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6 Years After Early Retirement Update

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6 years after early retirementWoohoo! It’s been five 6 years after I retired early and I still love it. Early retirement really came together in year 5 and there haven’t been many changes in year 6. That’s why I’m updating this post instead of writing a new one like I usually do every year. Life has been really good these last 2 years and we just need to hold steady for a while. The big change was in year 5 when our son started kindergarten. In year 6, he went on to first grade and our lifestyle was pretty much the same. The biggest QOL improvement already happened in year 5. My early retirement life is remarkably stable now. Anyway, everything is going very well. Read on to see how I’m doing in early retirement.

*Early retirement recap – Joe retired from his engineering career in 2012 when he was 38. He became a stay-at-home dad to his 18 month old son and blogs about early retirement on Retire by 40.

Early Retirement Finances

My biggest 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 our bills? I don’t want to be a Walmart greeter when I’m 65. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Going back to work for someone else would be the worst case scenario for me. I can’t handle being told what to do after 6 years of autonomy. Part time self-employment suits me much better than being a corporate employee. I can follow my own agenda and take my time on projects. I really hate being told what to do after tasting freedom.

Things are going well so far, but retiring early could mean 50+ years of less income. That’s a long time to be retired. The first few years of retirement are crucial because a few bad years can do irreversible damage to your retirement portfolio. This is called the sequence of return risk. That’s why my goal is to keep increasing our net worth (or at least keep it stable) while we are still in our 40s and early 50s. Once we reach 55, I would be more comfortable with drawing down our accounts.

We have been extremely lucky because the stock and housing market have been doing very well since I retired in 2012. Incredibly, our net worth doubled since I quit working full-time. A large part of this is due to Mrs. RB40. She is still working and this has enabled us to save and invest over the last 6 years. I’m very happy with our finances and I’m confident we could weather an economic recession at this point.

RB40 net worth

Looking back now, I think I may have early retired a bit prematurely. Our finances were good, but not great. If the stock market had crashed right after I retired, we might not have been able to handle it without some drastic lifestyle change. However, early retirement is working out because our investments have done very well over the last 6 years. Now, our finances are solid and I’m ready for my wife to join me in early retirement.

Yes, our recent financial success is largely due to investment gains. It isn’t all luck, though. We put ourselves in a position to succeed by investing and minimizing expenses since I started working in 1996. Here are the things we’ve done to get here.

  • Early retirement dry run– We saved all of the income from my old job for one year before I retired. This gave me the confidence I needed to retire early. It also acclimated us to living on a more moderate income.
  • Part time self-employment – I make some money from Retire by 40 and that income is very helpful. I highly recommend working part time on something you enjoy after retirement. A little active income goes a long way in retirement and it keeps life interesting. At this age, you don’t want to stop using your brain.
  • Mrs. RB40 still works – Mrs. RB40 likes her work and hasn’t been ready to retire yet. Over these last 2 years, she has been considering early retirement more. She wants more time for herself and work is getting in the way. She is planning to retire by 2020 or maybe a little earlier if work dissatisfaction really kicks in.
  • Minimize lifestyle inflation – Our spending was very low in 2012 when I retired because I cut back on everything to minimize our annual expense. It’s been increasing a bit because we are doing well financially, but we still spend much less than our income. At this point, we are very comfortable with this level of expenditure. We spend about $55,000 per year.
  • Keep track of our cash flow – I track our income and expenses in detail every month. I don’t want to start depleting our funds yet so our income needs to be higher than our expenses on the average. Tracking your monthly cash flow is a very useful exercise for everyone. You can evaluate your expenses monthly and see if your expenditures really increase your level of happiness.
  • Keep investing– I invested all our excess cash flow and partake in the stock and housing market gain over the last 6 years. Our net worth wouldn’t have doubled if we just stuck the money in the bank.
  • Monitor our retirement projection–I have been using Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner to monitor our retirement plan. It takes all our real expenses and investments into account, then calculates our chance of having a successful retirement. Things look great for now, but it can change if our expenses increase too much or if too many investments fail. This is a good way to look ahead so you can make adjustments as needed.

The combination of all these efforts put our finances on a good foundation that should last for many years to come. Even if the economy stumbles, I’m sure we could adapt and adjust accordingly.

Early Retirement Purpose

The last 6 years have been good financially because Mrs. RB40 was working and we had excess cash flow. It wasn’t difficult to invest and grow our net worth. Once Mrs. RB40 retires, then we won’t be able to invest as much. However, I’m pretty sure we will continue to have excess cash flow as long as I keep blogging. Finance was actually the easy part of early retirement for us because we didn’t have to change much.

The tougher part of early retirement was to find a purpose after leaving my engineering career. Many retirees feel adrift after they stop being a part of an organization. Personally, I think all retirees need to have some projects to keep life interesting. Doing nothing all day long is a ticket to Depressionville. Luckily, I have a couple of long term projects to keep me extremely busy.

