We retired early! Our Next Life begins -- We achieved early retirement at the ages of 38 and 41, and now we begin the next chapter!we retired early

We Retired Early! // Our Next Life Begins

Psst. This is the only post this week, there’ll be no post next Monday (Christmas), but there WILL be a new post on Wednesday, December 27, with our financial wrap-up for the year, and the first January post will be on Wednesday, January 3. Normal Monday-Wednesday schedule resumes January 8! 

Today we’re waking up without an alarm, whenever we feel like it. Mark won’t groggily dial into staff meeting at 6 am Pacific. I won’t spend a half hour answering work email on my phone before I even brave the cold and get out of bed.

It’s Monday, we aren’t working, and we aren’t on vacation.

While we wouldn’t proclaim to know what early retirement feels like just yet, we’re about to find out, because we reached our goal. Now, our next life begins!

We retired early! Our Next Life begins -- We achieved early retirement at the ages of 38 and 41, and now we begin the next chapter!

The last lines of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original one from the 70s, not the weird remake with Johnny Depp) keep running through my head:

Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.

Charlie Bucket: What happened?

Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

While it’s too soon to know if we will live happily ever after — heck, the markets could wipe us out tomorrow — we can’t imagine it feeling better so far.

We said goodbye to our colleagues last week at a few happy hours and a goodbye party, and got some incredibly touching notes, including this card my company made me:

Tanja plus the cast of Up In the Air (George Clooney! Anna Kendrick!), in a fun going away card. We retired early! Our Next Life begins -- We achieved early retirement at the ages of 38 and 41, and now we begin the next chapter!

How amazing is this card? The perfect encapsulation of my last few years.

There are a number of things we think we might miss about work, but the thing that I’m proudest of, and which came through loud and clear in the notes, is successfully enabling talented people to spread their wings and grow in their skills and confidence. My management style has always been based on letting people figure things out rather than being more prescriptive or micromanaging, and while that looks messier at times, the proof is in the cards and words I got on my way out of how much folks appreciated the opportunities that came along with that approach. I was fortunate to learn from some incredible mentors when I was younger who gave me the chance to see what I could do, even if that meant possibly failing, I paid that forward, and I’m confident that the group of awesome folks I’ve worked with and managed will spread that to the next generation beyond them. I’m thankful to have gotten that affirmation on the way out, to know that I’m leaving a legacy behind. I wouldn’t begin to claim credit for their awesomeness, but I’m proud to have played a small part in shaping in.

I’ll let Mark tell you about his final days in the newsletter, but the notes he received that I read sure seemed like some powerful stuff.

The Retired Life Begins

Since Saturday, we’ve started each day saying, “Happy retirement,” to each other. And then we quickly ask whether we’ve each exhaled yet. (Answer so far: Not yet, but getting there.) We’re already had time, though, to do some solid relaxing.

We retired early! Our Next Life begins -- We achieved early retirement at the ages of 38 and 41, and now we begin the next chapter!

The first of many rocking chair pics, because that is the only type of chair retirees are allowed to sit in, not counting recliners. ;-)

It’s weird knowing that we don’t have to check email compulsively anymore, or to look at an hour-by-hour calendar. Days are now laid out in broad strokes, not small increments, which aligns to my new rule:

No more than one appointment a day, unless we’re traveling. 

Immediate Plans

We’re currently getting ready for Christmas, which we’ll spend with family, and then attend the Denver-area meetup in Longmont on Tuesday, December 26, at 5 pm at the MMM World Headquarters. (Bring something to share if you plan to join, or just show up and hang out!)

I’m doing two last remote workdays on December 27 and 28 to qualify for my company’s 401(k) match, so will be finishing up a few little admin tasks those days, before toasting my “official” early retirement on December 28. It reminds me of how I finished my coursework and walked in my college graduation in May 2001, but my diploma is dated August because I had to wrap up one last independent study project before graduating technically. Tiny delay on a technicality is apparently my thing.

Current To Do List

We’re crossed off almost everything on the to do list at this point except for two things:

The DAF contribution amount will be clear next week, and I’ll touch on that again in the year-end financial wrap-up.

And on health care, though open enrollment ended in most places last week (December 15), we have two factors that let us delay making a final selection: 1. Leaving work counts as a “qualifying event,” and enables us to have in essence a new open enrollment period. Because our end date is after the open enrollment deadline, that’s a qualifying event. 2. California’s open enrollment goes to January 31, as do many other states who have their own exchanges.

