If you are reading this you are probably interested in retiring early. If all goes according to plan, we should be able to retire by the time we are 52. That’s a bit late for some of you in the FIRE community. We could probably retire earlier than that, but I’m pretty conservative when it comes to money. We want to be financially independent and retire early so that we can follow our core pursuits.
Given that the average life expectancy in the USA is 78.8 years (according to the CDC), that’s a good amount of time to find something to do – and we expect to be above average 🙂 So we are counting on at least 30 years of needing something to do with our lives. Do you have a purpose for your early retirement?
Having a Plan and Purpose During Retirement
Author Wes Moss covers this topic well in his book You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think. He mentions how it’s important to know what you want and need your retirement money for. Having core pursuits and a purpose is key for your retirement years.
Some folks at my work have returned back to work after retiring. Some of them mentioned that they didn’t have anything to do once they retired. I surely don’t want my life to be defined by my employment.
Top Ten List
In the spirit of David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists, below is the Need2Save Top Ten List for what we are looking forward to during retirement.
Like many retirees, we are really looking forward to significant travel during retirement. We’ve done a respectable amount of travel already (e.g. Cancun for our honeymoon, England for our 10th anniversary, Aruba to celebrate our 40th birthday, Pacific NorthWest for our 20th anniversary, a great family trip to Arizona, Nevada, and California, etc.), but there is always that rush to get in as much as possible during the one or two week vacation. We want to take our time in a location and get a true feel for the area.
Some areas for international travel we want to visit include a full European tour, parts of Asia (for some reason I’ve always wanted to visit Tokyo), South Africa (and let’s throw in a safari while we are in Africa), Australia, New Zealand, South America, … pretty much everywhere!
On the domestic front, we are planning a cross-country RV trip that would likely take at least a solid year. No rushing and a flexible agenda – modern day explorers. Given that we have been Marylanders our entire lives, we plan on using this RV trip to help determine where we will eventually ‘settle down’. And since we can’t take the RV to Hawaii, that will need to be a separate trip!
2. Family and Friends
Simple truth – we don’t spend as much time as we should with our family and friends. Our parents are getting older and are starting to have health problems. By retiring early, we will be able to help our parents as they need more of our help. No need to worry about juggling a work schedule and spending quality time with them.
We have good friends that we haven’t seen in a year or more. Even though are friends will likely still be working once we are retired, we will have the ability to stop by to see them when it’s convenient for them. With more time on our hands, I’m sure we will make new friends as well. Who knows, maybe we will even make it to FinCon eventually.
This is an area we should be more active in, even though we are working full-time jobs. Given that I’m a math and science nerd, I would like to be involved in K-12 mentoring and show how math and science are applied in everyday life. Both Mrs. Need2Save and I are fairly handy in home improvement projects, so I’m sure Habitat for Humanity or similar organizations could use our help. Since we’ve both had careers in corporate America, we could help out with workforce readiness programs. Throw in helping out with local soup kitchens, women’s shelters, local churches, community groups, running clubs, etc. and the opportunities (and need) are endless.
As you may have read in my bio, I have a bit of a running addiction. If I’m going to beat that average life expectancy that I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I need to continue regular exercise. Being a runner, one goal I have is to run at least a half-marathon in every state. I’d prefer to run a marathon in every state, but that may be asking a bit much given my current age. I’ll definitely be training for and running marathons when I retire.
I’ve also dabbled a bit in triathlons. It’s a lofty goal, but I would love to complete an Ironman triathlon. I want to hear Mike Reilly say, “You are an Ironman!” as I cross the finish line. I get pumped up watching Ironman videos on YouTube.
Throw in some tennis and an occasional round of golf (I really need to get lessons so I don’t embarrass myself), and I should be pretty active.
5. Learning Languages
Nous allons à la plage is about all I remember from my 7th-grade French class over 30 years ago. We would like to get back to basic conversational French.
Regardless of a wall being built or not, there is a sizeable portion of the United States population whose native language is Spanish. I would like to become proficient in written and spoken Spanish. Not to mention it will help in our travels to Central and South America.
German? For some reason, I’ve always wanted to learn German. I’m going to dedicate time in retirement to finally learn German.
Any recommendations on another language to learn? I’d like to stick with the Latin-based languages, so something like Mandarin Chinese is probably off the table.
Growing up I hated reading. I loathed book reports and Shakespeare. I’m still not a Shakespeare fan, but I’ve grown to appreciate reading. I prefer reading non-fiction and Mrs. Need2Save prefers fiction. Given our FIRE interests, most of my recent reading material focuses on investing, retirement planning, real estate, and personal growth.
I imagine during retirement that I’ll continue to gravitate towards non-fiction. There are lots of biographies on my wish list, but I would like to give fiction more of a chance. Read the classics, science fiction, thrillers… heck, I may even give poetry a spin.
Who doesn’t love music? I particularly enjoy live music. After every concert I go to, I think to myself – I should go out to more concerts. The problem is many concerts are during the week and downtown in DC or up in Baltimore. I guess I’m getting old and the late night followed by work in the morning discourages me from going. When I’m retired, no more excuses!
I’d also like to learn how to play the guitar and the piano. I’ve tried learning a few chords on the guitar but end up giving up too quickly. Hopefully when I’m not working I’ll dedicate more time. How about Music Mondays?
I think I’ve mentioned on other blogs (e.g. Slowly Sipping Coffee) that I have a romantic notion of teaching math or computer science at a local community college. I think I would be a good teacher and will enjoy helping people ‘get’ math and show them how powerful the computer science field is.
This also ties into the Volunteering (#3) and Part Time Work (#10) objectives. Not too mention the possible benefits of teaching at a community college – free access to the pool and gym? Free or discounted language classes? Guitar class?
Before I got the running bug, I used to do a lot of woodworking. As my weekends became more consumed with running, my woodworking hobby died off. I really enjoyed the creativity and challenge of woodworking. What I didn’t enjoy was always feeling rushed to get projects done. When I’m retired, the time will be there to spend on this hobby.
I’d also like to try out some other hobbies. I’ve been interested in home brewing for a long time… just haven’t found the time to get started.
10. Part Time Work
What? Work? Why would you do that in retirement? I actually don’t mind working per se, I would just rather do it on my terms without any long term commitments. If you are financially independent and don’t need to work, then you can choose work that truly interests you. Not to mention it wouldn’t be a bad thing to get some side income. Being a software engineer, I definitely see some freelance and short term consulting possibilities. Given Mrs. Need2Save’s expertise and experience in employee benefits, I’m sure some startups could use her help getting their employee benefits packages off the ground.
I think we have a defined vision for what we want our retirement to look like. This list doesn’t even encompass all of our interests and things will likely change over time. The key to being able to tackle all these things is being financially independent, so we have the time to pursue all of these interests. I certainly don’t envision us being like some of our work colleagues who return to work because they don’t have anything to do with their time. Looking back over the list, maybe we need to aim for a lower retirement age!
Do you have a plan for your early retirement? Do you have any suggestions for us?