Search results for ‘health care

What We Know and Still Don't Know About Early Retirement Health Care // Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, Health Insurance, Health Care Coverage, Early Retirement, Financial Independence, Senate Health Care Bill, AHCA, Early Retirees

What We Know — and Still Don’t Know — About Early Retirement Health Care

Things have been moving quickly in the health care debate, which many of us on the verge of early retirement have been eyeing closely. Just this week, the latest Senate proposals to reform the Affordable Care Act and the later proposal to repeal it altogether were withdrawn. So where does that leave us all? What do we know? And more importantly, what do we still not know about health care and costs for early retirement? Let’s take a close look.

Think Health Care, Not Just Taxes and Weather, When Deciding Where to Retire // Best states to retire to, states with best health care, best states for retirement health care, best states for health insurance

Think Health Care, Not Just Taxes and Weather, When Deciding Where to Retire

The world is full of rankings telling us where the best places are to retire, but they tend to focus a lot on state tax rates and weather, even though surveys say that people care less about taxes and weather than other factors like overall cost of living and health care quality. This post explores the health care quality factors we should all be weighting more heavily in deciding where to live in retirement, including some factors that none of the rankings take into account.

Staring Into the Early Retirement Health Care Abyss

The best thing the Affordable Care Act did for early retirees was introduce some level of predictability about health care costs, and all indications are that that predictability is about to go away, no matter where things land with a new health care law. And that’s a big deal for early retirees. Here are some things you should be thinking about, especially if you’re planning to retire soon.

OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement, Financial Indpendence, Adventure -- Green Ferns header photo

Planning for Health Care in Early Retirement

We value our health pretty much above everything. If we had a such thing as a “health portfolio,” it’s safe to say we’d value that above its financial counterpart. Something we are thinking a lot about is how we’ll ensure that we always have access to good quality medical care at every stage of our lives. Here’s the rundown of options we’re currently considering as the landscape keeps shifting.

Signing up for Affordable Care Act / ACA / Obamacare health insurance for early retirement, as early retirees

Signing Up for ACA/Obamacare Health Insurance for Early Retirement

We are officially covered by an Affordable Care Act (ACA) / Obamacare health insurance plan. Though getting covered was not as easy as we’d expected, and there were some big lessons we learned that all early retirees should know. Plus we talk about the challenge of projecting our income and revisit the benefits of keeping income low for health care purposes.

Self Worth, Validation and Gold Stars in My Post-Career Life

It’s nothing new to say that our collective digital life has made many of us focus too much on signs of external digital validation such as likes and comments. I’ve so far been okay at avoiding that trap, but after we leave our careers, the work I do will be more digital than ever. And given my gold star-seeking tendencies, how can I redefine my self worth post-career without falling into the digital stats trap?

Making Sure Our Retirement Is a Long and Healthy One // Planning for Longevity

We’ve talked a lot about health care lately, given the political climate, but not health itself. And health is super important to us. Why bother planning for a long retirement if we aren’t going to stay healthy enough to enjoy it? Here’s everything we’re doing and thinking about to increase our chances of reaching a ripe old age in good health.

How Subsidies Make Early Retirement Possible, Even Without Obamacare

Subsidies are in the air right now, with them likely disappearing for health care under the next administration. But “subsidy” is just one word for a concept that most of us embrace openly and unquestioningly: the idea of incentives for things that provide a social good. Think tax credits and deductions, and public services across the spectrum. Today, how subsidies have made my success in life possible, and how they are making our early retirement possible, even without the ACA.

Spending On Our Health, Our Most Important Asset

lots of being healthy is absolutely free: getting outside to exercise in the fresh air, choosing not to smoke, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding toxic people. and we do all of that stuff. but we also spend out on our health in some big ways, and plan to do even more when we’re retired. some of these expenditures may not seem health-related, but we see them that way, and that makes them worth it to us.

