The Final Early Retirement To Do List // What Are We Forgetting?

It’s time to revisit the to do list of things we need to be sure to take care of before we retire early. But first, let’s talk some numbers. Here goes:

Six. Twenty-one. Sixty-four.


  • Six weeks until we share with you guys who we are, where we live and what we do for work (what the survey says you care most about).

Not many people care where we live!

  • Twenty-one work days until I give notice. (Fewer for Mr. ONL.)
  • Sixty-four fully employed work days to go. Ever. Ever.

The milestones are coming up quickly, and for the first time, we feel ready for them. Or, like, as ready as you can possibly feel for something that you can probably never actually be ready for. You know, like most big things in adult life.

This whole early retirement journey has been a vastly different emotional experience than we had expected, and we recognize that things could still change ten more times before we actually wrap up work in a few short months. (Talk to me again when I hop on the plane to go give notice.) But at this moment, we feel like we’ve got this.

BUT. Given that it’s kind of do-or-die time, we’d love your help to make sure we’re thinking of everything before we unplug from those sweet, sweet regular paychecks. Let’s take a closer look!

The Final Early Retirement To Do List! What Are We Forgetting? // We're down to three months of work, and only have a little time left to complete what needs doing before we end our careers forever. We've gotten a lot done this year, but need your help to make sure we're not forgetting to do anything important!

Pre-Early Retirement To Do List Items Completed!

We’ve gotten a lot of stuff done these past several months outside of work, some of which we didn’t include on this list because it’s just always on our to do list in the mountains (rake up pine needles and trim vegetation for fire safety, stack wood for winter, endless pest control, etc.). But as for those tasks we need to get done before the year’s up — or at least we feel like we do — here’s what we’ve already checked off:

Lock down our retirement timeline — This is all set! We’re giving notice in just a few weeks, and calling December 15 our last day of work. :::jazz hands and shoulder shimmies:::

Cram on health care — We’ve been health care machines the past few months, and have observed some things that would be shocking if we didn’t already know that’s how it goes, like when a lab billed our insurance $1300 for blood work, but then insurance paid $60 and everybody called it good. Or the $10 x-rays that a self-insured person would have paid $250 for. If you’re ever thinking about going the self-insured route and just paying the tax penalty for not buying insurance, come talk to me, and I can give you plenty more examples.

Choose next year’s health care — Insurers have had to set rates for next year, so even if Congress acts on the Affordable Care Act this year (looking less and less likely), it won’t change anything for 2018. The national and state health care exchanges will be sharing 2018 rates ahead of open enrollment, which starts in November (and ends early this year, on December 15 — don’t miss out), but we have a pretty good ballpark estimate based on 2017 rates and the increases for next year that have been announced. The expected income we enter will be affected by whether Mr. ONL’s employer asks to keep him on in a part-time capacity next year, but we’ve done the math on the numbers that would make the increased health care cost worthwhile. So now we’re just waiting to do the actual sign-up.

Load up on vet care — The hounds are all tuned up with sparklingly fresh breath (not really — but their teeth are clean!) and clean bills of health. And fortunately we live in a place where we don’t have to give them flea, tick or heartworm meds very often, so the recurring cost is really just food. And they’re little, so don’t eat much of it. Or at least they don’t when it’s up to us.

Top up the cash accounts — I know we’ll get a slap on the wrist from some of you for this, but given how overheated the markets are feeling right now, we’ve slow-played some of our index fund investing in recent months, and have used some of that money to top up our cash accounts. We now have two years of “ideal conditions living expenses” set aside, which could be stretched into three years or more if the markets nosedive. And we might keep diverting some of our would-be fund purchases into cash for the rest of the year (don’t worry — not all of it) so that we have a stock purchase fund in place to buy bargain shares whenever the next big correction comes. Of course, if we do that and stocks rally for another year or two, we’ll feel pretty dumb, so that part’s still TBD.

Explore a HELOC — Here’s how this conversation went: Me: “Do you want to see about getting a home equity line before we lose our W-2 income, like lots of people on the blog have told us we should?” Mr. ONL: “Ummm, not really. We have lots of other back-up options if we need liquidity.” Me: “Great. Then it’s settled.” (We love you guys and value your advice, but just feel icky about this one. I am not going to try to rationalize it at all, because it’s just based on us hating debt, and not being able to stomach even the possibility of taking on new home debt after we worked our butts off to pay off the house.)

Review our insurance — We’ve gone through every insurance policy we have, which turns out is kind of a high number, and made sure we’re happy with the coverages, deductibles and premiums. And we’ve made sure that we’re well covered on hazards specific to our area, which is something everyone should take a look at. Just look at all the folks impacted by Hurricane Harvey who didn’t have flood insurance. Don’t be that tragedy.

Buy a computer and new camera — With so many creative projects on the horizon, we new we needed better tools. Or, in my case, with no computer but my work computer, tools at all.

Buy ski passes for next year — We went back and forth a bunch of times on whether we wanted the flexibility of an unrestricted pass or the much lower price of the super restricted midweek pass, and ultimately bought our first ever, dirtbag-approved midweek passes. Wohoo!

Plan our first big trip — I’m calling this one completed even though it’s in the works. We’ll share more details on next year’s travel plans soon!

Decide on an RV — Our big decision is… no RV for now. We know the one that’s our favorite of available models, but we’re not in any hurry to buy another depreciating asset. And, we love car camping. So we’re just going to punt this decision for a year or two or three.

Plan the big unveiling — This is completely silly, but I don’t care. We’re going to have some fun with the big unmasking, and had a little DIY photo shoot this past weekend to introduce you to us and the place we call home. The photos are looking good, and the stoke is high!

Still On the Pre-Early Retirement To Do List

Decide on a cell phone plan and a phone for me — I will admit that I have had my head in the sand on this one, because I am not ready to face giving up my work-paid iPhone. Make fun of me all you want, but I love it. I know there are some affordable plans out there that let you use an iPhone, but the ones I’ve seen either require buying an iPhone for full price or they limit the functionality of the phone, which seems to defeat the purpose. (Do you know of an alternative that is the thing I’m looking for? Please share!) Mr. ONL is still on an expensive Verizon plan with his Galaxy S4, because laziness, so we will definitely take care of this. Just not until I write a tragic chick flick about being forced to part with my iPhone, ending with a gut-wrenching scene in the rain where enemy soldier capture and imprison my phone, while I can only watch helplessly. I’ll never forget you, iPhone.

Lock down our withdrawal strategy — On a less melodramatic note, we’re close to having certainty on how we’ll sell shares next year, assuming the markets aren’t in a total sell-off, in which case we’ll sit tight with our cash cushion. But we wouldn’t say we have this one completely wrapped up.

Register our business entity — Stupid public disclosure laws. We can’t register stuff unless we want our names on it, and since we aren’t quite ready to have our names on things associated with the blog, we’re sitting tight on this one. But as soon as the reveal is over, we’ll have a flurry of paperwork submitted, and then we’ll tell you all about which business structure we chose and why.

