One Year of Early Retirement, Part 1: Biggest Lessons // Our Next Life // early retirement, financial independence, work optional living, purpose, adventurewe retired early

One Year of Early Retirement, Part 1: Biggest Lessons

Happy new year, friends! I hope your 2019 is off to a roaring start. I’m thrilled to be back here on the blog after a full month off, something I didn’t plan for, but that was necessary and will ultimately make the blog better.

Today’s post is the first in a series recapping our first full year of early retirement, and first up is the heavy-ish one: the big lessons.

Before we get to that, a couple of quick announcements:

Thing one! I’m all kinds of stoked to share that I’ll be one of the presenters at 2019’s Ecuador FI Chautauqua, a full-week retreat way up high in the mountains of Ecuador. I’ve heard nothing but good things from those who’ve attended, and though it’s certainly not free, it’s a pretty incredible deal for an all-inclusive week. The other fab thing is that Vicki Robin, author of Your Money Or Your Life and original FI badass, and Paula Pant, creator of the Afford Anything blog and podcast, are presenting too. It’s going to be an amazing week, and if you’re interested in joining us, you can find all the info here.

Thing two! The Fairer Cents podcast season 3 premiere is this Wednesday, January 9. We’re starting out with a bang with Suze Orman, and the season is stacked with all kinds of incredible money conversations. It’s not a financial independence-focused podcast, but if you’re interested in money, women and society, check it out.

Thing three! Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way comes out in just five weeks! It helps the book a ton if preorders are strong, because it tells bookstores that they want to stock a bunch of copies of it. (My goal is not financial, but rather to sell enough that I get to write more books. Because I loved the process so much.) So if you’re planning to order the book at some point, here’s a little extra incentive to preorder rather than waiting until the book comes out: Everyone who orders between now and the day before release day (February 11 by midnight Pacific time) will receive a values-based budget planner to accompany the book, and be entered to win one of four one-hour Skype sessions with me, or with me and Mark (your choice), to talk finances, life planning, adventure… whatever you want! Just send some proof of purchase to workoptionalpreorder at gmail dot com. Thanks to everyone who has ordered the book or requested your library get it! (And yes, if you already sent in proof of purchase, you’re entered and you’ll receive the planner. Thanks again!)

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the big lessons.

One Year of Early Retirement, Part 1: Biggest Lessons // Our Next Life // early retirement, financial independence, work optional living, purpose, adventure

The first year of retirement taught us a ton, in part because it felt crazy long. The day we embarked upon this wild ride feels so long ago, I almost can’t believe it’s been only a year. We did and saw so much, even in a year dominated by book writing, and while I’ll save that full rundown for the next post in the series, it’s enough to say it was a lot. Which was exactly what we wanted.


Work feels 100% different when it’s no longer mandatory. A big thing we learned this year is how shockingly different it feels to say yes to something that is by any definition “work.” Which is to say, not just sitting at a computer working on something that’s a passion project and happens to pay a little money, but a former client calling you up and asking you to do work you wouldn’t otherwise do for money. I did one small project like that this past year and Mark did a few, and we expected to find ourselves resenting things once work was actually due… but we didn’t. We knew we could have said no (and we said no to way more than we said yes to), but said yes for reasons that felt good to us – because the causes were important and we really like the people. It’s trite to say, but the work barely felt like work.

We’re glad we left work the way we did. That said, we’re still thrilled that we’re no longer working. And looking back, we know we could have given shorter notice or been less clear about what we’d be getting up to, but we’re glad in hindsight that we did it the way we did: each giving a bit over two months’ notice and being totally transparent about our early retirement vision, my health motivations and all the rest.

Related post: The End of the Double Life and the Weight of the Lie // Giving Notice at Work

We don’t miss it. Even though I never doubted whether I really wanted to retire early, a big part of me wondered if I’d make the trade-off of missing the best parts of work, or missing feeling valued for my opinion or missing interacting regularly with the people. And the truth is that I haven’t missed any of it. (Mark hasn’t either, but that was never really in question for him.) Sometimes I’ll go weeks without thinking about my old work life, and then feel almost guilty when I remember it and realize how little I’ve thought about it after spending 16 years with the same company and team. But I think that great transition and how little I’ve thought about it has everything to do with successfully pulling off the chapter overlap approach that I highly recommend, and having a very clear set of passion projects that I devote a lot of time to now rather than floundering to figure out what I’ll do with my time.


