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How’s Life 2 Years After Early Retirement?

by retirebyforty on July 24, 2014 · 61 comments

in early retirement, family, goals and milestones, happiness

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It’s been 2 years since I left my corporate job and I’m still retired. Yes! I still remember the elation I felt as I drove away from the office for the last time with Van Halen’s Right Now blasting in the car. Time flies when you’re having fun and these past 2 years flashed by in a blink. I am living life on my own terms without someone (besides my son and wife) dictating how I spend my time. That freedom alone made quitting the corporate job worth it. Let’s see how we’re doing after 2 years without a full time job.

Early Retirement Finance

My big fear with early retirement is that I’d have to go back to work for a corporation again. What if we run out of money and can’t pay the bills? You hear stories all the time about people getting laid off and running through their savings in 18 months. Luckily, we were prepared for the income reduction and the last 2 years worked out quite well. I saved all my paychecks during my last year with a full time job and only spent our other income. The dry run gave us confidence and we still enjoy life with a moderate level of spending.

Actually, things might be going a bit too well. Our net worth increased 40% since I left my job and that was quite unexpected. The stock market and the housing market have been on a tear these last 2 years and gave us a big boost. In fact, we might be a little overconfident with our finances because things are going so well. The real test for our finances will come at the next big economic downturn.

Early retirement finance can be pretty tricky because the time in retirement is so long. Inflation and various unexpected expenses will erode the value of your retirement fund over time so I think we need to be very conservative at the beginning. I don’t think drawing down your retirement saving in your 30s or 40s is a good idea at all. Our strategy is to put off withdrawal until we’re both 60 and the key to that is to keep the monthly cash flow positive*. That way we can continue to build our saving until we’re both fully retired.

*Mrs. RB40 is still working and her salary is increasing. My online income and passive income is also increasing so we have been able to continue to save and invest. See our exit strategy.

Early Retirement Purpose

Actually, I think finance is probably the easier part of the whole early retirement idea. You just need to keep your expense down and invest a large part of your income consistently. Most well paid middle class folks should be able retire early if they put their mind to it. The finance just requires discipline. The bigger problem is, what the heck do you do after you quit your career?

Many retirees have difficulties adjusting to retirement especially if they weren’t prepared. The truth is, we define ourselves by our career and it’s hard when that large part of our lives disappears. The self worth that came with a prestigious career is gone. Friends and former colleagues are too busy with their careers to spend much time with you. The days are wide open and there either isn’t enough of what you are interested in to do or there is too much to do. Fun activities can cost a lot of money. The lack of purpose can lead to depression. These are just a few problems every retiree faces.

2 years after early retirement life is good

Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with this one because I was miserable at my old job. Gutting fish in Alaska would probably be better at that point in my life. My plan was to become a stay at home dad and blog part time. These two activities provided me with purpose and have kept me extremely busy.

Actually, being a stay at home dad is more difficult that I thought. When I left my job, our kid was 18 months old and that was the perfect timing. At that age, he was cute and didn’t get into a lot of trouble. Now that he’s 3, he creates all sorts of headaches for us. Sometime it feels like every other word out of his mouth is a petulant “no!” It’s still fun overall, but it’s definitely more challenging now.

As for blogging, it’s still a great outlet. It gives me something to do other than running a home and being a dad. I still feel like I’m contributing to society and it’s awesome to interact with people from all over the world. These days, I’m more focused on writing content and I don’t worry about growing the audience or networking too much. The readership seems to be increasing naturally and that’s fine. The first priority is being a dad and blogging is second.

Every early retiree I know still works in some capacity. When you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even 50s, it doesn’t make sense to fully retire. You need to work a bit on something you enjoy and contribute to society. Maybe the real problem with the traditional 9 to 5 job is that it takes too much time. I think 20 hours per week would make for a much happier population.

Early Retirement Health

Health is another big reason why I decided to leave my career. The job wasn’t right for me anymore, I was stressed out all the time, and it was negatively affecting my health. You can read more about my health issues in the I handed in my 2 weeks notice post. Anyway, I feel much more normal now.   I can think clearly and I don’t have panic attacks anymore. Life is much better when you’re not weighted down with health issues. Sitting at a desk all day really is bad for you.