We know the health insurance that we’d like to buy, but the biggest hiccup we’re having is figuring out what doctors are on what network. We assumed that if we’ve been on a Blue Cross plan for many years and bought a new Blue Cross plan, that we’d have access to the same docs, but that’s apparently not the case. Stay tuned for more on this. (There’s also, of course, the question of what the new tax bill will mean for early retiree health care — and implications for traditional retiree health care, if the Medicare cuts currently being discussed materialize. Stay tuned on this stuff, too.)

Plans for Year 1

We have several things planned for year 1, but also huge expanses of blank space in between, which feels exactly perfect.

We’re going to Taiwan and also hope to make a brief trip to Europe to see the Rhine Valley before a relative there moves out of the area. We have a trip to New York set to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway (and also to have a meetup — stay tuned!). And there will be several financial independence events sprinkled in there, too. Along with what we imagine will be several jaunts to follow snow during ski season, or to go hike or climb in places that grab our attention. We’re keeping things as open as possible to allow us to do things on a whim.

We’re also planning this spring to launch the next podcast, Adventures in Early Retirement, and to see what other creative projects grab us. This will be all about following the fun, not worrying about money.

But speaking of money, we will each likely work a few small projects related to our now-past tense careers in 2018, largely just to provide a little more cushion to offset the unpredictability of health care at this point. The tax bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, as well as the administration’s attempts at cutting the cost reduction subsidies (currently being challenged in court), will all impact our health care, and given that there’s been this drawn out delay in finding out what those changes will be, we feel like continuing to hedge things is our best bet. We feel completely confident financially in all other things, with our super conservative plan girding us. But man, that health care x factor is frustrating.

Beyond the travel and the little bit of work, year 1 is all about relaxing and healing, especially during what we expect will be a multi-month detox period. Catching up on sleep is priority #1, followed by fine-tuning our eating and figuring out a new set of workout habits, in addition to all the skiing, hiking, biking and climbing.

Plans for Year 2 and Beyond

Here’s my favorite part of the year 2 plan: There is no year 2 plan! We have nothing at all planned — or even envisioned — beyond roughly next September. We’re just going to see how stuff goes in 2018 and then decide what and how much to plan. Given how much we loved Japan earlier this year, if we love Taiwan as much, then we might decide we need to spend more time in 2019 exploring Asia. Maybe we’ll decide, though, that we like being home the best, and will travel less than we’d expected. Maybe some new opportunity will arise that we can’t even imagine right now, and we’ll pour all of our energy into that. We have no idea! And that sounds soooo perfect.

Chime In!

Your turn! For those of you who’ve already been down this road, what should we be thinking about in the initial days of our early retirement? What do you wish you’d known or done differently? For those who are working toward the goal, what do you want to know that we can share? What would you be doing right now if you were in our shoes? And speaking of reaching goals, what milestones have you achieved lately that we can help you celebrate? Let’s chat about all of this in the comments!

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183 replies »

  1. Congratulations, you did it!!! Love that card the company gave you. It fits you perfectly.

    Sounds like it’s gonna be a fun, busy 1 year, yet no plans for 2nd year yet. It’s nice to be able to do (or not do) whatever the heck you want.

  2. Ah, Tanja and Mark, this is so awesome! I’m really excited for you (and excited to hear more about your early retirement!). I think I’d be making lists like a madman in my first early retierment days… no barriers, just what do I want to do, pursue, make and impove on. I’m guessing you may already have a few of those lists floating around ;) Have a blast this week as the reality starts to settle in a bit!

    • Thank you, my friend! We do have some lists, but I’m also grateful that the blog has given us the motivation for years now to make the lists in advance… and then toss most of them out. ;-) Trying hard to keep the list short for now and only let things onto it slowly. We’ll see how well that works out. Hahahaha

  3. Sleeping in is nice innit? My body is still adjusting to it on my days off, and don’t think I’m maxing out the sleep. It’s a continual work in progress, and fun to work on.

    I’ve never been to Taiwan but you’re gonna love the Rhine Valley. Lots to do and the beer and wine are amazing. If you guys are history nuts like me you can just see amazing castles and museums all day and have schnitzel and wine all night!

    • So far our bodies aren’t letting us sleep in… we need to untrain them! And I can’t wait to tour that part of Germany — post of my time in the country has been in and around Berlin, but the Rhine looks incredible.

  4. Congratulations! That card is pretty awesome, it sounds like you’re leaving a good group which is always bitter sweet.

