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How I’m handling retirement after 3 months

by retirebyforty on October 29, 2012 · 43 comments

in early retirement

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As long time readers know, I quit my engineering career in July. Three months have flown by and I thought it would be a good time to report how I’m doing in my retirement. I guess it’s really a semi-retirement because I’ve been ridiculously busy. I’m getting less sleep than when I was working full time and that’s not a good thing.

Stay-at-home dad

3 months of retirementWhat kept me busy the most is being a stay-at-home dad. I actually had 10 weeks off before I quit my job so I have been spending a lot of time with the little dude since May. He was a perfect little angel from 12 to 18 months old. Then in August, he turned 18 months and the terrible 2s hit us early like a ton of bricks. He has been asserting his independence and it is tough dealing with how headstrong he can be. Today he refused to nap and threw a big tantrum whenever we tried to get him to hit the hay. He finally got sleepy around 7:30pm, but still cried for 5 minutes before passing out in bed.

We have a bunch of low level conflicts throughout the day and being a stay-at-home dad is more difficult that I imagined. However, I am really glad he can spend this time with me rather than at the day care. I can help him figure out solutions to problems and encourage him to work through adversity. At the daycare, they usually depend on a pacifier or a snack to calm the little kids down. They’ve got their hands full so they can’t focus on one kid for long. While it’s not easy being a stay-at-home parent, I’m glad I can spend this time with him and help him grow. We are only having one kid so this is our only opportunity to raise a decent human being.

Online business venture

Blogging is going well for the most part. I can’t really do serious work until the little guy is asleep so I have been staying up late. Retire By 40 is doing well and our traffic is still growing. In September, we had a big stream of referral traffic from my article on Yahoo! Finance. This boosted our advertising income quite a bit and gave me a taste of what larger traffic can bring. It encouraged me to continue to put a lot of effort into this online venture. I’ll share more details later this week when I write about our October Cash Flow. All in all, I’m very happy with the blog and I don’t think I’ll burn out anytime soon.

Health

One of the biggest reasons why I quit my job was because of my physical and mental health. The good news is that I am feeling so much better now. My headaches are gone. My eyes are feeling better since I don’t spend 10+ hours on the computer, despite all the blogging requirements. My lower back is mostly pain free. The only physical problem I have left is my shoulders. They are still aching all the time. I guess it will take a long time to recover from 16 years of hunching over a keyboard. The little guy also put a lot of strain on my shoulders so they might not improve much until I can stop carrying him.  He is getting heavier.

I am also doing 100x better with my mental health. The last couple of years of being a corporate drone really grated on my psyche. I hated going into work and I kept a countdown in my head. (Only 6 months left…) I didn’t enjoy anything about work and the corporate environment at the end of my career. I’m really glad I left when I did. At this time in my life, I’m much more suited to be a stay-at-home dad/blogger and I don’t miss anything about working in a big corporation. Well, I guess I miss the free gym and yoga classes, but that’s it.

Physical Fitness

fitness after retirementPhysical fitness is the only thing that’s on the decline for me. I used to go to the gym during lunch break and work out. Now, I’m only getting a small work out when I take the kiddo out to the park. I do push ups, jumping jacks, squats, pull ups, steps, lunges, and whatever I can think of. I have to keep an eye on the overactive little rocket though and the work out is sporadic at best. I guess once he’s a bit older, we can go play ball or other games. For now, I’ll just do the best I can.

Finances

We are doing well so far on the finance side. Our monthly cash flow is pretty stable so far and we can pay the bills. I’m getting cheaper and avoid spending money for the most part. I guess that could become a problem if I take it to the extreme. We prepared for my retirement pretty well and kept track of our cash flow for 18 months before I pulled the trigger. If we can keep it up for a few more years, then I will be sure I can stay retired.

My daily schedule

7 to 8am Wake up and have breakfast. Mrs. RB40 usually leaves for work around this time.
8 to 10am Some chores like vacuuming or laundry. Catch up on emails and blog while the little man watches Sesame Street, Lion King, and the Wiggles on YouTube.
10am to noon Go out to the various parks to get out of the house.
Lunch
1pm to 4pm Play, maybe watch a little TV or YouTube, nap, go out to the park again, or maybe catch up on email during little guy’s nap time.  Will have to adjust this if the little guy keeps refusing his naps.
4pm to 6pm Hang out, play, prep, and cook.
Dinner
7pm to 9pm Watch Jeopardy, news, play, get ready for bed.
Bedtime Put the little dude to bed. This involves reading books out loud until the little dude’s eyes close and he starts snoring.
10pm to 1am Write a blog post, emails, social media, or other blog related activities.

