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Learn more about about Tanja and Mark at About Us, check out our Early Retirement Plan, or dive right in to some of our best posts below. If you’re interested in women, money and equality, check out Tanja’s podcast with Kara Perez, The Fairer Cents

We’re all about sparking discussion, and that often means delving deep into the aspects of early retirement that aren’t strictly financial — what we dream about in retirement, how we’ll define ourselves post-career, how we’ll be healthier after ditching the job stress (and what we’ll do for health care!), what we might actually miss about work — the stickier issues that sometimes get overlooked while plotting out retirement income or savings rates.

Our Next Life includes hundreds of posts, so to spare you from sifting through all of that, below are links to some of our best posts by category, along with other places we’ve been featured. Enjoy!

Featured Elsewhere and Awards

Our Overall Financial Approach

We committed several years ago to quitting at the end of 2017, whether or not we reached the magic number we had in mind. Fortunately, we blew through that number, and will be retiring at our stretch goal! We’re both allergic to budgets, but have had great success with a pay-yourself-first strategy that we’ve elevated to an art form — that is, we’re super good at hiding money from ourselves before we can think to spend it. And we’ve done a lot of thinking about how we can be flexible once we do retire, fitting our lifestyle to whatever funds we’ll have available to us.

Health Care for Early Retirees

Something we’re suuuuper focused on is staying healthy and living long, active lives. That means ensuring we always have access to high-quality health care that doesn’t destroy our budget. Unfortunately, that’s not a given in our current atmosphere of political health care uncertainty, but I’ve stayed on top of the twists and turns in the health care debate, and have covered it extensively

A Two-Phased Retirement Approach

While a lot of folks recommend using your tax-advantaged savings well before reaching traditional retirement age, we advocate thinking of early retirement as an entirely different financial phase, one which you might choose to live more cheaply to keep more money in place for later. Here’s more about our approach and why we feel so strongly about it.

Financial Independence Blog Community

We’re huge fans of the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) blog community, and feel lucky to be a part of it. Sometimes that means writing about blogging, building community or fighting back against those who don’t believe that what so many of us are doing is truly possible. And sometimes it means calling out our community when we’re not collectively being completely transparent with readers.

Surviving Work En Route to Early Retirement

Though early retirement is the starting line, not the goal post, it still takes most of us many years to be able to walk away from traditional work. We’ve thought a lot about how to get through those working years.

Transitioning to Retirement

We think a lot about what it will mean day-to-day, and for our sense of self, when we no longer have careers that define us. We definitely have careers that you could call “high powered” — consulting for powerful people, fancy titles, lots of travel, more pay than we require. While that comes with a lot of stress that we’re eager to leave behind, we also wonder if we’ll feel an unanticipated void when we quit.

What We Dream About for Retirement

Like most aspiring retirees, we spend a lot of time reflecting on what we want our lives to be like after we ditch the careers, what we think of as “our next life.” We imagine a lot of time to travel, get outdoors in our mountain town, and discover what our true life’s purpose is.

Questioning Social Norms

We love thinking not just about retirement and what our retirement will look like, but social norms in general. Obviously retiring early is a big diversion from “normal,” so for those of us who are already accustomed to thinking differently, why stop there?


And sometimes we just like to tell a good story about things that have shaped our lives, or experiences that are too powerful not to share.

Guest Posts on Blogs We Love

Our Next Life posts from around the blog community.

Social Media

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31 replies »

  1. Hi, i love the transparency. Great job! I’m very excited to see you progress in your journey and your insight. I wanted to let you know that I shared you blog post about minimizing home expenses to reach FI sooner on my facebook page:)

  2. Hello ONL, I can’t quickly find a place to email you or message you privately or on a general page, so I thought I’d post here. If there is a place to message you/your blog site privately and you’d prefer that, please let me know.

    I have 2 main questions I wanted to share. First, I am curious about whether the two of you rely on a “higher power” to help you make decisions. I know your decisions about retiring early (and really your life plans overall) are well thought out and “felt” out–meaning that I think they have an emotional basis as well, and it seems a sort of “secular” definition of spirit or inner guide, well, guides you. I’m curious about how you define your spirituality and whether there is an entity outside of yourselves that you rely on for support.

