10 Years of Blogging & Life Changes

10 Years of Blogging & Life Changes350Can you believe it’s been 10 years since I started blogging? It has been an amazing journey and my life changed in so many ways. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t take up blogging. Thank you so much for your support over the years. I couldn’t have kept going without it.

So what happened in 2010? Why did I start blogging about FIRE? At that point, I was completely burned out with my engineering career. The only reason I went to work was for the paychecks. That kind of attitude is extremely unproductive. I was miserable at work, my performance suffered, and my health declined. At the same time, I was reading many personal finance blogs and discovered an alternative lifestyle that differed from the day-to-day slog. I learned about financial independence and it became the key to escape the toxic corporate culture. We saved and invested since 1996 so we were close to financial independence by 2010. We only needed a final push to cross the finish line.

The decision to start blogging came very quickly for me. One day, I was reading blogs instead of working and the name Retire by 40 popped into my head. I knew I had a winner and registered the domain name right away. That evening I went home and shared my idea with Mrs. RB40 and the rest is history. I wrote my first post and published it within the week. It wasn’t a great post, but that was fine. I always believe it’s best to learn on the job. If I waited for things to be perfect, I’d never get going. Coincidently, Mrs. RB40 was pregnant when I dropped Retire by 40 on her. Understandably, she wasn’t happy to hear I wanted to quit my career in a few years. She didn’t make a lot of money at that point so my income was crucial. However, she also knew I was miserable at work so she didn’t shoot it down right away. I worked on a cash flow spreadsheet and showed her that we’d be okay even if I didn’t make any income once we reached FI. She was still skeptical, but she gave me a chance and supported me 100%. She’s a saint.

Today, I want to share how my life changed since I started blogging. 10 years is a long time and a lot can happen. Honestly, these last 10 years really flew by. Also, ask me anything! I’ll answer in the comment section.

Blog stats

I want to share some statistics. I’m quite proud of myself and I want to show off a bit.

  • 1,397 blog posts! When I started, I blogged 3 times per week. Over the last few years, I cut it down to 2. That’s a ridiculous amount of blog posts to me. I hated writing when I was in school so I never imagined I could write this much. I’m pretty sure that’s over a million words. You never know what you’re capable of until you try.
  • 54,271 comments. The comments kept me going in the early years. Thank you, everyone!
  • Over 12,000,000 pageviews! We have visitors from 239 countries and territories. That is amazing.
  • $440,548 in revenue (before taxes and expenses). I didn’t know a blog could generate this kind of money when I started. I was hoping for $500/month to help supplement my retirement, but this was beyond my wildest dreams. You can read more about my online income here. 2020 is a pretty bad year, though. I’m not sure if the revenue will ever recover.


In 2010, we had two incomes, 3 cats, and no kids. RB40Jr joined us in 2011 and life changed forever. He was a big part of why I retired from my engineering career in 2012. We found a very nice daycare, but we didn’t like other people raising our son. He spent 10 hours/day at the daycare and we missed many milestones. I accelerated my FIRE plan and retired when I was 38. It worked out extremely well. I became a SAHD and spent a ton of time with him when he was little. There were many bumpy spots, but overall, it was a positive experience for all 3 of us.

The first few years were really tough. It got easier when he went to preschool for a few hours per week. Kindergarten was the real turning point. Life became much easier then. I could spend more time blogging, running errands, doing chores, and had more personal time. I love school. RB40Jr is in 4th grade now. I think this is the sweet spot in family life. Kids don’t need as much supervision and they are still loveable. I’m not looking forward to the teenage years at all.

Also, my mom came to live with us in 2013. She lived with us for 5 years. In 2018, she was diagnosed with dementia and we figured she’d be better off in Thailand where she could speak and be understood in her primary language. There she has a better caretaker (my dad) and she can go to a dementia facility when the time comes. It’s a terrible disease.