Stay at home dad

Being a SAHD was an eye opening experience. I never thought it would be so challenging. When I first quit my job, our kid was 18 months old and he was easy to handle. Sure, I had to change diapers, wake up in the middle of the night, and deal with baby food, but those were all routine tasks. It got more difficult when he turned 2 and started to assert himself. RB40Jr is a very active boy and he gets in trouble constantly. Long time readers would know that I love being a SAHD, but I have plenty of complaints, too.

It is very hard to spend the whole day with our son. He needs constant attention and it is exhausting to respond to his needs all day long. It’s much better for both of us to spend about half a day instead of the whole day together. This is why the school year was so awesome for me. I had more time to exercise, work on the blog, run errands, and relax. RB40Jr could spend time with kids his age and learn how to behave in school. We also don’t have to pay for childcare anymore. That helped us financially. These past 2 years has been great on the SAHD front. Now, being a SAHD is definitely easier than working full time as an engineer.

SAHDMy take on kids

  • Age 0 to 18 months – A ton of work because babies can’t do anything.
  • Age 18 months to 2 years old – The best time. Kids are super cute at this age and they are a lot less trouble than babies.
  • Age 2 to 5 years old – This period is tough because they are constantly pushing boundaries. They don’t listen to anything and constantly talk back.
  • Age 5 to 10 years old – Another really nice period. Kids are starting to gain some independence and bother you less frequently. School is the game changer. My QOL improved a bunch during the school year.
  • Teenage years – I don’t know, but we’ll find out soon enough. I’m dreading the teenage years already.

Blogging

Another project that keeps me busy is this blog. I’m not a fast writer and it takes me at least 4-5 hours to write and post each article. I can’t get anything done when RB40Jr is around so I work when he’s at school and after he goes to bed. It is impossible to concentrate when he’s here because he is so disruptive, but that’s normal behavior for a little boy.

School was great and it gave me the time I need to write better posts. It’s been about 2 years since I reduced the posting frequency from 3x to 2x per week. Surprisingly, the blog traffic didn’t change much. I would have gone back to 3x if it had a big impact on our pageviews. Posting 2x per week is much easier for me and I’m going to stick with this schedule for now. More time means I can put more effort in each post and the quality has improved vastly. It was the right decision to cut back. I don’t want blogging to become a chore.

Now, it’s time for the good news. My blog income has increased tremendously in 2017. Retire by 40 made $65,388 in 2017. That’s almost the same pay rate I had as an engineer. (I worked about twice as much and made about twice as much as an engineer.) It’s amazing. I never thought blogging would generate this much income. When I retired in 2012, I was hoping for about $12,000/year. That would already help a lot. 2018 has been going extremely well too. We’re on pace to beat 2017, but you never know. Summer is always a little iffy. I’m pretty sure 2018 will be better than 2017.

Thank you everyone for following my early retirement journey and making this blog a success. I really appreciate all your support.

*See my guide – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. Starting a blog changed my life. It provides some income after retirement and it’s a great way to build a community. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. It’s a great way to use some of your free time.

New Projects

Being a SAHD/blogger keeps me very busy, but I’m embracing some new projects too. Life will get stale if you do the same thing for too many years. I’ve got 2 big projects in the next few years that will change our lives.

  1. Mrs. RB40’s early retirement. She plans to retire by 2020. This will be a big change for our family. We need to figure out how to keep her active and happy. She’s not the type to lounge around at home so I’m sure she’ll find something to do.
  2. Travel around the world. We plan to take a year off and travel around the world after Mrs. RB40 retires. There are many challenges here. RB40Jr needs to be “road-schooled.” How do we get health insurance coverage? Where will we visit? What are we going to do about our home and rentals? Do I need to consolidate our holdings and channel our money into real estate crowdfunding? It’d make life much easier in the long run. The planning phase will keep me very busy for a while.

Early retired life is busy for me and that’s a good thing. I think every retiree needs a few meaningful long term projects to stay fulfilled. That’s why working part time on something you enjoy after retirement is such a great idea. You can learn something new, earn a little income to supplement your retirement, and keep life interesting. Sitting around and watching TV can wait until you’re 85 and need a walker.

Early Retirement Health and Fitness

Health is another big reason why I decided to leave my engineering 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 this post – I handed in my 2 weeks notice.

Anyway, I feel much more normal now.  I can think clearly and I don’t have panic attacks anymore. It’s inevitable for our health to decline as we age, but stress will accelerate that decline. I’m very lucky to be able to age in a less stressful environment. If your job is really stressful, you need to figure out how to decrease that stress. I think high stress is bearable for 2-3 years, but not much longer than that.

This last 2 years has been especially great because I could go to the gym while RB40Jr is at school. This is a remarkable improvement from the previous years. I’ve been going to the gym 5x per week when school was in session. It felt great to work out regularly again. School’s out for the summer now, though. I’m going to put the gym on the back burner until school starts up again in the fall.

Early Retirement Challenges

My early retirement is going pretty smoothly. There are some challenges, but they aren’t anything extraordinary. One big issue is Mrs. RB40’s early retirement. We’ll work on that one together and figure something out.