Decide whether to keep a landline phone — This is a new item on the list. We currently have two cable landlines because we both work from home and have found VoIP and Skype to be less reliable than we’d like. We’d always planned to get rid of the phones when we quit and go cell-only, but we recently had a fire scare that we only knew about because of reverse 911 on our landlines. So now we’re reconsidering for safety reasons, and we’ll try to see if we can get a deal from the cable company if we threaten to switch.

Buy a new-used mountain bike for Mr. ONL — The one big ticket item on Mr. ONL’s pre-retirement wish list is a better mountain bike. Mountain bikes are freaking expensive, so I resisted this one for a long time, but realized it’s something Mr. ONL truly loves doing, and the one he has doesn’t have enough travel for the big stuff he wants to jump off of. I’d rather him be safe, so I’m fully onboard with this spendy purchase before we quit.

What Else Should Be On Our List?

We’d love your help, you guys. What are we forgetting? What would we be wise to explore? What would you be doing if you were on our timeline? If you are on our timeline, what are you doing that isn’t on our list? We’re in the home stretch, and are about to see our budget constraints shrink a lot. So we’re super grateful for any input in the comments to make sure we (and others reading this!) have a good, complete to do list before we wave sayonara to our careers.

Don't miss a thing! Sign up for the eNewsletter.

Subscribe to get extra content 3 or 4 times a year, with tons of behind-the-scenes info that never appears on the blog.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe any time. Powered by ConvertKit

166 replies »

  1. We’ve started our list of things to do before FI; I’ve found Trello to be perfect for this. 😊

    We have piano lessons on our list in an effort to start making progress on our personal goals ahead of time. Oh yeah, and all the home maintenance, car maintenance, and other practical stuff. 😂

    • I love that you’re doing the piano lessons now and not waiting until later! That’s on our post-ER list for sure! And I know lots of people who love Trello! I’m pretty deep in Asana and Evernote at this point, so set on the organization apps. ;-)

  2. Congratulations. Your give-notice day is coming so soon! I am really looking forward to stories from “the other side,” like when you can hop out the door and go use your mid-week passes. :) The way I bought my iPhone was on eBay. I got a nice used 6S with 64 GBs of memory for around $300. I’ve had it about a year and it’s been a great phone. I’m on a 1GB plan with Verizon for about $50 with tax included. We tried to use the low-cost carriers, but in New England, the only provider that works is Verizon (seriously–AT&T didn’t even charge me any switch over fees when I moved here because their service was so bad). It’s not unlimited, but it’s all the data I need, and I download the other things I want to listen to, like podcasts or music, since I have so much storage.

    • Thanks, Laurie! And thanks for the phone info. I have lots of investigating to do, and just need to motivate myself to do it! ;-)

  3. Is looks like a great list. The HELOC was the only thing that had come to mind as one of those things that you would need to decide on before you give up the regular paycheck and it looks like you are comfortable with your decision. I’m sure others may come up with other things that folks should think about doing before the old W-2 income is gone. Looking forward to the big reveal!

  4. Sounds like you’ve got things covered. I totally agree on the buildup of cash. When I left work last year, we had a year of cash in taxable and two years of cash in hubby’s traditional IRA. We decided to consolidate various retirement accounts by drawing them down. He’s over 60, so no tax penalty. We are taking from the deferred accounts (his) now, after years of conversions, to reduce the tax impact of RMDs when we get there. Too much income and your Medicare premiums get a nice “You made too much money” surtax. We can control health insurance/ taxes now, but also want to control that later. Long term planning is difficult, since it can change on a dime and at the last minute. Thanks Congress! And we’re in limbo for health insurance like everyone else. Another pre-existing condition here (me). Just three years for him to move to Medicare but a bit longer for me.

    • You know we’re totally sympathetic on the pre-existing conditions stuff. That’s been a hard choice to make this year. Some of the stuff wasn’t documented, and we knew if we pursued treatment, then all that stuff would count as pre-existing. But not having it looked at would mean a lot more uncertainty going into our fixed-ish income future. So we decided to go for it and risk having more labels on our charts. (I mean, geez, we already had some big ones, so not sure how much this matters.) But it’s looking better for the ACA rules staying in place, which is good for sickos like us. ;-)

  5. Mrs. PIE just moved over to Consumer Cellular with a plan for $35 per month including taxes. Gets to move with her beloved iPhone. We’ll see how it goes…..

    On the to do list, one thing we have been paying attention to is home repairs. There is somehring about a low six figure bill for new roof or siding replacement or new furnace or replacement windows that does not sound too appealing in early retirement. Of course it is the same money but seeing it fly out of the account in early retirement in a down market year and adding to the SoR risk is both psychological and a financial consideration.We have just embarked on a new driveway, getting sick of drainage issues, mud being trekked through the home by the kiddies and the usual mess in mud season of April and May when the snow starts to melt.

    • I know Google can answer this Q for me, but is Consumer Cellular on a particular network? Does it require an unlocked phone? I presume my work one is locked, and it’s on AT&T, so if I was able to keep it, I don’t know what networks I can take it to. But I will be finding out soon!

      I think it’s smart you’re doing so much home maintenance now. We have some roof stuff to address, but plan to do that ourselves. (It’s as metal roof, so it’s mostly replacing and tightening screws, not something more involved like shingles.) And we’ve otherwise already done nearly everything — every appliance in the house is new since we moved in, so less than 5 years, with the exception of the furnace. (Hmm, maybe we should get that serviced. Thanks for the reminder.) And we just did major exterior maintenance a year ago. But I think if we felt we were likely to have big expenses pop up in the next few years, we’d be attacking that stuff now, too! (Having said that, it could all be gone any day in a wildfire, so it’s a good reminder not to get too attached to stuff!)

      • Happy to save you some googling…. you can use an AT&T phone with Consumer Cellular. The other ones that work are ex T-mobile and unlocked phones.
        Mine is a Verizon phone but I did find out before I bought it that all Verizon iphones are unlocked anyway. They sent me a T-mobile SIM card, possibly something to do with me requesting that wifi-calling works. If that’s something you want, it would be worth checking details.
        $33 a month (before tax) for 250 mins talk, unlimited text and 1.5GB data. Got it activated last night. All good so far!

  6. Do you have a margin line on your brokerage account? The reason I’d say yes on the Home Equity Line is you never know when you will want/need liquidity for a business investment opportunity and there may be a timing gap between when you want to deliver the cash vs withdraw and pay it off. I completely understand the mental aspect.

    I’m waiting for the “Did we work one year too long?” blog post!