Protect your early retirement from sequence of returns risk // Our Next Life // early retirement, financial independence, investing, financial planning, retirement

Protect Your Early Retirement From Sequence of Returns Risk

Do the roller coastering markets have you concerned about the your early retirement plan? Sequence risk is by far the biggest risk early retirees face, and that risk can come from market crashes, long-term mediocre returns and even rising health care costs. Fortunately, though, we can all put ourselves in a good position to head off that risk, without lengthening the timeline to early retirement, by making some smart choices with asset allocation and behavior.

The Income Streams Our Early Retirement Is (Now) Built On

When we first formulated a real early retirement plan, it was based on the rigid belief that we’d never, ever work again. Or at least never *have* to work again. And while that’s still true — we haven’t expedited our plan by forcing ourselves to earn income in the future — we now expect to get a much more diversified set of income streams in early retirement. In part because life happens and we’ve made some different choices along the way. And in part because that recession hasn’t hit yet, health care is still up in the air, and it makes sense to keep hedging against sequence risk and health insurance uncertainty.

Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement and financial independence

Magic Numbers, Padding and Panic // 2017 Q2 Financial Update

It’s time for our second quarter early retirement progress report — our second to last! — complete with charts galore. This quarter we hit another milestone that’s both wonderful and a relief, and we’re setting our sights on building up a sizable cushion by year’s end for future health care unknowns. Plus: we’ve launched a reader survey and we’d LOVE your input.

All the Secrets of Our Success // A Compendium

Today is a “clip show” post of sorts, putting together for the first time all of our money beliefs and actions that have gotten us where we are today. We spend a lot of time looking forward, and projecting future health care needs, where our income could come from and of course all the feelings. Today we’re sharing the master list, the grand compendium of everything that’s helped us get this far in our journey to early retirement.

Building Climate Change Into Your Early Retirement Plans // Our Next Life // early retirement, financial independence, FIRE

Building Climate Change Into Your Early Retirement Plans

You don’t have to agree on what’s causing climate change to agree that it’s happening, that it’s getting worse and that it will affect those of us who are retiring early (just like it will affect everyone on the planet). So how do you account for something as massive as climate change in your financial and life planning? What do you do with the doom and gloom news stories, besides throw your hands in the air and declare it hopeless? Let’s break it down into actionable steps.

Early Retirement Naysayers // OurNextLife.com -- financial independence, early retirement, FIRE

Don’t Immediately Dismiss Early Retirement Naysayers

The FIRE movement has recently faced one of its biggest bits of criticism ever, from one of the country’s most famous financial experts (yes, that’d be Suze Orman), and the responses have been interesting. While plenty of folks have already responded to her critiques point by point, this is a good moment to remind ourselves why it’s so important not to write off any naysayers immediately, and instead to really listen to what they have to say.

Let the Feelings of Future You Be Your Guide // OurNextLife.com // early retirement, financial independence, adventure, happiness, spending decisions, needs vs. wants

Let the Feelings of Future You Be Your Guide

Typical financial advice often focuses on learning to tell needs from wants. Which is great! But it only gets you so far. Most of the choices we make aren’t about needs vs. wants. They’re about wants vs. wants, or need-wants vs. want-needs. Rather than making your spending decisions based on this false binary, here’s why you should instead listen to the feelings of future you.

What Early Retirement Has and Hasn't Fixed -- OurNextLife.com // Financial independence, retire early, FIRE movement

What Early Retirement Has and Hasn’t “Fixed”

For a long time, I let myself go down the magical thinking rabbit hole, convincing myself that early retirement would cure everything in my life that needed fixing. And even after I recognized that magical thinking for what it was, I still assumed that early retirement would fix a lot for us, especially things related to work stress and limited time. So how has that actually turned out so far? Let’s take a look.

Retiring Early in the Face of Fear // Our Next Life // The biggest non-financial question we've been getting lately, now that folks know we've retired, is "Aren't you scared?!" And you might assume that people who've made the big leap and given up the big paychecks would say, "Nope!" But that's not true. We are scared. Just as anyone doing something big and at least a little bit risky should be. But we didn't let that fear hold us back, and that's what actually matters.