Interestingly, I think our lives will change a lot over the next 10 years as well. By 2030, RB40Jr should be in college. Mrs. RB40 and I will have a lot more time for ourselves again. I hope to travel a lot more then. It’ll be interesting to see how life will change.

Work after FIRE

Some people think retirement means no work at all. I disagree especially if you retire early. It’s against our nature to stop working completely when you’re young. Work is great if you can do it on your own terms. I retired from my engineering career when I was 38, but I didn’t stop working completely. Being a SAHD took a ton of time when our son was young. Now that he’s in school, it’s not much work at all. My verdict – being a SAHD/M is work before our son started school. Once he was in school, the SAHD part is equivalent to retirement. Now, let me share my working timeline.

  • 2010: I spent 40-80 hours/week at the office. Most of the time, it was closer to 40. Occasionally, it spiked up to 80 hours/week for a few weeks at a time. I also spent about 20-30 hours/week on Retire by 40. I remember staying up until 1 am to finish a blog post quite a few times.
  • 2011: I worked a lot less at the office because we had a baby, 40-50 hours per week. Blogging still took 20-30 hours/week. The rest of the time was spent being a dad.
  • 2012 to 2013: I quit my job. Hooray! We took our son out of daycare so I spent a ton of time being a SAHD. Blogging still took 20-30 hours per week.
  • 2013 to 2015: RB40Jr attended preschool so I had a little more time to myself.
  • 2016 to 2018: RB40Jr went to public school! Life improved a ton.
  • 2019 to 2020: I started to spend less time on blogging. Now, I spend about 10-15 hours per week on Retire by 40.

Here is a chart for illustration. It isn’t 100% accurate, but you get the idea. In 2020, I spent more time being a SAHD due to lockdown.

evolution of working

This isn’t full retirement, but I didn’t want that. Retire by 40 meant retiring from my engineering career and working on something I enjoy. The plan is to gradually work less as I get older. It’s turning out quite well. Over the next 10 years, I’ll reduce my blogging and SAHD hours further. By 2030, I’ll be much closer to full retirement.

There is one unfortunate side effect of being a FIRE blogger for so long. I’m a lot less passionate about the subject now. It’s still fun, but I’m not obsessed with it anymore. I read blogs a lot less, never read PF books these days, and can’t write as often anymore. These days, I’m more interested in making cooking/travel videos on our YouTube channel. My son wants to stream video games so we need to figure out how to do that next. I tend to lose interest quickly so 10 years is quite a good stretch for me.

The future

Currently, I post twice per week. One is a brand new blog post and the other is an update/rewrite. (Many of my older blog posts are not very well written.) I went to this schedule when the school shut down in March. It was too hard to write 2 new blog posts every week while RB40Jr is schooling from home. This schedule is very good for me and I can maintain this pace for a while.

Our next inflection point will be in 2022. Mrs. RB40 plans to take a year off and figure out her next step. We plan to travel extensively that year so my blogging schedule might change. Also, I’ll probably write a lot more about travel and the nomadic lifestyle. It’ll be hard to keep up 2x per week and I expect to post less frequently. After 2022, who knows? I guess we’ll see how it goes. We plan to come back to Portland. RB40Jr likes his life here and wants to go to school with his friends.

Alright! That’s it for today. Thanks again for supporting Retire by 40. You’re the best. If you have any questions, leave a comment. Ask me anything.

*Check out my guide – How to start a blog and why you should.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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60 thoughts on “10 Years of Blogging & Life Changes”

  1. I enjoy your blog because it’s more human and not just all about financial numbers. I also relate a lot to your story. I left my job 2 years ago to stay home with my baby at 40 and feeling like I might just want to go straight to retirement. My husband still works but I don’t think his job is as stressful, but maybe he can go part time in 10 years. My biggest concern is health insurance especially needing good coverage as you get older and for your child. I heard how it cost some families over $1000 a month to buy it on their own. What do you plan on doing for your family when your wife quits her job?

