“Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials: much to live on and much to live for.”
The Christmas Epiphany
One year ago, Maggie and I had our Christmas Epiphany.
We watched the finger of God poke through the hazy summer sky and wiggle around looking for its target.
It eney-meany-miney-moed around the bathers and sun worshipers sprawled along the beach.
Until it stopped, hesitant at first, then with intent, right over us.
Then, in a surprisingly high-pitched voice, God said, “What the fuck?”
At first Maggie and I recoiled in shock.
Urgent questions swarmed our minds. Where did this giant finger come from? Why has it fingered us? Why is Generation X the only people that thinks ‘fingered’ is rude? And why does God have such a potty mouth?
Then it dawned on us. We were being fingered by God (shut up, Gen X, it’s not rude) because we were being idiots.
We were living the classic modern lifestyle (learn, earn, save, retire), but wanting non-traditional outcomes (freedom, people, adventure, growth).
So we took the giant finger’s sage advice and asked ourselves, “What the fuck are we doing?”
You can read more about the Christmas Epiphany in About Us, but the moral of the story is this:
If whatever you’re trying isn’t working, try something else.
So we did. We looked for another lifestyle. One that was designed to produce the outcomes we wanted.
Luckily for us, some brave pioneers and a growing number of people have beaten in a lifestyle path that was perfect: The legendary FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).
Much to live on…
So, we took ourselves to a financial planner, got our finances in order and put a big red circle in the calendar around 9 January 2024. Retirement Day.
I’ll be 55, Maggie will be 49. The kids will be in their 20s and unceremoniously kicked out of the nest. (We love you, kids. Now get out 😀)
We spent 2018 reading everything we could on FIRE.
Much to live for…
And we read a lot of self help, because the big lesson about retiring is that it’s not a solution, it’s a lifestyle.
Retiring won’t make you happier or less cranky or a more thoughtful lover or a better cage fighter. And if you’re not prepared for retirement, it might make you a shittier person because you’ll be bored, restless and frustrated.
So, we decided to use the six years between the day God fingered us and our retirement day to get ourselves in order and prepare for early retirement.
So how’d we do this year?
Mixed results, but trending in the right direction. And we’ve learnt a lot.
Here’s our 2018 Report Card.
Subject Grade Comments
Finance B+ Stuck with financial plan all year, but invented new and interesting ways to spend money.
Happiness A- Learning loads about happiness and are not taking life too seriously.
Parenting C+ MTG showing mixed results. Needs to apply himself more. Maggie doing awesome.
Materialism B Didn't make any big purchases, but moving house was costly.
Career A+ MTG changed jobs and got a big morale boost. Maggie going from strength to strength.
Social & Community C+ No progress in this area. At risk of failing subject.
Health B- After 9 months without drinking, we fell off the wagon! Need to try, try again.
Hope you had a great year too.
The first step to early retirement is financial planning. Check out this post on how to get your finances on track.
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