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Can You Really Retire For 60 years?

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retire for 60 years retire at 40 early retirement

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.

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{ 34 comments… add one }

  • dojo October 8, 2014, 6:18 am

    I’ll probably never retire per se, because I love running my business and earning some bucks. Even now I live comfortably and work 3-4 hours/day, this kind of schedule would suit me for many years to come.

    Sure, if it was to still have a ‘proper’ job, things would clearly look different 😀

    • Dividend Growth Investor October 8, 2014, 7:01 am

      The thing is that you might like it today, but in 5 – 10 years, you might not like that business. If you like it forever, you are truly blessed. If you hate it, you are better off than others, because you can sell that business and cash in on the American Dream.

      Early retirement gives you options to pursue what is interesting to you, when you want to do it. I really liked the book from Paul Terrhorst. I also like the fact that they were successfully able to adapt to changing investment environment, and stay retired for the past 30 years.

      • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:51 am

        I haven’t read his book. It’s out of print and our library doesn’t have it. That’s too bad. It’s admirable that they can adapt to changing environment. That’s a big part of it too. You have to be adaptable.

      • dojo October 11, 2014, 2:28 am

        Well, we never know what might happen, but I’m always open to new ideas. I worked as a radio DJ for 10 years and LOVE IT, now I am a web designer. I might make more money in the future just by running a blog or selling templates for instance or, who knows, I might change my path completely. Maybe I’ll become a fitness instructor or .. who knows. I’ve always been open to new things and was fortunate enough to find work in the areas I also loved.

        What am trying to say is that I don’t think I’ll be able to just ‘retire’, since I’m sort of a workaholic. I have to get my mind busy, otherwise I go nuts. Even if I can (and have) vacationed for long time (2 months and even 6 at a time), after 4-5 days I need to do some work. So … 2-3 hours/day make dojo a happy person 😀

        • retirebyforty October 13, 2014, 8:30 am

          That’s great! I like working 2-3 hours per day too. It’s just enough to keep life interesting. With the option of taking a few weeks off here and there, of course.

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:33 am

      3-4 hours/day is almost the perfect work-life balance to me. 🙂

  • Pretired Nick October 8, 2014, 6:37 am

    My plan is pretty similar to yours, although I’m a little older than you so I’ll have fewer years after Pretired Boy gets out of high school to enjoy. I really want to do more traveling, especially in Europe. Interestingly, we could do a lot of traveling in the summer months, but that’s not the most pleasant time there. Hopefully the Boy is pretty adaptable and we can live overseas for awhile. Basing ourselves in Europe would be great because then we could travel intra-Europe cheaply and do some deeper exploration. Fun to think about!

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:48 am

      I’m hoping to take Junior out of school to travel a bit when he’s in grade school. I don’t know the logistic so I guess we’ll have to see. You can’t take kids out of school at all in some districts.

  • Justin October 8, 2014, 6:38 am

    I think your “Early Retirement Secrets” bullet points are great. Once you take care of the financial aspects of early retirement, you’re left with a huge gaping hole where work used to be, and the hole will always be there the rest of your life. How do you fill it? I think the non-financial side of early retirement is trickier for most people, especially those whose identity is tied up in their work.

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:49 am

      Right. I think that’s why every early retiree I have heard of work at least a little bit. It’s too boring otherwise.

  • Dividend Mantra October 8, 2014, 6:43 am

    Joe,

    They have an interesting story. Good for them! They’re an inspiration.

    The great thing about a long retirement like that is that it gives you plenty of time and opportunity to explore yourself and the world. I don’t believe we’re meant to do just one thing for decades of our lives. Being financially independent for 40-60 years (or until you’re dead) means you can potentially do something different every decade. Travel for 10 years. Then maybe you spend another 10 years writing and reading books. Then another decade means you explore philanthropy, education, politics, religion, philosophy, or whatever. Be whoever you want to be.

    Good stuff!

    Best regards.

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:50 am

      That’s true. It’s all up to you to chart your own course. This works well for some and not for others.

  • kammi October 8, 2014, 8:03 am

    That’s interesting. My dad told me once of a guy who worked with him in oil and ended up retiring in his 20s! He got a boat and sailed around the world. He got bored and re-entered the work force for something to do in his late 30s. Not sure where he is now.