    • It’s something to explore. Given our conservative nature on investments, we’re not likely to be those people who jump at investment opportunities, but knowing our options is never a bad thing. ;-) And we will never worry whether we worked too long! If we’d quit last year, we’d have been on a very thin margin, we’d be sleeping badly as a result, and the stress would not be worth it! ;-)

  7. Woohoo! So close and it’s awesome. I actually like that you have more than 6 months in cash. Sure, it may not be the ideal from an investor’s standpoint but you are super secure for many years with the cash you have on hand. In the event of a market dip you’ll still be set and won’t be forced to jump back into work.

    • It is awesome! Eek! :-D And yeah, that’s how we view the cash buffer. We haven’t carried two years this entire time, and only started to build it up in this last year. But now that we’re about to become less financially flexible, having that big buffer is important!

  8. I don’t follow your concern about the business entity. We have a business entity registered but it operates in the background. The blog is essentially a trade name, which means it’s a trademark owned by the legal entity. So except for my blog host and advertisers no one ever sees the registered name of e company or me. I might add secure a home equity line of credit or other credit line. Without income getting credit can be hard and you may decide it’s advantageous in the future.

  9. I can see you’ve put a bit of thought into this retirement thing.

    With 2017 likely being your last high income / high tax bracket year, this would be a good time to take all the deductions you can. If you’ve got any excess stuff to donate, this is the year to go through your closets, garage, and storage. You can also front-load future cash donations with a donor advised fund, which I believe is an idea you’ve at least entertained, if not already enacted.


      • Yes, totally. I just didn’t include that here because I was thinking of our donor advised fund contribution as an end-of-year task, not a during-the-year task. Of course now I see that that is a distinction in my mind only, not in reality. ;-) Hahaha.

      • FYI our donor advised fund took a while to set up, especially due to holiday schedules, and unfortunately this pushed our donation into the next tax year. Lesson learned: don’t leave it until the last minute – start in early December at the latest.

      • Thank you for that tip! Yes, we are opening our DAF this month, and then will decide closer to the end of the year, when we see how things shake out, exactly how much to dump into it.

    • I think I’m up to like 600K words here, so I HOPE I’ve put some thought into it. ;-) And you’re right — I have been thinking of the DAF as an end of year task, not a now task, so I didn’t include it on this list even though it is very much in our plans! We’re in a bracket currently where the Goodwill donations do us no good — every dollar we write off gets met with a dollar of AMT added on. But the charitable cash donations do still help, so YES, we will be putting as much into a donor advised fund as we can before year end when we see where our ending numbers shake out.

  10. This is great! I love that you have a combo of fun and serious to-dos. After all, retirement should be about enjoying yourselves. :) Can’t wait for your fancy unveiling photo shoot!

    • Thanks! Absolutely agree — it has to be a mix of the fun and the serious or it’s not worth it. ;-)

  11. I completely agree with the cash stockpile. Since we both work regular, stable jobs right now, we only keep a VERY lean 2-3 months’ worth of expenses in cash (I’d rather have the rest paying off our current real estate investment). No steady income completely changes this though, and I would want at least that 2-3 years cash you have. Since you have a buffer over your minimum FI number anyway, I don’t see the harm in more cash.

    • Something that I don’t see discussed enough is that you do pay a trade-off by keeping a sizeable portion of assets in cash, in that you’re agreeing to lose value on that money, which hurts your overall gains and makes the 4% rule riskier. (Fortunately we’re well below 4% for the phase 1 portion.) But our plan is built on super low returns, so we can “afford” to keep that much in cash without hurting our chances of long-term success. If we were farther from ER, we’d be in the low cash boat like you!

      • Actually I think it reduces the risk on the 4% rule. You have to look at the long term and consider both pools of resources: cash and stocks/bonds. You are far less likely to diminish your funds if you can avoid selling them in a significant downturn. So Anthony go you earn less on the cash you can’t look at that return in isolation.

      • Yes and no. The biggest risk of cash and bonds is inflationary risk, and given that there’s almost no chance bonds will get anywhere above 4%, a high percent of assets in low-yield instruments therefore puts more pressure on stocks to perform well year over year. The more in cash/bonds, the better stocks have to do for your overall assets to grow.

  12. I don’t think I know anyone who has put even a quarter of the thought and planning that you have. I can’t imagine that you’ve forgotten anything.

    I’m not going to be the one to give you a slap on the wrist for keeping more cash during this time of transition and where the markets are. I think it’s worthy of a gold star (or at least a silver one).

    You might find that you get important alerts on Android phones (Mr. ONL might have to upgrade to a newer Android which would be cheap):

    • Aww, thanks buddy. And thanks for the validation (gold star!) on the cash stockpile. Part of it, too, is just to smooth the mental transition of shifting to selloff. I think that’s going to be tough, so being able to not sell shares at first if we panic is psychologically helpful. And thanks for the note on phone alerts. iPhones and Androids all get the Amber-type alerts, and weather service alerts. But the reverse-911 thing, from what I understand, is based on your phone number, not which phone you have, and neither of us have (or want) local numbers on our phones.

      • My community has a Nixle service for alerts, which you can sign up for via e-mail or phone/text. It works very well and I’ve been notified of a few emergencies quickly. See if your local police department advertises anything similar.

      • We do have Nixle, but it is only as good as the local agencies feeding info to it. And we’ve found it to be a bit lacking here, sadly.

      • Too bad! Our agencies have been good – there were two pretty major things that I got prompt information on recently.

      • Hmm, I was thinking it was for weather stuff. Maybe you could get a Google Voice local number that redirects only the emergency stuff.

        I have a local number, but I couldn’t tell you what it is because I give out my Google Voice number and just redirect it to whatever phone carrier’s number I’m using lately. It was easier to set up than dealing with number portability years ago and just works for me.

      • We have Google voice numbers for work, but those, for whatever reason, don’t get reverse 911. Oh well! I’ll probably put in an effort after we quit to get our local agencies to be more on the ball with Nixle, which will solve this problem since we get those texts.

    • I guess that list could seem intense — it never felt that way to me just because this has been a long time coming, with lots of planning all along the way. ;-) And when you guys get to this point in your journey, there will be so much knowledge out there from those that came before, that it will take so much of the guesswork out of things. I’m sure others coming behind us will find ways to be way more efficient than we’ve been!

  13. I’d say the one item on our list that isn’t on the above is to relax and stay creative because there WILL be something we forgot, didn’t realize until after the fact, or came out of left field, so it is highly likely we will have to tweak, adjust, or pivot at some point. Mostly because that’s the messy way much of the past 20 years have been so we have had plenty of practice that stressing out and clinging tightly to the original plan is counterproductive compared to accepting the new reality and figuring out a new path forward.

    • That is very much in the front of our minds, even if it’s not on the list! :-D But thank you for the great reminder. Sooooo with you on staying flexible, being ready to adapt instead of clinging to an old vision, and enjoying the ride. :-)

  14. On the HELOC issue, Darrow Kirkpatrick at recently posted on getting a mortgage based on assets rather than income (try Quicken Loans/Schwab). It got me thinking even about qualifying for rental housing based on assets, as most say they require monthly income of 3x rent. I have thought we may rent for a while before deciding on where/if to buy, but if not collecting a pension nor SS (yet), this could be problematic. It seems good that you own your home.