Early Retirement is great so far

All in all, quitting my engineering career was the right move for me. It’s only been 2 years, but everything is working out very well. The next big challenge I’ll face is when RB40 Jr. goes off to kindergarten fulltime. I’ll have a lot more time on my hands and I’ll need to figure out what to do. I don’t think it will be a big problem, though. I’d love to spend a bit more time on the blog and figure out other ways to make money online. I will probably end up volunteering more in RB40 Jr.’s classes.  Anyway, we’ll see how it goes. You have to be flexible as an early retiree and take life as it comes.

These past 2 years I’ve received many notes from readers who left their full time job. It’s awesome to see people change their lives. This song is for all of you who are struggling to make the next step!

Photo credit: Wikipedia 

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane July 24, 2014 at 5:06 am

Great to hear how far you have come on your journey so far. But could early retirement be possible if not for your spouse’s income? What I mean is can one person do it alone? If so is there any certain baseline number(income) that you need to make to have a realistic shot at retiring early? I know this depends on your spending habits and what part of the country you live in. But how would your situation be different if you didn’t have a spouse bringing something to the table? Would retiring early still be an option and would you be forced to stay with a stressful corporate job? Thanks for any insight.

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:37 am

It would definitely be a lot more difficult if it’s just me and the kid. If it’s just me, then that’s easy. I can just sell everything and travel the world. My passive income + online income are enough to support a cheap bachelor lifestyle. Health insurance would be the biggest problem, but I can just live mostly in countries with affordable private healthcare until medicare kicks in.
If I was a single dad, then I don’t know. I might have to keep working a few more years to shore up the saving.

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Kat July 24, 2014 at 6:48 am

I so agree with you about a twenty hour workweek making for a much happier population. Can you imagine? If we all had time not only to work and enjoy that outlet, but also take care of all our personal needs and make healthy meals every day, and have plenty of time left over for fun? Life would be so great. I bet our nation’s health care costs would plummet, too.

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

I think most people would enjoy their job a lot more as well. You can be more productive while you’re working and then have more time to yourself. :)

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Anon E. Mouse July 24, 2014 at 7:41 am

My wife and I are both engineers at your former employer. You hit the nail on the head with the ‘purpose’ comment.

We’re both in our mid 30s, and we have no kids (nor will we). Financially we *could* retire comfortably today. But then what? “Retire comfortably” doesn’t mean that we can afford to travel non-stop, so we need something to fill our days. I could take a less stressful job somewhere, but in my experience “less stressful” equates to “less engaging”. I’m sure there are exceptions, I just haven’t found them yet.

And you’re right that it’s tough to explain to people why you left a career with $200,000+ income when many people have a tough time just making ends meet. Shallow though it may be, I’d dread having someone ask me what I do, and answer “oh, nothing really.”

So we’re staying put. I’ve ratcheted down the stress level at work by opting not to worry about advancement. We don’t need the money, I can do my job easily in < 40 hours/week, and we can use the money to continue to add to our cushion.

What I'd really like is to take a 1-year leave of absence, just to try out early retirement. The 2-month sabbatical every 7 years isn't nearly enough time to really fully disengage and explore other opportunities. It's just enough time to do some whirlwind travel, clean the house, and then get back to work.

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Amy K July 24, 2014 at 10:19 am

Hi Anon,

My husband left Intel for Nvidia last summer. MUCH less stress, equally engaging work. I’ve heard AMD is as bad as Intel but so far Nvidia has been good.

He was at a conference and saw some old Intel coworkers. He had a good conversation with one woman about the differing employers’ expectations. She pointed out that of all the people at the various info sessions, only the Intel employees had brought their laptops and planned to work through the conference.

So test the waters, meet with a recruiter, see what your options are!

