It’s exactly two years since we waved goodbye to our careers and embarked on our early retirement, what we always thought of as our next life. Now we’re reflecting on what we’ve learned and accomplished in these first two years of this next chapter of life, along with what we want to change in year 3.
In early retirement, we have the opportunity to make life easy, maybe too easy. And while that may sound great (no commute! no travel at the most crowded times!), a life that’s too easy is actually bad for us. Let’s dig into why that is and what we should all do instead.
Part travel story, part advice, about the delightful benefits that come from slowing down and enjoying the present, even if you’re still working and saving for early retirement — maybe especially then! Don’t just stop and smell the roses, stop and spot the space invaders.
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.
Traveling when very few others travel has loads of benefits, most notably lower prices, sometimes dramatically so. But it’s not without its downsides, as we experienced on our recent trip to France. So let’s talk about those downsides.
If you care at all about world travel, you already know all about planning your trips during off-peak periods. And while that saves money, it pales in comparison to being agnostic and opportunistic about where you travel. Here’s how to do it, and why you should.
In the last post, we talked about travel efficiency. And today we’re talking about what to pack — and what not to pack. In my million miles of flying and hundreds of hotel nights in all seasons and at all levels of formality, I’ve learned how to pack for carry-on luggage only, no matter what. Here’s how you can do it too.
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.
We think we did this wrong in starting out our early retirement with too many things, including three trips, a long to do list, and a mad scramble to get out the door to our first big international trip to Taiwan. Or maybe we did it exactly right by accident?
In just two short months, we’ll be retired and living on a constrained income for the first time in ages. But we’re not worried, because we have a whole bunch of ways to live beyond that budget, especially once we have time to invest in research and deal-finding. (Plus, we can live a pretty sweet life for not a lot of money, so it doesn’t take much budget stretching to feel like we’re living a life of luxury.) Check out our plan for living beyond our budget — and then let us know what we missed!
We’re coming up on six years of living in our soon-to-be-divulged mountain town, and we feel lucky every day that we get to call this place home. But it’s not perfect, of course. The place we call home is a place lots of other people call their vacation destination, and that makes for some interesting dynamics. We’d tried to look at it in terms of what lessons we can learn from those visitors that we can apply to our own life and early retirement, and it turns out there’s plenty to take away from it all.
Something we’re starting to realize is: What we all call retirement planning isn’t really true retirement planning. Money is only a tiny piece of this, and not what most of us will be thinking about daily once we stop working. Real retirement planning is planning for all the rest of life that comes post-career, and for us, a big part of that is travel. So we’re shifting now into *real* retirement planning, and thinking through those big travel questions like how long to stay out, and where to go first.
Something that’s on our minds lately — especially when I’m traveling for work — is all of the perks that we’re going to lose when we quit our jobs in 2017. For us, an upgraded level of travel is chief among those, but the perks we enjoy from work are different for each of us. What perks do you get now that you’ll miss when you retire?
One of the ideas that’s having a major moment these days is the notion that we should all be pushing outside of our comfort zones. We all hear proclamations like, “Quit your job and travel the world!” Or “Stop wasting time in that boring job and do what you love!” Today we’re talking comfort zones and whether we always need to get out of them.
Over the years, we’ve gotten better at travel than just about anything else. So today we’re going off the financial path for a sec to share our best life hacks for staying healthy while traveling. Questions welcome!
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?
We’ve noticed something surprising. We’re super happy to talk in detail about finances and our retirement plans with strangers… but we don’t do the same thing with people we know in real life. Why is it so much easier to spread the word about FIRE with strangers?
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.
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.
our bloggy buddy steve, who writes think save retire, started the about series a few weeks back that all bloggers are invited to continue, and more recently wrote a series on his own blog that he dubbed the “our next life” series. we love the name, obviously, and thought — why not also make it a series that we all contribute to? so this is our take. and we’d love for you to write your own and link back! who’s in?
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.
when we think about early retirement in the abstract, the visions we each have revolve around getting out into the big wide world. our individual visions differ in the where, but not much in the what, the how or the why.
Today we’re guest posting over at Eat the Financial Elephant about our dirtbag dreams, and how reaching the summit of a mountain is a lot like reaching financial independence.
today we’re sharing the story of some very, very bad money decisions we made once upon a time. some very bad money decisions that we couldn’t be happier about.
we’ve realized in recent years that the world is divided into people who think of themselves as campers, and those who don’t. and the latter group may find the very concept of camping intimidating for a whole host of reasons. we’re here to tell you non-campers that it’s much easier than you think, it’s not as dirty as you might imagine, there are ways to make it plenty comfortable, and you can really take camping to any level you want, starting simple and working up to more advanced forms.
when we travel now, we do just about everything we can to keep expenses low, so that it doesn’t set us back in our early retirement savings, and so that we don’t get used to “travel inflation” that would make it hard to adjust once we’re on our early retirement budget. here’s how we travel without setting ourselves back financially.
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.
why doesn’t work travel feel “real”? and, more importantly, how can we make it feel more like travel travel? stand back. we’re about to spew some advice.
maybe it’s how old we are, and how long we’ve worked without a break in demanding professions, but work-filled travel doesn’t sound like fun. fortunately, we believe that by working hard for a few more years, we’ll be in a position to make this dream happen in real life.
we have a very specific dream in mind: an end date for work, a place where we plan to live, and a plan for travel. but we didn’t just wake up with this dream, with the details filled in. it’s been an evolution.
we advocate taking a fanatical approach to banking airline miles. most airlines require five coast-to-coast roundtrips to earn a free domestic ticket. if you take those trips on different airlines, they add up to essentially nothing. it’s only by concentrating your travel on one airline that you get the benefit.
sometimes it feels like we are missing out on life in our town and the surrounding outdoors. we daydream about the adventures we imagine for ourselves in just a few years, when we can retire early.