    We recently signed on with T-Mobile’s 55+ plan, two lines with unlimited data, phone and text for $60 (including taxes). You kids might have to wait a bit to qualify. It gives much better coverage than Sprint for us, and is cheaper than AT&T or Verizon. Yes, we still have our iPhones. Just try prying them from our cold, dead hands.

    • I do think we’re super happy with the decision to purchase our home and to pay off the mortgage, but I know that choice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Speaking for myself as a small time landlord, if someone had big assets and clean credit, I wouldn’t worry about the lack of W-2 income if there was an explanation for it. But I’m not all landlords!

      And thanks for the phone info. Do you have to be over 55 to get that plan with T-Mobile? We have a little time til we’d qualify if so. ;-)

      • Yes, sorry, the T-Mobile senior deal is 55+. Phones and service are just getting to be too expensive. Get ready to drop a nice G-note for your new iPhone. Ouch. I remember when I wouldn’t put that much into a computer. I’ll be keeping my iPhone 6 a bit longer.

      • I’m stoked, actually, that the new iPhones are coming out — which should mean that a new 6S goes down a bunch in price! Not only do I have no desire to pay for a 7, 8 or X, I need my headphone jack. ;-)

  15. On the equipment front: Have you asked your company if they will let you buy out your equipment? While such a process can be a hassle, and companies do experience loss/turnover/need testing units, with the new iPhone due, I bet they will have a spike of trade-ins by Dec 15.

  16. Looking good. I think you’ve got all the most important things covered.

    Maybe plan for a week of retreat to relax? :)

    Enjoy your last few weeks of work. Say goodbye to the people you like and figure out how to keep in tough.

    • Oh man, I need like 50 of those week-long retreats to relax! How am I going to get enough time off to do that, though… oh wait… ;-)

  17. Here’s a few more from my military readers:
    – You’re all done with the dentist, right? Final cleaning, maybe check whether any fillings are eroding and need replacement?

    – Have you thought through the reactions of your bosses and your employer (particularly HR) to your announcement? You probably have a handle on your bosses, but will your employer policy have a security guard escorting you out the door with a cardboard box an hour later?

    – Do any of your co-workers want or need anything from you before you’re gone? More office supplies or gear that’s easier for you to take care of for them, a Linkedin recommendation, an endorsement letter for a special program?

    – This will sound goofy, but years later (as the memories fade) I wish I’d had more photos of my workplaces and more info about the people I worked with. Just an office directory would’ve helped me remember that guy with the mustache who sat over there.

    – It looks like you’re going to get several consulting or other freelance offers. Have you thought through your responses?

    – Are you ready for the inevitable ambushes (pranks, farewells) on your last day in the office? Would it make sense to permanently vacate on the afternoon before or 9 AM of “the day”?

    – A month after I left the office, I really enjoyed returning for lunch with some of the staff. They wanted to know what I was up to, and the gossip is a lot more fun when it doesn’t affect you anymore.

    See you at FinCon?

    • Dentist — Yes! I’ve been grouping this in with medical, but you’re so right that this is probably the last time we’ll have dental coverage, and we are absolutely making sure to take care of everything.

      Work stuff — Fortunately we both own a decent number of client relationships, so there’s no kicking us out right away. Not that our companies would do that anyway, because that’s not how they roll. (This is why we’ve stayed so long! We know we’re lucky to work for such ethical folks.)

      Office stuff — Because we’re very far away from our offices and will likely each be at them only twice more (once to give notice, once for final farewells), we don’t expect that prank stuff. But it does make that last trip all the more important to us, because without it, we can’t really say goodbye to people we’ve now known for a big portion of our lives.

      And yes, see you at FinCon!

  18. I don’t know if this was on your survey about what secret information people want to know most…but I’m fascinated to know which RV model you would get!

    I really want to trade our 2007 Airstream Safari SE 23 + big tow vehicle for a Leisure Travel Van (probably a used Libero or a Wonder) – but with everything paid for, we’re building up the nest egg instead. Also waiting to see the wider proliferation of Transit-based vans…

    • The one we currently like best is the Coachmen Freelander 20CB. It’s on a Ford Transit chassis, so more efficient, but still has the features of a full-size class C. That said, it’s definitely more compact, with less headroom, a very coffin-like over-cab bunk, and only a full size bed in the back instead of queen. But it’s just us and we’re both on the low end of the weight range, so we think we could make it work. That said, if more small Transit-based rigs come out, so we have more options, we would NOT be sad about that! Same as you guys. ;-)

      • Wow! They pack A LOT into a 24′ floor plan. I like that Coachmen is using the gas V6 rather than the diesel.

        Despite that, I probably prefer the Winnebago Fuse, but the outside storage is too small for folding kayaks. Like you said, we’re not sad to wait for more options… :)

    • Great question! Yes, they are built into our budget, but we’ve also taken care of all the big stuff in the last few years, so don’t have any *expected* home maintenance expenses coming up. But you know how that stuff goes! Always better to be over-prepared.

  19. I was going to comment on the business side of things, will you be able to carry forward some of the expenses such as cell phone purchases as business expenses? As for the iPhone….no don’t leave you will regret it ! The superior photo and video of the iPhone 7s is so worth it from a social media and blogging perspective.

  20. Ha! My big two were bite the bullet and pay for the orthodontic work and eventually braces for the kiddo which I really had wanted to put off one more year, and buy our Mammoth passes for ski/snowboard season. I went ahead and did the braces and don’t regret the decision. Easily I could have just put the money to the side and spent it a year or so later, but the thought of that much $$ leaving at one time didn’t feel great even if it was earmarked for said purpose.

    • Oh and I went with Google FI and a less expensive Nexus 5S phone. I totally miss my iPhone and I feel the Nexus 5S takes super crappy pictures, so bad that I bring my iPhone with me as the small camera. The Google FI service has been great, however, and while I still suck at the Android phone, I think it’s also contributed to helping me get more detached digitally. It’s so frustrating that I don’t bother. I’m averaging $23-$24/month for phone service on my restrictive data diet and honestly don’t feel deprived at all. Pros and cons but you have good reason to be attached to your iPhone.

      • Oh man, a cautionary tale about giving up the iPhone! I will not make that same mistake — thank you for the warning! I have heard people say good things about the Pixel, but that phone is crazy expensive.

