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7 Years After Early Retirement

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7 Years After Early RetirementIs this a dream? Has it really been 7 years since I retired from my engineering career? Time sure flies. Pretty soon, I’ll be retired longer than I was an engineer. These days, I only mention my former career when I meet a new parent and they ask what I do. My answer – I’m a blogger, but I used to be an engineer. That’s to put their mind at ease so they’ll let their kids come over to play at our house. Most of RB40 Jr.’s friends’ parents are still working in traditional jobs. They might not like sending their kid over to a SAHD/blogger’s house. Our home is much more modest than most of their houses. The kids don’t really care, though. They always have a lot of fun when they come over. I wonder if that will change as they grow older.

For the most part, early retirement is going pretty well. However, the last 12 months have been more difficult than the previous years. While early retirement is still way better than working, life is still full of problems. Unfortunately, early retirement doesn’t magically solve everything. Read on to see why it’s been a tough year for me.

Early Retirement Recap

First, let’s do a quick recap.

Before ER – I worked in chip design for 16 years. In the beginning, engineering was great and I enjoyed working on the technical issues. Eventually, I became more senior and the job wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. Personally, I think every engineer should plan for early retirement.

Year 1 ER – I retired to become a SAHD/blogger in 2012. Our son was 18 months old. That first year was the toughest year for me. Being a SAHD to a toddler is a lot of work. At that age, they don’t listen very well and they’re constantly pushing boundaries.

Year 2 to 4 ER – Life became a bit easier once RB40Jr started preschool. In the beginning, he went to preschool twice per week for 4 hours. Eventually, he attended 4 times per week. I had more time to work on my blog and my health. It was a good balance.

Year 5 and 6 ER – RB40Jr started elementary school and life turned awesome. I had a lot more time to myself and he made a lot of friends. These have been the best years of early retirement so far.

Year 7 ER – We had more challenges than usual and I’m a bit stressed out.

Early Retirement Challenges

Getting rid of my stressful career was the right move. Life is much better now that I don’t have to commute for 2 hours/day and work in a job I hate. However, early retirement doesn’t fix everything and there are still problems. That’s just life.

I’ve always been an optimistic guy. I’m very lucky and things tend to work out in my favor. But my lucky streak has been temporarily suspended. Things haven’t been working out like they used to. That’s why you can’t depend on luck too much. Once it runs out, you’ll have to muddle through until it picks up again. Here are the challenges I had over the last 12 months.

My mom

My mom’s dementia worsened considerably last year. Previously, she lived with us for 9 months and then with my brothers for the remaining 3 months of each year. This worked very well for many years. When she was with us, she shared a room with our son. Our old condo only had 2 bedrooms. It wasn’t a big deal because our son was young. However, she began to have hallucinations and became more confused. She kept waking him up in the middle of the night. Once, she thought he was possessed by a ghost and spanked him at 2 am. (Apparently, that’s how to chase away the ghosts in Thailand…) I moved our son into our room for safety’s sake.

We went to many appointments with the doctors and tried various medications. Unfortunately, her condition didn’t improve. It became very stressful to live with her. We couldn’t get a good night of sleep and I had to be with her 24/7. One time, when I was out running errands, she thought there was a fire and panicked. She tried to get out of the condo, but couldn’t unlock the door, a regular deadbolt. She called the police and they sent an officer to check on her. That was the last time I left her alone.

While I could take care of her for a few years, the real problem is long term care. She was beginning to lose her English comprehension. Eventually, I won’t be able to give her the care she needs and she’ll have to go to a long term care facility. That won’t work if she can’t speak or understand English.

Moving to Thailand

After deliberating with the family, we decided to move her to Thailand. Her siblings are there and she could go live with my dad. Last December, RB40Jr and I took 5 weeks off and helped relocate her to Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has lived with my dad for 6 months now and it’s been a mixed bag.

Positive

  • She doesn’t have hallucinations anymore.
  • She can socialize with other people in her native language.
  • My dad is taking good care of her.
  • She is getting a lot of exercise. In Portland, she didn’t want to go out when it was raining. That doesn’t work because it’s wet 9 months out of the year here.
  • She is less stressed. Dementia made her suspicious of my wife and it stressed everyone out.
  • Healthcare is almost free. However, wait times to see a doctor are ridiculous.