We’ve thought about money a lot less than we expected to. We always kind of suspected that we’d retire right into a recession, and while we went much of the year before the markets went bonkers, and we’re not technically in recession (yet), all signs point to a bumpy road ahead. I always expected this to stress me out, even though I know perfectly well how market cycles work. But that hasn’t happened. We think and talk about money remarkably little, and focus on life instead.

There are a looooot of hours in the day to succumb to temptation. That said, don’t buy the hype that your spending automatically goes down in retirement. Sure, you may ditch the commute, but retirement gives you a lot of time to “happen to” click around on online shopping sites, to find incredible looking trips you could take and to generally find yourself tempted by ways to spend. You have to make sure you’re clear on your spending vision and consciously stick to it, or it’s easy to sink the budget.


More time together doesn’t make for instant harmony. One of the things Mark and I were most excited about in early retirement was having more time to focus on each other and the relationship instead of constantly being in self-preservation-work-panic mode. And we assumed that more time to do that would be all we’d need to reach marriage perfection. And sadly, that’s not true. (Don’t worry – we’re doing great.) We both saw for ourselves and heard from several early retired friends willing to tell the truth that the first year of retirement can be pretty tough on a partnership. Which isn’t a comment on the relationship itself, but just the fact that retirement is a big freaking deal, and it’s stressful on several levels even when it’s totally by choice and positive. That stress is bound to have an impact on the relationship, and it did on ours and was something we had to work through. There are also just little things you have to figure out as a couple that are in that place where the rubber meets the road. Mark and I had always said we wanted to be able to do whatever we wanted each day, and in my head, that meant we’d wake up in the morning and say to each other, “Hey, what do you want to do today?” Meanwhile in Mark’s head, it apparently meant something closer to deciding the day before. We each started acting on our vision, and that resulted in him going out and doing lots of the stuff we wanted to be doing… with other friends. It took some reorientation on both of our parts to figure out what “do whatever we want each day” actually looks and feels like for us. The larger point is that early retirement doesn’t instantly cure anything that ails your relationship, but rather it gives you time to work through the string of challenges that it creates – but you have to commit to work through them.


Three to four weeks is our travel sweet spot. Much more on travel in the next post, but we took trips of nearly every length this year, and concluded that for us, three to four weeks is perfect. This is totally an individual thing, but two weeks leaves us wanting way more, and five weeks leaves us unenthusiastic and wishing we were home already. So in the future, we’ll be planning more of our trips in the three to four weeks range.


Early retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness. One of the biggest things that I absolutely know to be true after the last year, and that I wish more bloggers would admit, is that you aren’t automatically happy just because you don’t have to go to work every day or think about money anymore. You might be instantly happy about those things. But true happiness or sadness isn’t really about anything. Our brains are complicated, messy things, and life is complicated and messy, too, and that doesn’t stop being true just because you’ve retired. Something I never expected to say is that I increased my antidepressant dose after retiring early, and I’m glad I did. Even though I remain stoked to have moved into the next phase of life and have had nothing but amazing things happen this year, big life transitions come with stress, and that’s real. It’s important to me to share this because I suspect there are others who’ve made big life transitions they’re excited to make, and they know how lucky and fortunate they are, and yet they find themselves sad. You’re not alone. Some of our brains just work that way. And now I’m on the other side of it all and feel nothing but thrilled for 2019, so my hope is that it’s just the transition that’s rough. But stay tuned – I’ll report back.

What it looks or feels like has everything to do with you. As I shared in more detail with the e-newsletter list last week, a big learning of early retirement is that it doesn’t look or feel any particular way. Instead, what your early retirement looks like is really a reflection of you. Perhaps what your early retirement looks like is the truest expression of you. I’m a person who’s passionate about too many things and loves throwing myself into projects… and therefore my early retirement looks jam-packed with stuff. That’s just who I am as a person, and if my experience was any different than that, I wouldn’t be true to myself.

You still can’t do everything. And womp womp for the all the “Do all the things!” folks out there, but sadly, you still can’t do everything you dream of doing because there is only so much time, and every yes is a no to something else. My list of things I didn’t get to this past year is long, but zero regrets, because what I did get to do is so incredible. Same for Mark.