    • I don’t blame you for doing the braces ahead of quitting. As you said, even just psychologically, it’s tough to want to have a big outlay even if you’ve set that money aside. Talk to me after we have to do our first car replacement in ER. ;-)

      • But, you just *might* appreciate it for that reason. I’ve come to appreciate that I don’t always have a great phone at my fingertips, but I wish I had known when my daughter and I arrived at Arches National Park and turned off to the Delicate Arch hike and found a princess parking spot and jumped on the trail with just the Nexus in hand. The pics are terrible… didn’t do the place justice, but I learned and focused on the experience and I’ll never forget the look on her face when we finally got to that magical spot after we decided to hike there on a whim, with no lunch in our bellies – she was not happy with me but the moment we saw it she was overjoyed and ran over and thought it was so amazing. But we’ll go back. Heck, I’m retired.

      • I theoretically appreciate the notion of breaking the digital umbilical cord, but bad camera is a deal-breaker. ;-) I would cry if I was in your shoes and had missed great photos from Arches!

  21. I think you and Mr. ONL are in great shape with your list.

    When we were DINKs preparing to go down to one salary and start our family, we had a very similar list to get “ready” for this change in our lives… fix up the home, new appliances, good cars, etc. Now with our 3 boys in high school and ER on the horizon, it’s funny how similar the list is. Everything is 20+ years old… kitchen, bathrooms, carpeting, furnature, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer & dryier, furnace, A/C, hot water tank, cars, etc… they’re all old now. So… our ER list has us updating all those things before we jump in so we can hopefully get another 20+ years without these expenses. In addition to these, our list also considers downsizing & quality. We’re also tent campers, but instead of having our old van to haul a utility trailer with 5 bikes, 5 kayaks and everything else needed for 5 people… instead, in ER, we’re looking for a newer and more economical vehicle (maybe a Subaru) with a quality roof top 2 kayak carier and a quality hitch mounted swing away 2 bike carrier.

    • You will not regret it if you go with a Subaru! You know in a mountain town it’s like 90% Subarus around here (they only let you move to town if you own at least one — haha), and we’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about them. As for your home stuff, yeah, I think that’s super smart to work on updating now. If we hadn’t already shelled out the big bucks to switch out all the appliances and water heater since we moved here, meaning everything is under 5 years old, we’d be doing the same thing. But we are going to get the chimney swept (and, based on someone else’s comment here, I realized we should get the furnace serviced) before winter rolls in.

  22. I’d second the “get all dental work taken care of” recommendation.

    Nothing else I saw that you didn’t cover. We’re in a similar situation in looking into things to get done before I quit working. Your list is pretty thorough. :)

    As far as phones and plans… I switched to MintSim because it uses T mobile, the same carrier we’ve had for years now. You can bring any unlocked phone to the program, even iphones. It’s $17/mo for 2GB data and unlimited talk/text. If Tmobile sucks in your area and you have to use a different carrier, look for a carrier that’s not a mega-corporate entity. You could check out Ting. They use a different carrier and the coverage looks strong in your area. :) Just a thought.

    Plus you can bring your own device to either company, it just needs to be unlocked. I got my last few phones from Amazon with no issues. Mrs. SSC got an unlocked iphone she has used for over 2 yrs now with no issues. Another way to go to get a phone that’s not linked to a specific carrier. Of course, both companies also offer phones you can purchase from them if you’re not comfortable getting a phone from Amazon.

    We’ll also probably have 1.5-2 years of cash sitting around because that’s what it takes to sleep at night. With Mrs. SSC continuing to teach it seems like overkill, but again, it’s all about the comfort factor I suppose.

    • Yes! Dental care is wrapped up in our medical list, but it’s worth calling out. I know this is a dumb Q, but can a locked phone be unlocked? Or do I have to get a new unlocked one? I assume my work phone is locked, and it’s AT&T which won’t work on T-Mobile’s network, so I assume that means I’m limited in choices if I was able to keep that phone. Oh goody — more to learn! ;-)

      • It can but I think the “how” of unlocking it really matters. If you google “how to unlock a phone” you can do it without jailbreaking it, messing up the OS, etc… Back to your point, yes, who your phone is with matters in who you could switch to. I read that AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM wireless and Verizon and Sprint are CDMA. In theory, you could switch between AT&T and T-Mobile, just not AT&T and Verizon. Something else to investigate if you do get to keep the phone, though. Good luck! :)

      • I think Sprint might be a different network/format? But it’s been YEARS since I looked at that stuff. And yeah, definitely don’t want to jailbreak my phone and mess stuff up. I want a fully functional iPhone on whatever plan I figure out! ;-)

  23. Possibly a depressing thought but have you planned responses when people realise you are “rich” and ask you for money? Family, neighbours, work colleagues, random people who read the blog…
    These may well continue, and also requests for physical help “because you don’t work and have loads of time”.

    • Great question, Victoria. And the answer is yes. I’ll write about this more post-reveal, when I talk about blogging anonymously and what we’re choosing to share, but this has definitely been something we’ve considered all along and braced ourselves for. Fortunately, our work has made us both good at the art of saying no in the nicest way possible. ;-)

  24. As usual a great and informative post – the comment about the dentist is a good one, take care of that too!

    I would get a heloc, it doesn’t really cost anything and in a pinch it’s worth having. Using a margin of asset based lending approach from your broker is also an option. You should have one or the other. Given rates where they are I can tell you the ABL I have used for short term liquidity has allowed my assets to stay in the market and effectively pay 5x the cost of the borrowing. Leverage isn’t always a bad thing

    Waiting for the big reveal! And oh yeah, keep the iPhone don’t think of the upfront cost as 600 now, think of it as an asset you will have for 4 years. The cost then is really only $3 a week. As early retirees with all the planning you have done you got that one!

    • Thanks, Phil! Dentist stuff is grouped in with medical for us, but thanks for the reminder to call it out separately! Most people will never have dental insurance again after leaving traditional employment, so no better time than before we leave to take care of all the optional stuff. And thanks for that perspective on the phone. When you put it that way, $3 a week for a phone I rely on so completely isn’t bad at all. ;-)

  25. Ask your company if you can purchase the Iphone you have been using on your way out. At least where i work, all the phones that get turned in upon leaving the company get shipped off in a big box to be recycled and we get penny’s on the dollar for them. Might be worth asking.

    • Great suggestion. I need to find out if a locked AT&T phone does me any good, and if it does, then I’ll ask to keep it. Because they’re definitely not giving it to anyone else after I turn it in!

      • Yes, you can unlock a locked phone. It usually is just a matter of you being done with your contract, so it is possible you’d have to pay a fee if you have a company phone and they had some sort of contract on it that included a discount on the phone. I’m not sure how corporate phones work in that respect, but I had a locked iPhone from ATT that I eventually unlocked.

  26. Ok, not going to lie, I’m super excited for your big reveal! I’m a ski bum at heart and your posts make me think you are in an area I would like to visit ;)

    Good luck on the last few weeks of work EVER! :) I look forward to following your journey post-RE!

    • Thanks for sharing in our excitement! :-D And I can already tell you that YES, you do want to visit our area. ;-)

  27. Get your personal life off of your work computer?

    I did EVERYTHING on my work computer, and it was wiped 20 seconds after I handed it in. I remembered to email myself about 70% of my personal documents, but I lost a handful of pictures that had been emailed to my work account, one tax document (thankfully, I haven’t been audited), and a journal that I kept before I started blogging.

