Category: the process

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.

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.

Does your exit plan have an exit plan? Why you need to be able to change your mind in early retirement -- about where and how you live, about work, and about anything else. Make sure you build in the resources to keep your options open.

Does Your Exit Plan Have an Exit Plan? // What If You Change Your Mind?

Today we’re talking options, and keeping them open. Early retirement isn’t an ending, after all — it’s a beginning. And if we go into that beginning with a limited set of options, and no ability to change our course, we could be setting ourselves up for a less-than-ideal future. Here’s why it’s so important to have an exit plan from your exit plan, which really just means you’re giving yourself the financial and logistical resources to change your mind.

Make Time for What’s Most Important — Before AND After Retirement

I definitely fell into magical thinking for years of our retirement planning, thinking I’d have time to do everything I’d ever dreamed of after we quit: travel the world, write novels, learn a gazillion languages, solve world hunger — you get the idea. But after talking to many early retirees, I’ve had to accept: Time will always be limited. And if I care about accomplishing goals or living a life of meaning, it’s crucial to go into retirement with an eye toward making time for what’s important, and ruthlessly cutting out what’s not.

Why married early retirees should have a pre-FIRE agreement, prenup for early retirement, prenup for financial independence

More Than a Prenup, You Need a Pre-FIRE Agreement

We love that more and more people are talking about prenups these days (more financial transparency between partners is great!), but for those of us considering early retirement, we think a pre-FIRE agreement is even more important. After all, early retirement comes with its own set of major risks, some of which we’re insulated from to some extent as a couple, but others which become bigger risks for those who are married. Here’s how we’re navigating this.

Write Your Financial Independence Mission Statement

Today we’re talking mission statements, something that most companies have, but which few individuals or families do — which is a shame, because they can be super helpful in keeping you on-track to reach your biggest life goals. Think of your mission statement like a compass or GPS that helps you find your way if you ever start to wander off the path.

The Simple Math of Lifestyle Stagnation, the Biggest Secret of Our Success

We attribute our financial success primarily to three things: not overspending on housing, earning above average incomes, and — as we’ll discuss in detail today — not inflating our lifestyle in many, many years. This “lifestyle stagnation” (think of it as level spending over time) can lead to pretty massive savings potential over time, and today we break it all down.

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.

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!

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.

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 // To Care or Not to Care // Work As Retirement Nears -- Care less at work, work less hard near retirement, Zero chill at work, DGAF at work

To Care or Not To Care // The Work Mindset As Retirement Nears

One of my favorite parts of FinCon was getting the chance to talk to bloggers who are ahead of us on their FIRE journeys, including several who are already retired. I asked them all if their last year of work was harder, and answers were mixed. It all seemed to come down to how much they cared about work in the home stretch, and it has gotten us wondering whether we can care less to make our last year less stressful.

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 // Transitioning Our 401(k)s After We Retire // What To Do with a 401(k) post-retirement, How we'll shift our assets after we retire

Transitioning Our 401(k)s After We Retire

As we promised in our recent pre-retirement to do list post, we’re dedicating a whole post to the question of what we’ll do with our 401(k) accounts after we retire next year. Our 401(k) accounts make up a major part of our portfolio — and up to 100% of what we’ll live on after age 60 — so we want to be sure they’re taken care of.

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, adventure, mountain living, world travel

How Will It Feel to Actually Spend Our Investments?

We’ve spent more than a decade building up our savings and investments, all the while granting them a special status by not touching them. Even shelling out $8,000 for our tax bill this year felt painful. The pain of paying that bill made me wonder if I have “special occasion thinking” around our investments. And if, when it comes time for it next year, we’ll actually be able to spend our investments. Let’s explore…

OurNextLife.com // early retirement, financial independence, adventure, simplicity, mountain living

Reconsidering When to Give Notice

The current debate in the ONL house is when to quit our jobs. Barring a major market correction, we feel pretty good that we’ll hit our magic numbers ahead of schedule next year, possibly as early as Q2 of 2017. But of course before we can quit, we have to give notice. And that brings with it a whole bunch of other questions. Here’s how we’re thinking about them.

Going Out on Top // Retiring at the Peak

if you watched yesterday’s super bowl, you couldn’t miss all the speculation that peyton manning is going to retire after this season. what’s incredible is that peyton has the rare privilege of choosing to go out on top, on his own terms. not many people, in sports and in regular working life, get that choice.

The Journey Is the Destination // Planning for Early Retirement Is the Joy In Itself

many of us who are on the path to early retirement can relate to the feeling of getting so focused on the future — this magical, perfect, supposedly better than real future where we have no stress and never have to deal with work drama — that it’s easy to miss out on what’s happening right in front of us. or of getting so caught up in our own little plans that we miss the big picture.

Our Next Life By the Numbers // Our 100th Post!

wow, you guys. though time doesn’t fly when you’re trying hard to retire already, it feels like just yesterday that we started this little blog to chronicle our journey to early retirement (actually it was about 10 months ago), and here we are, 100 posts later! we thought we’d celebrate the day with a rundown on some of the other numbers we’ve racked up while writing these 100 posts.

Our Golden Handcuffs // Sticking It Out in Stressful Jobs Until We Retire

we feel the sunday blues in a big way. and we know why: not only do we just not love having to work every day, we know that we’re in especially high pressure, stressful, occasionally soul-sucking jobs. but we didn’t just default into these golden handcuffs of ours, and we don’t stay in our jobs because we lack imagination. our choice to stay put in unsustainable jobs is a clear-eyed decision we’ve made, based on considering all of our options and deciding what’s most important to us. the most important thing? getting to our exit date as soon as we possibly can.

Finding Your Kindling // Lighting Your FIRE with Contagious Flames

you know we love a good object lesson. recently we had one inexplicable morning when the fire just would. not. light. those days are a reminder that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. the answer: add kindling. the point of the kindling is not only to get us past those obstacles, and to get the fire going a little, but to get those flames to start spreading — and spreading fast.

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.

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.

Progress and Uncertainty on the Road to Early Retirement // Mid-Year Check-In

looking at things big picture, we’re astonished at how far we’ve come in a short time, aided in large part by jobs that overpay us. since we bought the house four years ago, our net worth has tripled, and the year-over-year gains are pretty big, owing to us getting serious about saving and about paying off the house quickly, as well as growth in the markets since 2009.

Feature on Canadian Budget Binder

happy weekend, friends. just a quick post today to share that we’ve got a feature this weekend on canadian budget binder. cbb features bloggers every weekend in the “making a difference series,” and this weekend it’s our turn. thanks, cbb! hop on over to canadian budget binder to […]

banking for the future

we advocate taking a fanatical approach to banking airline miles. most airlines require five coast-to-coast roundtrips to earn a free domestic ticket. if you take those trips on different airlines, they add up to essentially nothing. it’s only by concentrating your travel on one airline that you get the benefit.

the wardrobe cue

if we really cared about achieving a lot in our jobs, wouldn’t we want to dress as nicely as possible? wouldn’t we want to look slick and pulled together all the time? instead, the casual world is the better fit for us.

work is still the reality

like in the allegory of the cave, we used to see the shadows like everyone else, this illusion that work and earning and buying and accumulating are the only option. now we’ve seen that we can choose a different path for our future. except, for now, work is still our reality.