The other issue is RB40Jr. He is a very emotional kid and loses control sometimes. He improved a lot in first grade. This year, Junior got in a lot less trouble and he’s getting better at controlling his emotions. He also has a serious hearing impairment in his left ear. You can read more about this in the first grade recap. Luckily, the hearing loss doesn’t seem to impede his studies and he’s doing well in school.

2018 challenge – My mom is getting older and she needs a lot more help. She lives with us about 9 months out of the year and spends the rest of time with my brother in California. It’s been tough because her mental capability is deteriorating. We’ve seen a neurologist and it’s inconclusive at this point. It seems like mild Alzheimer’s disease to me. She is just 70 so this really sucks. This is why I think retiring at 65 is a terrible idea. You don’t know if your mind will be healthy in your 70s. It’s better to retire earlier and enjoy life while you have a healthy mind and body.

Other than these issues, life is going relatively well.

2018 Summer schedule

This summer, I’m going to try something new. I’m cutting back from 2 posts to just 1 per week. We’ll travel a lot this summer and I won’t have much time to blog.

I’ll spend a lot more time with RB40Jr this summer. We’ll skip summer camp and spend time exploring Portland and various local attractions instead. It should be a fun summer.

Early Retirement is Fantastic

All in all, early retirement has been fantastic so far. The last 24 months was even better than the 4 years preceding it. I’m really fortunate that it’s working out like I envisioned. At this point, life shouldn’t change too much until Mrs. RB40 retires. After that, I assume my retirement will get even better. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the last 6 years really flew by. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I left my engineering career. If I hadn’t made the decision to retire early in 2010, I’d probably still be stuck in the same old gray cubicle. That’s the real key to early retirement. You make it your goal, and then put all your effort into it. Let’s not wake up at 60 and wonder where all the time has gone.

Thanks again for following my early retirement adventure and good luck on yours! I really appreciate every single one of you.

Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your investments. I log in almost every day to check on my accounts and cash flow. It’s a great site for DIY investors.

See my guide – How to Start a Blog and Why You Should. Starting a blog changed my life. It provides some income after retirement and it’s a great way to build a community. Those are the two biggest problems after retirement. It’s a great way to use some of your free time.

Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you sign up with a service through the links on this page.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 97 comments… add one }
  • Mr. Tako July 17, 2017, 1:22 am

    Congrats on your 5 years Joe! It looks like you’re doing great too! Even without the blog income, your assets should be able to cover expenses.

    We have similar sized portfolios, and I have no doubt you’ll be fine.

    I’m only working on my second year of ER, but so far I agree — it’s pretty fantastic!

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your son’s hearing loss.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:11 am

      Thanks! The big difference is most of our stock investments are in our tax advantage accounts. We’ll build a Roth IRA ladder once Mrs. RB40 retires.

  • Finances with Purpose July 17, 2017, 3:14 am

    Congrats on five years, Joe – that’s a milestone! I can’t believe you’re already five years out. I’m probably at least that far away, if not farther. (And as Mr. Tako said, sorry about your son.)

    I’m glad you’re jumping on the blog more and look forward to reading – and engaging with you – more!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:12 am

      Thanks and good luck with your ER.

  • Pennypincher July 17, 2017, 3:19 am

    Every retired person I know is very happy! Best people to hang around.
    I don’t miss the heavy politics, game players, etc. of corporate/working life. Liked the work though-the nuts and bolts of the job.
    I read once that for a successful retirement, one has to have a “second act”. You did it beautifully, Joe.
    A parenting “expert” was on the radio once. He said “by the time your kid is 18, you both need a break from each other”. This is so very true! Time to ship them off to college- ha,ha.
    We all love and appreciate you/your blog too, Joe. Thank you!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:13 am

      Thanks for the encouragement. All the early retirees I’ve met are very happy too. They are all bloggers, though. 🙂 I haven’t met a normal early retiree yet.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance July 17, 2017, 3:37 am

    Congrats on the 5th year of retirement! It’s so inspiring to hear what you’re able to accomplish when you’re retired, especially when it comes to blogging. Sometimes I just wish I could stay at home all week and focus on my blog, but life’s not so simple (at least not for now).

    We have a 2-year-old too, so I can totally relate to your point about productivity. Our son is not too hyperactive, but he does like attention. I find it hard to focus 100% when I’m at home with him on the weekends. But I love having him around nonetheless, especially after he was in China for one whole year!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:15 am

      Thanks! I feel great about where I am today. Early retirement really worked out well so far. Enjoy your kiddo. He’ll be a handful soon. 🙂

  • Mrs. Adventure Rich July 17, 2017, 4:05 am

    Congrats on hitting the 5 year mark! I really enjoy hearing post-FI stories like this. Your perspectives, honest reviews and lessons learned are inspiring and helpful as my husband and I chart to FI! Thank you and best of luck as you head towards more FI milestones! 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:16 am

      Thanks and good luck on your FI journey.

  • Adam and Jane July 17, 2017, 4:36 am

    Joe, Congrats on your 5 years and for doing such a great job increasing your blog income! Mrs. RB40 will be able to join you soon.