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:45 am

Thanks for leaving your comment for Anon. That’s a great option if he lives in California. In Portland, there aren’t many employers so I didn’t consider that option too much. We like Portland and don’t want to move to CA. :)

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:40 am

You really should take a 1 year LOA. It will be a great experience and you can take the time to decide what to do next.
I think it’s essential to find your purpose before quitting your full time job. That way you don’t have too much free time to get depressed or over think things. Good luck!

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm

You are a genius. Really. You should be on TV. Push out old Suze Orman if you have to.

My dad was a successful lawyer who burned out and wanted to quit his job at 40-41. A senior partner talked him into a 1 year LOA instead. Good thing. Mom got pregnant with me and both of his business ideas were total busts. He was VERY happy to have that job to go back to.

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Kurt July 24, 2014 at 8:47 am

Joe, glad things are going so well for you.

What would another 50% drop in stock values (the third since 2000) do to your finances and confidence?

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

Actually, I would welcome the buying opportunity. We’re still young and a 50% drop would be a boon to us in the long run. Imagine another run up like 2009 to present. We just have to hang on tight and keep investing. When we’re 60, then I’d be a lot more worried about these 50% drops. We’d probably have a lot less invested in the stock market at that age.

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 5:53 pm

You hit the nail on the head there brother. I’m now quickly approaching 60 and can’t put more than a small amount into the stock market. I just can’t afford the risk. If I lost it, there would be little chance of making it back. So, I have a lot of our funds in CD;s which are paying about 1/3 of the inflation rate. This basically 0 interest rate environment is really tough when it’s very difficult to find safe investments. Here in Florida, house prices were slashed in our area by over 60 percent. Even now, houses are going for around half of what they were at the highs. It really starts to box you in the more that you have to search for safety and returns.

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Chris July 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Seth, out of curiosity what amount of your portfolio is in the market? I can’t imagine even approaching 60 and not having at least 1/3 to 1/2 in the market. I think I’d miss out on some necessary gains to keep it rolling. a colleague of mine has about 70% in the market and the bulk of that is in dividend stocks. His goal is to build his dividend portfolio to offset as much of his paycheck as possible, prior to retiring in a few years or so, and he’s technically already able to collect SS if he wanted to retire

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Hi Chris,

That’s tough to answer, you’d never know that I completed almost 5 years of college, majoring in economics and then accounting, as sloppy as I often am with my own finances. Just counting financial assets, not my home or personal possessions, I’d say that I have about 15 percent in the stock market, and the dividends on them are nothing to write home about. I actually retired at 41, from not one but 2 former employers, with my $16,000 per year health insurance paid for and I don’t have to pay any taxes, not even property tax and everything that we own is paid for.
I’m just telling you this to explain why I don’t worry too much about investment returns.

Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Chris,
I just got back and wanted to make a small addition to my last post. Dividend stocks can be great with their opportunity to have a fixed income plus the chance for capital gains. The double taxation issue has always bothered me though. I don’t think it fair that the government taxes the corporation and then taxes that portion of the corporate income that is spun off in dividends on the shareholders tax return. Taxing corporations leads to a lot of waste, again in my opinion. Double taxation is just plain unjust. If the corporation can find income producing options for that money, instead of just lavishing it on the CEO, then I’m all for them just keeping the dividend money.

Pura Vida Nick July 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

Hi Joe,

I am glad you wrote about early retirement purpose. That is what I love to write about and what fascinates me, because as you said, the financial and investing part can actually be the more simple aspect of early retirement. Even though I’m not financially independent yet, I enjoy finding purpose outside of my career both now and envisioning what purpose will be like after FI.

That’s awesome that you have found great outlets in raising your child and in blogging! We just had our first child last month and I look forward to being able to spend all day with him if I choose!

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DC July 24, 2014 at 10:21 am

Congrats on two years of early retirement! I’m curious – would you be able to be retired if your wife wasn’t working? Is your passive income enough without her income? My goal for retirement would be to have enough (solid) passive income to cover all mine and my wife’s expenses while also allowing me to throw money in a retirement and savings account each month.

