I’m looking over her shoulder at 4:30 pm on a Thursday while sitting in our home office. A quick last check of her emails. A moment’s hesitation. Is this really it? A click on the X in the upper right corner of the screen. Fade to black.
Ten years of work culminating in that final click on the X in the corner. One chapter of Mrs. Root of Good’s life is over. Turning the page to a new chapter, she finds the rest of the script unwritten. Her biggest worry becomes the emptiness of all that white space spread in front of her.
For over a month, it’s been a done deal but I’ve kept it a secret. Unlike the last time she resigned, no negotiation this time around. She said in her resignation letter it was time to move on. She is now officially free from the 9 to 5 work schedule.
It was not easy to call it quits. Her job provided great pay, flexible work hours, work from home, great benefits for the family, and great retirement benefits. It would be tough to find a similar position even in the same company. However, she chose freedom and family over helping other people in the corporate world.
It was tough to overcome the brainwashing of having to be useful to society by continuing to work. What good are you if you’re not contributing to society especially if you are able bodied? Her thoughts floated around. What is the goal in life? Doesn’t everyone strive to be happy? We work so we can earn money so that we can be financially stable, live life, and be happy. We work so we can be useful members of society.
She earned enough money to live the life she wants which makes her happy. To continue to work would be greedy. Hey, she’s leaving a great position to allow another person to live their dream. She contributes to society by spending more time to help raise her kids to be good people. Our kids are our future.
Lady Liberty sheds a tear
Mrs. RoG is living her dream. Through luck and her parents’ hard work, she arrived to a land of opportunity. Hers is a true story of rags to riches. Just like me, she was not raised in a well to do family but quite the opposite. Her family lived as war refugees in Thailand for over nine years before coming to America. Mrs. RoG was almost seven years old when she first arrived to the land of opportunity. Her family arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Her mom could not read or write with only a third grade education. Her dad also had an elementary school education but could at least read and write at a basic level (but not in English).
Mrs. RoG entered the US not knowing any English. Unlike her former jungle home in the refugee camp, school was mandatory and free in the US. However, school field trips were not free and she forwent some trips as she knew her parents did not have the extra cash. She didn’t even ask them to pay for the trips. At an early age, she was self-aware that money doesn’t grow on trees and one must be smart with money.
She worked part time jobs through eleventh and twelfth grade. To continue into higher education, she borrowed money as her parents did not have the money to pay for her college. At the time, she didn’t know the true benefits of getting a college education, she just knew she had to go to college and luckily she did. This college degree would open the door to jobs at PricewaterhouseCoopers and her last job at an investment bank.
Through some luck but mainly hard work, she earned enough money to live off and save for the future. Her goal was not working 40+ hours a week away from home until she is in her sixties and then only have a few years left to enjoy life. Her goal was to work hard, save money, have a family and spend quality time with the family.
Her story isn’t any more noteworthy than the success stories of millions of other immigrants and refugees that landed on our shores over the past several centuries and discovered a country that offers unbounded opportunity to eager newcomers. In today’s media morass, the groupthink says the American Dream is dead and there’s no point to take responsibility for one’s own future when so many forces conspire to keep the poor and middle class indebted and enchained in servitude. Mrs. Root of Good disagrees.
Mrs. RoG is entering her second week of early retirement and enjoying the experience immensely so far. She’s focusing on relaxing and decompressing during the first few weeks of early retirement.
So far she sleeps in, enjoys leisurely walks in the afternoons, and reads books. We went swimming one morning during the work week and found the pool completely deserted. Right before finishing lap #15, a sudden smile sneaked across my face as I realized this is how our life will be forever. Swimming in the middle of the day just because we want to.
I imagine she will loosely follow my own early retirement weekly schedule with healthy doses of leisure and recreation tempered by small bits of work and chores. She’s been working so little the past few months that early retirement doesn’t look drastically different than her recent experience working “full” time.
In our 2016 budget, I increased the entertainment/fun budget and the travel budget significantly. Time will tell whether we actually spend more money traveling and having fun, because so many fun activities are cheap or free.
Last night, we spent about an hour looking over summer travel plans and mapped out a 2,000 mile trip from North Carolina through Tennessee and Kentucky, north through Ohio toward Niagara Falls and Toronto, then returning home through Washington DC. Depending on how long we stop in each place, the trip might be as short as two weeks, or as long as five weeks (or more!). We are also contemplating taking a break by staying at home the whole summer (a “vacation from vacationing”). We are rich with ideas and travel funds but flat broke when it comes to commitment.
I just sold my trusty sixteen year old low mileage Honda Civic to someone I know through the Mr. Money Mustache forums. That’s the answer to “should our family drop from two cars to one?” The car ran perfectly fine for a sixteen year old car, but we simply didn’t need two cars. Getting my above Kelly Blue Book asking price out of the car persuaded me that now is as good a time as any to make the sale and get us to the correct number of vehicles to match our lifestyle right now.
Over the coming months, we hope to purchase a larger car like a minivan so that our road trips will be more luxurious. A seven or eight seater will also come in handy when hauling around the five of us plus a few friends. The primary purpose of the new(er) vehicle is recreation, so we aren’t overly concerned about gas mileage since we won’t be putting a lot of miles on it commuting to work every day.
In her first year of early retirement, Mrs. Root of Good looks forward to:
- reading more books,
- working on reading, writing, and math/numeracy with our three year old, and
- learning about photography so she can operate our new Canon t5i DSLR camera
Beyond that, we are both looking forward to a lot of relaxation time with the family in the next few months.
How do you envision your first few months of retirement?