  2. Wow. Have been a faithful reader for 10 years! I keep on coming back because I like to keep up with what your family and you have been up to. Whether its FIRE, politics, your cooking – I’ll still be reading! Thank you for blogging and always being honest and a positive force for wellness on the blogsphere. Maybe branch out onto Instagram. Instagram is so fun! Lots of new ideas and people. I think it’s normal to want to grow.

  3. Congrats Joe! I’ve been reading your blog for 10 years and the other day, I saw your comment on my previous blog from 2011 (!) haha.

    So much has changed!! Congrats on hitting almost half a million dollars in blog income, that’s an amazing feat.

    I am so glad to hear it gets easier when they are in school- being a SAHP with young kids is like… I would say more tiring than work. Right now my 3 year old is in preschool and it’s definitely a nice break for me.

  4. You picked a great name. I was frustrated at work about 9 years ago and googled Retire By 40 and I have been a reader ever since. Congrats on 10 years.

  5. Congratulations! That’s a great idea about re-writing content to improve it. I’ve only been blogging for about a year but I know some of my early articles could use some TLC.

    Keep up the great content!

  6. Love this overview and to see how your life evolved so much in the last 10 years. Thanks for always being supportive to us newer bloggers! I love to see that you’ve had millions of pageviews– that’s a lot of lessons taught over the years.

    I’m excited to hear what Mrs. RB40 learns when she takes a year off!

  7. Congratulations! I’m still employed at Intel and not as stressed as you were about it, but it’s nice to see there is a next phase out there….

  8. Over 12 million page views! Think about that impact on the lives and finances of others. Pretty cool. Joe, you were one of the first FIRE bloggers that I found and the first I ever subscribed to… an inspiration for me now going on my 2nd year of writing as well. I have a question? Are there any recent developments / ideas in the space over the past that you have found particularly interesting or unique? Cheers to the next decade 🙂

    • Thank you!
      Recent developments? I think having more female FIRE bloggers is a huge development.
      They brings such a different perspective to the table. It’s great for female readers too.
      Keep at it!

  9. Awesome story and timeline, Joe!

    I think keeping it up for a decade is quite impressive, it’s easy to lose interest in a *much* shorter period of time!

    As far as AMA…

    1) Do you think switching on the revenue machine for RB40 *helped* or *hurt* your overall motivation to write? This *assumes* there was no revenue source for the blog when you started it, but switched it on after some inflection point.

    2) Related to #1, will you make (or have you made) any changes with EB40 as a project?

    3) Looking at the FIRE movement as a whole, do you think there’s room for it to grow within society or that it’ll always remain a niche movement for some people (as to say, it might grow in absolute terms but remain the same relative size)?

    4) If you were to offer advice to an upstart pair of FIRE bloggers (*hem*), who have a simple goal of telling their journey in a way to “lower the ladder” and help those behind them reach their own goals, what would it be?

    5)Do you think there’s still room for novel approaches to the different parts of FIRE or has it all already been written?

    Thanks, Joe – it’s been great to watch your family’s story unfold over the years! 🙂

    • 1) Monetizing helped to motivate me. Honestly, if this blog doesn’t generate any revenue, I’d probably stop by now. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep a blog going.
      2) I’m spending less time editing the videos. Now, I just try to push out content more often. Good editing takes too much time. If the channel becomes successful, I might monetize. For now, it’s a hobby.
      3) FIRE will grow, but it’ll always be a niche. Most people don’t like saving and investing. They’d rather spend and enjoy life today. YOLO?
      4) I think you guys are doing very well. Just keep at it. Network with other bloggers and make friends in the PF circle. Attend a few live events when things are back to normal.
      5) Sure, there are always new angles. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot about CoastFI. It isn’t new, but it got repackaged in a nicer form. Seems to be helping some people. Also, more female FIRE bloggers are great. They bring a different voice to the table. In 2010, it was mostly guys.