    It’s good not to pack too much into those first few moments – you can’t really welcome changes like that if you pack in too much. Blank spaces are good for growth. :)

  5. Congratulations on reaching early retirement! Huge high fives to you both for achieving this enormous life goal. Time for plenty of rest, recovery and relaxation as you start to engage in your next life plans and activities.

    So interested just to hear about what you guys start getting up to now that you’ve freed up about 60-70 hours (maybe more?) in Every. Single. Week! :-)

    Enjoy the first week of living your lives completely as you choose.

  6. Congrats! I am happy you all achieved your dream! Hopefully some travel brings you down to the Lonestar state at some point! Enjoy the detox – mine took a while when I switched from the office job to having more free time. Try not to pick up too many side gigs and hobbies 😀

    • Thanks, my friend! :-) We’ll let you guys know when we’ll be in your neck of the woods for sure! Mr. SSC tells me there’d be room to park a small RV somewhere on the lake property, so plan for some squatters in a few years. Hahahaha. ;-) So far we haven’t had much success attempting to sleep in, so I think you’re right about that transition!

  7. I’m so happy and excited for you. I read your posts with a deep sense of sadness though, knowing your life can never be our life. Every projection I run for the future shows that we will run out of money when I’m around 74-77. We just don’t have enough and can never save/earn enough to retire early. It’s not that we don’t have enough capital really, it’s just that we can’t get the investment returns we need. My husband absolutely will NOT invest in the stock market and hasn’t for a decade. He believes a huge crash is coming and we will lose everything we have worked so hard for – and in the mean time we have lost the amazing growth the last 10 years would have given us, instead averaging a return of just over 1% these last few years, as we ‘invest’ in bank accounts to preserve our capital. Will inflation outpacing our returns we are actually going backwards.
    Can you help? Can you suggest any way we can get greater returns while leaving our capital guaranteed?
    I’m ill, exhausted, depressed and need to get away from all this!
    Hubby refuses to see an investment adviser, saying they will just charge us money and pressurise us to take out investments that pay them a fee or commission, and put our capital at risk.

    • Hi there — My heart goes out to you! It sounds, though, as if what you need most is a counselor to help you work through disagreements like this. Your husband should not unilaterally make all your decisions without taking your wishes into account, and if this is how he operates, then you guys would benefit from a pro who can help you communicate better and make decisions jointly. That’s certainly where I’d start! As for the financial side, if you’re able to adapt continuously, you aren’t necessarily totally screwed by inflation. Your Money Or Your Life makes the case that most people don’t really feel much inflation (though not sure I totally agree), but if you own your home and can shift your grocery buying habits for example or not travel when gas is expensive, you can insulate yourself to some extent. But there’s no stopping health care expenses and other unavoidable expenses from climbing.

  8. Congratulations! I can’t wait to read along and see how you live out Year 1 and potentially “borrow” some ideas/inspiration. We will be at our 4% rule mark this month, but we are aiming to get to a much higher savings rates to give us enough cushion to do all of the traveling that we want to do! I keep telling my husband that as soon as we start to plan the “round the world” trip that we say we are going to do in Year 1 of FIRE that we will be able to take more concrete action steps to getting there.

    • I think that’s smart to build in a cushion, especially given how potentially overvalued the markets are currently. If they contract 25% (totally possible), then your current 4% becomes roughly 3%. That’s part of why, though we don’t calculate our numbers this way, we’ll only be doing about 2.75% of our total investable assets in phase 1 and only move closer to 4% in phase 2, after age 60. And, as you said, so we can travel more! And just a thought for your RTW trip plans — make sure you really like being away from home for a long time before you go all in on that idea. We’ve realized that a month is about our limit, so we aren’t even going to try to see several countries all in one go. We have a lot of time now, and we can just do a country or two per trip and then get lots of downtime at home. But if you’re cool without the home base for a while, then go for it! :-)

      • In all of our daydreaming, we haven’t actually considered travel fatigue before. Thank you for the advice. Our longest trip to date has been 2-weeks and we went home wanting to turn right back around the hit the road again. I’m all for testing out limits with 3, 4 or 5 week trips if only our companies were willing to oblige. I think with our 4% threshold being met we may start to get more confident in asking for more…maybe…ohh that’s a scary thought process to unlearn.

  9. Congratulations!! I was so excited to wake up and see this particular post this morning. I love the notes that your employees wrote you about how you’d helped them in their careers–goes to show that the best gifts aren’t always physical.