More challenges

  • My dad is tired and stressed out. Previously, he didn’t believe in dementia and thought it was some kind of psychological issue. Now he knows dementia is real and it is very challenging.
  • Her condition continues to worsen. She needs 24/7 supervision. My dad has to pick out the clothes for her or else she’d wear the same outfit over and over. He can’t leave her alone at all. She is afraid he abandoned her if she doesn’t see him in the same room with her.
  • We haven’t found a good dementia care facility in Thailand. I visited a couple of nursing homes when I was in Thailand. They were geared toward infirm older seniors who need physical assistance. They weren’t a good fit for my mom because she is still physically active. I saw one dementia patient who was confined to her room. It wasn’t a good environment. We’ll visit more facilities and try to find a good one for the future.
  • Surprisingly, dementia medication is very expensive in Thailand. I had to order her medication from Canada. It was made and shipped from the UK. It’s more affordable that way, rather than buying medicine in Thailand.

Life has been better for us after my mom moved to Thailand, but I’m still very worried about her. I don’t think my dad can be her caretaker for many years. It’s too much work and pressure for him. We need to find a good dementia care facility soon. I plan to move to Thailand and help out once RB40Jr moves out, but that’s 10 years away. If Mrs. RB40 retires early, I might be able to spend more time there. My dad is getting older, too, so I don’t know how long he can carry this burden. He probably will need more help himself at some point. It’s a tough situation.

Property Consolidation

Last year, I thought we needed to move to a bigger home so we can take care of my mom better. She couldn’t share a room with my son anymore due to her dementia. There’d be plenty of room for all of us if we moved to our duplex and took over both units. That reason disappeared when my mom moved to Thailand. However, the wheel was in motion by then. I already gave our tenants some warning. They moved out so we decided to move in. Anyway, moving in has always been the plan when we acquired the duplex in 2014. Our cost of living would be lower and it will be easier for Mrs. RB40 to retire.

We had 3 rental units and we’re consolidating to just one unit at the duplex. However, it’s not working out as smoothly as I planned.

Duplex – We moved into the bigger downstairs unit and continue to rent the upstairs unit to our long term tenant. This is working out pretty well so far. RB40Jr is getting along very well with the neighbor kids and they play together often.

2 bedroom condo – Our old condo has been on the market since March. We had a great offer right when it went on the market. However, the buyer got cold feet and backed out. Ugh!!! Then we had a low ball offer which we didn’t accept because it was a big contrast to the previous offer. After that, it sat on the market for a long while. The condo market has slowed down tremendously in Portland.

Also, our condo has a huge issue. Because the building was built in the 60s, it cannot support individual unit hookups for laundry. The residents have to do their laundry (free) in the basement laundry room. Oh my god! This is a deal-breaker for many buyers. Jeez, are you kidding me? It’s not a big deal to take the elevator to the laundry room. Why is this such a huge problem? I guess most people don’t want to step out of their unit. Anyway, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Then, we had another offer, but their financing fell through. After that, there was a 1031 exchange and their buyer backed out. This is why I feel like my luck has disappeared. It just didn’t work out like it usually does for me. Anyway, we have an offer and a backup now. Hopefully, we’ll close in a month without any more issues, fingers crossed. We didn’t get the price we wanted, but at this point, I don’t want to stress out about it anymore.

1 bedroom condo – This rental condo has been on the market since April. It had a good view previously, but now there is a building under construction right next door. Buyers don’t want to move into a unit with that kind of activity. There hasn’t been much interest in this unit at all. Recently, we lowered the price more, but I’m not too optimistic. I might have to rent this one out until the building next door is complete. I’ll give the realtor a chance until August.

So the consolidation plan isn’t coming together as I envisioned. The Portland real estate market has cooled surprisingly quickly. That’s not a huge surprise for me, but I was hoping the boom would last a bit longer. A few years ago, Portland was one of the top destinations for in-country migration. Now, population growth has slowed to a trickle. I guess the Portlandia craze is over. The building boom continues, though. There are a bunch of apartment buildings under construction in Portland. They are overbuilding like it was 2007. I have no idea how they’ll fill these units, especially since not all are exactly “affordable.” That’s another reason why I want to get out of the landlord business. The rent will probably stagnate for years while demand catches up to the supply.

