bigger life. We have dreams of what we might do with work-free time, but remain flexible because we’re not sure what our lives will be like when we get there. In the mean time, we try to incorporate some of that vision in now, to the extent that time allows. And we also think that preparing financially to opt out of work is a great position to put ourselves in, even if we just choose to work in a different way for something more in line with our vision.

    • Thanks! The graphics are just shapes in Powerpoint. ;-) I know that you guys are super dedicated to living a values-based life, and incorporating big picture goals into your day to day — and I completely love that. You’re so right that you don’t have to wait to do the bigger life stuff, though if you’re facing down a big subtraction, it’s smart to think about what additions will fill that void.

  12. Have you and Mr. ONL discussed the possibility of one of you retiring first? That way you still get one of the year-end bonuses. ;-) Or would it be too much guilt for the one who has to hang it up?

    I agree with everything you say about presence rather than absence. I’ve been “away from a job before”. AKA unemployed. It wasn’t very fun. I actually wrote about it not too long ago, which some people think I’m crazy for doing so, but whatevs, I feel like being genuine and vulnerable makes for a better blog read.

    The reason I have such ridiculous “boxes to check” for my road trip in the form of “here are 30 states I’ve never been to. Let’s go see all of them. Let’s also try to find a different way we can volunteer in each one. Let’s also try to see if we can finagle some freelance income too”. The reason for all of that is that it gives me somewhat of a plan and a purpose, because let’s be honest, if I’m left to be my own devices without a stable income, I’ve been there and done that and I immediately went into scarcity mode. I’m in a much better financial position now, but all it takes is a market crash (yes, there will be somewhere around 1 year of expenses in short term bonds and a healthy cash cushion) to hopefully avoid triggering the scarcity mentality, but you never know.

    • That is a totally reasonable question, but it elicits a belly laugh from me, because NO, quitting at different times is NOT an option. Mostly because we’re both overgrown children, and whoever is stuck working longer would turn into one big petulant pout. ;-) We’ve discussed it many times, but it’s off the table. :-)

      Thanks for chiming in with your experience — I think all of what happened when you were unemployed would happen with plenty of others, too. The aimlessness, the scarcity mindset… it’s no good, especially when that’s the WHOLE REST OF YOUR LIFE, and not a temporary period between jobs.

  13. Love how you have created visuals for something I’ve been spending lots of time thinking about recently. My original idea was to retire away from something that I am burnt out on, practicing physical therapy in our messed up traditional medical model. However, as I really thought about it, I realized that is throwing out the baby with the bathwater so to speak as there are a lot of big positives to my work as a physical therapist including many positive social interactions and the ability to have a meaning positive impact on the lives of others. When recently doing a visit to CO scoping out potential retirement mountain towns, we stumbled onto the National Sports Center for the Disabled based out of Winter Park resort. They do things like adaptive skiing and climbing for people with disabilities. Since I have been researching them and having conversations with several people in the organization. It seems that something like this would allow me to utilize my skills and interests with my passion for the outdoors doing work on part-time, seasonal and volunteer basis without needing to worry about the financial needs and time responsibilities that go along with traditional full-time employment.

    • I LOVE how you’re thinking about this, and throwing out the baby with the bathwater is a perfect analogy. Work provides most of us with a lot of things that are easy to overlook when we’re feeling frustrated. Adaptive skiing seems like it would be a great fit for your skills and interests, and I can tell you that virtually every major resort in the west has an adaptive program, so you wouldn’t be limited to Winter Park. Several spots also have other rehabilitative programs for injured athletes that might be worth looking into. Can’t wait to hear where you guys decide to land!

    • Excellent example EE. I have followed a similar mental path. First wanting to “just get out” of a work situation, and then dialing in and separating aspects of the role that are enjoyable (e.g. protecting public health), those that are not tolerable (e.g. managing a database), and those that I am indifferent about (e.g. work from a cube). The end result has helped me modify my current job to maximize stuff I enjoy and minimize everything else along with prioritizing new opportunities. I have also applied this to other aspects of my life, which has resulted in increasing my time and energy towards things I want to do.

  14. It’s been hard for me because I entered retirement without a vision. I’m now consulting with people on their student loans, writing a book, and blogging. I view my general vision as helping people make better financial decisions. Hopefully if I keep at it the vision will pay dividends.

    • That’s interesting to hear from you since you have first-hand experience with retiring without a clear vision. But I’m glad you’ve found a fulfilling direction that also helps people. What you’re doing is so important!

  15. As someone recently out of work due to redundancy, it’s been a good trial run to what early retirement could be like! People keep asking me if I’m bored yet, and I have to say I’m not, no where near! I’ve refurbished our antique bench, done a lot of walking and finally explored a local nature reserve which had been on the to do list for way to long (not covered all of it yet), I volunteer a couple of days a week, bake, travel and plan our travels. If I didn’t have to do this thing called job hunting, I’d love to volunteer with another organisation that organises events with the town in Italy that my town is “twinned” with. Interestingly, I’ve watched way less TV than I did when I was working, because I have the energy to do more of the things I actually want to do! If you’re excited about the next day, its easy to get up and not waste the day in bed, which was one of the things I was most worried about.

