Up until around late 2015 I think we’d been pretty much following the regular path of most middle class people on the way to the supposed American Dream. We were both working at moderately demanding jobs, several cars, vacations in the Caribbean (eventually owning a condo there); but to achieve this we were working different schedules and hardly saw each other. We were fairly dissatisfied with the way our lives were shaping, and we started to question whether we were on the right path. The end goal was retirement, but we were having a hard time figuring out what that meant for us, and over the years we’d taken some serious turns and reversals.
We began looking at alternatives, especially around the ideas of downsizing our lives and getting off the daily treadmill. We wanted to be retired, although we still weren’t sure what that really looked like and whether we had enough saved to make it happen. We began to get an idea of what we wanted, and eventually we came across information that fleshed out and supported our ideas. First were the books by Ernie Zelinski, The Joy Of Not Working, and How To Retire Happy WildAnd Free. Then my friend Chris Brooks happened to link to blogs by Mr Money Mustache and Mad Fientist, which led me to information about safe withdrawal rates, Trinity Study, and other hard information. I learned about FIRE (although at 58 I’m not particularly young) and how you could make that happen.
We had a bit of a problem with getting our financial adviser on board as, like most in the industry, she was focused on that ‘work until 70, get a big pile of money, hope you live long enough to enjoy it’ viewpoint. We wanted to focus on our lifestyle, and figure out what we needed to support that. Eventually she understood where we were coming from, and was fully on board with making that happen for us.
And so it was that in September 2016 I quit my job of 15 years and approached retirement, somewhat nervously but full of hope. How did that turn out? Well, that will be the subject of a later post.