  10. Congrats on making it to 10 years, you’re now in elite company of bloggers who stuck with it for more than a year or two. Not many blogs have been around as long as yours, and gotten as much traffic or income! It’s something to be proud of!

    p.s. making me feel old that I remember when your blog was still brand new! I just discovered a new blogger recently who was born in 2000 – they were 10 years old when you started your site! Crazy.

  11. Congratulations Joe! Ten years. NICE!!!! You are an inspiration to us, future bloggers. I launched my blog website in 2020. I am sure I will remember you in 2030 when I hit the ten year mark.

    Question? Why are you cutting down on personal ads? They don’t pay well or too much work?

    Economy Chief

    • I cut way back on sponsored posts over the last few years. The problem is most of them don’t pay well. Also, the content is usually very boring.
      These sponsored posts are not useful for readers. Now, I only take one or two sponsored posts assignments per year. I write them myself and try to make them interesting. It’s a lot of effort so I only take well-paid assignments.

  12. Congrats, Joe! You’re a dinosaur in financial blogging standards. 😉

    Thanks for being an inspiration and a great transparent SAHD. I enjoy your raw posts and updates. I totally understand you not being as passionate about the blog as before. My interest in my blog comes and goes also.

    It’s great that you’re exploring other mediums with the cooking channel and soon your son’s video games. That’s the ultimate beauty of early retirement… freedom. Enjoy it. You deserve it.

  13. Congratulations on the 10 years. Our page views and income are shockingly similar – probably less than 10% difference in both. I had a 4-year head start, but I’m not nearly as good as you.

    I know what you mean about personal finance becoming less interesting. There’s not as much new stuff to explore. I think that’s why personal finance Twitter has a lot of bickering – there’s not much new that hasn’t been debated many, many times before.

    I like the life story, especially one that I can largely relate to. I hope if you travel more in a few years, you still manage to write a new post once a week.

  14. Wow that’s amazing Joe! 10 years is a huge milestone, definitely makes you an internet grandpa (haha!). I’m amazed at the over 12 million page view and over $440k you’ve generated through this blog. Fantastic stuff. Here’s to another 10 years!

  15. congratulations, joe. you’ve really killed it over 10 years. it’s always a good enjoyable and educational read when you put something out. i hope you keep it going. thanks also for reading my stuff and for the support. we’ll see you on the west coast one of these day i’m sure.

  16. Wow, that’s a remarkable 10 years, Joe! That’s also a heckuva lot of blog posts! You already know that you were the inspiration for my early retirement so thank you so much for all your hard work on the site.

    You nailed something that I noticed as well when I left my job. My passion for talking about the FIRE side of things has gone down, too. It’s still fun but not as crazy exciting as it was when we were on the path to FI. That’s why I find myself just writing more about the aspects of our new adventures now – traveling, living in Panama, etc.

    Funny enough, while I thought that might be a turn-off to my readers, that’s pushed my page views and subscriber counts up tremendously. I guess people love to hear what early retirement life is all about.

    I hope your next 10 years are even more successful than the last 10!

    • Thanks, Jim. I’m very happy to help with your journey.
      Great to hear about your success as well.
      You’re right. People want to hear about genuine stories. The numbers aren’t that interesting.

  17. Congrats on the 10 years! So much has changed for the better since yeah? I’m kinda looking forward to my kids going to kindergarten. At the same time, I’m trying to hold onto to all this time while they are still little b/c I KNOW I will miss this time so much once they grow up.

    The $400K+ in revenue is impressive. Definitely a nice amount of supplemental income post retirement!


    • Thank you! Life is so much better than when I started blogging. It’s amazing.
      Of course, it’s not all due to blogging, but it’s a big positive force.
      You know what, I don’t really miss spending so much time as a SAHD. It was great, but I’m glad we’re over the hump.

  18. Congratulations Joe, you’ve been an inspiration, and I’m sure you have helped many many people work through their ideas on FIRE. – that’s how I found your blog, so I’m one of the people who benefitted from it…thanks!
    I find it interesting to hear how things have changed over the ten years. It’s logical really, and the changes in your blog that reflect those changes will no doubt help me as my own early retirement develops.
    Keep up the good work. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how Mrs RB40’s year off goes and the travel that you have planned.