If you need lunch in most of France at 2:30, you’re out of luck. Finally, a lesson we took too long to learn, but if you need to eat in France outside of Paris, you must eat at lunchtime. That means seated by 1:30 of you’re not getting food until dinnertime, which may not start until 8 PM. You’ve been warned. ;-)

Your Turn!

What lessons have you learned lately that you’re game to share with all of us? What lessons I shared are surprising? Unsurprising? For those who’ve already retired, what lessons did you learn that surprised you? Let’s chat in the comments!

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86 replies »

  1. It’s good to know spending in retirement doesn’t drop precipitously, like I’ve often been told. I should know, actually, because as a teacher with summers off, I know how all that free time can lead to more spending. I’ve just filed that little cautionary nugget away for later use. Thank you!

  2. “you still can’t do everything” is a huge one…. time has an amazing way of being filled. And I’m personally focusing on learning how to nap properly in my semi-retirement, so that prevents other things from happening.

    Great lessons, and glad to hear you still don’t miss your old jobs!

      • But perhaps missing the people you worked with over the years? Or do you still socialize with some? Not retired yet, but over my career, the best memories are of the people I worked with, not the work itself. ;o)

  3. Can you talk about pet care during your travels? We have two cats and I hate leaving them for more than a week. They are well cared for by our pet sitter, but I feel guilty and miss them while we’re away.

    • We’re fortunate to be able to leave the dogs with friends or family so they aren’t home all alone for extended periods. If we didn’t have that option, we’d either travel less or find ways to take them with us.

      • We love to travel with our dog. She’s an amazing car rider. Can go for hours and loves it. We were amazed at the number of hotels that allow pets. (Ours is under 50#s, so that helps.) If you’re a camper, I’m sure that’s easy, too. One drawback is traveling to/through national parks (which are our most FAVORITE vacations!!): pets must be leashed – makes sense, of course – but can be no further than 100 feet from anywhere a car can go. So, no long hikes with our dog in the parks…. We still saw tons and enjoyed many memories – with our dog!! 13 days of travel and when we got home, she was still waiting to get back in the van to head out again!

  4. Can I just say I am so freaking excited to have The Fairer Cents back?? It’s been way too long without the two of you in my podcast lineup!

    Much smaller scale, but I felt a lot of those emotions when I dropped my park ranger second job. I did love it, but I love not doing it more (specifically the freedom of having my weekends back to do as I please).

  5. I enjoyed this post so much! Lesson I’ve learned lately that echoes what you’ve said here: money and financial stability are great, but if you’re unhappy, they’re kind of meaningless. There has to be a balance.

  6. These are the two points I think are worth emphasizing:

    Early retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness.

    More time together doesn’t make for instant harmony.

    We tend to just revert back to our steady state of happiness, no matter what. Further, more time together can actually cause friction!

    Good to talk more about the realities of ER I say. It will appeal to more folks.


  7. I’m so excited for the next season of Fairer Cents! I am thankful for the reminder that even if we are happy about not having to worry about money or a job, it does not automatically translate to true happiness and fulfillment. I also like the idea that early retirement is a reflection of who you are– I like myself, so I think I’ll like early retirement!

  8. Oh goodness, I am so excited for The Fairer Cents and so curious about your convo with Suze Orman (I have a feeling you dig into some interesting things there). I also just love this post. So much I can relate to, though I have the dynamic that my partner is still working and I’m not, so while there was a bit of friction there, it has ended up working better than we expected. My partner focuses on work and I spend more time handling the stuff to manage our home and then we both have more time together. I am lucky to have a partner that didn’t expect massive changes in me like all of a sudden I decided to enjoy cooking elaborate meals. Certainly I have stepped up my game but he still handles that a few nights a week and seems to be happy about me expanding my repertoire. I feel like I could write a 2 page comment, but I’ll stop there! Glad you are back and I hope you are well rested and getting some turns in!

    • I hope you enjoyed the Suze chat! ;-) It was one wild ride. And thanks for your note on this post! I’m glad you guys have a good dynamic now, though I’m sure you know that it could change again when/if he stops working. But you’ll be ready to ride that wave when it comes. :-)

      • I thoroughly enjoyed the direction in which you took the conversation and perhaps for the first time ever, listened to an interview with her the whole way through. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Suze – her hyperbole borders on ridiculous IMHO, but I admire how intrepid she is. 25-35 year old me could have used a few lessons from her on how to harness my chutzpah. It’s funny how an impression stays with you for so long… someone recommended a book from her to me in my early 30’s and it just didn’t meet me where I was so I dismissed it and her since that time. Lucky for you (sarcasm intended), your blog (and I tried reading literally dozens of them) met me where I was in late 2015 and hooked me. It’s funny because only yours and your least favorite blog are the ones I loved and continue to read. I’m just full of contradictions, I guess (or just really weird).