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

See Mrs RB40′s exit strategy.
http://retireby40.org/spouse-early-retirement-strategy/
I think we could still retire without my wife’s income. We would have to make a lot of changes, though. We live in an expensive area and we’d have to move to a cheaper location. It would be a lot more difficult, that’s for sure.

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mike July 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

Hi Joe:

your quote about:

“Friends and former colleagues are too busy with their careers to spend much time with you.”

==> that is so true! I guess out of sight, out of mind. I would not make a blanket statement like this for everyone, but I think many people will fall into the above bucket you describe.

M.

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Pretired Nick July 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

Wow, two years already! Makes sense since I think we were about to have our baby when you were quitting and he’s about to turn two!
The night before last I was having drinks with my (still working) buddy. I was talking about how I still needed a bit more money before I could really declare myself fully independent. He just looked at me and said, “you’re never going back.” He might be right. It’s almost unimaginable now that I’ve been out for two years. I’m not sure how good of a worker I’d be if I went back now. I’ll have to decide what I’m doing in the next year or so so we’ll see!

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

I’ll never go back if I have a choice. :) Life is just too good right now. You’re doing pretty well doing consulting, right? If you can keep doing that, then it sounds like you’re set.
I would be a terrible worker if I went back. I know one guy who retired and went back to work and he didn’t last long. If you don’t really need the money, then there’s nothing keeping you there.

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kathleen July 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

NICE, Joe! I have a pretty good idea what I’d do if I stopped working for someone else, and it doesn’t look that different than what I do now. :)

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Shane July 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Thank you for the honesty Joe. The fact of the matter is you do have supportive wife and a child that you get to spend time with so that makes the journey all the more special. I appreciate the comments from the others as well. It is great to see so many people having their priorities straight and not settling for a life of stress and living on someone else’s watch or terms. Best of luck to all you! BTW I am right there with you about traveling the world and selling your possessions. The important things in life are people and experiences not possessions.

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

We must be kindred souls. I missed your cutoff by a year, I retired at 41, but came pretty close. My wife could not retire, but went ahead an quit her job. It’s 17 years later, and we’ve almost finished getting the last of our 4 kids and my wife through college without student debt and helped 2 of them pay cash for new cars when they graduated. One way that has helped me succeed is not to have any debt that incurs interest. I got married at 19 and never quite finished college myself. You know a funny thing? The few times that I’ve told others that I raised 4 kids and retired at 41, nobody has seemed impressed at all. Do they not see what I consider to be a major accomplishment?

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Chris July 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Personally, I think that’s a fantastic accomplishment. My wife is still staying at home with our kids (all 4 kiddos are in school full time), and to be there to help the elder family members out for doctor appts, just a visit, etc. At this point I think age 60 will be about where I’ll pre-retire and shift back to part time work if all goes as I hope.

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Chris,

How old are you now, if I might ask?

It’s somewhat funny that people today think of 4 as a lot of kids. I was the youngest of 7 and our family was not really considered large. The neighbors had 12 kids.

My wife was a nurse, so that was a comfort knowing that she could go back to work either full or part time if we really got into a jam. I never asked her to, because she really hated nursing.

People almost always think about income, how to increase it, manage it, lessen the tax bite. I’ve concentrated most of my efforts on developing different ways to save money. There again, I don’t worry so much about getting things cheaply, as getting the most VALUE per dollar of expenditure. It’s so much fun! The guy that does this blog is really on the right track. Putting up with bosses and backstabbing coworkers really stinks and gets old really quickly!!!!

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm

I think that’s a fantastic achievement as well. 4 kids are a lot these days because day care is so expensive. College is also ridiculous. With 4 kids, it’d be very difficult to help them all out with higher education.
How can anyone not be impressed by that?

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Seth Sanders July 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

It’s true though. Even now, people my age in their late 50′s around here are still working for the most part, heck, even some people in their 79;s and 80′s. We have a service economy here, no good paying high tech jobs. People either give you a blank stare or get angry when you divulge that you’re long retired. The neighbors especially give us dirty looks. I don’t really care as long as they don’t come after me with pitch forks.!

