1,000 days ago I retired early without really knowing it. When I walked in the office on the morning of August 26, 2013, I didn’t know it would be my last day of work forever (probably). I suspected something might happen to me on that Monday because another coworker was suddenly and unexpectedly terminated the previous business day and housecleaning often happens in clusters.
I spent the first hour of that day catching up on emails from the previous week that I missed while I was on vacation in Chicago. Then I jumped on a quick 9:00 am conference call to discuss the financial model for a new toll road proposed for the southern part of town. Then BOOM! The boss walked in the door with a fistful of bad tidings.
Now that April is over, we are one third of the way through 2016. How are we doing? Where are we going from here?
Financially, April was a great month on all fronts. Our net worth increased by $23,000 to $1,552,000. Our income remained strong at $2,471 even though it’s been a few months since we received any pay checks from employers. Our spending dropped significantly compared to last month to $1,829 (not buying a new minivan certainly helped keep expenses low).
On the personal side, April was an incredibly busy month. The weather was nice so we spent a lot of time outdoors. We were busy with kids’ school events and volunteering, hanging out with friends, and enjoying the wonderful life we have built through a decade of financial butt kicking. We capped off the month with a day trip to the beach for a wedding.
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.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jake Desyllas, another very early retiree. Jake hosts The Voluntary Life, a podcast about entrepreneurship, financial independence, and freedom. In 2000, he founded Intelligent Space, an award-winning consultancy in the UK, that led innovation in the field of pedestrian movement simulation and analysis. In 2007 he sold his business and in 2010 he retired early, at the age of 38. He is the author of Becoming an Entrepreneur and his new book is called Job Free.
Since achieving financial independence, his adventures have included becoming a perpetual traveller, going minimalist, playing in a band, writing books, and creating a podcast. He currently lives in Panama with his wife Hannah.
I get it. It sucks you in. Dreaming of all the ways you would spend a sudden windfall. The lottery is this amazing chance to live on easy street for the millions that play it every week. It’s literally a ticket to a better life. Where else but the Powerball lottery can you invest $2 and turn it into $1.3 billion dollars overnight?
When you come forward, your name is public in most states. I hope you enjoy being a very popular third cousin once removed to everyone and their brother. And hey, if you do win, can I borrow some money because I’ve got a really great business idea and I’m willing to let you in as a partner on the ground floor? I’ll pay you back, I promise.
September is over and left us a little poorer but in overall great financial shape. Our net worth dropped by $36,000 in spite of $8,225 in income for the month and a meager $927 in expenses.
The older kids are back in school and we’re settling into the school year routine. I’m back to my normal weekly early retirement schedule. We returned home from our 7 week vacation in Mexico two months ago. Mrs. Root of Good had some excitement this month when she submitted her resignation letter to join me in early retirement. Instead of quitting outright, she’s now working from home four days per week with full time pay. Pretty sweet deal!
In the past year, the Root of Good family went on two cruises in the Caribbean. I wrote about the first cruise in my September 2014 financial update, and a few people wanted to learn more about cruises.
I think cruising gets unfairly painted with a broad brush. My advice is to discard any preconceived notions you have about cruising such as “it’s for old people”, “it’s boring”, “I don’t want to be stuck on a ship with 3,000 other people”, or “no thanks, not interested in plastic wrapped vacations”.
Just think of a cruise as a floating resort hotel with free food and free transportation to a few sunny and sandy destinations. With free entertainment for kids and adults, 360 degree oceanfront views, and maybe some sea spray if it’s windy.
She did it. She finally did it! On September 1st Mrs. Root of Good formally resigned from her job.
After composing the resignation email at home the previous weekend, she lingered in anguish at her desk on the morning of September 1st with her mouse hovering over the send button. She was very nervous when it came time to email the official resignation letter to her bosses. Was it the right choice? Was it the right time? Will she regret the decision later?
SEND. If not now, when?
It is done.
But there is more to the story of course!
Wow, two years into early retirement. What have I accomplished? Everything and nothing.
When I entered early retirement by ditching the working world, I was still focused on keeping busy. Productivity, accountability, setting goals. All stuff you have to do when you’re on an annual performance review cycle. I shared my early retirement to do list in my “First Month of Early Retirement” post almost two years ago.
As Mrs. Root of Good’s retirement date comes closer, we have to revisit the question of whether we should get rid of one of our cars and become a single vehicle family.
First, let’s ponder the significance of the auto. Cars are an oxymoron. They are an incredibly convenient way to travel from point A to point B very quickly. However, owning and maintaining a car isn’t convenient at all. I’m approaching the question of whether we should drop to one car from this vantage point: convenience versus inconvenience and cost.