    Jane was laid off in Nov 2016 and after a bit stress for 2 months submitting the paper work for severance, company medical and recently pension, she is SO happy! She does not miss the commute or work, one bit. She just received her first pension check this month, Woohoo! Many our co-workers that were also forced to retired are also extremely happy too after they got over the initial shock of the laid offs.

    I still have another 2 years and 2 months to go until 55 before I can join the retirement community. I am just so antsy to not work anymore. It is quite depressing everyday at work since I am the only one left to support my IT systems but I just need to grind it out. So far, I get by doing 10-20 hours a week working from home. I need to have distractions like my hobbies, vacations, visits with friends and family to help pass the time.

    Adam

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:17 am

      It’s great to hear Jane is enjoying retirement. Good luck to you as well. It’s tough to grind out those last 2 years. Try not to get too stressed out.

  • Apathy Ends July 17, 2017, 4:43 am

    Glad to hear it’s getting better with time Joe and seeing a 93% increase in net worth is pretty amazing (you wouldn’t have all the market gains without the upfront work!)

    Hope everything works out with RB40Jr’s hearing, sure that is a scary situation.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:18 am

      Thanks! RB40Jr probably has to get a hearing aid.

  • Turning Point Money July 17, 2017, 4:56 am

    Congrats on 5 years. I have a lot to learn about being a stay at home dad. It’s probably the biggest unknown for my early retirement. Sometimes I wonder if I can handle a three year old and a 16 month old.

    I recently left me job due to similar issues you mentioned, stress and endless hours over a computer screen start to make for unhealthy living.

    At five years it looks like you don’t miss it one bit. Excited to hear about your world travels.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:20 am

      Thanks and good luck to you as well. It’s a tough period with 2 little kids. It will get a lot better once they’re both in school. I don’t miss formal at all. 🙂

  • Mr. Freaky Frugal July 17, 2017, 5:18 am

    Wow, strange coincidence because I retired almost exactly 5 years ago also. I was older than you though – 52 when I retired.

    I really like your Travel Around the World plan!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:22 am

      Congratulations! How are you enjoying early retirement?

  • Grant @ Life Prep Couple July 17, 2017, 5:52 am

    I love the honesty about kids. They are damn tough and super exhausting. You love them to death but they are work.

    I always complain about the cost of daycare because it is relatively high in our area. However, I would not do that job for a hundred thousand dollars. So maybe I should start being thankful it is so cheap?

    Glad things are going well. I can’t wait to pull the plug myself.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:23 am

      Kids are really tough. Spending all day with our kid is hard because there are too many conflicts. Half a day is just about right for me. Yeah, the daycare workers and teachers are great. I think you need to have a calm personality to deal with that many kids. Good luck on your FI journey.

      • Budget Epicurean July 31, 2017, 12:48 pm

        I second Grant’s comment, thanks for the honesty! We are just now developing our FIRE plan, but also on the fence about offspring in what seems like a high-pressure time (just about to hit the 3-0 mark). It helps to know the truth to weigh all the pros/cons! But all the thinking in the world can’t compare to living it, I’m sure. Good luck on your next 5, and 50, years!

  • [email protected] July 17, 2017, 6:17 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on 5 years of ER with us Joe! You have more experience at it than most people writing and I appreciate your honesty! I was especially interested in the fitness part and how that has been going. I’m reading the book, Younger Next Year and I’m going to try to make some major changes in fitness/eating. Now that I’m retired too – I need to make sure we can enjoy and take advantage of all of our time. I know being a SAHD has been a challenge. There’s one book I could suggest that might help with RB40Jr. It was written for teachers (so some sections may not really pertain) – but aren’t parents their child’s first and most important teacher too? It’s called The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton. Changing communication can be incredibly powerful in changing behavior (and attitude).

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:25 am

      Fitness was really good this past year. Going to the gym regularly made a big difference for me. My biggest tip it to get some exercise every workday. Put it in your schedule and it will be easy to be active. I will get that book. Thank you!

  • Angela July 17, 2017, 6:19 am

    I wanted to chime in on the hearing loss –

    I’m 29 and recently have gone through some pretty major hearing loss in my right ear. The doctor wasn’t able to pinpoint the cause, but it may have to do with a high fever I had (102-104 F). The ENT had me take prednisone pills for 10 days and that brought about half the loss back. Unfortunately, the follow up didn’t get any more back than that.

    The biggest thing I learned from the ENT is that quick response is the most important thing for returning hearing loss, so I wouldn’t delay on follow up appointments. Good luck to the little guy, and I hope his turns out to be less troublesome than mine 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:27 am

      Thank you for your input. I will get to the ENT as soon as we get back. The audiologist told us the hearing loss is in the inner ear and it is permanent. We’ll get another opinion ASAP.

      • Angela July 17, 2017, 9:58 am

        Good luck!! I was told by mine that the first 6 weeks are critical to getting any of it back. Annoying to be sure, but I am starting to learn how to compensate. Talk about starting to feel old.