Early Retirement is still awesome

Life has been more stressful than usual over the last 12 months due to various challenges. However, that’s just life. These issues would still come up even if I was working full-time. A stressful year in early retirement is still way better than a good year in a job I hate. Overall, early retirement is still awesome. I haven’t had to go back to an office job yet. For that, I’m very thankful.

Early Retirement finance

This year, I became a lot more conservative with our investments. Last year, our asset allocation was 80/20 (equity/bond & cash). This year, it’s 60/40. There are a few reasons why I’m more conservative this year.

  • The stock market has been doing very well for too long. I’ve been through 2 big crashes and I’m afraid to go through another one. At this point, I’d rather miss out a bit than lose too much.
  • Rental properties consolidation. We are paying 3 mortgages. It’s stressful. I wanted to have a bit more cash cushion than usual.
  • Mrs. RB40 may retire next year. I’m not sure if she will retire or not. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Net worth

Even with a more conservative outlook, our net worth hit a new high this month.

Retire by 40 net worth

It’s pretty amazing. Our net worth doubled about 5 years after I stopped working full-time. We have Mrs. RB40 to thank for this. She is still working and that means we can save and invest a huge percentage of our income. In fact, our saving rate is around 50% this year. Once she retires, we won’t be able to save nearly that much. It should still work out fine. Our passive income + my online income should be enough to pay for all our expenses.

Our 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 is considering her retirement options, but she is still working full-time at this time. You’ll have to stay tuned and see if she retires next year.
  • 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 up a bit since then because we are doing well financially. We still spend much less than our income so it’s all good. At this point, we are very comfortable with this level of expenditure.
  • 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. 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 happiness.
  • Keep investing– I invested all our excess cash flow and took part in the stock and housing market gain over the last 7 years. This year, I’m more conservative, but I’ll get back in the market more next year once things settle down.
  • 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 7 years have been great 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 save as long as I keep blogging. Finance was actually the easy part of early retirement for me because we didn’t have to change our lifestyle much.

The tougher part of early retirement was to find a purpose after retiring from my engineering career. Many retirees feel adrift after they stop being a part of an organization. It’s a big adjustment especially if you’ve been working for many years. Personally, I think all retirees need to have a few big 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 very busy.

Stay at home dad

skateboard swingBeing a SAHD was pretty good last year. RB40Jr is behaving better in school and he didn’t get into as much trouble as in previous years. His hearing impairment is still giving us trouble, but that’s just the way it is. He’ll have to live with it and do the best he can. We’ll make sure the teacher knows about it and arrange for the hearing disability people to work with the school. Luckily, he’s doing fine academically so we don’t have to worry too much about that.

This summer, RB40Jr is spending most of his time with me. It’s a throwback to my earlier days as a SAHD. It’s not too bad, though. He’s a little more independent now and I can tell him to leave me alone for an hour so I can catch up on my blog. Unfortunately, he’ll spend that hour on the tablet. That’s not good so I make him read 30 minutes for every hour on the tablet. We also have summer projects and play dates with his friends. All in all, it’s going pretty well so far. He’s enjoying summer and hasn’t caused a lot of problems. Check out the skateboard swing we put together.

Blogging

Another project that keeps me busy is blogging. During the school year, I spend 20-30 hours per week on the blog, but I’m cutting way back for the summer. Now, I’m working 10-15 hours per week. Being a SAHD is job 1 during the summer break.

The blog traffic has been pretty stable over the last few years. The traffic varies from month to month, but it’s pretty much the same on an annual basis. The blog income is a lot more volatile, though. 2017 and 2018 were great years for us. But 2019 isn’t as good so far. It’s still not bad so I can’t complain too much.

RB40 blog income

I still enjoy blogging so I’ll keep working these hours for now. In a few years, I’ll probably cut down to 10-15 hours/week year-round especially if I spend a lot of time in Thailand.