Retiring Early in the Face of Fear

The biggest non-financial question we’ve been getting lately, now that folks know we’ve retired, is “Aren’t you scared?!” And you might assume that people who’ve made the big leap and given up the big paychecks would say, “Nope!” But that’s not true. We are scared. Just as anyone doing something big and at least a little bit risky should be. But we didn’t let that fear hold us back, and that’s what actually matters.

What's the best way to begin early retirement? By spending what you'd budgeted for, or by taking a super frugal approach to spending in the first year? We discuss pros and cons of each approach.

The Best Way to Begin Early Retirement? Super Frugal Vs. “Normal” Spending

As total newbs to this whole early retirement thing, though admittedly newbs who’ve thought about this stuff a ton, we find ourselves now wrestling with a very practical question: Should we spend what we budgeted for this year, or aim to spend less, maybe a lot less? There are good reasons for either approach, so let’s talk about what those are.

Being this close to early retirement doesn't feel how I thought it would // Our Next Life // on the emotional and physical feelings at this stage of the journey

Being This Close to Early Retirement Doesn’t Feel How I Thought It Would

We officially have so few work days left that we can count them on our fingers and toes. Which means we’re 100 percent fired up, right? Um, yeah, about that. Turns out even though I knew the feelings at this stage would be complicated, they’re even more conflicting that I expected. And that’s not to mention how I feel physically. How this point in time feels so different from what I expected.

Our Early Retirement Charitable Mission and Donor Advised Funds

Just as we have a mission in early retirement to figure out what we want to do when we grow up, and to adventure more, we also have a mission to be more charitable, both by volunteering and by giving money directly to important causes. Which may seem harder when we have less cash flow coming in. But there are some good ways to build charitable giving into your retirement financial plan, including with a donor advised fund. What’s your charitable mission?

Don’t Write Off High-Cost States for Early Retirement // Why We’ll Never Leave California

The most common question we got after revealing where we live was “But… California?! It’s such a high-tax state!” So let’s take a look at why we think California can be a great place to retire, as can many high tax states. Because there’s so much more to total cost and overall lifestyle than just income taxes, especially given that income taxes are far less relevant to early retirees.

How We’ll Live Beyond Our Budget in Early Retirement

In just two short months, we’ll be retired and living on a constrained income for the first time in ages. But we’re not worried, because we have a whole bunch of ways to live beyond that budget, especially once we have time to invest in research and deal-finding. (Plus, we can live a pretty sweet life for not a lot of money, so it doesn’t take much budget stretching to feel like we’re living a life of luxury.) Check out our plan for living beyond our budget — and then let us know what we missed!

Why We Aren’t Banking on Social Security for Our Retirement — But Why You Might

Today we’re continuing the mini-series on Social Security and Medicare by looking at whether or not you should build Social Security into your retirement plan. We’re not counting on it, in part because we don’t need to, but also for some big reasons that are worth considering for everyone who wants a secure financial future. Give it a read and then let us know what you think!

The Fundamental Problem with the 4% Rule for Early Retirement Isn’t the 4% Rule

The question of whether 4 percent is a safe withdrawal rate, as the “4 percent rule” suggests has been — and will continue to be — debated endlessly. Fortunately, this isn’t more of that debate. Instead, let’s look at whether the fundamental underlying assumption of the 4 percent rule — level spending every year — is actually realistic and safe to plan around. (Spoiler: it’s not.)

The Final Approach // 2017 Q3 Financial Update

Holy moly — it’s our *very last* quarterly financial update before we retire early in a little over two months from now! (Can I just keep typing exclamation points and have that count as an intro?) !!!!!! The third quarter was a good one for us, and it’s looking like we have a good chance of hitting our stretch “magic number” goal. Come see where we are, and then share your Q3 progress with all of us!