        I’d recommend mine, but I doubt you want to take the tread up to the Seattle area 😉

  • Dividend Income Stocks July 17, 2017, 6:29 am

    Great update! Have you considered YouTube Vloging? You can inspire a lot more people via youtube and make passive income through ads at the same time.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:28 am

      I’m not a very good speaker. I’ll work on it and join Toastmasters later this year. We’ll see how it goes.

  • SMM July 17, 2017, 6:33 am

    It’s good that you keep investing even after retirement. How has your portfolio changed in terms or risk since pre-retirement?

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:30 am

      It’s a little more conservative now. The real estate market did very well over the last year so it is a bigger slice of the pie. On the equity side, we were 100% stock when I retired. Now we have 80/20 stock/bond. I also moved from growth to dividend investing. So more conservative overall.

  • American Dividend Dream July 17, 2017, 6:42 am

    5 years is incredible! So jealous. Although I am still just 29 years old, I dream about the day I can retire and do what I want when I want. Very inspiring post to know that retirement doesnt get dull after 5 years.

    Best of luck with the next 5 years!

    ADD

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:31 am

      Thanks! Retirement is what you make of it. I read that some people get depressed, but it’s really up to you to make retirement good.

      • Angela July 17, 2017, 9:59 am

        I’m 29 as well, and I’ve only started to think in terms of RE (not just FI). I have to fix my mindset and remember there’s goodness in the journey too, since I’m looking at 15 years out to FI.

  • Dylan July 17, 2017, 6:51 am

    That’s a lot to plan for! It sounds like you are handling everything well, and you have put in the work to be prepared. Thanks for sharing your journey to help others achieve what you have.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher July 17, 2017, 6:55 am

    Aw man, sorry to hear about your little one’s issues. 🙁 I had a lot of hearing issues when I was a kid and they were resolved with putting tubes in my ears. I do have some scarring, but it’s nothing traumatic. Hope that Junior gets on the road to recovery there. 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 7:32 am

      Thanks. We will talk to the ENT as soon as we can and get some options.

  • Dads Dollars Debts July 17, 2017, 7:09 am

    Kudos on 5 years. Being a Stay at home dad seems like work, but I would be happy to have the opportunity. At most, we are at least 5 years from me going part time and then I can be a pseudo stay at home dad. My son will be 7 and out of the tough years. Keep on staying healthy. That is one thing that will pay dividends going forward.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:35 pm

      Actually, it didn’t feel like work at all. More like a frustrating hobby. 🙂
      Good luck!

  • Justin July 17, 2017, 8:26 am

    You’re blog was the first one I read when discovering FIRE. I typed in “Retire by” and Retire by 40 showed up and the rest was history. It’s been very interesting watching your progression the last 6 years Joe and I hope to watch it for many more. You’ve helped inspire us to become financially independent as well.

    I agree completely about kids. The 2-3 year old stage is very rough. But it gets easier over time and they learn they aren’t the center of the world.

    Glad to see your online income is on the up and up! We’ve started our own blog after 6+ years of reading others. Encouraging to see you making a good income after blogging tirelessly for many years. You’ve earned it Joe!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:37 pm

      Great! Thanks for sharing. I always love hearing about how Retire by 40 changed lives. This keeps me going.
      Good luck with your blog!

  • [email protected] July 17, 2017, 9:08 am

    I’m glad it has worked out for you so well. You give motivation for all of us still working on this. Keep up the writing, as I am very interested in how things go over the first years you get going into early retirement.

    I will be joining you shortly

    Mr. 39 months

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:38 pm

      Thanks! I’ll keep it up for at least a few more years. Good luck to you as well.

  • Darren July 17, 2017, 9:09 am

    Congrats on five years, Joe! I can’t believe it’s been that long, already. Back in 2014 when I found your blog as I prepared to retire from the Army, I remember thinking, “Here’s an Asian blogger I can relate to.” You were one of three who didn’t hide their identities.

    Are you thinking about more kids, or is RB40Jr it? Maybe a bit personal, but I know that would definitely impact your financial situation.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:43 pm

      Thanks! Great to see you stick around.
      One kid is enough for us. Mrs. RB40 can’t handle another one. 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life July 17, 2017, 9:21 am

    Happy five years, Joe!

    There was a time I regretted not doing even better than I have done and retiring by the time that JuggerBaby came along, but you’re so right that being a full time childcarer is not at ALL an easy job. It makes me grateful that we can afford the exhorbitant childcare costs here in the Bay Area because I see how JB thrives with the socializing aspect, and with the teachers, and how much it improves my health to be able to rest more during the work week than I can during the weekend.

    We’re in the tough period right now 🙂

    I’m looking forward to your year around the world sabbatical – and I hope you’ll sharing the planning process too.

    Cheers to many more years of happy retirement.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:43 pm

      Thanks! It’s not easy being at home with the kid. The weekend isn’t that hard because it’s 2 vs 1. 🙂
      Hope it settle down a bit soon.

  • Tawcan July 17, 2017, 9:44 am

    Congrats Joe! Travel around the world would be super cool. We are thinking doing something similar too.

    We’re definitely going through the age 2 to 5 tough times with Baby T1.0 right now. It will be interesting once Baby T2.0 gets to this age frame next year.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:44 pm

      Thanks! Hang in there with the kids. They’ll be in school soon and life will be a lot easier.