    • Good and important tip! This was a big motivator to buy my laptop a few months ago instead of waiting until the end of year. I’ve already pulled all my files off the work laptop, along with the contacts I need. When I give notice, I’ll be ready to hand everything over, even though I don’t expect that to happen!

    • Yes, this is super important. When I FiREd unexpectedly, I ended up having stuff on my work phone and computer that were a nightmare to find later.

      Some things I wish I’d done:
      -Sort your emails by sender and make sure you look at all the personal ones. Look at all emails with attachments in case you need a document.
      -Consider downloading your browser history in case you have trouble finding a web site you once used.
      -Make sure there’s a way to contact you via LinkedIn and/or Facebook for people who only have your work email.
      -My company wouldn’t sell me my phone or computer, but they did let me port my work cell phone number. For $20 I moved it to Google Voice and then forwarded it to my new cell number.

      • Ugh — sorry you didn’t get a chance to clean up your personal stuff on your work devices! And any reputable company should let you port that number out, but better to ask as soon as you can make it known your leaving… if you have that opportunity, that is. ;-)

  28. My ER date is 12/29, the last workday of 2017. It seems odd to me that you chose 12/15. Will you have health insurance for the last half of December?

    One thing that I have done recently is check up on the financial status of my parents. My wife’s parents passed away a few years ago, but mine are alive and kicking at 81 and 76 y/o. My concern was that they may need my help, especially if they didn’t have long term care insurance.

    What I thought would be a difficult discussion turned out to be very worthwhile. I found out that they don’t have a will or a living will. I found that their financial advisor had them in some inappropriate, if not questionable investments. I found that their asset allocation was inappropriate for their risk tolerance. I found that the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies were all deceased (All were taken out in the 50’s before they had children). I found out that the original life insurance company had sold their policies to another life insurance company. The financial advisor had copies of these policies and knew that the beneficiaries were deceased, but did not bother to recommend changing them. The financial advisor has been notified that they will be moving their funds elsewhere.

    I have spent the last 6 weeks trying help them get their affairs in better order. I took them to an attorney to start drafting their wills. Lucky me, I will be the executor and have power of attorney if needed. I had assumed that the responsibility would rest on my older brother, but he seems happy not to have that burden.

    The good news is that they have no debt and they are able to live off of their social security income and their RMD’s without needing to draw their accounts down further. And while they don’t have long term care insurance, they do have enough saved for each of them to live in a nursing home for 5 years before Medicaid would need to step in. I would say that they are in pretty good shape.

    What about your parents?

    • Way to go Beach Bum, my Mom is 88 and I can’t get her to cooperate on any of that stuff. She has no will. None. Yep, 88. It scares me. The only good thing is that she doesn’t have a lot of money or assets (is that good?), but if she died w/out the will it would be 50/50 to me and my brother since we have no other family.

      But still, she was born in May of 1929, 6 months before the Great Depression started. Talking about money and investments etc has always been tough with her, since she’s a child of that era. They tend to get offended and defensive when it comes to money. I start semi-retirement (going part time at my job) in a week and I’m planning on using the extra time to get her to come around.

      • Amen to all of that — it’s super tough to gather up the stones to talk deep money details with parents. Kudos to all who manage it!

        And Steve — Congrats on taking that big step and going to semi-retirement! So happy for you! Wohooooooooo!

    • By law, companies must provide insurance through the end of the month if you work a partial month. So we could quit on Dec 1 and still have insurance through Dec 31. And our last day of employment technically will be end of year, but Dec 15 will be our last day working. ;-)

      Thanks for sharing the story of your parents’ finances. So important to plan for that stuff. I’ve written about this before, but ours are 75% in very solid shape — 3 of the 4 have reliable pensions and government-provided health care. The 4th is in less good shape, but we have had extensive conversations about the terms under which we’d help, what that would look like, etc. So we’ve gotten that stuff as buttoned up as possible. Good reminder to everyone to get an honest assessment on this stuff before giving up your income, because normal FIRE calculations might not include enough to help out family if needed.

      • Is that a new or state-specific law? Because in three of the layoffs we went through the health & dental insurance ended on the day of separation even when the company told us it would go through the end of the month (one company offered apologies but said their hands tied by insurance company so they could not change it). The last layoff was 2013 so I sure hope that has changed!

      • I spent a bunch of time trying to find the info to back this up, and I couldn’t — so I might have this wrong about it being the law. In any case, apparently virtually every health plan is written to have coverage go until the end of the month. And, COBRA is required to be retroactive to your quit date, so in the off chance that a person had their insurance end on the day they quit, say December 15, they arrange for new insurance to begin January 1, and they are in a car accident on December 20, they can, after the accident, activate the COBRA and be covered for that period. Of course it’s expensive, but a lot less expensive than paying for the accident totally out-of-pocket! And re: your experience, the employer mandate did not become effective in the ACA until 2014, so your most recent layoff experience wasn’t yet subject to the new rules.

  29. Maybe check Boom cellular? Not 100% sure about on iPhones but they let you port and it’s verizon service ( boom red) is working great for me, even in rural areas where service is sketchy

  30. I’d recommend exploring your cell phone options sooner rather than later. The reason I say this is because most plans will charge you a very hefty contract termination fee, and there will be some initial costs to any new plan (even if it’s just a new phone).

    Also, I’m an iPhone to cheap Android convert, and I too dreaded loosing my iPhone. However, the change wasn’t only painless, but actually quite pleasant! The truth of the matter is that technology has advanced so much that even the most economical android phones are powerful enough to handle just about everything you throw at them. This wasn’t the case even a couple years ago. New expensive phones are competing on features that few people really need (or know they can easily live without). We just received a new Moto E4 and it’s very comparable to our old iPhone in both features and styling.

    Thanks for the great writing!

    • Fortunately there’s no termination fee because I have a company phone. But it’s a good tip for others for sure! And thanks for weighing in on the merits of the Moto. How’s the camera, in your opinion? Most of my blog photos here are iPhone photos, so that’s one area where I won’t accept a step backwards. ;-)

  31. OK. The details are continuing to allow for sleuthing. Mid-week ski pass in Colorado. We have Epic local pass, where there is no mid-week pass so that eliminates Summit County. Powderhorn in Mesa does, but the delta between full pass and mid-week is only $100 so hardly a difference. Purgatory in Durango has mid-week and difference is $300. Hmmm. Loveland delta is less than $100. No mid-week at Winter Park. Nothing at Monarch. What about Wolf Creek … nope. Gotta have some access to airport for all your travel, which I thought maybe is close to Denver. Eldora has mid-week for ~$100 delta. So … after careful consideration I’m thinking Durango! The whole state is rocking awesome, but lock in my vote. We’ll see in 6 weeks. A little inconvenient on puddle jumper out of there but we do love SW Colorado. Most of the summer was in Breck for us, but did visit some friends for a few days and went to Ouray which has to be the Jeep capital of the world. As for things you may have missed in prep … I don’t think you need to do anything else except punch out. You’re going to have some time to sort the rest out in those first few months anyway while up on the mountain. Lock in great health care though. Spent more time than expected at the Steedman Clinic in Vail where we got to see the dark side of the active Colorado lifestyle ;).