Alexis Smith July 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for sharing your life 2 years after your early retirement. Mostly retired employee experienced similar as yours. I had fun reading this and many great insights here. I will share this information with my friends and they will certainly love to read this. I’ll definitely give these 5 stars.

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Seth Sanders July 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I don’t want to be one of those board hogs, even though I just found this blog and already love it. I agree with some of you that it was difficult sometimes in my early 40′s when meeting new people. They almost always ask you what you do for a living right away. If you say “nothing” it really raises eyebrows. It’s best to come up with something in advance.
As far as travel, a really fun thing to do, that no many people seem to have done, is drive around the perimeter of the United States. It’s a blast. We did half on one trip and half on another. It’s not just entertaining, it’s really educational as well. With all of the time that you’ll have as a retiree, you’ll find that you can travel during the off season: cruise, trips to Europe, etc, for a song. For me, that last 17+ years have flown by.

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I usually say I’m a stay at home dad and I write online. Stay at home dads are more common now and the kid is always with me anyway so it’s self explanatory. Did you travel much with the kids? I’m wondering if it’s tough to get the kid out of school for off season travel.

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Seth Sanders July 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

Hi,
I’m sorry to just get back with you. I don’t have any set schedule, so I often stay up very late and then sleep in until late, sometimes after noon.
In my case, my wife was always with me. The youngest 2 girls are only a year apart. The ones who gave me dirty looks and acted sort of unfriendly were mostly stay-at-home moms. Of course, that could be mostly because the dads were at work.
We stopped at a Subway for lunch right next to a Target store just off of the interstate in Portland. It was the first time that I’d seen those big, red, concrete balls in front of a Target store. Do you know where that is?
I had to schedule big multiple week trips in the Summer. Several times, for trips under a week, we’d sometimes take them out of school. Many of my friends considered me a bad parent, but the kids have all graduated with honors, so I don’t believe that I hindered them too much. One daughter is finishing her doctorate degree. Even with just her Master’s she’s making a 6 figure income.
I really like your blog. It’s great to see other people with the guts to opt out of the working world.

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Ed July 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for the idea! Driving around the perimeter of the US sounds like a cool trip. Did you use an RV or just stop at hotels? Any sketchy areas to avoid?

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Seth Sanders July 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Hi Ed,
I’ve posted so much here that I must look like a real blog hog. We did the journey in 2 halves a couple of years apart. I haven’t rented a car recently, but at least a few years ago, you could still rent cars cheaply with unlimited mileage. One trip we got a brand new Cadillac just in from the factory. We were the first renter. The 2nd trip we rented a Chevy mini van. We stayed at hotels. I used to be really adept at getting rooms at 3 and 4 star hotels for free or very cheaply. When you get to the Dakotas or further west, you need to keep your gas tank full and stop whenever you can for refreshments and gas. It’s not like Florida with hotels, fast food and hotels at almost every exit. Out there you might drive 200 miles between stations/hotels and that’s in the daytime. At night I once got stuck driving all night and almost ran out of gas, what little there was on the interstate all seemed to close down after dark. Also in the west, on the back highways, the deer and antelope all seem to want to congregate in the road, so beware. Of course in the deserts carry water. It might be a good idea to carry more than one brand of cell phone provider. We had AT&T at the time and ran into some long dead zones. Some areas there is no Interstate. The back highways can be much more scenic. Be aware though, they really eat up your time in the more populous states. Take Wisconsin. I think that they put small towns about every 5 miles. There are other really neat trips, like leaf looking in the Fall that the whole family should enjoy!

