Retired at 33. I'm here to share some financial wisdom with everyone.
Over here in the Root of Good household we’re counting down the days till summer. It feels like it’s already here though! May was a lot warmer than usual with highs in the 80’s most days and lots of humidity, including a jolt of moisture from a very early season Tropical Storm Alberto. I suppose this will be good training for our month in the Bahamas starting in two weeks!
How did we make out money-wise in May? Our net worth climbed $21,000 to bring the total to $2,054,000. Reasonably good stock market returns were the main driver of net worth gains in May. Income remained solid at $3,426 for the month. With $3,366 in spending, our May expenses climbed to the highest point for 2018. However, it’s still great news that our spending is less than our income!
“I never want to quit working because I’ll be socially isolated and I won’t be able to make new friends.” Is this a legitimate concern or one of the worst objections to early retirement?
There is reason in worrying about loneliness in retirement but it’s not a good reason to work forever, especially if you don’t like your job! Getting out of a stressful work situation will make you a nicer, better person and therefore more likable and friendly.
If work is your only source of friends and social interaction, then perhaps it’s time to broaden your social network and look for friendship in other places.
The thirteenth (and next to last) stop on our nine week, fourteen city summer vacation across Europe brought us to Koblenz, Germany. The city of Koblenz sits at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine River in the western part of Germany.
After spending most of the previous eight weeks of vacation in urban settings, we decided to give rural living a shot for a week. We rented a spacious three bedroom apartment in a country house in the village of Mariaroth about 15 minutes from the center of Koblenz.
While staying near Koblenz, we visited the Eltz Castle, several villages in the Mosel and Rhine river valleys, and toured downtown Koblenz during what turned out to be a rather rainy week for us.
As we near the end of the review of our nine week, fourteen city summer vacation across Europe, our twelfth stop brought us to Berlin, Germany for a week of history, culture, food, and friends.
Berlin was everything I expected and then some. Great summertime weather, nice people, minimal crowds, easy transit, good food, all with low prices (for a major European capital city). I’d certainly rate Berlin a hidden gem on this basis. My naive hypothesis is that Berlin is still a city in transition following World War II devastation and the post-war sundering of Berlin into East and West halves by the former USSR and the western Allies.
The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and Germany reunited as one country shortly thereafter in 1990. In today’s Berlin there are ample reminders of the turbulent past century in the form of museums, memorials, and preserved segments of the Berlin Wall. Though it’s hard to imagine anything bad actually happened when you’re sitting in a placid city park or strolling down the quiet riverfront. Then you catch a glimpse of pockmarked walls and columns on old buildings and that makes you wonder if those were caused by bullets or an exploding shell that barely missed its mark.
April was a blast! It was also an incredibly busy month. We helped out at the kid’s elementary school by chaperoning a field trip and running the school’s spring carnival raffle. I spent four days at CampFI Midatlantic where I presented “How to Develop an Early Retirement Budget”. JD Roth stopped by the house for a few hours before heading up to the camp. The whole family did a staycation for spring break. We assembled a couple more bicycles for us adults. To close out April we threw a big birthday party for our six year old. I’m pretty sure I was less busy when I was working!
In financial terms, April was a good month. After a couple months of losses, our net worth reversed course and climbed by a modest $9,000 to $2,033,000. Our spending remained low at $1,977 which was just a tiny bit more than our April income of $1,837.
The eleventh stop on our nine week, fourteen city summer vacation across Europe brought us to Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic.
20 years ago Prague was an up and coming budget tourism destination full of culture and history where one could escape the higher prices of western Europe. Today, it still has the charm of the good old days but with slightly higher price tags compared to much of the rest of low-cost central and eastern Europe.
While in Prague, we visited the usual mix of castles, churches, and historic town squares. I was surprised at how many tourists were jam-packed into the center of the historic center of town. Maybe it was due to our visit falling in the middle of the peak summer tourist season? Fortunately we found a quiet escape just a mile south of the historic Old Town section of Prague at the Vysehrad Fort.
Another month of early retirement is in the books! March was a busy month for us. The weather is finally nice around Raleigh so we enjoyed more time outdoors. The kids had fun too, with our youngest going on a field trip to the children’s museum that we chaperoned. Our older two children bought themselves bicycles and have been out and about riding on these warm spring days.
Financially, March was a repeat of February. Due to downward movement in the stock market, our net worth dropped by $32,000 to a still-respectable $2,024,000. Our income of $5,659 far surpassed our spending of $2,025 which means our cash stash continues to grow slightly.
Continuing on our family journey through Europe, we spent a week in Munich, Germany. This was the tenth city of our nine week, fourteen city summer vacation across Europe.
Munich is the seat of government of the German state of Bavaria. The streets are lined with buildings hundreds of years old and so full of history both recent and modern. We spent several days exploring the downtown area of Munich, the Eisbach River and English Garden, the Residenz palace, and the Nymphenburg palace grounds.
Munich also served as a home base while we took two day trips outside Munich. On the first trip we drove to Neuschwanstein Castle a couple of hours south of Munich. The next day we visited the somber Dachau concentration camp on the northern outskirts of Munich where the Nazis killed tens of thousands of victims during World War II.
Stop number nine (of fourteen) on our nine week summer vacation across Europe found us in Salzburg, Austria. In addition to touring the old town of Salzburg, we also ventured out to the lakeside village of Hallstatt, Austria and toured the nearby Dachstein Ice Cave.
Salzburg’s historic center is the classic Europe you see on postcards. Expansive town squares, a castle high up on a hill, palaces, gardens, a river running through the middle of town, and statues and plaques proclaiming the birthplace of famous cultural icons (like Mozart) and scientists (like Doppler). For those fans of 1960’s musicals, you’ll be happy to learn that The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg and the surrounding countryside.
A relaxed hour and a half drive through the foothills of the Alps brought us to the village of Hallstatt. We continued driving a few minutes past Hallstatt where we visited the Dachstein Ice Cave (literally a cave filled with ice year round). After the ice cave tour we returned to Hallstatt for a stroll through town where we saw the houses, businesses, and churches climbing the hillside as if they were trying to escape from the murky depths of Lake Hallstatt.
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.”