  9. As Paula Pant would likely say, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” I’m only six months into early retirement (including a move from the Bay Area to the Sacramento region) and am definitely still trying to find my way. Your perspectives and those from others in the community are a great help.

    I agree that “Early retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness.” Our family dynamics and challenges did not change or magically improve in the transition to FIRE or move to a new community (nor did we expect them to). That said, not having job pressure and the daily work grind and commute is a huge stress reliever. And the freedom to own our time is a huge gift.

    • I feel like I’m still fumbling around in the darkness with this whole early retirement thing, so cut yourself lots of slack for still figuring it out. ;-) We’re all just making our best guesses as we go along. Hahaha. You’re so right that, while ER doesn’t make us automatically happy, it DOES reduce stress, which is worth so much. That’s worth reminding ourselves!

  10. Hooray for a new post and for a new season of TFC! As someone who’s not retiring anytime soon, it’s still awesome to read this very candid post. You’ve been saying it for ages, but I still appreciate the honesty about how retiring early isn’t just this magical change that suddenly solves all your problems (and clears up your skin, waters your crops, etc haha).

    No lessons learned lately for me, per se, but in December I seriously stepped back from the blog because I was just too tired to continue with yet another obligation in my life and I needed rest. It was hard to do but necessary, so I’m glad I ignored all the times I thought I “should” be writing a post with my free time over the holidays. We’ll see how easy or difficult it is for me to get back into the swing of things though!

    • Well my skin is looking fabulous… ;-) Hahaha. (JK) I hope you’ll keep doing your blog, because you bring such a great and refreshing perspective, but I’m also glad you’re taking care of yourself first! I’ve done it as much as any blogger, so can’t claim any moral authority here, but burying yourself under the stress of self-imposed deadlines and self-imposed standards you aren’t meeting is no way to live. ;-)

  11. Early retirement may not guarantee happiness, but it sure as hell makes it easier to find!

    I think the challenge for many people is staying motivated once you don’t have work assignments. I fill my days with personal projects because I’m a very self directed individual, but that kind of “work” may not be for everyone.

    Happy New Year, and congrats on the book coming out soon!

    • Thanks, friend! Happy new year to you, too! ER *does* make it easier to pursue happiness, but most of all, it reduces stress, which reduces unhappiness. So I’d say it may not make you happy, but it makes you less unhappy. ;-) How’s that for splitting hairs? X-)

  12. Love these lessons and looking forward to learning my own one day in the near future. I think “can’t do everything is retirement” is a good lesson to realize.

  13. My best friend has been retired for a little over a year and she’s as happy as a pig in mud!
    She found that she needed to build a bit of structure into her weeks, so she does a few classes and walks dogs at her local shelter and that seems to do the trick. Her husband, on the other hand, is happy to let the days slip bu doing whatever he feels like doing at the time.

  14. Most surprising for me is to hear you are on anti-depressants – from what I read you seem an incredibly well rounded person.

    Structure is the thing I am grappling with too. When I retired I decided, as a complete change, to have no structure at all until Christmas. It has been great doing exactly what we want to do each day and I have certainly slept in more than I ever did before, but sometimes the day has just drifted away! I cant make up my mind whether to bring the structure back or continue with (almost) no structure at all. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches in my (limited) experience.

    • Would you be surprised if Tanja had instead said she was on medication for high blood pressure or funky thyroid numbers? Sometimes a little medicine is required to get the body to a healthy level – whether the patient is tweaking their blood pressure or mood, ideally it would not come with different perceptions. I’m glad Tanja is candid about this, as I think exposure helps reduce stigma around mental health.

      I just had a very unstructured (kinda boring) 2-day weekend and could actually see why people may be okay with working in order to have structure. I still want to get out early but I don’t know exactly what my life will look like. I have a long time before it’s going to happen, though, so I”m not very anxious about it.

      • Actually I would be equally surprised if Tanja had said she had worsening blood pressure etc after stopping employment. However, apologies, I accept my choice of words was poor here. Problem is I my am not sure what the better choice of words should be so I will just stop digging.