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Seth Sanders July 31, 2014 at 10:24 am

About Deserts, temps. often gets up to the 114 to 118 levels, but doesn’t feel that hot because of the low humidity. Be certain to stay hydrated. You’ll dehydrate before you know it. If you can’t drive, stay away from buses. Trains are better, but you miss a lot at night. It’s hard to sleep, even in a bedroom since the train bounces and bumps all night long. I’ve actually woken up in train beds in mid-air, when I crashed back down it wasn’t very pleasant. Try to plan hotels in advance. Some areas just have minus 1 star hotels that they charge high prices for because they are the only hotels for 150 miles in any direction. That goes for other countries as well. Once, in London, my wife and I got stuck sleeping in a brothel, yes a whore house. Now, that was an experience. British and European trains are good as long as you get first class tickets, but that’s another story. Travel just before Christmas and rooms in Vegas and many cruises are unbelievably cheap.
Tripadvisor.com is a pretty good place to check out hotel quality. Watch out in the Heartland, if traveling without reservations during football season on a Friday night. Hotels can sell out for a 100-150 mile radius of HIGH SCHOOL football games, let alone college ones. Well, this board is about early retirement, not travel, so I’ll shut up and return to my cave.

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Tawcan July 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. Increasing your net worth by 40% while retired is definitely awesome! I hope to write a similar post as you on my blog in the near future. :)

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Justin July 24, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Sounds like it’s going well for you 2 years in! I’m about to hit my 1 year anniversary, and don’t regret it a bit. I’m enjoying every day and still think about how awesome it is to not have to work (even though I do a tiny bit of freelancing occasionally). Most of my friends are still working (and my wife will be back at work in a few weeks, too!) so I get to hear how crappy different work situations are all the time. Makes me glad I set myself up to retire early.

Right now my wife is in the middle of taking a month off (a mini-sabbatical) to try out early retirement, and I think she’s liking it. You should see if Mrs. RB40 can work out a month off at some point (including at least a few weeks at home to just relax). Maybe she’ll get the ER bug too.

Best of luck in year 3 of early retirement and beyond!

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retirebyforty July 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm

She took a month off last year and it wasn’t fun for any of us. She is too high strung to stay at home. She likes working for now so that’s great for everyone. :)
Enjoy the time off with your wife. It will be a ton of fun.

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Justin July 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

I understand that – I was afraid my wife would go crazy “sitting at home doing nothing” for a month. So far it has been wonderful. She’s picked up leisure reading (sci-fi / fantasy), we have watched some tv and movies together. I have taken the older kids out to museums while she kept the 2 year old by herself (bonding time for each of us for different kids). She has been a lot more social with friends (something she’s usually too worn out to do after work)

This little “experiment” answered that nagging fear that Mrs. RoG would retire early and we would fight and argue and she would go stir crazy with boredom.

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INTC YUCK July 25, 2014 at 12:10 am

congrats Joe on 2 years. well done. enjoy reading your blog. I am less than 1 year out from FIRE if all goes to plan.

So, how do you find and network face-to-face with other early retirees ? When I go to McDonalds in Hillsboro in the morning, its full of older / retired folks having a cheap cup of coffee and chatting…i feel out of place due to younger age. Are there some early retiree networking resources that you can recommend?

I am interested in finding small business and/or online blogging mentor for example – while I have experience, I enjoy learning from others too… where might I look?

Thinking about going back to college and take a few classes just to explore some new passions

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retirebyforty July 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

Most of my networking is online. I know early retirees from various blogs and I meet up with them at various conferences.
Have you heard of the World Domination Summit? It’s held in Portland and you can meet various interesting people there and the local WDS meetups.
I think going back to college is a great idea. Try reaching out to various blogs. They are pretty good about getting back.

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Mike July 25, 2014 at 6:57 am

Hey Joe,

Your story is just awesome! It’s funny as I’m contemplating the possibility of retiring in two years (at 35). This desire has just struck me recently after reading The Why Café in one shot on Father’s Day. I’m thinking we just live to work to pay the bill and get back to work the next day. I like my job, I’m good at what I do, but I just don’t see the point of waking up in the morning to leave people I love until the end of the day as I could spend the whole day with them and enjoy the small things of life.

The plan is not fully setup (I feel like I’m walking on the edge of the biggest cliff ever right now), but I’m thinking of selling everything, buying a VR and go for a trip across America (North, Central and South) and see how it goes.