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:53 am

      Yeah, I don’t know how long you can sail around the world for. 10 years? You have to do a bit more than that. That’s why I think traveling just for the sake of traveling is a short term plan. You’ll get bored after 10 or 20 years. I guess it depends on your personality.

  • Kenny October 8, 2014, 8:05 am

    Regardless when we retire, the key is to somehow cover ‘some’ of the 168 hours per week with something that we would feel is productive and an accomplishment. In addition, generate enough income (money working for money, or us working for money) to pay for living expenses, and most importantly health care and long term care. Medicare is cutting back more and more, and pretty soon we will have a good chunk to pay for our lifetime health insurance with products like Cigna HealthSpring coming out.

    Net-net, somehow we have to figure out how to have money make money 24×7 for us so that if we do not want to be a landlord or work at Walmart, we do not have to do so, and yet sustain a slowed-down ‘life’.

    I have been documented a plan of this kind for almost 5 years now, and running retirement models from various sites, but simultaneously, I am listing out in a spreadsheet what ALL of my activities will be in retirement and how many hours I will spend per day/week/month/quarter. This tells me if I have enough to keep me busy, esp. since my boys are out of the house now at the University.

    What I have heard is that going from a full time job to this retirement state is great for the first 3-4 years depending on the To-Do listing, but after that people get in a rut that is not so productive for them. This is what all of the readers here have to watch out for……!

    Kenny

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:54 am

      Oh wow, that’s the first I’ve heard of an activity spreadsheet. That’s a great idea. I’m sure there will be a lot of changes over the years.
      I think you’re right about the first part of retirement. It’s fun to catch up on all the things you want to do, but you’ll also need to find new activities. That’s why I like working a little bit after retirement.

  • Even Steven October 8, 2014, 9:01 am

    Everyone’s plan is a little different and I think the revisions in your plan are just as important as your original plan, things happen, mindsets change, you might find out that 6 months is to long or to short, but having the option is the key, getting to that point where you decide.

  • Max October 8, 2014, 10:19 am

    I’m curious about this concept of not wanting to travel with children – I don’t have any children to date, however one of my ideas if I do have them would be to travel with them. I have had a few friends who have done this with some success taking their children with them to China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, and then others who have traveled around Europe – France/etc.

    Am I being unrealistic – would this be stressful and difficult for children to adapt and meet new friends, etc? Or is it more the perceived costs involved and the difficulty for parents to adapt to a new language, culture, system, foods, etc?

    My goal would be to move around after the child would be able to enjoy it probably after like age 5 or 6 I think would be good. I’d love to travel as a family and think it’d be fun – the idea for me would be to do slow traveling though and stay in one place for a year or so before moving on.

    Would doing this for several years 5-10 be really difficult for children?

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 11:59 am

      I think children need stability. We moved around a lot when I was a kid and I don’t have any friends left from the time before college. It’s tough to form lasting friendship when you move around a lot. When our kid is a bit older, I’d want to take him traveling for 5-6 weeks at a time. Then he can come back to a familiar environment. Every child is different, though. It might work for some kids?
      Several years from 5-10 would probably be fine.

  • Tawcan October 8, 2014, 11:27 am

    A lot of people think ‘early retirement’ means sitting on your butt all day. That’s not what early retirement or retirement is about. I think it’s important that you’re still involved in other things during retirement so you don’t get bored. To me, retirement is about having free time to allow you to do other things that you truly enjoy. For example, it’s tough to take half year off and travel around the world when you have a full time job.

  • Vicki October 8, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Have you ever considered part time or full time homeschooling for your child? That would open up all kinds of opportunities to travel, have unique educational experiences, etc. Best of all, you can travel when no one else is traveling, which saves money and time.

    I read your comment about always traveling when you were growing up, and that helped me to understand why you are placing such an emphasis on stability and regular school. I, on the other hand, only moved once during my school years and was bored out of my mind! The millisecond I could hit the road, I started traveling and moved away to go to school. My brother, who is many years older than I, recalls a totally different childhood (predating my existence) where he moved and never had any friends. He did as you are planning, and settled down and did no traveling or moving so his son would have a familiar environment.

    There is no right answer, of course, only the right answer for you and your family. As your child grows up, if he/she expresses an interest in traveling….perhaps it is something to take a look at. We would love to travel more, but have decided to settle down and care for our ailing parents now. Perhaps in a few years, we will be able to expand our horizons. Best of luck in your journey (or lack thereof…LOL!).