  • GYM July 17, 2017, 11:26 am

    Congrats on 5 years of early retirement! Traveling for a year sounds like an amazing adventure and a great learning opportunity for your son. My colleague did a 6 month trip around Asia with his school age children and said it was the best opportunity ever.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:46 pm

      Thanks! I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, our kid will be open to it. Kids sometime likes staying home more.

  • Al July 17, 2017, 11:34 am

    Happy 5th Anniversary!!!

    Happy for you and your accomplishments. An example that there no competition at the top for those willing to do the work. Congrats and very proud of your example.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:46 pm

      Thanks! I appreciate it.

  • Lazysod July 17, 2017, 12:20 pm

    Congrats on this amazing achievement! Traveling around the world Is awesome, i d love to do that with my 3year old after ERed. I am looking foward to hearing your take on this. Cheers

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:48 pm

      3 years old seems a bit too young. They wouldn’t remember anything. I think 10 would be about perfect. They can remember some stuff and I’ll see if I can get him to blog about it too.

  • Anil July 17, 2017, 12:43 pm

    Congratulations Joe!
    Travelling around the world should be much easier & cheaper nowadays. I recently read the book ‘Shoe Dog’ by Nike founder Phil Knight & he traveled right after his college which turned out to be the best decision of his life. In the age of Airbnb & cheap flights, it should be much more affordable & manageable now than ever before. Good luck!

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:49 pm

      I backpacked for 8 weeks in Europe about 15 years ago. We stayed at hostels and had a great time. Airbnb would be great because we can cook a bit more. Eating out everyday gets old. Thanks!

  • Lily He-Prudhomme July 17, 2017, 2:14 pm

    Great milestone Joe!!!

    I like your little chart about kids. Our biggest concern is timing with children with FI. We would like to be FI before kids (that would be so awesome to feel secure and free!!) but I hear the chirping of “don’t wait, there’s more problems with older age” etc.

    How did you factor in children /timing with your journey?

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:51 pm

      Don’t pay too much attention to others. Most parents at our kid’s kindergarten class are a bit older, late 30s and early 40s. We just weren’t ready for a kid when we were young. We didn’t really plan the timing. It just worked out pretty well. Good luck!

  • Steve D Poling July 17, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Kids are notorious for being troublesome during the terrible twos and during their teen years. This is because these are the times of transition when the kiddo is realizing s/he is an individual and testing the boundaries of what that means exactly. Acknowledge this and use the opportunity for learning.

    The wise parent relaxes his grip a little at these points. I liken the boundaries changing like a rocket nozzle that is narrow at birth and flaring out from that point forward. Forward thrust is maximized if that is a smooth process.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 6:52 pm

      Interesting take. I’ll try to remember that.

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai July 17, 2017, 7:21 pm

    I think it is great that you guys doubled your net worth during your time in retirement! Thank goodness for a bull market huh?!

    I hope the good times won’t end, but I’m slowly taking some chips off the table.

    Also, really great insight about kids and reducing her posting frequency down to two times a week him three times a week. I thought about doing this a lot, but I made a promise to the post at least three times a week for 10 years and I’ve only got two years left to go!

    So I think after the 10 year mark, I’m gonna drop it down to two times a week and see what happens.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 8:34 pm

      The bull market has been awesome. Perfect timing for my early retirement.
      Taking some chips off the table is a great idea.
      I was hesitant about going to 2x per week, but it was getting too hard for me. Luckily, it worked out just fine.

  • [email protected] Reckoning July 17, 2017, 7:40 pm

    Allow me to answer your question about raising kids 10+ years old – they get more expensive! I have one starting college next year and another in private school. It’s like making three mortgage payments each month!

    Still, I wouldn’t trade being a dad for anything, and I suspect you wouldn’t either. Glad I stumbled upon your blog…look forward to following your journey, even though, unfortunately, I’m still stuck in a 8-5 job for now.

    • retirebyforty July 17, 2017, 8:35 pm

      That’s what I was afraid off. More activities and they’ll eat a ton of food.
      I’m looking toward to college, though. We’ll have some alone time. 🙂

  • No Nonsense Landlord July 17, 2017, 9:08 pm

    I just crossed the one year threshold. I am still able to save a ton of money, so maybe I should have left my W2 job earlier.

    Do you save 100% of what Ms. RB40 makes? You should do that. I do not spend as much time on my blog as I should, but I do travel more…

  • John July 18, 2017, 1:33 am

    The problem with early retirement is that you have to keep convincing yourself everyday that you did the right thing.

  • Luke July 18, 2017, 3:59 am

    Yep you could stand a recession now for sure but what about me that just retired in 2017 w/ 25x 4% rule and 80% in stocks? Everyone recommends to stay invested but what if the market tumbles 50% and my 4% rule won’t cover my expenses anymore? what would I do? what if the market doesn’t recover for many years? Should I move to cash? HELP please

    • John Blackman July 18, 2017, 8:34 am

      Luke,

      If you’re concerned about a correction which many people are, you could always move to safer territory with a lower stock mix. If you are living off your savings, a 80% equities mix is still pretty aggressive. When the bottom falls out, you will want to be in a spot to buy up equities at low PE ratios. So you might try 60/40 or even 50/50. When you re-balance, you will be picking up stocks at a deal. You might also consider part time work.