This is a pretty busy retirement, but that’s what I wanted. I can’t believe 3 months went by so quickly. Our kid changed so much over this short period that I would have hated to miss it. Also, my mom is here to bond with the grandson so I’ll have a couple of hours after lunch to work soon, and hopefully won’t have as many late nights. All in all, I don’t regret quitting my job one bit. The only thing keeping me there was the paycheck. Once we realized we could function without the additional money, it was time to go. Let me know if I can expand on anything.

How about you? Anyone biding their time in a job they don’t enjoy? Or if you quit your job, did you ever regret it? 

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

William @ Drop Dead Money October 29, 2012 at 2:15 am

That’s good news, Joe. Thanks for sharing. You’re discovering one of those “things they say” that has more to it than meets the eye. You know, they say retirement is doing what you want to do. What they really think (but are not saying) is when you retire, you do nothing. You sleep in, have a leisurely cooked breakfast, hit the golf course, surf, slopes or gym, head home for another healthy cooked lunch, take a nap, and then go hang out with your friends or read a nice book in the hammock.

Well, none of those things might be what you want to do. And what you want to do may actually be more time consuming than work. I found out I sleep less and do more, but a big part of that is hard to report on, because (a) it’s a lot of different things and (b) not keeping track of it is part of the attraction. :) But, even though I sleep less and are busier than before, I’m happier. The retirement thing is definitely a “recommend.”

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

Thanks for sharing! It’s the same with me. I am much happier and more busy. I get to do what I want and what else can you ask for?

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Savvy Scot October 29, 2012 at 4:56 am

Your retirement sounds great Joe! Maybe you should join in with the Change Your Life series that I am running and get the health and fitness nailed! Health is Wealth :)

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

I’ll go check it out. I don’t have any time though, that’s the real problem. :(

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Mike October 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

Interesting! Seems like you are learning a lot about being a stay at home parent. I sure couldn’t do that right now so I commend you for being able to do that! Little kids could be fussy sometimes. Especially when they want to do things their way.

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Little House October 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

Sounds like a great retirement so far! I think it’s awesome that you can spend all this time with little RB40. Enjoy it! (terrible two’s and all. ;) )

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

It’s fun for the most part. :)

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SavvyFinancialLatina October 29, 2012 at 7:10 am

Sounds like a lot of work! I’m still surprised you can keep up with the kiddo. After I finish babysitting I’m done with kids for a while.

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

Hahaha, yeah. It’s the right time for us to have a kid. We weren’t ready in our 20s and early 30s.

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Michelle October 29, 2012 at 7:36 am

Looks like things are going great! Love your retirement update post as one day I would like to do the same.

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thanks for the encouragement!

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Lance@MoneyLife&More October 29, 2012 at 9:05 am

That is great that you stay so busy. I fear if I wouldn’t stay busy I would get bored and wonder if I made the right decision. It will be interesting to see how things change as baby RB40 grows up.

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20's Finances October 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

I’m glad to hear it is going well for the most part (except for the terrible 2’s). I think your schedule sounds nice. It’s probably good to have a little bit of a routine and not feel like you have too much time.

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Brick by Brick Investing October 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

For the most part things look like they’re going well. Don’t beat yourself up too much about the physical fitness part. When builing a business or spending time with family that can easily take a back seat, maybe try and tweak your diet a little bit. I look forward to seeing how you were featured in a yahoo finance article, congratulations that’s awesome.

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I will work on my diet and that should help. Thanks!

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Kurt @ Money Counselor October 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

Joe, that 100x improvement in your mental health is the most important outcome, imo. That’s great to read, congratulations. I think the ‘terrible 2s’ reflect a normal phase in a child’s brain and emotional development–hang in there, you’ll both get through it.

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I agree. It’s not healthy to live with that kind of mental stress for a long time. I’m much happier and our family is much better this way.

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The First Million is the Hardest October 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

Glad to hear that you’re transitioning well to retirement. Looks like there’s no problem filling the time with a little one around!

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Kathleen @ Frugal Portland October 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Sounds good so far! :)

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krantcents October 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I am happy for you. My son never liked naps either. We required him to stay in his room though. Bed time was X and tired or not, he went to his room. My wife and I would read to our children for roughly 10 minutes which in many instances make them sleepy. In his case, not so much. He could almost do whatever he wanted, but it was quiet time. He would look through a desktop encyclopedia for hours and fall asleep.

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm

We’ll require him to stay in his room when he gets a bit older. Right now, he doesn’t listen at all.

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Thomas S. Moore October 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I like that you have made an actual schedule. I think that is something I would definitely do if ever I retire early. Seems like the online business is going well for you keep up the work. 10-1 to catch on posts and emails is a little late but I guess it makes sense to put the little to bed first.