    • retirebyforty October 8, 2014, 9:45 pm

      We are not considering homeschooling at this time. We’ll go with public school and if that doesn’t work out, maybe we’ll try homeschooling.
      Thanks for sharing your experience. We’ll travel, but just not all the time. I’m sure we’ll visit a foreign country every few years. Yeah, I think moving is tough on kids. I guess it depends on the personality.

  • Jon October 9, 2014, 3:45 am

    I think one of the keys to their ability to retire early and make it is the fact that they don’t have a home to come back to. When you think about how much you pay a year on your mortgage and then add in taxes each year, it takes a good chunk of your money. They don’t have a lot of the other common expenses either which makes early retirement for them a reality.

    This isn’t a knock on them or early retirement. I have goals of early retirement too and am always looking for ways to improve upon my plan. I know I’ve thrown it out to my wife about selling everything and moving to Belize where it is much cheaper to live.

    • Jason October 9, 2014, 11:40 am

      That’s a point I was about to bring up too. Not just this article, but the last one as well are about people who essentially became homeless to save enough money to retire early. If it works for you, then great, but that really seems too extreme for most people.

  • MoneySheep October 9, 2014, 7:43 am

    #1 to consider is financial. Do you have enough money? If not, you cant retire.

    What will be most important to you in retirement? What kind of work do you want to do, if any? Will it be strictly paid work or include unpaid, volunteer work? Better yet, if you get paid, contribute the amount to worthy cause. (I wonder if IRS will tax you anyway. How about you work, but tell the company to pay xyz-organization).

    How important will work be to you in terms of intellectual and social fulfillment? May be you had social interaction during work so you dont get fired. Now you want to be left alone.

  • Myles Money October 10, 2014, 6:53 am

    The way I see it the dream is to have sufficient passive income streams to be able to retire when you want to. That way you can work if you want to, but if you want out then you’re not trapped by your financial situation. If you can make your money work for you, why not have as long and happy a retirement as possible?

  • KO October 10, 2014, 9:43 am

    Hang tough Joe. Its better to plan the next 30 years yourself than letting corporate machinery plan for you.

    I personally had stints of SAHD period before and absolutely loved it. Like you said, its not meant for everyone. Some people’s identity is their job which in that case, it will be tough for them to retire.

    I find time easily flies while dabbling in my hobbies, trading (shares) and reading. Is it ok not to feel guilty that you are not out there making a dent in the corporate world? You tell me!

    • retirebyforty October 10, 2014, 11:30 pm

      Heh heh, I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever. You’re not alone.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods October 11, 2014, 7:38 am

    Sounds like a solid plan to me! I also love the idea of traveling and living in different countries for short periods of time. Our immediate early retirement plan (to be enacted in 3 years) is to move to a rural homestead, which will keep us extremely busy! We’ll actually be “working” harder than we do at our current desk jobs, but, it’ll be more fulfilling and we’ll be working together, which is really key for us. We’ve talked about doing extensive traveling at some point in the future and I wouldn’t be surprised if we decided to sell the homestead and travel farther down the line.

    • retirebyforty October 13, 2014, 8:35 am

      Oh wow, a rural homestead. That will be an adventure. I’m pretty sure we can’t do something like that. We’re city people, but who knows. Maybe we’ll crave the space someday.

  • Mr. SSC October 11, 2014, 9:42 pm

    I like the idea of “planning your retirement” in chunks rather than a whole hog effort. I plan to go from full time work to SAHD, as does Mrs. SSC. We’ve picked our retirement town based on part time work we could get if needed or really wanted. Neither of us see our early retirement as our last day working, but rather our last day working for what we need to get rather than working because we want to be there. It may seem minor, but it’s a HUGE difference in my book. In 5 years I can work at a local Fly Shop and not care I’m making $10/hr but get to talk fishing, hotspots, patterns, etc.. and still be involved in the kids school and extra-curricular activities.

  • Sarah October 17, 2014, 4:07 am

    I love this plan! I’m hoping my husband will be able to retire by 45 so we can travel and enjoy more time together. I work from home and honestly think I’ll always work here and there. The goal, though, is to be completely financially independent by the time my husband is 45 so neither of us “has” to work.

    Thanks for the great post!! Looking forward to more!

    • retirebyforty October 17, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Good luck! Working a little bit keeps you busy and I think it’s much better than quitting work completely.

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