I could probably live off my blogs with this plan and simply enjoy life everyday. I’m just not sure I want to take the dive yet… it’s darn scary!

thx for the inspiration!

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retirebyforty July 25, 2014 at 9:57 am

Maybe you can cut down to half time or seasonal contracts. That would give you more time to enjoy life.
Keep at it and good luck! It is pretty tough to leave a nice job that you like.

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Mike @ Dividend Stocks Rock July 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

I can’t really work in private wealth management on contract, they seek for stable long term career employees ;-)

Still, the feeling we are running around for nothing is growing in me now! hahhaa!

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Maurice July 25, 2014 at 7:47 am

Nice to know that you are enjoying life. That’s very important because at the end of the day it is satisfaction that counts and nothing else. I’m in my 30s and have left my corporate job too to start of my own. I’m making good money and most importantly I’m happy. What more do I need? I’ve my plans and I’m achieving them one after the other, not competing with anyone, but still growing of my own. I’m doing social work, learning more every day, reading to increase my saleability, and doing many things that I missed doing my corporate job. Thanks for this enlightening blog post. Loved it thoroughly.

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Michael July 25, 2014 at 8:48 am

I love reading about other peoples stories on how they were able to retire at a young age. Even as a young man, I dreamed about being in a position to retire when I was “young” and not having to work till I collect Social Security. Today, that day has finally come for me at age 46. My wife and I married soon after high school graduation and were in the Army together. My wife did her four years of active duty and once I completed my initial enlistment, I got out and joined the National Guard. I was also fortunate enough to get hired on a local police department and worked two careers. Two years ago I retired from the National Guard with 26 years of service and just retired from the police department with almost 26 years in the state pension. We had three children (by the time I was 24) and my wife has worked as an aerobics instructor part time and well as being a stay at home mom. Our three children (22, 24 and 26) are all out of the house living on their own which has given us a lot of time to do my lifelong ambition: travel. In the past four years, we’ve been to over 20 countries. We paid our mortgage off three years ago and have been living completely debt free. Both vehicles we have I bought new from the dealership with cash so we have no car payments either. We’ve always made the responsible choice by always living within our means. I make a conscious decision to use one of my credit cards for ALL my purchases. I pay the balance off in full each month, avoiding late fees and interest but get the cash rewards. This year my credit cards PAID ME $3500 in cash back!
People constantly say to me, “You’re too young to retire!” but I always question them with “No I’m not”. Most people think that once you retire all you do is sit around the house and watch TV. For both my wife and I, we’ve made a lifetime of spending a lot of time in the gym and have the desire to travel and see the world. By keeping your mind and body active, I have no problem knowing that my hard work by working two simultaneous careers are paying off.
I hope that my story can be an inspiration to others and know that with hard work and careful spending, an early retirement is possible. Thanks for letting me share my story!

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retirebyforty July 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

Thanks for sharing your story and congratulation! I think the military/police career is great for early retirement. Thanks for serving our country.
I’m sure you’ll find something to do after you retire. Traveling is a lot of fun, but I don’t know if that can keep you occupied for 30-40 years. It will be more difficult as you get older. Keep looking for more interesting stuff to do.
Enjoy your early retirement!

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Seth Sanders July 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

Your life sounds very similar to mine. I met my wife while in the Army, but she was a civilian employee. I was in the Guard and then the Reserves after active duty. Can you retire from the Guard now and get a retirement income right away? When I was in, no matter what age you retired from the Guard or Reserves, you had to wait until age 60 to receive retirement income.

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MSC July 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

I am a few months from my two year anniversary. I punched out at age 39 and have experienced many of the things you mentioned. I too am fearful of having to go back to work. I have both guaranteed income and other sources I don’t fully trust to always be there. I ensure any large purchases are covered by the guaranteed income. I then throw the less stable funds at the purchase to get the debt paid off quickly. If I became reliant on the variable income and it disappeared I would be back in the working world.

As for feeling lost…I get it. My boss still calls telling me I could come back and run a department better than the people he has now. I was a go to guy and now I am just another person. I have been thinking about taking some classes so that I am at least doing something. I don’t want my brain to turn into mush due to lack of use.