Thank you to 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.

Future project – parents

I suspect the next big project for me will be taking care of my parents. My mom needs a lot of help and my dad can’t handle that load for too long. He’ll probably need help at some point too. Once Mrs. RB40 retires, I’ll be able to spend more time in Thailand to help out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a good long term care facility for my mom. That will make life a lot easier for everyone. My dad doesn’t like the idea, but he’ll have to come to terms with it. Taking care of a dementia patient is very difficult and it won’t get any easier.

Mrs. RB40’s parents are getting older, too. They probably will need more help in a few years, no matter how independent they claim to be. This is why life is tough in the 40s. You have kids, parents, jobs, house, and a bunch of stuff to do. It’s responsibility overload.

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.

Over the last few years, I’ve been going to the gym to exercise. I go right after I drop RB40Jr off at school. It was great because it’s a routine I could stick to. However, I’m making a little change this year because we moved. I’m going to try working out at home instead of going to the gym. I installed a pull-up bar and gymnastic rings. RB40Jr is having a lot of fun with the rings. He’s on it all the time and he’s got the calluses to prove it. I also picked up a stepper and a plush yoga mat. Those are all I really need to exercise. Now, I have to make it part of my daily schedule so I’ll exercise consistently. It’s tough in the summer with RB40Jr distracting me. I’ll need to get into the routine once school starts. Exercise has been sporadic this summer.

Anyway, I feel much healthier than when I was an engineer. This alone validates my decision to retire early.

 

Early Retirement is Good

I stole this tag line from an apparel company.

FIRE isn’t easy. FIRE isn’t perfect. FIRE is good.

That’s how I feel about life this past year. It wasn’t easy or perfect, but it was good. Eventually, we’ll find a good long term care facility for my mom. Our condos will be sold at some point. Then I’ll be less stressed out and my good luck will come back. Mrs. RB40 will retire early and we can spend more time together. We’ll travel and enjoy life more. I’ll keep on blogging and make a little income online. Of course, all these will take time to accomplish. It’s just life.

Anyway, the last 7 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 go after FIRE 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. Time flies so make sure you’re living the life you want.

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 couldn't stomach the corporate BS.

Joe left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle. See how he generates Passive Income here.

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 DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 52 comments… add one }
  • Lily July 11, 2019, 10:52 am

    I feel like in 10 years I’ll hit the same issues with my parents as well. It’s so scary to think about because there’s no winners in this game on either side. Aging is tough. After we have children my husband was thinking of working less (4 days instead of 5) so we can go at FIRE a little slower because kids don’t stop growing and you shouldn’t miss those moments. The math on our finances get a little tight now with mouth to feed, less income, and aging parents…really scary thought 🙁 But I’m glad to hear ER is still going strong for you and there’s no regrets Joe!!

  • Frogdancer Jones July 10, 2019, 4:08 pm

    I hear you about the parents.
    My Mum is fine mentally, but physically her body is falling apart. Dad is now her full-time carer. He had a health scare and ended up in hospital a couple of weeks ago and it really brought home to us that we have to get organised.
    If he gets beyond being able to care for her, she’ll have to go into s nursing home.
    My sister and I are stepping in to monitor their affairs…

  • Mr. Groovy July 9, 2019, 6:24 pm

    Hey, Joe. Sorry to hear about your mom. Dementia isn’t fun, especially on the family of the afflicted. Mrs. G’s mother and aunt had dementia. It was a nightmare as they both tried to maintain their independence. But once we took control of their affairs and found good nursing homes for them, things got much better. I wish you well, my friend.

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 9:10 am

      Dementia is a really tough disease. We didn’t have any family history, but people didn’t live that long in the olden days.
      It’ll be a big issue for me and my brothers in the future. We need to do whatever we can to stave it off.
      Good move with Mrs. G’s relatives. It’s a difficult choice. Glad to hear that it’s working out for you.

  • Triple-Nickels July 9, 2019, 4:45 pm

    Hi Joe,

    Congratulations on 7 years early retired. Time flies when you’re having fun, even if the past year hasn’t been as fun as the previous 6. As you said, a challenging year of early retirement is still way better than a good year working in a job you hate.

