As the FIRE concept spreads into the mainstream press, many people are asking…Should you “RE”, or Retire Early? Or instead, is it about quitting a job that you don’t like, or just do for the money, and finding work that you love and that fulfills you?
Are you FI but not MI? Medically Independent, that is. How can there be shockingly simple math to early retirement if no one can estimate their health insurance costs? Having retired years before Obamacare went live, let me tell you our approach to this ever-changing and costly budget item.
We’ve just returned from an epic trip to the Eastern Sierra. I love hiking, but I’m definitely not John Muir. I’m also not Mr. Money Mustache or Paula Pant either. But I was able to quit my job at age 51 and I’ve hiked some of the most incredible trails in the Sierra Nevada. How did I do it? By finding my own pace and my own path.
If we had bought our trailer before we retired, we might have been able to break free years sooner. It reframed our perspective on money and our priorities in life. Why? Because so many things about the trailer and the travels have changed our frame of reference.
We’ve ended up with a much safer retirement nest egg that we had worried about before quitting our jobs. Why? Partly, because just after I left my real job and entered the world of financial freedom, I “bought” myself a side gig. It was 2011 and real estate was on sale everywhere. Even crazy, leaky, old falling apart places with great possibilities to someone just crazy enough to try it. Like me!
I had a dream the other day that I just can’t get out of my head. And it felt so real. I was at FinCon, meeting a lot of experts in personal finance, and I told them I just sold all of my stocks and moved everything into cash. Everyone started yelling at me. “Are you crazy?” and “You’ve got to stay the course, stick with your plan” and “Don’t you know you can’t time the market?”
“Yesterday was my last day”. Those were the words my Dad told his boss when he quit his job. He was 60 and decided he’d retire. Just like that.
Uh-oh. I have a problem. I’ve gone over 5 months now without a glass of wine. And it’s great! Yet, I ask myself why it is that we in the FI community are cutting every last penny, just to gather and celebrate over some beers. Maybe it’s time to stop our whining. Or wine-ing!
Just like the stock market, wild ups and downs are part of our plan. If you have enough savings to draw from, then wild swings in your net worth and your annual expenses are normal. To prosper, you have to expect the unexpected.
Running out of money — it’s one of our biggest fears. But my in-laws never gave it any worry. With their high incomes and a home in the heart of San Jose, we never dreamed there was any financial problem. And neither did they. It was just the beginning of a year that we spent solving their late life crisis. Against the odds, it has turned out great. Because they were saved by the bubble!
I just returned from my 2nd backpacking trip ever! I am still filled with a sense of enthusiasm and energy. What an experience it is to put everything you need to live for a few days on your back and head out into the wilderness. As I went out the door, I could not help but think of so many similarities between backpacking and the pursuit of financial independence.
When You’re Going to San Francisco (Sacramento Actually), Be Sure to Wear a Flower in Your Hair”!
I’m so stoked. Friday night we gathered for the first meetup of our local Sacramento ChooseFI group. Yeah! It was at a brewery and we’d never met before. I wondered before I left the house.
Have you experienced the new team sensation – The Escape Room? People pay to be locked into a room with a group of people, working together to use clues to solve puzzles, open locks, and escape out of the room in one hour.
I went with a group of friends recently to try this out and we had a blast. It occurred to me that the actual locked room that we need to escape is … THE CUBICLE!
Brainstorming Ideas from Brilliant People in the Financial Independence Community
Financial Independence Ideas
People make their own cages with work and money, not realizing that there is a way out if we “see the light”!
Come join me as we explore FI Ideas that will help you find a way to get more freedom. Using great content from blogs, podcasts, books and YouTube, together, let’s create a path to FI.
What does it mean to be out of your comfort zone? Fritz, over at The Retirement Manifesto, just wrote a really inspiring post called Living Life At The Limits. I love reading different bloggers in the FI community. Ever since I quit my job (others call it retiring!), I’ve been trying to keep growing, which means doing things that scare me. So what does all this have to do with Financial Independence?
Have you ever been fired? It was probably not as wonderful as it was for me. My boss did it in order to keep me working there. A pretty unusual story and the turning point in my life, it was the key to our financial independence. And it saved my health and sanity too.
I absolutely loved working as an Electronics Engineer and could not have imagined getting to a point that would make me walk away from my voluntary 80+ hour weeks. But my last job, which took me to Scotland on an Oil and Gas project, brought me on the adventure of a lifetime. It was truly a million dollars worth of fun. Until it wasn’t. I mean really wasn’t.
In August of 2003, I was flying from San Francisco to Paris, joining a friend of mine on a trip to Europe. But just as my plane touched down in New York City, the power went out across the eastern seaboard. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was going to be three days until the lights came back on and normal operations were restored. Here I was, without power, without technology, without food and without money.
People who knew me anytime in the years 1988 to 2010 think of this car. My 1983 Mercedes 240 Diesel. I personally put 500,000 miles on it over 22 years commuting to the cubicle as an Electrical Engineer. When I look back at all of the things that led me to early financial independence, this car is top of the list.
Do you really have to go halfway across the world to have an exotic adventure? Or could you do it in your own backyard? Matt and I have been lucky enough to have taken some incredible vacations all over the globe. But, in spite of how awesome these trips have been, each time we came back from a fun and exotic place, I would look around and wonder. “Hmmm – I think I could experience that right here in Stockton!”