The series on our first year of early retirement continues, this week recounting all the adventures we had in 2018, an enormous list by most any measure. No profound insights here, just a really long list of cool stuff that shows just how much you can do when you’re financially independent and your time is completely your own.
Happy new year, friends! After a bit of a blogging break, I’m back today with a big rundown on all the lessons we learned in the first year of early retirement. The series continues next week with everywhere we went last year, and the week after with everything we’re going to change in 2019.
We’re supposed to save 2 times our salary by age 35, or is it 25 times our expenses to retire early? We’re supposed to ignore Social Security, but also claim it at 62 to hedge against market risk. We should try to get out of debt as quickly as possible, but also paying off a mortgage early is missing out on potential market gains. There is so much “truth” out there, so many “right” answers, and many of them conflict. How to make sense of them and decide which are actually true? Start by tossing out the whole notion that financial truth exists in the first place.
Whether you need to buy exchange health insurance for 2019 or you’re just planning for future years in early retirement, it’s worth doing your homework now on health care costs and factors. To make that easier, I’ve highlighted the most important factors to consider and how to do the best research based on your situation.
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.
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.
Last week we talked about boredom in early retirement and the question to ask yourself to know if you’re ready to retire. Today we’re talking about how you can take action to prepare yourself well and head off that boredom to begin with.
Something that I think takes a lot of early retirees by surprise is that the things you always dreamed of doing when you were slogging through those saving years don’t automatically happen just because you subtract a job from your life. The minutes, hours and days still slip away mysteriously if we aren’t intentional about how we spend our time, and for those things that mean most to us, we truly have to make that time, which happens to be harder than ever in our distraction-filled world? This is one example of an area where we’ve made up our minds to make more time for something important, and an interview with John Zeratsky, co-author of the new book Make Time that’s all about this challenge. (Plus a book giveaway!)
Like it or not, boredom in both early retirement and traditional retirement is a real thing. Between accounts I read online and notes I get from readers, it’s a phenomenon I see occurring pretty regularly. So I’m digging into boredom with a two-part series, first looking at how your answer to one question in particular tells you if you’re ready to pull the plug on work and retire early.
It happened again recently: another high-profile media piece described the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement as one made up primarily of 30-something men in tech. This is a story some people love to tell, but it’s just that: a story. Let’s examine the myth, talk about why it’s harmful and kill it once and for all.
Today we’re digging into the archives to pull out everything I think anyone pursuing early retirement should know, pulling from some of my favorite posts from the past that have been buried by dozens or even hundreds of posts since publication.
If your early retirement goals include traveling, or if you travel for work to earn the big bucks to be able to retire early, then you can probably stand to travel a little more efficiently. I’ve learned a thing or two about optimizing every aspect of travel, so here are my collected strategies for max efficiency travel.
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.
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.
Some recent home organizing brought me to a bit of an archaeological find: a snapshot of my finances almost exactly 10 years ago, before Mark and I got married. I’ll bet they’re not what you expect, but what’s more, they show why it’s so important not to get discouraged if your financial progress feels slow in the beginning, or even for years!
So many of us, upon learning about early retirement, dive in headfirst, and discover this community full of people working toward the same goal. And along the way, we adjust our baseline based on the people we meet here, and we might even forget that we are the outliers, not the normal ones. Recently, we were reminded just how not normal this goal is, and that’s made us all the more grateful.