Don't Forget About Your Later Years // Planning for Early AND Traditional Retirement -- make sure your planning includes planning for early retirement, and all the considerations that go into traditional retirement planning

Don’t Forget About Your Later Years // Planning for Early AND Traditional Retirement

We know — the excitement of the *early* part of early retirement is powerful. So much so that it’s easy to focus our retirement planning mostly on those early years. The later years are also so much harder to predict — more variables, a longer time horizon, more unknown unknowns. But as we’ve seen in our own planning, it’s easy to have an inadvertent early phase bias built in — here’s how to suss that out and ensure that you’re planning for both your early retirement and traditional retirement.

Pre-Early Retirement To Do List // What To Do Before and After You Retire Early

The Before and After Early Retirement To Do Lists

Our early retirement might be right around the corner, but we still have a lot to do before the year is up to make sure that we’re truly ready to make the big leap. Then after we pull the plug, we have a different set of things to do. Here are our big lists of things to do before we retire early, and right after, as well as things we’ve already checked off the list this year. Are we missing anything? Let us know!

Avoid early withdrawals in early retirement // Roth conversion ladders, IRS rule 72t Substantially Equal Periodic Payments SEPP, early retirement savings

Minimizing Early Withdrawals in Early Retirement // Hang On to As Much As You Can for Later

Some possible fighting words today, as we delve into the question of whether it makes sense to think of both taxable funds and tax-advantaged retirement funds as one big pool of money. Why does it matter? Because there are a bunch of potentially huge downsides to withdrawing traditional retirement funds early through Roth conversions or rule 72t distributions (or different approaches that exist in other countries). Fortunately, there’s another great option if you’re willing to do a little more math.

Investment Returns, Conservative Projections, Low Growth, Early Retirement, Retirement Planning

The Case for Conservative Early Retirement Investment Projections

We’re all getting conflicting signals right now: From financial analysts predicting lousy returns for the foreseeable future, and from early retirees reporting how they’re beating their projections every quarter. We could take away two very different lessons from this dissonance: that we need to make sure our plan is extra solid and based on low projected returns, or that we’re probably overthinking it all and working longer than we need to. We have an opinion on this (always do!), and share why we’re taking the more conservative approach, because: recency bias.

When the Crash Comes // Recession-Proofing Our Retirement Plans

We’re generally optimists about things and — though it seems like a paradox — we become most optimistic when we’ve delved into all the bad stuff that could possibly befall us. That’s the only way we can really know that we’re well prepared — and it’s easy to be optimistic when you’re prepared. And it only makes sense to prepare for market crashes, because they’re inevitable and inescapable. Here’s our game plan for dealing with them.

Asking for More and Getting It // 2016 Goals Review + 2017 Goal Setting

We’re thinking a lot lately about asking for more — asking for the compensation we deserve at work, and asking more of ourselves. And now, it’s official: in 2016, we successfully did both. Today, the story of how I negotiated for more money at work, and how we rose to the higher challenges we’d set for ourselves this year. Do we consider 2016 an unqualified success? Read on!

The Great Flip-Flop // How We’ve Reversed Roles on Our Retirement Timing

Lately I’ve been making it sound like we both want to retire as soon as humanly possible, but that’s not true. I’m the one who wants out ASAP, while Mr. ONL is playing the role of the financially prudent one and trying to keep us working for one more year, as we’d always planned. But that’s not where we started — he used to be the one who wanted to quit ASAP, while I wanted to be sure we were prepared times ten. Today: the story of our retirement timing role reversal.

OurNextLife.com // Pre-Retirement To Do List, Things to do before we retire, pre-retirement checklist

Our Pre-Retirement To Do List

As we get closer and closer to our retirement date, the idea that we are actually going to retire early is becoming real. And as we get closer, we’re creating a different kind of to do list — one less focused on saving, and more focused on mapping out everything we need to do before we pull the plug on our careers next year.

OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement and Financial Independence Blog // Adventure, Happiness, Mountain Living

The Retirement Lie Part 1 // Media, Social Norms and the Problem with “Average”

Today we’re kicking off a new periodic series called The Retirement Lie. We recognize every day how lucky/fortunate/privileged/rare we are for being able to pursue early retirement, primarily because we also recognize that just being able to retire at all is becoming increasingly unlikely for a large majority of people. In this series, we’re delving into the forces that are keeping people from retiring confidently and securely, beginning with the way media talk about retirement savings.

OurNextLife.com // Optimizing Our Early Retirement Income // Taxes and ACA vs Actual Cashflow

Optimizing Our Retirement Income // ACA and Taxes Vs Actual Cashflow

There’s an issue that we’ve struggled to get our heads around, which we’ll call our optimal retirement income: a level at which we get a big Obamacare/ACA subsidy on our health insurance, we pay low taxes and we enjoy a comfortable standard of living. But calculating that number is not as straightforward as it seems. Enter the income vs. cashflow discrepancy!

Invest More or Pay Down the Mortgage? // What To Do With Extra Funds

A tension we notice a lot in PF blogland is the question of whether to prepay the mortgage, or sink as much money as possible into market funds, and it’s a question we struggle with, too. In some imaginary world in which we could see into the future and see how the markets will perform, it would be an easy decision to make. Let’s dig into how we answer this question in reality.

On Still Not Sharing (Most of) Our Numbers // Talking Finance With No Finances

one of our earliest posts on this blog was about how we don’t share our numbers. it’s mostly because, one day not too far off in the distance, we will drop this whole anonymous charade, and we don’t want all the details of our finances attached to our names and faces. in our culture, money comes with meaning and prejudgments. having x amount means you’re supposed to behave a certain way, dress a certain way, spend a certain way. we don’t want those expectations to precede us.

Start Here

This page will get you started on some of the content here at Our Next Life that’s most relevant to you. If you want to learn more about Tanja Hester and Mark Bunge, the couple behind the blog, check out About Us, or read up on the Early Retirement Plan that […]

How We’ll Learn to Stop Worrying and Love The Budget // Managing Our Finances in Retirement

we never hide that we are not frugal by nature, we’re not budgeters, and we’ve really only succeeded at retirement saving by employing a pay ourselves first approach that is essentially tricking ourselves into thinking we have far less to spend than we actually do. that is all well and good for now, but things will definitely have to change once we quit our jobs at the end of 2017.

Our Next Life -- Our plan for a nontraditional, secure early retirement and adventurous life!

Our Plan

This page is about our financial early retirement plan. If you want to know more about us and why we’re doing this, head over to the About page.  We retired early at the end of 2017 when I (Tanja) was 38, and Mark was 41. We knew from […]

Science confirms why a low-information diet is bad for you // OurNextLife.com // early retirement, financial independence, productivity, lifestyle design, financial freedom, happiness, health, longevity

Science Confirms Why a Low-Information Diet Is Bad for You

It makes total sense why the low-information diet is a frequent topic of discussion among current and would-be early retirees. There’s so much bad news these days that can feel overwhelming, and some well-known writers have argued in favor of tuning out. But is the low-information diet actually good for us? Let’s look at the science. (And then let’s look at how we can manage news and social media more healthily!)

Getting through the middle saving years slog en route to early retirement and financial independence // OurNextLife.com

Getting Through the Middle Saving Years Slog

Nearly everyone who achieves financial independence feels some level of impatience at some point, and that’s normal. But it’s especially easy these days to cross the line from normal impatience to borderline obsession, which only magnifies and worsens that impatience. Here’s some of what we did — and what we WISH we’d done — to get through the middle saving years slog.

Retirement Needs a Rebrand

My old career involved rebranding organizations, and that was one of my favorite parts of the job. Now, every time I hear someone debate what retirement is or isn’t, I think, “There is no one common understanding of retirement, so it’s definitely ripe for a rebrand.” Well, let’s do it. Let’s rebrand retirement. Come weigh in on what you want the new brand to reflect.