    And I’m incredibly jealous of your Cursed Child tickets! I wasn’t over the moon about the book, but my friends who have been fortunate enough to see it say it was an amazing experience in person. My husband and I weren’t able to get tickets when we were in London back in March; I guess this means we’ll just have to go back at some point. ;)

  10. Congratulations!! I actually love that you go back for just a couple days because it feels like a slower “wrap up” that might help a teeny tiny bit with this massive life shift that’s happening right now. Plus a ton of people are off work this and next week for the holiday anyway, so the really big thing will be when you aren’t headed back January 2nd ;)

    And the no more than one appointment per day is a genius rule. And it means all your not-fun appointments can be mid day without being rushed about work or traffic.

    • I think that’s true! I have a few to do items on those last two days that I’m actually excited to do, but it’s nice to have the emotional goodbye done. And YES on the appointments rule. I feel strongly about that one. ;-)

  11. Yippee! Well done. Now the real fun (& learning) starts. When our son was living in California we found there was a significant difference between Blue Cross (what we normally have) and Blue Shield. We picked wrong. Try to stay as spontaneous as possible which will mean saying “no” to a lot of commitments which may sound interesting at the time you book them.

  12. One word: Congratulations!

    And yes, dealing with the “skinny” provider networks that are part of Marketplace health insurance plans is a real pain. To me, health care these days feels like the old game of Whack A Mule. As soon as one problem gets resolved another problem seems to take it’s place. But I remain cautiously optimistic that at some point sanity will prevail. Health care is too important a topic to be a political football in perpetuity.

  13. Congrats! Sounds like you’ve got enough knowns and enough unknowns to keep it exciting. Way to live the dream!

  14. Congratulations on the early retirement! I’m now looking forward to your new posts to see what early retirement is like hehe. That’s our goal one day, but it will be a while until we can achieve it.

    I really like that you’re so open about both the ups and downs of the whole process. It’s so real!

  15. Congrats! I just want to say again that I think it is very wise that you are not allowing things to fill up your calendar. Decompression takes time and finding your new balance may reveal surprising things to you.

  16. Congratulations! I look forward to hearing about your transition time as you settle in. You both seem pretty driven, and it will be great to learn more about how you like the downtime; I hope you can really stick to it! Enjoy the holidays-the new year has lots of good things in store for you!

  17. Congratulations! So happy for you!
    Looking forward to learning more about your New York meet up. If I could swing it for Harry Potter and Our Next Life my fangirl self would likely explode.

  18. Congratulations on the Early Retirement!!! It’s cool hearing about this, but also sitting here on a Monday at work it makes us antsy to join you! Anyways, good luck with your To Do lists and having fun traveling! I can’t wait to see some cool photos so we can armchair travel with you.

  19. Huzzah, happy who knows what day of the week it is! ;)

    I love your year 2 plan, especially the part about maybe you’ll decide after doing a lot of travel that you’re happiest at home. If I became financially independent tomorrow my instinct would be travel travel travel, but maybe I’d exhaust that from my system and decide I like where I am just fine!

    • Hahaha. We’ve already had a little bit of “what day is it?” going on… but that was true while working, too. ;-) We know well from the travel we’ve already done that we aren’t happy being fully away from home, so this coming year will probably entail a lot of experimentatation to find our actual limits and optimal trip length.

  20. 1) Cheers 2) Enjoy 3) I don’t think you can “catch up” on sleep, lol. But savor sleeping those healthy amounts. 4) I look forward to seeing those fun snow pics these next few months!

  21. I just saw that Devin Hester officially retired a few days ago. Looks like all you needed to retire before 40 this week was the last name of Hester and a five letter first name :-).

    I had to ask my wife about the Willy Wonka reference, because the 70s version is extremely weird (saw it recently). She agreed that the Depp version was weirder, but I wasn’t as sure when I saw that years ago.

  22. Congrats Tanja & Mark. So when are you guys coming up to Vancouver to visit us? :D

    Have you set plans for Taiwan travel? Love that you have no real plans for year 2. That’s the way it should be!

  23. Big congrats to you both – very awesome!! Looking forward to seeing the next steps unfold – the podcast idea sounds pretty cool! ENJOY!

  24. Congrats guys! You made it! It sounds like you’re ready to do some serious relaxing, but I’m afraid your ‘nap’ planning is seriously lacking! ;)

  25. Congratulations (again)! As a friend, I LOVE that you have left 2019 wide open, and scheduled 2018 lightly. As a planner, that makes me antsy ;D I can’t wait to see how your first days and months of early retirement work out.

  26. Oh, happy day! Congratulations! It must be awesome to finally get to the big moment and have it be all you want. You totally hit me in the feels with that Gene Wilder quote – I loved that man, and that movie.