    • Thank you for the compliment. I’ll keep adapting the blog to reflect new life changes.
      I’m looking forward to the year off too. She wants to take time off, but she still wants to contribute.
      We’ll see how it goes. She might enjoy it so much and never go back to work.

  19. Congrats on 10 years! That’s a good long stretch to stay motivated. I’ve been following your blog since around 2014 and enjoyed reading the summary of your life between 2010 and now. It’s understandable that you would want to shift focus your from the personal finance blog to other things like travel and cooking over time. I look forward to the next 10 years.

  20. Congratulations, Joe! 10 years is a huge milestone. Your transparency and matter-of-fact voice about how things are going are my favorite features of your blog. I enjoyed reading the 10 year evolution – it’s great to see how things grew for you. Your excitement from the early years is evident. 12 million visitors is really impressive – you’ve made a difference for a lot of people.

  21. Wow! Congrats on such a milestone. I’ve enjoyed how you not only talk about numbers and investing but also the mindset of leaving a corporate life, the rewards and difficulties you encounter. It’s really helped me over the years.

  22. Congrats Joe! You are truly an inspiration. Over 1300 posts and 12 MM page views is amazing.

    I am also happy to hear that being a SAHD gets easier. This path wasn’t the easiest decision to make, but I wasn’t happy in my old career either, even if it paid well.

    • Thank you! Yes, being a SAHD gets a lot easier.
      Now, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I have to make lunch for myself anyway so it’s not difficult to double the portion. My son is growing more independent. It’s great.

  23. Congratulations Joe!

    That truly is remarkable keeping a blog up and going for so long when the average time before a blog does is 6 months.

    I am at the 2.5 year mark and I can’t imagine how hard it will be for me to quadruple what I have done. It is hard to come up with content for that length of time and impressive you have not only done it but done it well.

    Impressive stats as well. Like you I love comments and interactions with my readers. Helps you keep pushing through the tough times when you don’t feel like writing or keep on blogging.

  24. Congrats on 10 years Joe! Those stats are mighty impressive too!

    I’ve only been blogging 5 years but it seems like an eternity… I can only imagine how 10 years must feel! Congrats!

  25. First off, HUGE congrats!! Ten years, that’s amazing. And almost 1400 posts and half a million dollars made! What you’ve done shows that if you just keep showing up and putting in the work, good things happen.

    You’ve crafted a wonderful life for yourself and your family by going way outside the mainstream of what we’re supposed to do in America. And no doubt your example has paved the way for many others. I count myself in that group, because if it wasn’t for concrete examples out there of people making it work like you, I’m not sure I would have semi-retired.

    Lastly, thanks a million for your support of my blog, it’s helped me a ton and means a lot!

    • Thank you! I haven’t felt like quitting yet.
      Maybe over the next few years, things might change. Even then, I probably just reduce the frequency and change the subject.
      The great thing about this blog is I can write whatever I want. I don’t stick to personal finance 100% so that keeps it fresh (to me.)

  26. Joe, congratulations on the anniversary of 10 years since you started blogging. You did a lot better at blogging than I did. At one time I had 3 blogs related to retirement but then let them slip away. The only reason for my blogs was to provide marketing for my retirement books. My websites actually did a lot more to sell the books than my blogs did.

    As an aside, on Saturday night I had a mini-celebration with 5 friends for my “40 Years Without a Real Job Celebration.” Yes, it’s been 40 years since I got fired from my Engineering Job with Edmonton Power for taking too much vacation. In retrospect, it was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. In 2005, I had a “25 Years Without a Real Job Celebration” for which I invited about 70 people and spent around $1,500. This year, because I was restricted in the number of guests that I could bring to the same restaurant, I ended up spending $310 for the dinners and giving $100 as a tip to do my part for happening the restaurant industry in my home town.


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