Adapting to Life with No Structure // Our Next Life // early retirement, financial independence, lifestyle design, life planning, retirement

Who Left These Kids In Charge?! // Adapting to Life With No Structure

Our lives lately have looked slightly less than, er, adult. Some days we wonder why there are no grownups here to tell us what to do, instead just leaving us alone to do as we please with no structure whatsoever. It’s marvelous, of course, or at least marvelous for now, but we’re certainly wondering: At some point are we actually going to adapt to this new unstructured life?

Bringing back the allowance in early retirement // Systems for financial success and peace of mind // using a personal allowance to take the pressure off our nest egg savings as well as our marriage and relationship!

Allowance 2.0 in Early Retirement // Systems for Financial Success and Peace of Mind

We’re about to go through a life and financial transition as big as graduating from college or getting married — and that’s switching from earning plenty while working to earning very little in early retirement. Which means that we need a new set of systems to ensure our financial success, especially given our status as anti-budgeters. But it also means that we’re bringing back a tool we gave up years ago: the personal allowance.

Embracing Both DIY and the Suboptimal // PLUS The Pre-Reveal Contest!

It’s a two-for-one post today! First up, an examination of the joint urges among FIers to DIY our lives and finances, but also to optimize as much as we can. Let’s discuss how compatible those joint impulses really are, and the joy that comes from embracing the suboptimal. And then, it’s pre-reveal contest time! Check out the DIY swag I made just for the lucky winners, and enter your guesses for where we live, what we do for work, and any other fun facts you want to throw out there. Good luck!

Stepping Off the Map // There’s No Guidebook for the Emotions of Early Retirement

The financial aspects of the early retirement journey are well trod at this point: reduce your expenses, save at a high rate, invest in assets that create passive income, blah blah blah. What’s less talked about is the emotional journey, which means that a lot of us are stepping off the map, and heading into uncharted territory. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s our take on navigating those emotions, and why the unexpected ones are so valuable in guiding your financial plans.

How to make saving for early retirement not feel like a sacrifice // Saving, frugality, retirement savings

How to Make Saving for Early Retirement Not Feel Like a Sacrifice

If you’d told me at the beginning of our early retirement journey that we’d be on the verge of retiring only six years later, and that we wouldn’t be miserable or feel like we’d lived a life of sacrifice to make it possible, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it’s true. And not because we haven’t dramatically cut our spending. We have. But because sacrifice is a perception, not an absolute, and we’ve managed to balance out cuts to our spending with additions to other parts of our lives. Here’s how.

Countering magical thinking about early retirement and financial independence, expectations and happiness, not setting yourself up for disappointment in retirement

Countering Magical Thinking About Early Retirement and Financial Independence

Early retirement and financial independence are such huge goals that most of us can’t help but build them up in our minds, and that often leads to the totally normal tendency to get into magical thinking: believing early retirement will make us happier, or better people, or cure whatever else ails us. Today we get into why it’s worth countering that magical thinking, and how to do it.

The Dose Makes the Poison // Radical Moderation in Frugality, Saving and Spending -- not trying to save too fast or spend too perfectly en route to financial independence or early retirement

The Dose Makes the Poison // Radical Moderation in Frugality, Saving and Spending

There’s a principle in medicine that the dose makes the poison. Which means, very few substances are good or bad for us no matter what. Instead, what matters is how much of them we take. And it’s exactly the same with money. It’s easy to make symbols of things like buying lattes or paying for cable, but those behaviors aren’t objectively a problem. What might be the problem, however, is the dose. Why we’re big believers in focusing on the dose, in context, and embracing a sense of radical moderation.

Why you should resist modern conveniences like cooking boxes, personal digital assistants, and other technologies that shrink your brain over time. Focus on challenging yourself and doing as much via DIY as you can, based on your circumstances!