    On the travel front, if you’re in Germany long enough, venture into the Moselle river valley – it connects to the Rhine at Koblenz. The wineries and castles and history there are awesome. I especially recommend a visit to Cochem, the most picturesque, adorable city on the river with a castle on the hill above. I wish we had had more time there.

  27. Congratulations! I ran across your blog in the past couple of months and have greatly enjoyed your countdown posts. I will be leaving my job in April at the age of 53. (Not super young, but I took a few years off a decade ago.) Like you, I am anxious about the impact of the current tax bill on health care costs as I plan on remaining in the States through 2018. I take care of myself and am healthier than most people I know who are a decade younger, but I find myself looking at long-term residency in other countries that have real health care.

    That being said, best wishes for a sunny retirement!

    • 53 is still super young by any standards! That’s so awesome. And I don’t blame you for considering other countries that have more affordable health care. It’s for sure on our list of backup plans… though we’d hope that we don’t have to leave the country to ensure that we’ll get the care we need!

  28. The FIRE is officially ignited. Congrats! I’m 172 Days away, and have set an official “No Obligation” policy for the first year. Excited to see you walk the journey 6 months ahead of me! Congrats on achieving a major milestone. Life goes on, but somehow Life is so different now…

    • Thanks! Does your policy mean no travel or community involvement (e.g. volunteering)? I’ve heard from a fair number of people that not having set things to do in retirement made them feel aimless and made them ultimately go back to work, which helped us decide that we wanted to have SOME obligations. I know you’d given it a lot of thought, though!

  29. Congratulations. We will continue to keep up the political fight for you! And totally jealous that you got Harry Potter tix. I didn’t even know they were coming to NYC. Dagnabbit.

    • Thank you for keeping up the fight! (We’ll keep it up, too — just in more grassroots ways.) And I just got an email this morning that there will be another Harry Potter ticket release, so Google it!

  30. That’s an awesome year one and I love the one appointment rule. A deep laugh if someone wants to meet before 9:30am might be rule 2.

    Will closely follow your exchange posts, our decision will be further complicated by figuring out where to domicile our address.

  31. Just so excited for you both! I couldn’t stop looking at your countdown number. Found myself checking it multiple times a day for some reason. As we are here over in India, the number would shift down around our lunchtime as we are roughly 12 1/2 hours ahead of California. I wish I could fly over to you and share a happy dance around your kitchen. Tell you what, I’ll do one here for you, and you can do one over there, yes?

  32. Congrats Tanja and Mark! You look very relaxed in your rocking chair and wine pics:) Sounds like a good plan for next year. Enjoy your travel, creative projects, and lots of in between fun. I’m looking forward to seeing where the future takes you.

    PS – Healthcare is on my mind too as we plan to come back mid-year from Ecuador. Such a crazy (non)planning process. It’s tempting to stay abroad in a “developing” (ha) country where health insurance is actually reasonable to acquire.

    • Thanks, Chad! :-) And yeah, the health care situation is really quite pathetic. We’re lucky that we can technically afford it, though it’s disheartening to see how little it includes for so many people. The 10 essential services are still covered, which is huge, but limited providers, high deductibles and zero coverage on hospitals before the out-of-pocket max makes for a lot of unappealing plans.

  33. Congratulations! I’ve been reading ONL for about a year and eagerly anticipating this day with you. Looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures!

  34. Just hold off on having kids! Enjoy your freedom now, and you’ll be set for raising little ones (if you so choose to) after crossing off some of those bucket list items.
    The healthcare thing is something I’m keeping an eye on too. I’ll look forward to how it works for you guys as we’re just 1.5 years away from our parachute out da plane.

  35. I thought about you guys Monday morning… and sent you congrats vibes..did you get them? On another note, I was planning the 4hr drive to Denver but not sure where headquarters is! Been trying to connect via twitter/ email but no go… Is there someone else in the community who knows the address? Can you imagine me driving back and forth up main St in Longmont looking for MMM headquarters? I’d be totally face punched once I arrived for wasting so much gas!

  36. Well done! Welcome to the FIRE class of 2017! I know the feeling of technically being done work but not. I was officially on vacation for six weeks prior to my early retirement period starting up this year. By the way, my advice is to treat the first few weeks as a vacation. Don’t worry about doing much and just focus on looking after yourself and enjoying life. When you finally feel itchy to do something you will know when to add some projects into the mix. Take care and happy holidays!