      • Mental health stigma is real, and it’s still so misunderstood despite crazy huge numbers of us dealing with depression, anxiety and worse. Doing my little part to talk about it. :-)

        Thanks for admitting that you got bored without structure! Unstructured life isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to require work forever. You can get structure in lots of different ways that have nothing to do with work.

    • I’m not going to jump all over you for this comment. ;-) But it’s worth reading this to better understand how mental health and depression are quite separate from one’s personality, motivation, what’s happening in one’s life, etc.:

      I’m glad that you’re grappling with the structure question rather than just continuing to let the days drift by. Can you try structure a few days a week and leave several other days unstructured, and see how that feels?

  15. I’m not FI, but had a nice long holiday break and didn’t get bored once. I could definitely see how you still wouldn’t have enough time to do everything. Especially with all of the awesome stuff that you got to do last year! Now that you’re RE, are you allowed to be “busy” or is that word still frowned upon :)?

    • Hi! I owe you a few responses over email! :-) I’m so glad you had a nice holiday break, and I’m not surprised at all that you were never bored. And so funny. I’ve truly banned “busy” from my vocabulary, so the thought doesn’t even occur to me. At most, I just have a long to do list. ;-)

      • I might have to temporarily join the retirement police to chime in that if you owe me email, you can’t possibly be RE ;)! All joking aside, the inbox can definitely wait. And as a list person myself, I can’t imagine giving up my to do lists. But it would be nice to have more say into what goes into them.

  16. “We’ve thought about money a lot less than we expected to.”

    That’s encouraging to hear. I’ve always wondered how I would think about money after early retirement. Maybe not being stressed out about work makes it easier to not have to think about all the stresses that can come with money.

    Excited to hear they are bringing back Chautauqua in Ecuador. We doing FinCon and a Camp FI, so might not be able to make it this year, but perhaps it will come back in 2020!

    • Hi Dragons! Nice to hear from you. Of course I can’t promise that everyone will have our experience, but I’m inclined to “overthink” things generally (I like to think that’s not quite as bad as worrying, but it’s definitely related), so it was a surprise to see that even with that tendency I’m just generally not worried about money at all. And yeah, sounds like the Chautauquas in Ecuador are going to become regular again! See you at FinCon, if not sooner!

  17. Thanks so much for being honest. It helps the rest of us to know it’s ok not to have a perfect life. It is just about how we approach problems. Better to face them and deal with them rather than deny.

  18. I think you should tell Suze where to stick it. lol But I know you’re too nice for that.

    Can’t believe it’s been a year already. And you couldn’t believe how long that year felt, which sounds good to me. The slowing of time is one of the parts of retirement that i’m looking forward to most.

    • Ha. Suze and I had a very different early retirement conversation than the one Paula had with her, and we’ll be referencing that in a few weeks on the podcast. And YES, so true that time slowed down for us, which was unexpected but completely amazing and wonderful.

  19. As a personal experience, I took early retirement at age 57 in Sept ’08, one might say at an auspicious time when the economy took a hit. Since then, I’ve always needed to keep an eye on our revenue/expense dial board. Besides money, what I wanted to add here is that over these ten years, I have learned to enjoy doing things, projects, whatever, anything in fact, one at a time: no more multi-tasking . Doing it well and above all, enjoying the act as much as the result.

  20. As an aspiring early retiree, the point that really resonates with me is “Early retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness.” It’s probably the one that worries me the most, together with the issue of finding a ‘new identity’.

    I think early retirement, in a way, is a lot like winning the lottery. Having the money (or, in our case, the time), doesn’t automatically make you happy. It’s how you use it that can make you happy.

    Unfortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, there are lots of unhappy lottery winners, and there is a lot we can learn from them…

    • I think you’re right to consider this! But the good thing is that research tells us that those who seek PURPOSE are actually happier than those who seek HAPPINESS. (Ironic, no?) And early retirement gives you way more time and opportunity to live with purpose. If you focus on that, I’m positive you’ll address both the happiness question and the identity one.