      One investment vehicle I like, especially in situations like yours are private real estate notes. You can usually get them for 8% to 12% and they are downside protected by the asset as long as you have a good loan to value.

      There’s no perfect answer unfortunately.

      Best of luck,

      John Blackman

      • retirebyforty July 18, 2017, 3:25 pm

        This one is tough. I’d figure out how to generate some income. That way, you don’t have to withdraw as much if the stock market crashes. It’s probably a good idea to go with a lower stock mix for a few years.

  • Michael Sprenger July 18, 2017, 4:06 am

    Dear Joe,

    Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations on a successful 5 years of ER!

    My name is Michael, and I am one of the Co-Founders of Still Active (www.stillactive.se). We are an activity platform for the active babyboomer generation. As you have stated in your post, we also think that it is extremely important to stay active when retiring, whether early or regularly.

    We have created Still Active to help people like you to make booking daily activities more fun, seamless and social than before.

    I would be honored, if you could mention our start-up in one of your blog posts, or just check out our website or crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/activities-for-the-empowered-generation-60-plus-fitness-community)

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Michael

  • John Blackman July 18, 2017, 8:30 am

    Hey Joe, congrats on your 5 year anniversary. It’s great to have a role model such as yourself. Love reading your posts.

    John

  • Jason July 19, 2017, 3:43 pm

    Congrats on the five-year anniversary. Road-schooling shouldn’t be so bad, particularly because you all will be staying in one place for a bit (I assume) so you can build a sort of routine. The big question is health insurance, but if you are traveling abroad and need something you could get away with travelers health insurance and/or restrict yourself to places that have good and cheap health care (e.g. Central America, etc).

    • retirebyforty July 20, 2017, 6:33 am

      Our travel will be slow, but we’re still moving around quite a bit.
      The plan is to stay in Thailand for 6 months. That’s probably okay without health insurance. I need to research a little more about other countries.

  • Mikael Laursen July 20, 2017, 11:33 pm

    Hi
    A danish reader here – and a fan of your blog and process of early retirement.

    I was born deaf on my left ear, and must say, that it sounds (pun intended) worse, than it is. You can sleep even when there is noise, and your family and friends adapt and help.

    • retirebyforty July 21, 2017, 3:06 pm

      Thank you for your input. 🙂
      Hopefully, ti doesn’t get worse for our kid.

  • Mr Crazy Kicks July 25, 2017, 12:53 pm

    Congrats on the 5 years of freedom! I’m glad to hear it’s like a fine wine that only gets better. You know you’re doing things right when you are happier, healthier, and wealthier 🙂

  • nation21loans July 27, 2017, 3:32 am

    I haven’t retired yet, but my partner has. He didn’t mind the work itself, in fact he was quite proud of his job, and promotions, but everything changed with a new manager. The whole atmosphere changed at his workplace, and the stress of it was having a really negative affect on his health – rundown all the time, couldn’t sleep, panic attacks. He stuck it out for as long as he could and then retired early. He’s so much happier, and the whole family is happier because he is. Financially, we could probably do with putting more effort in, but overall, early retirement was the best thing he’s ever done.

    • retirebyforty July 27, 2017, 9:59 am

      Having the right manager makes all the difference. My old job was tolerable with the right manager. In 2010, he got fired and I got a new manager which didn’t work out well.
      I’m happy to hear your partner retired early and is enjoying it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jaime @ Keep Thrifty October 18, 2017, 3:36 pm

    Wow! 5 Years, that’s awesome! Congrats. My husband just started a mini-retirement (I was/am a stay-at-home mom of 3). We are hoping to make it last longer than 12 months! I can totally empathize with the change that Kindergarten makes. Our twins started Kindergarten this year as well and its amazing! I have more energy now. Hope all is well with RB40Jr, that you are able to figure out the hearing loss, and make things better for him. Best wishes

  • Stevie March 29, 2018, 12:27 pm

    Yep, time flies when you’re having fun! Since my unexpected retirement about three years ago, I noticed time speed up almost right away. Now the days just zip by. Never realized how much the work grind slowed the clock (aside from the interminable meetings). Stress just evaporated, and not having to rush thru everything (including days off) is a huge relief.

  • David @iretiredyoung June 11, 2018, 2:00 am

    I’m thinking of my one and a half year anniversary, so a while behind you. It’s good to hear examples of how it’s still working out for you, and to pick up on some of your tips and tricks.

    By the way, the teenage years are OK, with the occasional bump in the road so as not to get bored 😉

  • Half Life Theory June 11, 2018, 3:08 am

    Congratulations Joe! Living the dream sir!

