Yes, sometimes I wonder if retiring by 40 is sustainable. Can I really quit working full time at 38 and sustain a comfortable retirement for 30 to 50 years? Well, Mrs. RB40 is still working, but she plans to retire early at some point as well (maybe in 10-15 years). Finance is a big consideration, but I also want to keep active, have fun, and enjoy life. Luckily, our net worth has been steadily increasing over the last two years and we’re doing well financially. I’m also extremely busy being a stay at home dad/blogger that I haven’t had time to feel bored.
Life has been really great these past 2 years, but will it keep being great in the long run? I have no idea. That’s why I was really glad to read an article about Paul and Vicki Terhorst who retired at 35. They have been retired for 30 years and they are still enjoying life as perpetual travelers.
Paul and Vicki are in Chiang Mai, Thailand currently, but next year they will move on to Cambodia, Malasia, Europe, then finish in the US. They have been nomadic travelers for years. I would love to do that, but Mrs. RB40 likes having a home to come back to. When she retires, I want to try living in different parts of the world for 6 months per year. Paul and Vicki started out living in Buenos Aires for half a year and traveling for the rest of the year. Eventually, they went for the full time nomadic lifestyle. Maybe I can convince Mrs. RB40 to go full time at some point too.
Early Retirement Secrets
So what are their secrets to having a long happy retirement?
- Make sure you can handle it financially. I guess it’s up to you to define this, but here is a start – 3 Ways to Define Financial independence.
- It’s not for everybody. If your identity is your job, then you might want to keep working.
- Decide what you’ll do with yourself. You need to have a general idea what you’ll do with the extra time. For me, that’s being a dad and blogging (we’ll come back to this later). Some people want to travel like Paul and Vicki. Some want to find a creative outlet and do some art work, craft, or just build things. It’s not enough to say you want to enjoy life. You need to have some specific ideas of what you’ll do.
- Communicate. If you have a spouse/partner, talk candidly about how much time you’ll spend together and how much apart. You also need to find out what your partner wants to do in retirement. I know we both want to travel more, but I’m sure Mrs. RB40 has something else in mind too.
- Work a little bit. Paul stays sharp by writing editorial pieces for Overseas Retirement Letter. He didn’t state this explicitly, but I think working a little bit is another secret to early retirement. It keeps your mind sharp and gives you another reason to get out of bed each day.
Paul and Vicki visited over 80 countries over the last 30 years and they thoroughly enjoyed it. They are looking forward to having “vital, exciting lives for the next 30 years.” Their game plan: “When our bodies break down, we’ll deal with it.” They might have to settle down somewhere if their health worsens, but for now they still enjoy traveling and being nomads. They figure they have about 10 years left on the road.
30 + 30 years of retirement
Wow, they did it! Isn’t that an amazing story? Paul is 65 now and I’m sure they are in a better financial position than the average 65 year old that has been working and stressing out for the last 45 years. Stories like this give me hope for the long term. Anyway, I’d like to share my plan for the next 30 years with you.
Joe’s ever changing plan
SAHD phase – next 2 years: Continue being a full time stay at home dad and a part time blogger. Also part time stock investor, land lord, and P2P lender. How did I ever hold down a full time job?
School days – next 2 to 15 years: Kid goes off to school 5 days/week. I’ll have more time to work on my blog and perhaps try some other business.
Mrs. RB40 retires – next 10 to 15 years: I don’t see much change if Mrs. RB40 retires before RB40 junior goes off to college. We’ll probably stick it out in the same location until he finishes high school. Maybe travel more in the summer because she won’t be constrained by the 3 weeks of vacation time.
Empty nesters – next 15 to 30 years: Yes, I can’t wait! Life is good now, but I’d like to be able to travel more extensively. As mentioned previously, I’d like to spend 6 months traveling and then maybe 6 months at home, wherever that maybe.
Slowing down – next 30 to 40 years: Paul’s plan sounds good. Travel a bit more before it’s too late.
Kick back with the grandkids – next 40 to 60 years: Cut back on traveling and enjoy a sedentary lifestyle. I’ll be able to watch TV, read books, play video games, and just sleep a lot. That’s a long way off, though.
It’s tough to plan out 60 years. You never know what life is going to bring tomorrow. Anyway, we can see from this story that retiring for 60 years is possible. What do you think about my plan?
You can catch up with Paul and Vicki on their page.