    • Vote registered. ;-) (But you’ll need to enter it again soon if you want to enter the contest that’s coming!) I was not thinking anyone would look too closely at our ski pass of choice… how naive of me! Hahaha.

  32. I’m sure you have this covered as part of getting your new computer and phone, but make sure you get a copy of your contacts, even if you truly don’t think you will ever do this type of work again. Odds are good you will someday want to get in touch with someone from “this” life, maybe as a reference for consulting work?

    Something most people don’t think of is how many of your personal contacts, doctors offices, etc.have your work phone or email as the primary way they contact you. Update those records so you don’t miss appointment reminders, newsletters, and such. Be sure to update your contact info on LinkedIn. There is nothing so frustrating as trying to get in touch with someone who has their email address listed from a job I KNOW they are no longer at.

    Any discounts from your employer that you can take advantage of before you go? Any professional memberships that have time remaining that you can either get a partial refund for cancelling or transfer to an associate? You sound satisfied with insurance, but be mindful of the 30 day deadline to bind any employer coverage like life or disability that you can port or convert to an individual policy (if you want to).

    From a previous post, I’m curious about whether you could confirm if you will be eligible for the employer matching contribution to your retirement account if it is made next year?

    From someone who still has probably 6 years to go, I am cheering for you guys! 😃

    • Great tip on contacts. We’ve already copied those over, but love that you put it here. And we’ve been giving out our cell number as our primary for years, so that’s a big part of why we want to get that squared away, so we can port them out and not lose the numbers! (That would be truly terrible. Had those numbers for almost 20 years!)

      I did use a corporate discount to buy my HP laptop! So wohoo! And still stealthily attempting to confirm 401k matches. Should definitely be fine for Mr. ONL because there’s no delay, but mine is delayed many months, so that’s our big question mark. Thanks for cheering us on! :-D

  33. Regarding the cheaper cell phone plan, we use Ting. Ting uses either the Sprint Network (CDMA/LTE) or the T-Mobile network (GSM/LTE) your choice, depending on the phone you use. You can also bring your own phone, such as your iphone. My wife and I use our iphones on Ting — she uses T-mobile and I use Sprint.

    Neither service is comparable to Verizon as far as coverage, but at least they don’t limit any of the phone’s functionality; visual voicemail works, iMessages work, etc. Our bill is about $36/month total. Your bill starts at I think $8 and goes up from there depending on how much you use it.

    • That’s a pretty great price! Now we need to see if we have any friends who have T-Mobile or Sprint to come over and tell us if we have coverage at and around our house! ;-) (We have AT&T and Verizon currently, so no idea! It’s not a given in the mountains.)

  34. You may want to check out Glyde for buying a used iPhone – I sold an iPad through them, and they seem legit. I’ve also had good luck using Ting as my carrier. They’re more about paying for what you use, rather than a whole bunch of services you don’t, so my bill is about $35 a month, which is a BIG improvement on Verizon, even with their work discount!

  35. Have you calculated your monthly expenses? That drives your withdrawal rate from your 2 year emergency fund and investments. Have you run turbotax to estimate the impact of your cash withdrawals (non-taxable income) to get an idea of changes in your quarterly taxes? How far do you plan to deplete your cash reserve before withdrawing from investments (IRA and non-IRA)? Is there some level of cash reserves you get down to before selling investments?

    (Note – since I retired a year and a half ago, I began a personal program of what I call ‘dollar cost selling’. I sell a fixed $ amount every quarter to add to my cash reserves so that I do not fall below a predefined cash amount.)

    • Hi Kirk — You may have noticed that I write an early retirement blog, so yes, we know our monthly expenses. ;-) Hahaha. I’m just giving you a hard time! I think your advice is super solid, but it certainly belongs a LOT earlier than three months out from early retirement. If we were only figuring that stuff out now — budgets, taxes, which assets we’ll be living off of, etc., — I’d be SUPER worried about us. ;-)

    • This is good advice. I made a “home brew annuity” to live on for 5 years while I Roth convert from Trad IRA to avoid taxes as much as possible. My goal is to get my RMD+SS under the 15% bracket, and then just sell some post tax stock if I need a little more money.

      I took some “post tax” stock and sold it, married it to some LTcap loss I had harvested in the last downturn for a $0 tax bill. I put the proceeds into a short term muni bond fund. It makes a little tax free money and is fairly responsive to inflation just in case (as opposed to a CD ladder or something.) The “portfolio” won’t take any income hits over the next 5 years. I will just let the stocks grow unmolested. The Muni’s tilt my Stock:bond mix more towards bonds, which is recommended in early retirement. As I spend the Muni money the portfolio will automatically rebalance towards stocks, which is what I want anyway without incurring any tax problem with rebalance. I also have some bonds and gold in the “portfolio” for diversity.

      Since I will take SS at the end of the 5 years and have to start RMD I will have to re-evaluate income at that time, but since my “portfolio” is essentially closed I should reduce the sequence of return rates (SORR) drag on the portfolio.

      Congrats on pulling the trigger. You will not believe the sense of relief you will experience.

      • Oh man, the relief if PALPABLE. And I’m envious of folks who can engineer their portfolios to this extent, though also glad, knowing my own temperament, that we take a much more hands-off approach. We’ve known that ACA subsidies might be an issue so haven’t wanted to tax loss harvest because that would shrink our basis, increase our relative capital gains and push our taxable income higher. Of course, with today’s announcement that subsidies are off the table, who knows what will happen!

  36. I can’t believe how close you guys are – so excited to see you get there and hear all about how it goes. Looking forward to the “big reveal” as well!

    • I know! It’s crazy how quickly it’s coming up! I can’t believe it’s already September. Thanks for sharing our excitement! :-D

  37. A very thorough list I feel. Can’t believe you guys are being skiing dirt bags. 😜

    I feel for you Americans the biggest question in early retirement remains to be health care. Hopefully you can get some cheap health insurance.

    • Though we will certainly relax our grooming regimen in retirement, we still hope to be cleaner and better smelling than actual dirtbags. ;-) Hahaha. And yeah, HEALTH CARE. I can’t believe that we still have so much uncertainty around it. >:-(

  38. The big reveal – so exciting! You both are so, so organized and on top of things. If you don’t do well in retirement, the rest of us are surely doomed.