Why We Resist Convenience Services and Technologies (and It Has Nothing to Do With Money)

The world of today is full of ever-increasing conveniences — cooking boxes full of pre-measured and pre-chopped ingredients that let you whip up delicious meals at home, personal digital assistants that keep a virtual ear open for your every request, apps that tell you exactly what you need to know so you don’t have to think. And while these things do make life easier, the question is: Is an easier life actually good for us? Is it good for our long-term brain health?

Don’t Listen to Us // Blogs Don’t Tell the Full FI Story

An interesting thing happens with a lot of financial independence bloggers. As your audience grows, you suddenly have this incredibly opportunity not only to reach more readers, but to earn more from the blog. Which is wonderful! Except when it means you’re only telling part of the story. Here’s why this matters, and what we should all keep in mind as we read FI blogs.

Our Next Life Turns 2! // A Look Back, A Look Forward, and So Many Questions

Today is our second blogiversary! In some ways, nothing has changed — we’re still slogging toward that big goal. But in other, more important ways, SO MUCH has changed in our lives, driven in large part by this blog and the awesome people who read it. Today we take a look at where we’ve been, a look at where ONL is headed, and we answer your questions.

2017: The Year of “No”

Happy new year! The last year of work was super stressful for us, and we’ve been mulling the question of whether we should or even can care less at work — and whether that would solve the problem. But, we’ve come to a different conclusion about the root of the problem, and it’s giving us a new directive for this year. Welcome to our 2017, the Year of No, preamble to our retired Life of Yes.

Recognizing the Difference Between Burnout and a Dead End

Anyone aspiring to retire early can list off a million reasons why we want to quit working, but what’s interesting is that most of those reasons have to do with work culture, not with work itself. On some level, we all crave the meaning and satisfaction that come with work, but the realities of modern work are very different from that work ideal. Learning to recognize the difference between work itself and work culture — and likewise the difference between job burnout and a true dead end career — can help us zero in on why we want to retire early to begin with.

The Privilege of Retiring When We Want, How We Want // Three Case Studies

Today we’re sharing stories we haven’t talked about before: the early retirees we’ve known in our lives, and how their experiences retiring shaped their retirements. Spoiler: Though all of them retired early, none of them retired completely on their own terms — and stats show that that’s the norm. The majority of people are forced to retire before they want to. Here’s what we’ve learned from seeing their experiences.

Don't Check Out Early // Weathering the Home Stretch to Early Retirement -- Set goals, shape your legacy, give yourself something to strive for before you quit your career

Don’t Check Out Early // Staying Engaged in the Home Stretch to Early Retirement

We get the question a lot: “How do you stay patient en route to early retirement?” But we’ve realized that’s the wrong question we should all be asking. The biggest predictor of happiness in the journey to early retirement isn’t how patient or impatient we are, it’s whether we stay engaged or let ourselves disengage at work. That’s why we now say: Don’t check out early.

OurNextLife.com // How Well Do We Know Our Post-Retirement Selves? // Retirement changes people, Will we recognize ourselves?

How Well Do We Really Know Our Post-Retirement Selves?

We could only daydream about our future life and how different it will be from our current one for so long before we had to accept: Life won’t just be different. We will be different, too. For the first time, we’ll get to know the well rested versions of ourselves, and the less stressed versions. And it has us wondering: How well do we really know our post-retirement selves? And how well do we know post-retirement us, as a married couple? Let’s discuss!

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

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

Creating a vision for early retirement isn’t just important so you have cool stories to share — it’s crucially important to make sure you have a smooth transition into retirement, avoiding the declines in physical and mental health that many people experience, even in early retirement! Bonus: An update on our progress, and lots of graphics on creating a next life vision based on presence of awesomeness, not absence of work.

OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement Blog, Financial Independence Blog, Documenting Our Journey to FIRE in a Mountain Town

Planning for Social Interaction in Early Retirement // You Need New Friends!