    I sure hope you’re able to close on your 2 BR condo sale with no more issues, and also can get into contract on your 1 BR soon. More importantly, I sure hope you find some caregiver help for your mom (and your dad) soon, so your dad can get a break now and then. Being a full time caregiver is a super stressful job, and it’s especially hard then they’re family. I do hope you find a good memory care facility in Thailand, one that you trust will take good care of your mom. Hang in there … what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    Keep up your positive attitude/perspective and please keep blogging. As other commenters already said, your posts are authentic, genuine, inspirational, and also very relatable.

    Take care and best wishes … from someone who’s in a very similar “sandwich generation” situation. I too am super grateful for DH and I to both be FIRE’d, and have the time to help with parental care (on both sides) while still shepherding dependent teenagers into adulthood. We’re savoring all the time we get to spend with our parents, even though they all have health challenges. This is time we won’t get back, and we don’t believe in “shoulda, woulda, coulda”.

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 9:03 am

      Time flies whether you’re having fun or not. 🙂
      Thank you for the encouragement. We’ll keep working on it.
      Good luck to you as well. It’s tough when parents have health issues.

  • LazySod July 9, 2019, 2:41 pm

    Way to go, buddy ! Sure problems will keep coming up, FIRE does not make them disappear. Question – did you budget to help out your parents ? How did you calculate ? Specially because of your mom’s condition, expensive medication and care are required for many years. Good luck !

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 9:02 am

      No, I did not budget to help out my parents. However, we had some slacks in the budget. That’s why I don’t trust the 4% rule completely. There will be unforeseen expenses. Also, I have 2 brothers. They are doing well financially so they can help. Eventually, we’ll contribute 1/3 each. Thanks.

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies July 9, 2019, 12:55 pm

    Whew, 7 years is quite a while. Congrats! I’m glad your health is better. No amount of money can make up for poor health.

    I hope your condos sell without too much more hassle. I’m surprised people are so upset by a lack of washer/dryer in unit. I mean, it’s inconvenient but hardly the worst thing in the world. Think of how much water and electricity you save by not having it in unit! Put *that* on the flier!

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 9:00 am

      Thanks! Sometimes I wonder if I should have worked a bit longer, but then I remember I’m a lot healthier now. Who knows what would happen if I kept working.
      I completely agree about in-unit laundry. It’s not a huge deal. You can also do multiple loads of laundry in the laundry room. It was great.

  • David @iretiredyoung July 9, 2019, 12:51 pm

    I really get this post. Like you, I’m still very thankful for my FIRE life, as you say, it’s good, but there are also some challenges, although mine probably aren’t as challenging as yours at the moment.

    I hope you are able to sort things out for your Mom as that would be a huge weight off your mind.

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 8:59 am

      Thanks. We’ll keep working on it. FIRE gives us more time so that’s really good.

  • Buy, Hold Long July 9, 2019, 8:19 am

    Great work mate. Seems like a good idea to slowly change to more cash/bonds while the market is doing well if you are afraid of a correction and need the money to survive (which you do).
    Hope things get better with your mother.

  • Kevin @ When I'm Retired July 9, 2019, 6:51 am

    Hey Joe. Thanks for feeling open to writing about the issues with your mother. I’m worried about potentially similar issues with my aging grandmother who lives with us right now. She’s becoming noticeably forgetful and it’s worrying that it could get worse.

    I think long term parental care is something that most retirees don’t end up planning for. And not just the FIRE ones! Best of luck with finding a good long term care solution for your mother.

    These are great words to keep us pushing for FIRE in the face of adversity.

    “These issues would still come up even if I was working full-time. A stressful year in early retirement is still way better than a good year in a job I hate.”

    • retirebyforty July 10, 2019, 8:58 am

      You should ask her doctor about it. She probably needs to see a neurologist to get ahead of this.
      Don’t wait. Dementia will only get worse. Early detection could help slow it down.
      Good luck.

