Weaved throughout In The Meantime, like a weavy weaving thingo, is the story of Maggie and I – a classic love story:
Generation X boy meets Generation X girl, Gen X boy makes Gen X girl a mixed tape of classic 80’s power ballads, Gen X girl falls puffy-haired-head-over-Doc-Martened-heels in love, Gen X couple lives happily ever after until losing their shit over their debt-fuelled consumerism, deteriorating work-life balance and lack of purpose.
Then one day the star-crossed Gen Xers said, “enough”.
Self Help for Generation X
That’s the genesis of In The Meantime, a blog on self help for Generation X.
In The Meantime is a collection of light-hearted stories and lessons we’ve learned on being Generation X and chasing that greatest of prizes: Financial Independence and Early Retirement.
Anyway, back to our story…
Having realised we’d had enough, the logical next step would be to march into our bosses’ offices and, in a defiant and glorious voice, shout: “Take this job and shove it!”
But we didn’t do that. Like many of our Gen X cohort, we were shitty savers. We hadn’t squirrelled away enough clams to retire (not sure why squirrels are collecting molluscs in that mixed metaphor…).
We also didn’t want to live the super tight-ass, minimalist lifestyle required for us to quit our jobs and retire.
We will not go through this life without barista-made, skinny, piccolo lattes with an extra serving of pretentious wankerdom, for example.
Financial Independence & Early Retirement
So, we decided to get a plan, which went something like this:
- Read, listen and watch all the (non-spruiker) advice we could get our hands on that explained how to achieve the legendary ‘FIRE’ [cue angelic choir, parting clouds and brilliant light from above];
- Decide what we want to do with our lives, especially after we leave the workforce;
- Get professional financial advice;
- Develop a roadmap toward exiting the workforce; and
- Stop fucking around buying shit we don’t need.
The plan to exit the workforce as soon as humanly possible came to us over during a beach camping holiday over Christmas 2017. It quickly became known as the ‘Christmas Epiphany’.
Since the Christmas Epiphany, we’ve been obsessively implementing our plan. We’ve learnt heaps along the way.
Finding Good Advice
In The Meantime is our way of sharing what we’ve learnt on FIRE and self help for Generation X.
It is a labour of love born of several impulses.
One, to save other Gen Xers from the many multi-hour sessions we spent elbow deep in the bowels of Google trying to find answers to difficult questions like, “How do you find your balance between living a fulfilling, purposeful life now and saving for life after work/career/kids?”
As well as other ‘simple’ questions like, “Invest or pay off the mortgage?” and “Are robots going to take my job and ruin our retirement plans?”.
The answers to these questions are on the interweb of stuff, but they’re hidden under a quinitrillionbajillion other answers to other questions – many of them about Beyonce or something called kombucha.
To make matters worse, it’s difficult to tell whether the ‘answers’ you find on the net are credible or dubious, objective or biased, truthful or outright fucking lies.
In The Meantime wades through the swamp of info-crap that muddies much of the internet, and finds the info-gold.
In The Meantime is what we wish we’d found on Day One of our quest to figure shit out and get our lives on a better track.
Generation X Playing Catch-Up
Maggie and I come from blue-collar lineage and grew up in smallish towns.
We were both the first people in our families to go to university and work our way into professions.
Maggie’s been at the forefront of digital marketing since it wore little binary nappies and could only count to zero (a little techy humour for the IT nerds).
I started in a trade (“Get a trade behind you,” was classic Boomer parenting advice to Gen X kids). Then jumped ship, went to university and re-tooled for a career in international security, diplomacy and crisis response.
We didn’t get any money into retirement savings until late in life.
Like many from Generation X, our retirement planning was pretty much non-existent until our 30s. Maggie was in her early 40s and I was in my late 40s when we had the Christmas Epiphany and decided to exit the workforce early.
Getting Ahead, Getting Out
We’re aiming to be retired in five years.
We’ll do it by selling off a bunch of costly, depreciating toys (goodbye little red sports car and see ya later Harley Night Rod Special), following a determined savings plan (bon voyage overseas holidays) and making sensible, boring, slow-return investments.
Both Maggie and I are planners. We’ve planned in detail our whole retired life many times over, just for funsies.
Getting Real About the Good Life
The idea for In The Meantime came from imagining our retired life. You see, lots of financially independent types and early retirees have warned devotees to be prepared for life without work.
As much as we may look forward to exiting the workforce, our sense of purpose and self-worth are often wrapped up in our work.
Of itself, sitting on a beach relaxing, slamming back pina coladas in a permanent state of holiday inebriation is not enough to be happy (can’t believe I just said that).
Don’t get me wrong, it’ll get you a lot of the way to happiness, but it won’t insulate you from boredom and it won’t fill a purpose-shaped hole in your life.
In The Meantime is our part of our retirement purpose. (We’re starting now because it takes years to build a blog)
Our blog is our creative outlet, our digital sandcastle, our connection to people and our way of giving something back.
It’s not part of our financial plan. Blogs almost never make money, they’re for fun mostly.
As we move toward our exit from the daily grind and to a post-work lifestyle somewhere a lot warmer than here, we invite you, our Generation X community, to come along for the ride.