    • Thanks, Tim! And that’s great advice, and definitely in line with our thinking. We really won’t try to tackle anything until we’re back from Taiwan, and just treat all the home time before that as decompression time (plus blogging and existing volunteer board obligations, of course). Happy holidays!

  37. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ^_^

  38. Congratulations! No plans sounds so exciting! I would totally spend a few days (…weeks…maybe a month or two) just sleeping in, reading, and cooking awesome food while figuring everything out. Keep livin’ the dream, and happy holidays!

  39. I’m jealous and excited for you guys, that’s awesome :)

    Honestly you’re playing it right. I don’t think I’d have any plans at all – just go with the flow and see how things pan out. I’m sure that you’ll find TONS of stuff to do and your plans will change. No biggy, you’ve got all the time in the world now!


  40. Wow! Congratulations! That must be such an amazing feeling to wake up on a Monday and know that you don’t have to work EVER AGAIN! Enjoy the holidays. I can’t wait to follow your adventures in retirement!

  41. Congratulations! I have a sneaking suspicion that you guys are going to enjoy retirement. We’ve been retired for a year now and one of our greatest joys is still Sunday night. I can’t explain how awesome it feels to fire up Netflix, get a couple of glasses of wine, and contemplate the fact that we don’t have to go to work on Monday. Enjoy.

  42. Congrats guys!! Life really does begin at 40! All the best and happy holidays.

  43. Late to the party, but congratulations!!! This is so amazing! I can’t wait to hear more about what life is like on the other side of the fence!

  44. Tanja and Mark,

    Congratulations! I’m so happy to hear that, finally your new life begins. Mountain air, rocking chairs, that really sound cool. Tanja’s card is great. It looks you are the only one in that picture who are smiling. For the rest, are they worrying about if or how to follow your suit?

    I like your plan for Year 2: no plans. Enjoy!

  45. Many congratulations to the two of you. Awesome smiles in those rocking chairs. Not sure, but I think retirees are also allowed to sit in ski lifts.

  46. Congratulations! You had me at the sleeping in and not compulsively checking emails part. When I take a step away, it is insane how much time we spent glued to a screen at a job we do not want attending an endless parade of meetings/phone calls. Now, the fun begins. You set your own schedule and choose which adventures you want to tackle. Year 1 will be a blast and I’m sure you are going to work on many things that aren’t included in your article. Looking forward to following along and living vicariously through your shoes :)


  47. Congratulations! Today I’ve been early retired for 2 years and I highly recommend it. My tips: 1) Find some meaningful work you enjoy that keeps you employable. Trust me, we are designed to contribute to the tribe. Travel, hobbies, family time are all great but they will not fulfill you unless you also have something that makes you feel significant. It is nice if it is paid, nicer if it is highly paid but fine if it is pure charity. I have 5 side gigs making a lot of money I don’t need and 6 more that are pure charity. 2) Figure out a good answer to “what do you do?” then email it to me. I never know what to say? Congrats again!

  48. You know what’s a good idea? Buy a small yacht and just chase the sun. A friend of mine and his wife did that for 3 years and they loved it. And it’s not that expensive. Living costs in a lot of tropical countries are much lower than said costs in the developed world.

  49. When we hit FIRE we sold the house, bought an RV and spent the next 10yrs traveling the continent (US, Mexico, and Canada). And we’re still at it!


  50. The picture of both of you relaxing with a white wine is priceless… It says happy happy happy all over the place.

    Long shot question: how far is your Rhine valley from Brussels?

    • It WAS happy! :-) And I’ll write more soon about how early retirement has been so far, but safe to say it is better than working. ;-)

      I don’t know how close the Rhine is to Brussels, but I will find out! Certainly not more than a few hours on a train!

  51. Congrats! For your future plans, I suggest you visit places that you have never been to, meet people that are different than you are, do things that you never thought you would do. I think that will give you a perspective in life, will help you figure out what you were missing in your work life and maybe help you plan for rest of the retirement. Taiwan sounds pretty good. Have you thought of trekking in the himalayas and interacting with the locals there?

    Of course, you don’t have to do this. Just throwing some ideas since you wanted some. Enjoy :)

    • That is definitely our plan! We have no desire to follow the usual tourist routes, and were definitely surprised by how few western tourists we saw in Taiwan, especially once we got outside of Taipei. And yes, the Himalaya are definitely on our list!

  52. Congratulations on your new retirement. I just turned 45 and plan to retire in 25 years at the age of 70. Who knows what the future will bring though – I may be able to retire sooner than that.