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.
This Labor Day, we’re reflecting on the ever-speeding progress of labor and productivity in the developed world, and looking at our own longing to slow things way, way down. Can you relate? We bet you can! (Bonus: lots of geek-worthy charts and graphs!)
Right now we’re living a life of no. Work is sucking up almost all of our time, and we’re turning down invitations to do all the things we’d rather be doing than working. Our aspiration: switch to a life of yes very soon.
It’s so easy to second-guess our past decisions, or to blame ourselves when things don’t turn out as we’d hoped. We’ve recently had a reminder in real life of why it’s so much better to let that stuff go and focus on the future instead.
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.
If you’ve been reading here, it will come as no surprise that we care a lot more about happiness than we do about money. And happiness doesn’t happen by accident. For us, happiness right now means not waiting to become our best selves. Here’s how we’re doing that.
The massacre in Orlando reminds us that nothing is guaranteed, and while we can’t do everything, we can do those things that are most important. So today, a call to action. Whatever you’ve been putting off, stop putting it off. Do it now.
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…
We all know that tomorrow is not a guarantee, but let’s be practical. We simply can’t do everything. But sometimes we let that fact be the source of extra excuses — excuses not to focus enough on fitness, or not to spend time with family. But that ends soon!
Thinking about how we want to be remembered, we always come back to this idea of leaving the world in better shape than we found it, even if it’s only in little ways. And as early retirees, we’ll be in a unique position to do that, because we’ll be able to spend most of our time on projects that are important to us, that help our community, instead of focusing solely on earning a living. Here’s why we think everyone should build some joyful generosity into their life plan.
We’d all love it to be otherwise, but getting to big financial goals is mostly a matter of letting time pass. Rather than sit around feeling impatient all the time, and let that suck the joy out of the journey, we’ve found some strategies that help us pass the time without getting quite so antsy.
When you’re saving like crazy for early retirement, any money not going into the savings pool can feel like a setback. But there’s more to life than just future goals, and those goals should never trump your values or your joy in the present.
As we get closer and closer to early retirement, we get more excited. But it’s not all puppies and ice cream sundaes, either. There are some definite ups and downs that have come along with our journey, and sometimes we each handle them differently. Here’s how we navigate that as a couple.
Early retirement will give us the incredible privilege of getting to dream big — and actually bring some of those dreams into the realm of the possible, the doable, the done. It’s not just about not working, although that’s a lovely thought all on its own – it’s about getting to do the things that most people only dream of, that can’t be done with three weeks of vacation a year, that can’t be done as just a side hustle. Let’s dream in maximum bigness!
We are often most afraid of what we don’t understand. Whether it’s fearing flying because we don’t really know how it works, or fearing investing because the markets feel like a mystery to us, the solution is simple: Learn all you can.
We love the small mountain town where we live, but the reality is that we’re not actually here all that much because of work travel. What happens when we stop getting our fill of city time, courtesy of work? Are we cut out for small town living for the long haul?
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.
today we’re tackling two topics: the question of how to define financial independence (and whether we’ve already reached that milestone without noticing), and sharing the contents of our already-full life bucket!
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.
tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of our first ever post here, and as the tradition goes, we’re going to reflect a little about our first year of blogging here at our next life, as well as take a big look forward… and share some totally goofy facts about ourselves. but most of all, we want your feedback! we’d love to hear from you about how we can keep improving in year #2. so please chime in in the comments!
we have felt for years that, if something tragic happened and we died unexpectedly, we wouldn’t have a whole lot to show for our lives, or at least not the things that we’d want to be remembered for. rather than lament whether or not our accomplishments match our aspirations at this point in our lives, we decided to be the empowered authors of our own purpose. here’s what we mapped out.
we’re not really new year’s resolution people, but we have definitely been on a journey to see the best in situations — from appreciating beauty more of the time, to looking on the bright side at work, to enjoying the journey of early retirement instead of always focusing on the end goal. so we’re determined to ride that wave into 2016.
we’ve been thinking about entitlement, and the ways in which being entitled is actually good when planning for early retirement, and the ways in which it can be detrimental. please help us add to the list!
in the financial independence/early retirement space, we know we’re not alone in complaining about work. and with good reason. but we’ve made a decision: we’re done complaining about work.
one of the misconceptions we used to have about frugality was that frugal people were cheap at all costs. it’s easy to view frugality as all or nothing, or to see frugality as trumping other values. but it doesn’t have to. a breakthrough idea for us was reframing how we see frugality in terms of the business term triple bottom line.
we are huge believers that life is so much better and we’re so much happier when we approach things with a spirit of gratitude. but telling people how much we love and appreciate them is not something that most of us do enough, us included. but what better day than thanksgiving to break out of that pattern and let people know how much they’ve influenced our lives, even in little ways.
we talk a lot here about redefining ourselves in early retirement, especially making sure that we consider before we actually leave our jobs how we’ll obtain self worth and fulfillment post-career. but we recently realized that redefining isn’t really the right word to use at all. in thinking about the life that we truly want to live, and how we will thrive within that, there’s truly no re. the right word is simply “define.”
