It’s actually here! The very last Monday of our working careers. We’re still feeling a lot, but it feels like something has changed in the last week. And while we have a lot of gratitude we want to express in this last week, we’ve surprised ourselves big time by actually feeling completely ready to make this leap.
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.
Over the past two and half years of blogging about our early retirement journey, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from several dozen of people who’ve achieved financial independence. All the while, we’ve been going along on our journey, and noticing what spurs us along more than anything. Turns out our journey and those of others’ have one key ingredient in common.
Today: a nudge. Not just to tune in to your gratitude, and to express it (out loud!) to those who have impacted your life for the better. But to go beyond gratitude to real generosity and action. Our world depends on it!
Today we’re honored to have a guest post on the mountains and happiness at CaitFlanders.com. Plus a short list of things you can do right this very second to make a difference in the world.
Today we’re examining my own bootstraps story — how I put myself through college — and questioning both whether that’s the full story, and whether defining that story more broadly gives us more to be thankful for.
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.
It’s not my favorite thing about myself, but I have come to accept that I am heavily motivated by the idea of getting gold stars, i.e. some form of recognition for my work. Today I’m contemplating what it will look like when work, my primary source of gold stars, is gone.
It’s easy to think of early retirement as all about the escape. But then what? We don’t want any part of our life to be defined solely by absence, by its lack of something, in our case the lack of work. We want our lives to be defined by presence, to be lived in the affirmative, the ultimate opt-in to what fires us up and makes us launch out of bed in the morning. That’s why we’re busy crafting a life that keeps the stoke high.
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.
There’s something inherently reductive about sharing ourselves online, even in a long-form blog, just as there is something inherently reductive in our own memories. We’re still figuring out how to share our full, authentic selves here, without getting bogged down in the mundane and boring.
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.
Lately we’ve been wondering: How many of us who are saving for early retirement would happily spend more if we had more to spend? If spending more wouldn’t derail our plans?
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 really aren’t frugal by any reasonable definition of the word. We never consider forgoing things we need. But I decided to look at our lives and see if there was any area in which we truly are frugal, and ask what that means for us. And there is one example: the thermostat. Here’s what keeping our house cold has taught us.
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!
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.
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’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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
it’s easy to get frustrated, wishing we’d figured out our early retirement plan at a younger age. but what would that get us? it sure wouldn’t make us retirees at this moment! we’d much rather go with the “better late than never” way of thinking, and be grateful that we found this path at all.
just as we did for u.s. independence day, we want to take a moment to reflect on what the labor day holiday means, especially for those of us planning to leave the labor market as soon as we can!
today we’re sharing our blogging philosophy, and lots of lessons we’ve learned along the way. come tell us what you think we could do to grow!
sometimes, life forces us to sit up and pay attention. we recently had one of those experiences in a big way, on what would have seemed to be an ordinary flight for work.
today we’re continuing the about series started by think save retire. we love this idea, and hope you’ll do it too! the idea is to share details not covered by your “about” page.
this was our sliding doors weekend. you know the concept: you rush into a train station, and just barely catch the train. but then in an alternate reality or parallel universe, you rush for the same train, but the doors close before you can hop on. that triggers a sequence of events that leads you to a completely different future.
another weekend gone, another week begun. we’re both the type of people who were never eager to grow up, who always wished time would slow down. one of us remembers turning eleven, and saying aloud to the assembled celebrants, “okay, i’m good now. i don’t need to get […]
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.