  • Nordic Fire July 9, 2019, 12:52 am

    I respect your honest post. FIRE must be great, but it won’t solve all of the problem life thorws at us. Stay strong bud 🙂

    – Nordic Fire

  • Kailash Nathan July 8, 2019, 5:53 pm

    Nice work Joe. Seems like every 7 years you realize what you’ve done since the last 7 years and adjust. I moved on from my hardware engineering career into software engineering. It was a nice trade. No more late nights in the lab, with my effective pay rate at $10/hr.

    Though I can’t work remotely in this position yet, I work with people that enjoy what they do. I get to travel a little for work and meet customers too.

    Overall the company I work for is good, but you better believe I’m working for CR – Corporate Retirement.

    I bought myself another job last year when I invested $100k into a business. I’m managing some back end operations and finances at the moment and planning in a few years to work on that full time.

    Our paths are different. I’m not ready to RE, which is why I’m calling for CR in a few years.

    Keep up your journey.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:25 pm

      Hey Kailash, nice to hear from you.
      It sounds like you’re doing well. Good luck with the business.
      Hopefully, it will pay off handsomely in the future.

  • xrayvsn July 8, 2019, 1:34 pm

    That is amazing Joe that you have been retired for 7 years already (and younger than me to boot 🙂 ).

    This year was definitely a stressful one for you but can you imagine how much more stress it would have been if on top of all that you were still required to do a full time w2 job? Being able to retire early has been a blessing for you so you can indeed focus on the tough stuff that pops up like your mom’s health.

    That is incredible how much your net worth grew after you retired, you definitely have avoided the dreaded SORR.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:24 pm

      Thanks! We’ve been fortunate because Mrs. RB40 is still working full-time. Once she retires, we won’t be able to save as much.

  • Shun July 8, 2019, 10:29 am

    My siblings and I are dealing with my mum’s dimentia so unfortunately I can relate to your pain. She’s currently in a long term senior care facility (for severe mental illness) here in Vancouver and we are so very thankful for the Canadian health system. There is no way we would even know how to setup such a facility to house her (even if we can afford it). We also had sibling discussions to move her to asia to perhap set up our own home care there (more affordable and language/culture familiarity for her) but it was not feasible in the end due to her extreme mental and physical worsening condition.

    I hope your mum’s condition stabilizes/improves and not worsen too much to give you and your family more time to adjust. Senior care/assisted independent living issues will be in our future since we are all living longer. Hopefully we can learn to cope better. All the best.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:23 pm

      Best wishes to you as well. Dementia is such a tough disease. Hopefully, there will be better medication when I’m old.
      I don’t want to go through this kind of decline. It’s really sad.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early July 8, 2019, 10:05 am

    SEVEN years already?? Pretty mind boggling to think I’ve been following along for that long as well! My life has sure changed in those seven years from when I was new at my career and focused on paying off my student loans.

    Have you considered moving the three of you to Thailand for a time? Or would it just be a lot of back and forth?

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:22 pm

      Right. Time really flies. We have to make the best of what we got or it’ll all pass by.
      We might go live in Thailand for a year. I’ll have to run it by Mrs. RB40. She might be okay with it.
      I’m sure she doesn’t want to be too far from her parent either.

  • PFI July 8, 2019, 9:53 am

    Congratulations on 7 years! I really enjoy the detail in your updates and how you tell the complete story of everything going on. Sorry to hear about the struggles with your mom. Our parents are aging too, and we know that will add complexity to the years ahead.

    I also really sympathize with the struggles of both selling and being a landlord. I hope that all sorts out for you soon!

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:20 pm

      Thank you. It’s a problem most of us have to deal with. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a nice long term care facility for her when the time comes.
      Best wishes.

  • Derek | The Money Family July 8, 2019, 9:48 am

    Congrats on the 7 years of FIRE!

    The Portland market definitely feels like its gotten overbuilt and overvalued based on the wages available for most folks. We occasionally toy with the idea of moving back after moving away 5 years ago so this may lead to an opportunity.

  • Tawcan July 8, 2019, 9:42 am

    7 years sure passed by pretty quickly! Very sorry to hear about your mom, that’s very tough to deal with. While moving back to Thailand has helped a bit, I feel bad for your dad too, having to take care of your mom constantly. That’s so weird that the medication is cheaper if you purchase from Canada and have to Thailand. Strange how things work.