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.
we’ve both come across a seemingly frequent but also puzzling (to us) phenomenon while perusing new blogs. when aspiring early retirees are telling people in their lives about their plans to retire early, they’re getting negative responses. one of which has us utterly befuddled: the assertion that the accumulation of assets required to retire early constitutes pretty much the worst quality we can imagine: greed. here’s our response, in manifesto form.
last week on an early morning flight, i flew over a line of cars on a major commuting artery, already in bumper-to-bumper traffic before the sun was up. and i wondered: how many of those people, as kids, dreamed that, one day, after slaving away at school for more than a decade, going to college and doing all the right internships, their reward would be this: soul-crushing traffic? that they’d rise before the sun for the privilege? that this would be their destiny?
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.
this weekend we visited mono lake, an ancient and super salty lake. all that salt means that swimmers in the lake float easily. which got us thinking: it’s easy to think that swimming is swimming, but it’s not. we can make swimming hard for ourselves or easy for ourselves, and the same goes for our finances.
Gifts are on our minds because we just celebrated a birthday. Not spending money on gifts is something aspiring early retirees are big fans of, but right-sizing pseudo-minimalists also aren’t into acquiring more stuff. Here’s how we cope come gift time.
do you feel like a grown-up? if you’d asked us that question a year ago, we would have said no. in fact, it was a guiding a principle of our lives that most people never grow up, they just learn to fake it. but recently, we realized that something has changed. we can’t put our fingers on exactly when it happened, but somehow, we started to feel like grown-ups.
we feel super lucky to have somehow retained our spirit of curiosity, and we think it will serve us well in our (hopefully) very long retirement, since we think curiosity is a big part of what will keep us from getting old too fast. here’s our plan for fostering a spirit of lifelong curiosity to keep our minds nimble and active for decades to come.
we have always loved doing things ourselves. what’s funny in retrospect is how little the money piece has mattered to us in questions of diy, at least with the small stuff. but of course that was then. and this is our running-like-hell-toward-early-retirement now. money matters. especially the saving of it. so now when we diy things, it’s just as much about saving money as it is about the joy of making something.
we know we’re not the only ones who have thoughts like: after we retire, things will be so much easier. things will be less stressful. things will be simpler. and most likely things will be simpler. but the idea that we aren’t in control of our lives now, […]
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.
today’s topic is one we wrestle with a lot, and which feels central to us as early retirement inches closer and closer: how will we define ourselves once our careers no longer define us?
this independence day, we’re sending some gratitude out to all those in the history of this great nation who’ve made it possible for us to pursue our financial independence.
few things in our lives have ever excited us as much as the early retirement that we’re eagerly planning for. but we also feel something that not many people talk about: the ways in which we’re letting ourselves down by retiring early.
for years, we lived in one of the largest cities in the west, and had a very different lifestyle. a lifestyle we enjoyed. a lot. but which we knew wouldn’t be sustainable long-term, if we wanted to retire early. you already know how this story ends: we left the city for the small town, in part to fuel our early retirement aspirations.
we don’t really know what we want to do when we grow up. but we think early retirement will finally give us the time and breathing room to find out. and we know for sure that we’re about to get a lot more useful to society, not less.
it’s natural to be future-focused, when you’re spending a lot of your mental energy planning for something in the future. the only problem: the future is never guaranteed.
bloggers working toward early retirement love to ponder the big questions: how will we spend our time once we’re no longer shackled to jobs we don’t love? what else will we do for fulfillment? where all will we travel? how long do we need our money to last? […]
we frequently see articles about great places to retire based on cost of living, and we think to ourselves, “wow, if we sold our house and moved to one of those places, we could retire now.” but we decide again and again to stay put.
we like to remind ourselves that early retirement is a marathon, not a sprint, and the worst thing we could do is burn ourselves out early in the process by being too strict or restrictive. the key is knowing yourself, and what you need to be successful and stick with something.
in planning for our early retirement, we often think about the question of whether the best decision on paper is also the best decision for our souls, or whether the two might be different.