Something we need to plan for better is how we’ll get social interaction after we leave the workforce. In other words: We need more friends! Soon, we’ll have our best free time when our current friends are at work, so need friends whose time aligns with ours. Plus, having good friends does wonders for mental and physical health, especially as we age.

OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement and Financial Independence Blog | Working in Early Retirement | Portfolio Preservation | Increasing the Odds of Early Retirement Success

Rethinking Work in Early Retirement // Contingencies, Sequence Risk and Fail Safes

We have said from our second post ever that our vision for early retirement has never included mandatory work. And we’ve been more vigilant about this fact than probably any other in our early retirement plan. We’ve shifted our investments, we’ve changed our timelines, we’ve debated when to give notice, but we’ve never wavered on the no mandatory work idea. But… that might be changing.

OurNextLife.com // Early Retirement, Financial Independence, Mountain Living, Simplicity

The Theory of Relativity and the Perception of Rich and Poor

Before we left the big city we used to call home, we felt like we’d never be able to afford an actual house, which made us feel “poor” even though we had money saved and earned a good living. And now, we feel comparatively “rich” despite earning about the same. Today we discuss the impact of where we live *and* its culture on how relatively wealthy we feel.

The Frugal Habits We Don’t Miss for One Second

We constantly come across new tips on how to get to “optimal frugality,” and while we think it’s great to continually try to optimize your spending, something that we now know to be true is that there’s never a point of ultimate optimization, a point when we have everything figured out perfectly. Rather, it’s an ongoing process of dropping habits and adding new ones. Here are some we’re happy we’ve dropped.

Rethinking the Emergency Fund

A lot of what we talk about here is specific to people on the early retirement path, but today’s topic is something every single one of us should have as an important part of our financial plan: an emergency fund. We think of our emergency fund not as a one-and-done kinda thing, but as something that has evolved upward and downward over time. And now, as we’re approaching early retirement, we’re once again rethinking how much we need to have saved in our e-fund when we hit our magical date.

How My Audit Fears Dictate Our Taxes

I have a super visceral memory related to taxes that I still carry around with me. My parents divorced when I was in high school. The divorce itself was fine, but what was not fine was watching them get audited post-divorce for a year in which they had been married. It was the worst I ever saw of my parents, but it was also an important lesson in dealing with accountants and the IRS.

Mapping Out Our First Year of Early Retirement

we’ve had that mythical first year of freedom on our minds in a big way lately. like any aspiring early retirees worth our salt, we spend lots of time thinking about everything we want to do when we have more time on our hands, but we’ve been getting more specific, and thinking about the things we’ll do as we adjust to our post-work era, and some of the big life goals that we want to tackle right away.

The Ten Questions to Answer Before You Retire Early

early retirement is a bfd. and it’s not for everyone. it’s a very different path from the one most people follow for a reason, and it’s not one we should go down without having our eyes wide open. early retirement won’t magically fix everything we wish was different about us or our lives, and it comes with its own set of pitfalls and stresses. to help sort this out, we’ve put together a list: the ten questions you should be able to answer before you retire early.

All the Charts // Our Progress Toward Early Retirement

today we’re sharing the clearest glimpse yet into where we are on our journey toward early retirement in money terms, along with a detailed breakdown of how we plan to fund both our early retirement and our full retirement. we’re talking percentages instead of absolute numbers, but are going into a lot more detail than we ever have before. that’s right: it’s all the charts.

Why Married Early Retirees Should See Our Marriages As Our Most Important Investments

for early retirees, if our marriages don’t work out, there’s a high likelihood that our early retirements will fail as well. that’s why we should invest as much in our marriages as we do in our index funds or our dividend stock accounts — maybe more. we should see our marriages as our most important investments, and nurture them accordingly.

backup plans

at least one of us is not a gambler by nature, preferring things to be predictable, controllable and known (even if those concepts are themselves just illusions). but this is, for us, that rare thing in life that’s so worth doing that it’s also worth a pretty substantial risk.