    Maybe you should consider appearing on American Ninja Warrior? That’s one heck of a workout to be able to appear on the show. 🙂

  • Mr. Grumby July 8, 2019, 8:50 am

    Great article, and congrats on 7 years. As you said, luck runs out and then will pick back up. Don’t give up on your plan to walk the earth. We did it (on bicycles) for 3 months and it was life changing. We will get back out there again at some point.
    The parent thing is tough. We’ve been retired a little over a year and, since the bike tour we’ve been in Colorado helping Mrs. G’s mom out with her health issues. It is tough even with 4 siblings helping out.

    It’s interesting about the slowing market in Portland. We sold in NE Portland 4 years ago when the market was red hot. But it’ll turn around.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 7:19 pm

      We’ll be able to travel more after Mrs. RB40 retires.
      Yeah, it’s tough when a parent needs help. It’s a role reversal.
      Portland doesn’t have the economy to support a housing boom like we saw over the last few years.
      I guess it’s a miracle it lasted this long. I think it will be slow for many years to come.

  • Nathaniell July 8, 2019, 8:36 am

    I don’t usually comment on your site, but this post really caught my attention. Sorry to hear about you having so many struggles this year, but the way you write about them is inspiring. The fact that you don’t regret early retirement despite these stressors is how I hope to handle my own FIRE one day.

    I also liked that you took stock of what you’ve done, and set out a plan of where you’re going. I think having a plan is something that really helps when the unexpected happens.

    Have you considered doing keyword research and doing SEO to get more readers to your blog? That could definitely grow your traffic and income, giving you a bigger cushion. From what I’ve been reading, it seems like you do a lot of personal blog stuff (I follow you on Twitter), but some keyword based topics might get your more organic readers in Google.

  • [email protected] July 8, 2019, 8:01 am

    As always, I appreciate the honesty of your life updates. More than any other blog, I feel as if I’ve just had coffee with you after reading a post.

    Life’s ups and downs ebb and flow so I hope and suspect you’re now due for some ups. I can’t imagine how you would have survived the last year had you still been enslaved as a cubicle worker. The freedom to invest your time where it’s most needed is a priceless benefit of FI.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 9:08 am

      Thank you for the encouragement. This update was longer than usual and I was hoping readers wouldn’t get bored.
      Life is full of challenges. We just have to keep moving ahead. Good luck to you as well.

  • freddy smidlap July 8, 2019, 7:29 am

    7 years is just great and congratulations on that. i find it just hilarious that you have to sugar coat blogger/SAHD with former engineer so you don’t scare off the other yuppie parents. it seems like you have the “fun house” for junior and his buddies.

    that long term care stuff just sucks. my parents are gone but my father in law went to a nursing home 6 months ago. his mind is sharp but he can’t walk. the real downer is that my mother-in-law is still able but they have to be apart. one opinion of a friend whom i agreed was for a couple to settle in to an assisted living type apartment together BEFORE they really need it. we looked into it 5-6 years ago but old folks are stubborn and you can’t make them do it…and the costs of care in the US are outrageous, as you know. they’re all hard choices. i wish you the best with them.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 9:07 am

      We’re in the rich school district. Most parents are very well off.
      I really hope the kids don’t get too hung up about wealth when they’re teenagers.
      They’re so good now. They don’t care about the size of your house or how many toys you have.
      They have the most fun running around outside anyway.
      Sorry to hear about your in-laws. Getting old isn’t for wimps. Best wishes.

  • Financial Samurai July 8, 2019, 7:15 am

    Congratulations on your condo getting into contract! When it’s said and done, will you be highlighting the specific numbers?

    I was reading Portland passed some type of new housing construction law where you can now build multiple properties on once single-family only zoning land? Do you think this has something to do with the real estate market, an expectation of a lot more supply?

    Hopefully lower interest rates will help your market in the second half. Sounds like you might have to lower the price of the other property or just keep it. Perhaps now is actually a good time to buy rather than sell?

