Achieving a big financial goal like early retirement is made possible by committing to saving aggressively. But when I look back at our years when we were so focused on saving, the things I regret aren’t the times when we didn’t save enough, they’re times when we didn’t spend on once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Today I’m sharing one such instances, and the lesson I learned from it that it’s a mistake to let life pass you by just because you’re saving for a big goal.
Here’s something we never considered in all the years of planning to leave our careers and saving for financial independence: Early retirement is a form of time travel. And not just to one point in time, but to many! Sounds wacky, right? But it’s true. Here’s how.
There is plenty of financial advice out there, including some very prescriptive advice about how to achieve financial independence or virtually any big goal you can think of. The only problem is: that advice, while great for some, is guaranteed to be bad advice for others. Rather than trying to follow advice to the letter — or give it out in a prescriptive way — let’s focus on the formula instead, a formula with three key ingredients that can get anyone in nearly any life circumstances to achieve big goals.
We’ve evolved a ton in our vision for early retirement, starting with only a vision of what we were retiring from, to now having a clear vision of what we’re retiring to, and making a big shift in the role we see work playing in our post-career lives. But even though we plan to work after this year, we see it as so different from “real work,” because unlike almost everyone else out there, we will be totally free to fail at whatever we do. A look at our new and revised definition of early retirement, and how the freedom to fail has helped us get here.
We’ve talked a lot about health care lately, given the political climate, but not health itself. And health is super important to us. Why bother planning for a long retirement if we aren’t going to stay healthy enough to enjoy it? Here’s everything we’re doing and thinking about to increase our chances of reaching a ripe old age in good health.
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.