    You know what, I think I’m going to just go with that question for now . . . I’d hate to overshadow something I see as so important with something else. I may share the other question in the future. Thank you!

  3. Found your other site about Sedona and then was referred to this site. What made you change your mind from Jan 2015 to move to Sedona to Nov 2015 to not?

    • Hi Brenda. We’re thrilled to have you reading here, but I think the site you want is Think Save Retire. Steve and Courtney who write that blog had originally planned to move to Sedona, and are now doing the full-time airstream RV travel gig. ;-)

  4. Hi, I am new to your page (love it, and am finding so many similarities between you guys and my husband and I – he actually flagged this site for me because we sound pretty similar!) … question, and maybe you do have it somewhere… but what is your financial goal for retirement? Is it the 4%/25 times your yearly expenses number? That is about what we’re aiming for but it’s always interesting to hear if other folks place a lot of stock in that. We’re aiming for a specific number and hope to retire in mid 2018, when I’ll be 38 and my husband will be 40. Thank you for any and all advice you can share!

  5. Hey there… I’ve been poking around and I was wondering – do you have anything on here that is a list of all your posts so that if someone were super motivated, he/she might be able to read things from oldest to newest post? Maybe it’s here and I can’t find it. I’m just sort an orderly person like that and don’t like to click around too randomly. thx.

    • Best option is to go to “archive” in the sidebar and go back to the earliest month (January 2015), and then click “next post” at the bottom of each as you finish. But there are currently 259 posts, so you’re talking about a veeeeerrrrry big undertaking. ;-)

      • ok… somehow I didn’t quite make it to that point after clicking around for several minutes. So, I read the MMM blog like that, like a book.
        It took me several weeks to get through the whole thing. And I don’t have to read all of them as I started reading your blog a little less than a year ago. Just curious to see where you came from to where you are now and if there are things I need to learn. I do like how you changed to capital punctuation, though. :) I have 9 days until the Warriors play in the NBA finals, and let’s just say this is cheap, mind-expanding (not mind numbing) entertainment between now and then and probably will take me several weeks more. And, no offense meant by this comment, if I get bored with a topic, I tend to skim or skip on to the next thing. I’m sure none of your content is boring, however.

        • Haha, no offense taken. ;-) You know it makes me super happy if this blog counts as entertainment!

      • Is it possible that you’ve changed your blog format so that the sidebar isn’t there any longer? It would be helpful if you just tossed together an index page so I could bookmark it. I too find it interested into read things in order.

        • If you are viewing on mobile, you may not see the sidebar. I am working on an archive page. Just too many things happening right now. ;-) but if you go to the reveal post from last week, it links to the very first post (“hiya”), and you can work forward from that one.

  6. Just finding you, just signed up and got here by reading your article on living in your vacation spot. We retired “early” at 55 in our paid off home that we had built as a vacation-like dream home. Friends often describe it that way 🤣 and for 25 years (14 in retirement) we have loved it.

    I also love your attitude and approach to things, and I really looking forward to reading more. There’s a lot I can learn.

    Thanks, Rich

    • Hi Rich! Don’t put early in quotes — 55 is definitely early, and you get major kudos for making that happen. How wonderful that you’ve had so many great years in your dream home in a location you love, and for a decade longer in retirement than most people get. High five! :-)

      • Thanks — 55 for us was 3 years early, but working environment had environment had become untenable for a couple of years. We knew we were skating the thin edge financially, but took the risk and with planning, luck and effort, have been fortunate.

        Looking forward to exploring your blog more… Rich

        • I’m sure that was a super tough decision! Congrats for prioritizing your overall well-being and being resourceful to make it work.

  7. Alright, I congratulate you, however, I am having trouble with your math, from what I read, you have been saving for the last 6 years. If you saved let’s say $150K/year with annualized return of 15% for 7 years, you’re at $1.66M with some possible tax liabilities in there. You’re 38 and 41, I haven’t seen an income plan from you guys, I’d be a little worried, I’d retract my resignation letter for a few more years.

    • Hi Christine — It’s worth reading more of our story before jumping to a conclusion like that! ;-) Rest assured we didn’t start from zero six years ago, and that’s just when we got focused on this goal. Appreciate your concern!

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