    Sam

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 9:04 am

      We sold for about the amount we paid in 2007. It was disappointing because we put $20,000 into the kitchen remodel.
      Anyway, that’s life. Now I know never to invest in a condo. It doesn’t work.
      I think the main problem is Portland isn’t a hot spot anymore. It was hot for a while, but people probably realize that it’s not that great. It’s not NY, SF, or even Seattle. The economy can’t support a lot of people moving here. Not many big employers here.
      I don’t know about the 1 bdroom condo. I might have to rent it out for a while.

      • Sam July 8, 2019, 5:55 pm

        Do you think you would’ve got a higher price if you sold it in 2018?

        All the reports say that the Portland market is so hot, but I guess supply has been big.

        Shot u an e-mail btw, but got kicked back due to attachment size. Let me know if you didn’t receive anything and I’ll try to send another email.

  • SMN_DC July 8, 2019, 6:34 am

    Thanks for writing so honestly about your family and your finances & also your mind/well-being now that you are retired. I won’t be retiring anytime soon but inspiring to see you move fwd. even during difficult times with your mom’s health & your RE. Wishing all the best!

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 9:01 am

      Thanks! Everyone has challenges in life. We just need to get through them the best we can and try to be optimistic for the future.

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify July 8, 2019, 3:54 am

    It’s a great story Joe. Congrats! I just passed the 6-year anniversary mark myself at the end of June. I had forgotten about my anniversary date until I read your article. It is good. Tom

  • Ms ZiYou July 8, 2019, 3:27 am

    Congrats on your 7 year anniversary Joe – and sorry to hear it’s been a tough year. Hopefully, your luck will be change soon, and you’ll find the right facility for your mum.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 9:00 am

      Thank you! It’s difficult to find a good care facility because most Thai people care for their elders. Now, people are living longer and dementia is becoming widespread. They need to open up more facilities. There is a big pent up demand.

  • Jim P. July 8, 2019, 2:57 am

    Way to go Joe! It really does seem to take a while to get used to not working. I’m still surprised at that fact. I have a genealogy project that I’ve been still putting off until “some day”, but I think it’s time to take that out of the moth balls. Budgeting time for exercise is another thing I need to focus on. I was immobile leading up to my hip replacement in January, but am making steady progress. Health is definitely wealth. Thanks for keeping up the blog…it’s a good resource for the community.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 8:36 am

      That’s a great project for you especially if you’re not mobile. You can do most of that on the computer and phone.
      I hope your surgery goes well. Best of luck. Thank you.

  • Mr. Tako July 8, 2019, 1:30 am

    Sorry to hear about your bad year Joe — but just think if you had to handle it all while going to a 50-60 hour a week job! It would be much more difficult.

    Sooner or later everyone’s parents are going to need help.

    I’m coming up on my 4 year “early retirement” anniversary and thankfully my parents are still healthy. It won’t last forever though, and eventually I’ll have to go through some of these same difficulties.

    I hope things get better for you soon.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 8:35 am

      Well, if I was still working, I wouldn’t worry so much about the condos. I would have been able to relax more about that.
      On the other hand, it would have been a lot more difficult to help my mom. That’s a bigger issue with more long term ramifications.
      Thanks!

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE July 8, 2019, 1:25 am

    Congrats on 7 years Joe. Being a SAHD and taking care of your Mother are lofty goals and way more important than giving your best time to make some companies profits bigger. You did the hard work and saved to put yourself in this position and now it allows you too focus on your family. FI is powerful!

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 8:34 am

      Thank you! It’s a great privilege to spend more time with my family. A lot of people never have a chance to do this. FI is a very powerful tool that helped improve my life.

  • Sharil July 8, 2019, 1:17 am

    Hey, for your mum in Thailand can u get home help for a few hours a day to help your dad get a break and go out. Or someone to stay overnight May be the short term solution until you can find a facility for her.
    I hope you find something for her soon.

    • retirebyforty July 8, 2019, 3:57 am

      My dad tried that, but he hasn’t found a good helper. The one he tried, let her sleep in the day time.
      Then she can’t sleep at night which cause more problems.
      We told him to find someone better, but he hasn’t found the right person yet.

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