    I’m sure you’ll be more than ready to embrace your new bigger life :-)

    • Your life right now sounds divine! :-) I was slow on the response because of FinCon, but Brandon, the Mad Fientist, said something much like this. Now that he’s left his job, he’s excited to get up every day, and is nowhere near feeling bored. Good luck in your job search… but maybe not too much luck too fast. ;-)

  16. On the topic of finding activities; i’ve had the chance to visit the Villages in Florida a few times. If you have never heard of this place it is very interesting. Most people have a strong reaction one way or the other in terms of like or hating it. Imagine a huge retirement community filled with very similar homes and older folks driving around in golf carts. Golf courses and pools everywhere. walk past a restaurant bar at 11am and it is rock’in with retirees drinking and singing away. Anyways, one of the pluses of this place is there are nearly endless opportunities to socialize. Any club you can imagine is available. I’m not sure this place is for me and my wife down the road but i can certainly see the value of having easy access to social interaction and activities.

    • It’s so funny — In the past I would have completely scoffed at a place like that, but as we rapidly approach early retirement, I can start to see the value in a retirement community! Living somewhere where you’re surrounded by other people in your situation has a definitely upside!

  17. Do you and Mr. ONL work at different places? If so, I could see one possible scenario for 2017: you quitting (and taking on all the household chores) and Mr. ONL working until the end of the year (and getting the bonus). It could be a win/win for both of you.

    • Laughing to myself because the short answer is NO, we could not quit at different times. It’s a perfectly reasonable suggestion, of course, but we’ve agreed that, to prevent resentment, we will quit at the same time. ;-)

  18. I never saw it that way, how life can be decreased if we take out work out of the equation and can’t think of ways to spend our life. I dream about retiring early but being a male, the downside of retiring early could be an even higher rate of depression. I’ve been burned in the past by only thinking of the positives of my decisions and it’s not the best feeling in the world when I’ve been dedicating so much of my time to this one thing and it turns out I didn’t foresee the negatives.

    • I think you raise important points about all of this! And not to encourage any one of us to focus entirely on the negatives of something, but just to go into it clear-eyed about the potential downsides. You don’t want to end up one of those folks who becomes depressed in retirement, so it’s good to think this stuff through and make a plan for your next life that gives you some avenues for fulfillment, fun and social connections. :-)

  19. I definitely have a plan right now, but I have the feeling it’ll change over the next 6 years. I’m a pretty goal oriented person and I’m pretty impatient, so my new MO is that every time I think “I’ll do this or that in retirement” I try to get on doing it right now. I figure it’ll make the “waiting” period much more meaningful and fun, but it also means that I might have already checked off most of my visionary retirement goals by the time we get to FI and I’ll have to see what I want to do next. Cooking will definitely be big for me. There’s always something to learn there. Maybe I’ll repeat the things that I’ve found I liked. I will definitely enjoy simple pleasures like hanging out the laundry and walking the dogs. I also find myself having random ideas as I go about my business. For example, this morning I was playing the piano and I thought, “When I’m retired, I’ll be able to spend much more time at the piano, maybe I can become a better pianist some day.” So generally, I have the feeling that there will always be plenty of things to fill my days, even if they don’t look impressive on a “Bucket List”. And if I need to find more to fill my days, I think that’s a challenge I’m up for. :)

    • You sound a lot like me. :-) I suspect that, given your goal-oriented nature, you’ll keep developing new goals as you go along, and you’ll always have new ones coming into focus. We’d also like to get better at piano in retirement! We have this garage sale piano sitting here that we sadly neglect now… but soon we’ll have more time to practice, as will you! :-)

  20. You provided advice to me last week saying if I couldn’t envision my life in retirement I probably wasn’t ready. You’re absolutely right. I need to be able to cast my new vision before I settle into retirement otherwise I might become one of the statistics you stated above.

    • I was thinking of you and your comment when I wrote this post! And I don’t say any of this to dissuade you — just to encourage you to figure out what you want in the next phase of your life *before* you take the leap. ;-)

  21. Really great analysis mate, this post made my day. Those infographics clearly shows the stress we are going through everyday routine life from morning 9 to evening 5.
    Everyone of us wants to lead a happy and peaceful life but none of us plan for it.
    Only way for this is, balanced life with optimised spendings.

    Keep writing more articles,

    Have a great day!

  22. When is that book coming?

    Your thoughts and drawings are great frameworks to answer some of the less frequent asked questions: what after retirement, how to prepare, what will be our personal drive for success in FIRE life.

  23. There’s no shame in work. (Excellent phrase)

    I’m really happy to hear that you are in an even better position than you realized. Intense focus does so much to one’s finances.

    I think you are right that people should have a vision for more before they stop. Social isolation is real and it kills. Figuring out how to live a balanced life after removing something that occupied so much space and time is work. It should be taken seriously.

    • Thanks! The full financial update is coming tomorrow. :-) And yeah, SO IMPORTANT to have at least a vision for social interaction, if not what you’ll actually do.