  21. Congrats on being a presenter at Chautauqua.
    The only problem with it is that these Chautauqua seem to be made only for americans because the price is quite salty for someone who doesn’t earn/have USD. It’s not very frugal let’s say.
    We brazilians who live very close to Equador cannot attend because that would set us back about BRL 16,000

    • I agree with that — the price is definitely geared toward a certain economic level that is not universal. I am hopeful, though, that as the FIRE idea spreads, we’ll see more ways for people to gather all over the world at all price points. If it seems like there’s enough interest, I could look at hosting some sort of meetup before or after the Chautauqua, though, that would be free except for travel.

  22. I believe in keeping it simple. For me, the vital few are health, family, personal projects, friends. Its not so much about material stuff or racking up achievements. Its about relationships we have with people and being grateful for what we have.

  23. All told, it seems like it was a really positive first year transition into early retirement. Some ups, some downs, some new stuff, and most importantly, not missing your old jobs at all!

    “More time together doesn’t make for instant harmony.” I keep this in mind for all the times we wish we could be hanging out with family instead of working. Stopping traditional work or changing our current schedule won’t solve all the things, it’ll still require a hefty transition period like any other major life change.

  24. I understand how people can feel depressed in retirement. Work is a distraction that means we have no opportunity to think or be in our own heads. It’s why people choose to immerse themselves in work so they don’t have to be alone with themselves.

    • Carl Jensen, the blogger who writes 1500 Days, has talked a lot about that: how you can’t run away from your personal $#!% when you have all this free time on your hands. I don’t think the absence of work had anything to do with it for me, but I’ve heard from plenty of others (and the research on traditional retirees backs this up) that retirement and depression are definitely linked for a lot of people.

  25. “More time together doesn’t make for instant harmony.” Especially if one partner spent 50-75 percent of the time traveling while the other stayed at home. When we retired three years ago, we were excited to finally get to spend real time together, not just a few days every month. It was terrific for a few weeks until reality set in. I had my own routines and life somewhat separate from his. He didn’t know what to do with so much time at home. Surprisingly, it was the little things that you don’t think about that caused the biggest issues. Things like who fixes lunch, does laundry, cleans the bathrooms, pays bills, etc. Big picture issues like budget, investments, travel, etc. didn’t cause very much headache at all. It took a lot of discussions and compromises to get our now mostly happy retirement life. Oh, he still interrupts me when I’m reading and I still complain about how he does the laundry. Overall however, the transition helped us become stronger together and look forward to many great years in our retirement life.

    • Oh my gosh, YES. Your story is soooo much like the stories of retiree couples that I read again and again in my research for the book. You basically have to figure out a new life together. But if you can commit yourselves to doing that and stick it out through the rough patches, you have a super good chance of going the distance. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  26. Thank you for your honesty, bravery and confidence to tell the world you are taking anti-depressants. I too am FIRE and on anti-depressants, though only a small number of close friends know about it.

    Isn’t it strange how differently people react when they learn that big-name famous person suffers from depression vs when an everyday person suffers from the same?

    • Thanks for saying this! A HUGE number of us are, and it’s like any physical health problem… just with way more stigma. But that stigma will never go away if more of us don’t talk about it, so I’m doing my small part to chip away at those dumb and false ideas that still linger out there.

  27. A part of me is a tiny bit glad that retirement does not magically make Everything Better. Capitalism feels bogus a lot of the time, but it is not the only reason life can be tough.

    Other food cultures are fascinating. Big meals at times my body has not prepared for. Humans and their societies are such complex things.

  28. Ahaha your France specific comment made me laugh.
    I’m from Switzerland but it’s almost the same and after visiting Canada where everything is open all day long, I can understand your feeling!

    Congrats and thanks for the 1-year-after sharing, excites me so much. Can’t wait to be there!

  29. The “lots of hours in the day to succumb to temptation” is a GREAT reminder. Even before I discovered the FIRE community, I wasn’t a huge shopper — until my maternity leave. I’d spend hours on the couch with an infant sleeping on my chest, using my phone to fill up random shopping carts. It led to some really out-of-character spending (both because of the time and because I was grappling with this new identity and thought clothes would give me–clarity?). I guess the upside is that I learned the lesson before retirement!

  30. My wife and I have a house in Tahoe that we have owned for many years. We have thought of giving up our jobs and the SoCal life style to move up there full time. We worry though that life might seem a bit dull there. We love Tahoe for a couple of weeks at a time, but there are so many options for things to do in SoCal. Curious to know if you had any big city withdrawal pains.

  31. I learned lot of new things from this blog.I hope it will help me that you said here. Thanks for sharing.