In 2010, I had a good job that provided a nice six figure income with benefits. Like most people, we had a mortgage, car payments, and several credit cards. We had three cats and a baby on the way. We had money to spend on nice clothes, travel, eating out, entertainment, and more. What the heck possessed me quit my stable computer engineering career of 16 years and put all that in jeopardy?
The Retire by 40 idea
Let’s do a quick recap here for our new readers. I got an MS in computer engineering and started working at a big tech company right out of college. I liked the job when I first started, but after 16 years it wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. I was one of those miserable people who dreaded walking into the office every morning. I knew I had to change jobs or quit my career and I decided to give Retire by 40 a shot. Actually, I’m not sure what sparked the idea. It was a great blog name and I felt I had to run with it.
After nearly 3 years of blogging, I now understand the idea of Retire by 40 more. It’s not just about quitting work completely and having fun while drawing down your nest egg. For me, it’s the transformation from working for a heartless corporation to doing my own thing. It’s about getting out of the rat race and finding my own path through life. Sure, that doesn’t fit the conventional definition of retirement, but it’s my site so if some people don’t like it, they can go start their own blog. 🙂
I started Retire by 40 in 2010 and I quit my engineering career in 2012. This might look a bit too easy, but we have been living a frugal lifestyle and investing ever since I started working. It didn’t just take 2 years from ideation to completion. It took me 16 years to Retire by 40.
So how is retirement?
Retirement is ridiculously busy. However, that’s a good thing if you are 40 years old. I wouldn’t want to play golf and lounge around the pool all day. That sounds very boring to me. I usually tell people that I’m a stay at home dad, but I have other things to keep me busy too.
- Being a stay at home dad takes up most of my time.
- Blogging – Writing and other blogging activities keeps me busy the rest of the time.
- Other sites – I have a couple of sites that I run. They don’t take up a lot time because I have hired help.
- Landlord – Our 4 plex is managed by a company so it doesn’t require much time. Our rental home needs attention from time to time.
- Stock investor – I need to keep an eye on our investments to make sure we don’t run into too much trouble.
- P2P lender – I need to find new borrowers to lend money to every week. I recently put it on auto pilot so this doesn’t take much time now. We’ll see how it impacts ROI in a few months.
Being a dad and blogger really takes up all of my time. I try to squeeze in other tasks when I can.
Stay at home dad
Honestly, being a happy stay at home dad is getting more and more difficult as baby RB40 turns into RB40 kid. A year ago, I had to do a lot of mechanical chores like cooking, changing diapers, feeding him, putting him to bed, etc… These tasks were pretty easy for me. Now, RB40 kid is developing his personality and it is a lot more difficult. We still have a lot of fun together, but lately I have been losing my temper a little bit more. It’s hard to be patient because he is constantly pushing his boundaries all day. It starts as soon as he wakes up and doesn’t end until he crashes out at the end of the day. Yeap, that’s life with a 2 year old kid.
So we’re butting heads all day long and I’m getting tired of it. That’s why we just signed him up for preschool this coming school year. He will see how older kids behave and hopefully the teachers will rein him in a bit. We sure need their help! It’s only 3 half days per week so we’ll still have a lot of time together. This will also give me a little time to work on the blog.
Overall, the last year has been really great. I love spending time with our kid and we have a special bond. He is really attached to me, but I think it’s time for him to expand his horizons a bit. The kid changes so quickly and I’m grateful for being able to spend this past year at home with him.
Retire By 40 is doing pretty well in general. I’m more comfortable with my writing and I feel like I have found my voice. I was a bit burned out earlier this year, but I’m much more energized now after a vacation and a great conference. I’m pretty happy with the way the blog is going and my goal this year is to keep writing useful and entertaining articles for you. Next year, I would like to get a forum going on this site so you can have more conversations with each other as well.
Let me know what you would like to see on Retire By 40.
Walking away from a stable paycheck wasn’t easy. Of course I was afraid we won’t be able to make ends meet, but our cash flow model looked good before I quit. This past year didn’t turn out exactly as expected though. Our rental income didn’t do as well as I hoped, but my online income more than made up for the short fall.
The one thing I did right was to have a long dry run. We lived without my paycheck for a year before I left my job. It gave us the confidence that we could do it. If you plan to leave your job for an uncertain future, then I really urge you to try living without your paycheck for an extended period first.
Do I have any regrets? Nothing really serious. It would have been better if I quit 6 months later than I did so we could have saved a bit more. However, we are doing fine financially so I can’t complain. The last year has been the happiest year in my adult life. I feel free and I don’t have those throbbing headaches anymore.
Life is constantly changing though and we need to keep adapting. For now, I’m happy to report that I’ll continue to be a stay at home dad/blogger and won’t have to go back to work for a corporation in the foreseeable future.
How does Mrs. RB40 feel about you staying at home and her working?
Mrs. RB40 actually quite likes this arrangement. At first, her biggest concern was about financial stability and that without my income, we wouldn’t be able to cover all of our expenses. But since we don’t spend much on extras anyway, it has worked out. Both of us are a lot less stressed than when both of us were working. Before, we had to get out of the house early to get to our destinations in opposite directions. At that time, the only thing we focused on was work. Now, she can still pursue her professional interests and feel like she is being productive in a work environment, which she enjoys. This doesn’t mean that she spends no time with our kid; she still spends a lot time with him every day and the weekends are especially reserved for their bonding time.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to answer them here.
How’s life 2 years after retirement? – Pretty darn good. 🙂
3 years after retirement and still living the dream.
4 years after early retirement and I feel really good about my life.
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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