  • Financial Samurai June 11, 2018, 9:19 am

    Hi Joe, sounds like it’s been a great adventure so far. One thing I want to ask you about is your post frequency. You say they’re going down to to post a week hasn’t heard traffic. But do you feel that if you maintain a three post a week schedule your traffic would have grown more?

    I like to post a week during the summer and holidays. And then back to three post a week during the other seasons.

    Sam

    • retirebyforty June 11, 2018, 1:34 pm

      I don’t think so. 2 better posts are better than 3. I couldn’t deliver 3 good posts per week on a consistent basis.
      Going down to one post per week probably will hurt traffic a bit, but it’s summer. Traffic will be down anyway. I’m okay with it.

  • Pennypincher June 11, 2018, 9:38 am

    Very interesting. I’m keeping this one for my kid. Loved your funny take on kids. Mine is in his 20’s and STILL doesn’t listen!

  • Julie @oursabbaticallife June 11, 2018, 12:57 pm

    Congratulations on your 6 years of post-retirement success! On the whole, it sounds like everything is going quite well and according to plan.

    A year traveling around the world sounds great–and it WILL be different in Airbnb’s, with your family, being comfortably early-retired, etc. As for insurance, you might consider travel insurance through companies like Allianz, AIG, Travelex, etc. For most places of the world (ie, other than the U.S.), it’s fairly easy to purchase cheap trip/travel insurance that seem to cover most catastrophic emergency-type events with relatively high deductibles. Enjoy!

  • Young FIRE Knight June 11, 2018, 1:52 pm

    Wow 6 years that’s amazing!! Love to hear about all the positives and challenges you’ve experienced. Thanks for keeping it real with us.

    Very unfortunate to hear about you mother, that is a huge reason why I want to get to feeedom as soon as I can. Will she stay with your brother during the year while you are traveling around?

    Sounds like an awesome summer coming up.. enjoy!

  • The FIminator June 11, 2018, 5:54 pm

    What a great adventure..congratulations! Not too many people would have the same to share after 6 years of working for a job. The part I really resonate with is being a stay-at-home-dad.
    My main motivation for FIRE is being with my kids more that I have been so far.

    All the best for many many more years to come.

  • Xrayvsn June 12, 2018, 3:57 am

    Congratulations Joe on still killing it in early retirement. You definitely picked a great time to retire and essentially eliminated the dreaded SORR (Sequence of Return Risk).

    Congratulation on the financial juggernaut that is your blog, that is wonderful that you have something that earns as much as your former job and is more enjoyable to do. I hear you about the time it takes to do a post. I estimate 4 hrs at least for each of mine as well (I type pretty fast but then I spend a lot of time proofreading it, checking it, rechecking it, etc.).

    I think for me blogging has given me a purpose and something I could retire to (did not want to become a couch potato when I retire and still wanted to keep my mind sharp). I think blogging accomplishes both.

    To your continued retirement success. I hope that when I pull the trigger I avoid the SORR as well.

  • Mrs. Groovy June 12, 2018, 6:42 am

    Congratulations!
    Good on you for taking care of your mom and thanks for bringing up mental health issues. When you’re young you may not take dementia into consideration. It can rob you or a loved one of years and yet it’s not something you plan for.

  • Dr. McFrugal June 12, 2018, 12:53 pm

    Your story is so inspiring. 6 years and counting! I wish you continued success in early retirement! And have a great time in Iceland. I hear it’s beautiful 🙂

  • My Early Retirement Journey June 12, 2018, 3:24 pm

    I knew this looked familiar. Congrats on Year 6!

  • CJ June 12, 2018, 3:28 pm

    Amazing! So happy to hear that you are enjoying the ER. I just had my first baby and it reaffirmed my desire to FIRE as I want to spend the most time during these precious years with him.

  • FIRECracker June 13, 2018, 9:29 am

    “I can think clearly and I don’t have panic attacks anymore.”

    I know exactly how you feel. That’s also the biggest advantage to my early retirement too. So glad to no longer have panic attacks.

    Congrats on year 6! Sounds like you guys are doing great!

  • Chris June 21, 2018, 12:32 pm

    Hey Joe! Man, these are awesome results. Congrats that your plan worked out so well. I’m kinda in the same boat: I currently work part-time as a software engineer at the age of 34. I started blogging a few months ago and have an amazon business up and running. I hope that both businesses will (at least theoretically) allow me to retire within the next two to four years from corporate life! I wish you and your family all the best for your future. chris

  • Lilith June 25, 2018, 1:14 pm

    Congrats on your FI journey. I’ve been following your blog for a while and trying to follow your footsteps to early retirement. I’m turning 40 next month and just became a SAHM With my 3 month old baby. We unfortunately didn’t put much money in the stock market but own 2 rentals and our home Without any debt. We just sold 1 rental because I would like to diversify our investments and like yourself have some dividend income. However the stock market seems too high right now. We would like to retire in 10 years. Where would you invest 300k right now?

    • retirebyforty June 25, 2018, 2:01 pm

      Thank you! Congratulations to you as well. A baby will keep you busy for a while.
      I’m not sure where to invest a lump sum right now. Everything looks somewhat expensive. Sorry, I’m not helpful there.

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