    • Hahaha. Thanks. ;-) I don’t think any of us are doomed. Though we are looking forward to learning all the things we couldn’t have anticipated! ;-)

  39. You don’t sound like the kind of person not to have a will ;) but the life insurance I get through my employer has a free will service provided by a legal firm. There are some odd little corporate benefits like that you might be able to sweep up. But I’m sure you have it covered!

    • Your guess was a good one. ;-) BUT, I’m super glad you mentioned estate docs here for those who don’t have that box checked yet! Especially because it might be a free or reduced cost service that employers offer.

  40. Although I haven’t met you guys in person, from reading your blog, I think I know what you look like, where you live, and what you do etc. In 6 weeks, let’s see if my gut feelings are on point or not. Wherever you are, keep spreading the energy and inspiration. Congratulations!

    • Email me if you want to register a formal guess! ;-) And contest on location coming in a few weeks!

  41. Dental work (if necessary), and glasses (if you need them). Refill all prescriptions for as long as they’ll let you. Giant sticker shock once you no longer have insurance! Speaking of which, we increased deductibles on the house and added an umbrella policy. I kept my iPhone, and recently purchased an SE through Consumer Cellular (excellent company I can’t recommend highly enough). I just couldn’t do the Android…

    • Yes! I just didn’t break dental and vision out from medical, but absolutely yes, those are on our list! Wohoo on adding your umbrella policy! And yeah, I keep hearing recs for Consumer Cellular with the iPhone, so that’s high on my research list! Thanks for your recommendation.

  42. Congratulations. I am not sure I have anything else to recommend. I am sure you have a gigantic list of things to do, but maybe one thing is to to just coast for a bit through the holidays. Get used to things and then in the new year jump into the planned activities?

    • Great suggestion, Jason, and that is definitely where our heads are! That’s part of why we want to quit on Dec 15, so we can have some decompression time before the holidays before the next life starts! ;-)

  43. I think I said the same thing last time, but a good mattress. You don’t want all that freedom and time to do things that exhaust your body without the ability to rejuvenate. This has always been an obsession of mine, but I am a terrible sleeper.

    • I completely agree. A good mattress, comfortable bedding, and some way to make it totally dark are all things worth paying good money for! (Love, a fellow horrible sleeper.)

      • May your retirement sleep be golden! (I always sleep well in hotel rooms and often on Friday night. My mind is a lot of what gets in the way of good rest)

  44. Have you thought about making your last day of work being the 1st day of a month? Your company health insurance runs through the end of the month so you basically get a month of company health insurance without working. I have enjoyed following your FI journey.

    • We have! But Dec 1 is a bit too early, and Jan 1 wouldn’t fly. ;-) (P.S. Not EVERY health plan runs through the end of the month. I have researched this extensively and it’s up to the particular plan. BUT, COBRA can be applied retroactively if you have a small gap between employer and exchange coverage and something happens during that gap period.) Thanks so much for following along with our journey! :-D

  45. I have an older
    Model iPhone (5) & airvoice wireless. Phone bill is $30 a month flat fee and it’s a “normal” iPhone but occasionally I don’t get photos texted to me from droids so I ask people to WhatsApp or FB messenger them to me. Hope that helps!

  46. Healthcare is a bear. I am hoping that the government figures it out sometime in the next 10 years, but definitely not holding my breath.

    As for cell phones, I am waiting for the new pixel phone by Google to come out. Then I will buy a old pixel 1 phone for cheaper and likely go with Google Fi for my plan. It is worth at least looking into.

    • There are a bunch of in-depth posts on health care here, if you haven’t seen them. It’s something I pay extra close attention to! ;-) And we’ve heard mixed reviews on Google Fi. Seems to be highly dependent on service where you live and how fast your home internet is. But the folks for whom it works well seem to love it!

  47. To the ONL’s….. I’ve read a few blog sites, MMM, Can I Retire Yet, etc. one thing I notice about your situation is that you seem to be retaining a lot of expenses vs. pairing down and simplifying. New used mountain bike…. which could get trashed with one miss (although I hope not) and then you’d have to buy another. Cell phone, etc. these will all need to be replaced after a few years. Ski pass, which means again, that equipment will wear out. Now, I am a newbie to your site, so maybe I should wait to comment, but, it just seems like you are retaining a lot of expensive hobbies. Have you considered trying to work part time and ease in to your plan or are you planning to go back to work as needed to cover unplanned expenses? Maybe you have multi millions stashed, and it’s not a big deal. Best of luck to you and I commend and am envious of you confidence and courage to take the leap!

    • That is in fact a big and important difference! ;-) We have no desire to live a life without those hobbies, and so we’ve built our plan around being able to do expensive stuff like ski and mountain bike. Those expenses aren’t “unplanned” at all — those are integral to our plan. That’s why we didn’t retire a few years ago, and the trade-off is worth it to us. If we were just preaching the same gospel as some of those other super frugal guys, I wouldn’t have bothered to start a separate blog. ;-) But I’m a big believer that we should each decide for ourselves what adds value to our lives, and plan our own FI plan around that. There are certainly folks who need less than we do, but plenty of others to whom our plan would look modest. It’s all relative. ;-)

  48. iPhone SE and Consumer Cellular. With cc you can use either att or t-mobile network. We each have one phone so one is on att,and the other on t-mobile which keeps us covered most of the time. Also signed up for AARP for the discount on cc, and I wasn’t yet age 50. They didn’t bother to verify my age!

    • All good to know! And that made me LOL about AARP. I mean, we WILL be retired soon, and that’s what the name stands for, right?! Hahaha.

  49. I’m a bit late here, but I have an iPhone with Verizon coverage without paying Verizon prices. Page Plus Cellular is a Verizon MVNO, and I’ve been using them for years. $30/mo (includes taxes) for 1 GB data and more texts and voice minutes than I could ever use. And since it uses Verizon’s network, it’s the same as having Verizon for a lot cheaper.

  50. So exciting that you are so close to the end of the working road.

    For phone service, check out Cricket. They have low rates and good service (at least near me).

    The biggest thing I worry about is health care, but it sounds like you’re past that! Also, great to hear I’m not the only one who just doesn’t get the whole HELOC thing :-)

    • Thanks for the tip! I will check out Cricket! And yeah, the HELOC is not for us either. ;-) I wouldn’t say we feel GREAT about health care, especially given this latest resurgence in the Senate, but we at least feel like we know what we’re doing NEXT YEAR. Beyond that is anyone’s guess. ;-)

  51. Consider consumer cellular as a phone provider. ATT or T-Moblie backbone (your choice) works with apple or android GSM phones and what you pay is up to your needs. I have 2 college kids, my wife and myself on the same plan with 250 talk min, unlimited txt (our main form of comms anyway), and 10gb data for 80 bucks a month. 2 phones would be $50 same specs, probably less since without the kids I’d cut the data quite a bit.

    • Consumer Cellular is definitely in the lead at the moment! Just waiting to hear if I get to take my work phone with me (I might be able to!), or whether I’ll need to purchase one.