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Jason @ WorkSaveLive October 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Congrats on making it through 3 months; it sounds like you’re doing tremendous! I know it was a big leap, but it’s nice to hear that you’re enjoying your life and have escaped the much-dreaded JOB. While I’m not a stay-at-home dad (or have a kid for that matter), I couldn’t imagine how much time goes into taking care of a home and child all day. I know quite a few stay-at-home mom’s and it’s an exhausting job!

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

It depends how the kid behave. When he is good, it’s easy and enjoyable. On the days that he is not agreeable (or sick), that’s when it’s exhausting.

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Gina October 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I am so glad it is working out for you, my husband and I want to do the same, but we have a 10 year time line. This will get my husband retired from full time work at 55.
So the planning has begun. We are going to step into rental property next year.
You have to take a chance and hope for the best!

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retirebyforty October 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Good luck! A rental property is a good investment.

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Budget and the Beach October 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

Glad to hear overall your health is improving! You can’t put a price on that. And you sound like such a great dad!

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retirebyforty November 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

There is no point in making a lot of money if it will shorten your life. At some point you’ll have to decide what’s more important… Thanks! :)

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Jon @ PayMyStudentLoans.com October 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Congrats on your “retirement” Although I am just starting down my engineering career the dream of being able to retire early on my own terms is very enticing and your story motivating.

Good luck with your site!

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retirebyforty November 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

Good luck with your engineering career. Don’t get stuck doing something you don’t like. If your assignment is not fun for you, then change job. That was my big mistake.

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Tie the Money Knot October 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm

That’s great that you are able to spend so much time with him and really see him grow every step of the way. It seems like a job in its own right, but such a rewarding one. As a parent, I can appreciate the work as well as the enjoyment and fulfillment. Great that you’re feeling better too – that speaks to the benefits of not having the rat race to deal with.

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retirebyforty November 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

Thanks for the encouragement. I love spending time with the little guy even if he is a huge jerk sometime. :)

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Silly Lily October 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Hey man, I strongly suggest that you go exercise after your mom gets here to help taking care little RB40. ‘Health is wealth’, man. Exercising not only helps with physical but also mental as it releases endorphin to make us happier. Glad to see you’re much happier than before, that always indicates good decisions! :)

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retirebyforty November 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

I’ll try my best to get out once in a while. I’ll probably get yoga and other DVD so I can do some at home. Thanks!

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Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter October 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

You sound super busy for a retired person, lol! If Mr. BFS and I can keep on keeping on, I think we could be financially independent enough to retire in about 15 or 20 years. We’ll see if we can speed that up a bit…

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retirebyforty November 1, 2012 at 8:34 am

Retirement is a lot busier than I thought it would be. :)

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Joe Cassandra November 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Joe,

I just found your site recently, but Congrats mucho on hitting your goals and getting the freedom to spend time with your little guy. I’ll definitely be flipping through your archives…thanks Joe Cheers!

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Buck Inspire November 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

Sounds like you made the right move Joe, congrats! Terrible 2’s, ugh. Thanks for the warning. Baby Buck is 7 months now. Like how you have a daily schedule to stick too. I hear one of the draw backs to retirement is having too much time on your hands. Looks like that’s not the case for you. Look forward to more updates!

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retirebyforty November 5, 2012 at 8:31 am

7 months is still pretty tough right? I think from 12 to 18 months is the perfect age. My little guy was such a good kid at that age. :)

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Stewart November 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Hi, Joe, nice to see your 3-months update. Really happy for you. I’m the guy in Vancouver, Canada that shared a long and similar story with you a few months ago under a different blog topic. Baby goes through different stages. Don’t lose your temper and always love him, and he will grow up to be a good human being. Been there, done there. Remember, I spent 3 years being a stay-at-home dad, too. My little guy is 16+ and Grade 11 now, but then I’m older, 49. In 6 years, he will be out of university, at which time I will wind down to a 3-day/week work arrangement until 58 or 60. I’m enjoying my current job though; I just want to have more “me” time at 55 and forward, while I am still relatively young. Luckily I will have employer’s defined pension benefits, personal retirement accounts, savings, and government pension benefits to carry me through after 60. Cheers.

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retirebyforty November 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

Thanks for your input. My parents are visiting and it’s so much better at the moment. A little help goes a long way. It’s easy to get frustrated because he needs so much attention. When I’m alone with him all day, I can’t get anything done. Now I can get away for an hour or two and everybody is happier. It’s great that you have so many sources of retirement income. Good luck over the next few years!

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