Every week I receive a handful of questions from Root of Good readers and I try to answer them all, even if it’s a brief response. Last week was no different. The inquiry I received from “Eric” caught my eye immediately as I scanned through my emails. Subject: “Scared”. One word, vague, non-specific. Hmmm – might be spam?
As it turns out it wasn’t spam at all. I clicked to open and read further and was intrigued by the brevity of the question with what appeared to be a clear-cut easy answer on the surface but has a lot of layers that need to be peeled back to flesh out a complete response.
Here’s what Eric wrote:
“You’ll probably think I’m crazy but I’m 48 and have incurable cancer and even though I qualify for long term benefits income protection of 6 figures a year I am scared of retiring. I’m scared I’d decline and get depressed with no purpose.”
Time for another monthly update now that I have wrapped up month #54 in my early retirement journey! Spring arrived a little early in North Carolina and that means more time outdoors for us. Goodbye two weeks of “real” winter, we hardly knew ye!
From a financial perspective, February was a tough month punctuated by a strong dip in the stock market, officially putting us in a “correction” with the Dow and S&P 500 index both registering declines greater than 10%. At month end our net worth was down by $58,000 to a “mere” $2,056,000. The silver lining is that our income for the month remained strong at $4,736 while expenses of $3,108 tracked closely to our $3,333 budget. Spending less than you “make” soothes the sting of a big shift downward in net worth.
The eighth stop on our nine week summer vacation across Europe found us in Northern Slovenia and the beautifully scenic areas of Lake Bled, Soča Valley, and the Julian Alps. While visiting these sights we spent four nights in the tiny village of Podkoren in the far northwestern corner of Slovenia.
We stumbled upon Podkoren while searching for a centrally located apartment in the northern part of Slovenia that would serve as a home base for exploring the mountains, lakes, and valleys nearby. Podkoren was perfect for all of that. Wikipedia says Podkoren has 388 residents, but they must have done the census during the winter ski season and not when we were there during the sleepy summer off season. We assumed Podkoren would be nothing more than a place to rest in between our daytime adventures across Northern Slovenia but to our surprise the village turned out to be worth exploring as a destination in itself.
The seventh stop on our nine week summer vacation across Europe brought us to Ljubljana, Slovenia. If you’ve never heard of Ljubljana or Slovenia, then you are missing out on a hidden gem of Europe. We randomly stumbled on this country while looking at pictures of Europe and decided it was a must-see destination. It did not disappoint.
While in Ljubljana, we explored the city for several days and visited the castle atop the central hill in town. We took a few day trips to two caves and a castle. In addition to the sightseeing, this was our first opportunity to take it easy since we had a full week in Ljubljana (after six previous stops on our trip with only two to five days stay in each city). We embraced the slow travel lifestyle and spent a couple of days “doing nothing” and relaxing.