I often find myself embarrassed by my situation. My neighbors drive by and wave on their way to work. There I am exercising around the neighborhood. When meeting someone new the inevitable question comes up “What do you do for a living?” What must they think…trust fund baby, disability check, or just lazy…all of those things have negative connotations. I guess I just need to come up with a more informative answer than “I’m retired” and less informative than a copy of my tax return.

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retirebyforty July 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm

It’s a great idea to separate the funds like that. At least you know the guaranteed income will be there.
Taking some classes is definitely a good idea. I’ll do that once I have a little more time.
Yes, it can be a bit awkward when meeting new people. Now I just say I’m a stay at home dad. Once my kid goes off to school full time, then I’ll need to come up with a new answer.
Enjoy your retirement!

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Seth Sanders July 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I’m going to make this my last post. I just wanted to look at things from further down the road and see what, if any, are the drawbacks from early retirement. A major one would be, as you get older and your kids grow up and they start to leave to start their own lives, and the reduced energy and aches and pains start to creep on you, is that there is no reward for getting older. It’s sort of a downer. People who work until their 60′s, when they get there, have the reward of retirement to help offset the drag of aging. With early retirement, it’s like getting your Christmas presents and dinner a month early. It’s great at first, but then you have nothing to look forward to on Christmas Day. Remember how you couldn’t wait to turn 16 or 21? You looked forward to driving, maybe drinking, the increased freedoms. Remember how turning 22 or 30 wasn’t nearly as much fun?
I’m not the most literate person in the world, so I hope that I’m getting my point across.
I hope that everyone out there, especially Joe and his family, enjoy long and healthy retirements!!!!

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retirebyforty July 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Thanks for your input. That’s why I like working part time. You can enjoy your life, stay active, and then still have full retirement to look forward to. :)

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Financial Samurai July 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Congrats on two years!

Time flies when you’re having fun yeah?

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retirebyforty July 28, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Thanks! Yeap, life is good at the moment. I’m sure time flew by for you as well.

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Derek July 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm

That’s awesome! Great job Joe! I can’t wait to retire myself (probably in about 4-5 years when I turn 34) and do whatever I please. The fact that you’ve done it and are thriving speaks volumes. Thanks!

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Ed July 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I find it kind of interesting that a lot of people with advanced degrees (Engineering) are looking to retire early. I am myself looking to early semi retire, go part time at 55 maybe.

I also put in ~5 years for a professional degree and have made good money since getting out of school.
I always thought ‘I spend so much time in school learning what I needed to get a degree, it might be wasteful to stop and get out of the rat race early’. Now having been in the rat race for 20 years, I can’t wait to get out!

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Syed July 28, 2014 at 2:02 am

Great insightful post it’s nice to hear a report from the early retirement trenches. I would imagine it would be really tough for some people not to work because as you said they really are defined by their work. But great job on making it work so far and hope it only gets better for you guys!

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retirebyforty July 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Thanks! You just have to define yourself with something other than work. That’s tough in our society, but I’m trying.

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EarlyRetirementGuy July 28, 2014 at 6:10 am

Great to hear you’re enjoying ER after the first couple of years. I too wondered what I would do to fill my time when I left ‘work’ and I hope to spend some of it volunteering at my kid’s school as well. It’s a great way to help both your own kids and the local community whilst keeping busy. Win – win!

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EarlyRetire July 28, 2014 at 6:53 am

Brillant

“Every early retiree I know still works in some capacity. When you’re in your 30s, 40s, or even 50s, it doesn’t make sense to fully retire. You need to work a bit on something you enjoy and contribute to society. Maybe the real problem with the traditional 9 to 5 job is that it takes too much time. I think 20 hours per week would make for a much happier population.”

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Chris August 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Hi Joe,

Thx for the update on how the early retirement is going. It is definitely a subject that I have been thinking about as I approach that goal too. Sounds like we are almost neighbors . Ever get to the gorge? Do you like to hike?

Chris

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