This post is in response to a call to bloggers to describe what their “next life” will be like after they retire (early) into the sunset or reach financial independence. A couple of really good blogs (Think Save Retire and Our Next Life) have been talking about it and asking others to join into the discussion. I thought it was a great exercise and high time I joined in, even if a little late.
Since it is a topic I’ve thought about a lot over the last few years, it didn’t take much to get me to write about it. I’ve been planning on retiring (as I define retirement) in the next couple years, so naturally it was a topic on my mind a lot. The funny thing about life is that it sometimes changes; ok it almost always changes, and for a natural born planner like me, that can be a bit unnerving. As I’ve already blogged about, I’ve actually taken the opportunity to start my “next life” about two months ago, so this is a very fresh topic.
The biggest change about my “next life” involved quitting my job and deciding to pursue some other ventures, all while focusing on having more time to spend with our son and keeping schedule flexibility at the center of whatever I decide to do. Of course another huge part of my “next life” involves a move across the country to a state where we never would have imagined we’d live…ever! It was brought about by a great opportunity my wife had to take a position with another company, hence the move.
We would have never considered a move across the country with both of us trying to move up at our current employers. Something had to give, and I was perfectly content to pull away from my past work/career to let her continue to elevate hers. I’m biased of course, but she’s really great in her career field and with me “re-inventing” myself a couple times over the last 20 years, I didn’t have near the experience in my field that she did, so it made a lot of sense for her to keep elevating.
My plan was to start doing my next pursuits right after I quit my job, but the funny thing is that it just hasn’t happened that way. We took an epic trip right after I quit, and then I spent a few weeks doing some fun stuff with our son since he was still on summer break from school. Then, right as his school was getting back into session we had to fly to Ohio and look for homes to get that process started and we also started the process of selling our current home in Texas. The fortunate thing is that we had a great relocation package from my wife’s company, but it still requires a lot of attention to deal with all the facets and logistics involved with these two transactions. It’s no secret that my wife is not a lover of details and it’s equally no secret that I love details and logistics, so this transition time has worked out great. I’ve got time to spend dealing with all the details of the home purchase and home sale and can deal with the regular meetings, calls, and paperwork. She can just focus on her new job.
So what does a typical day look life in my current “next life”? I still wake up fairly early since I’m a morning person by nature, which allows me time to check the computer for emails, read a little news, and basically get a jump on any computer-related tasks for the day. After a good breakfast, I drive my son to school, come home and usually go for a 2-3 hour bike ride. I’m addicted to cycling and fortunately I’ve been able to get plenty of that in the mornings and still have time after lunch to deal with all the details of moving.
What will my “next life” look like when we move to Ohio? I’m not sure, but I hope to still have time to spend with our son and be available for any places he might need to go or things he may need to do related to school or other activities (think stay-at-home Dad stuff). Then I’ll be doing several projects on our house we’re purchasing in Ohio to get it just the way we like it, which will also include a good amount of unpacking and organizing. After that is all done and we are settled in, I plan to still keep up a daily exercise regimen and then use my other hours in the day to continue to pursue some ventures that I’ve been thinking of for quite some time.
When I decided to quit my salaried job and go it alone, I felt pretty confident I’d give a couple things a go. Now after just two months into my “next life”, I’m probably a bit less adamant about what I’m going to be doing. I’m still confident that I’m not going to just sit around the house all day when our son is at school. But what I choose to do with my time is perhaps a bit blurry now. Naturally a lot of that has to do with the fact that we are leaving or home, friends, and family and moving across the country to a state where we know nobody.
I’m also totally open to other opportunities that come my way which might not have been exactly what I had planned for. I still love personal finance and helping people with all the facets of it, so I still hope to include that as part of my next life, but there may be some other things peppered in there as well. Not to get all philosophical, but I’m really still trying to find my next meaningful pursuit. I want to have purpose and intention, but I’m also not so dogmatic in my beliefs at this point that it can only be one way. I may not even do anything for compensation. Maybe there is some volunteering I can do that is incredibly meaningful and fits in with the schedule. I don’t necessarily have to have additional income, but it would be nice and further our goals to allow my wife to retire even sooner, but most of all I’m seeking to engage in something that I’m passionate about the helps me get up in the morning and look forward to the day.
Even with our income dropping substantially, and an upcoming move across country, my wife and I feel like a weight has lifted from us. How does that sound possible when she is still working full time? Well, she used to be the one that would try and modify her schedule to accommodate our son. Problem solved, I’m totally available to do that and she can focus on her full-time work pursuits. While this may not sound like the “early retirement” of others in the early retirement/financial independence circles because one of us is still working, it absolutely is for us. We feel incredibly free. Are we fully financially independent? Not quite, but we are really far along and my wife will not have to work into the years that our culture thinks you should work until you retire.
And now that I’ve quite full-time employment and there is considerably less money flowing to the bank account each month I’m ramping up my frugality even more. I guess something subconscious has been triggered in my brain. Since I know we have less money coming in, I’m trying to clamp down and minimize the money going out. I’ve already been pretty frugal, and honestly I haven’t done anything super drastic yet, but the concept is definitely at the forefront of my mind when considering a purchase or on the decisions we are making in our move to Ohio. I’m thinking this should be a reasonably good trait to continue (as long as I don’t drive my wife crazy)!
So let’s keep the dialogue going. What do you dream about doing in your “next life” when the sun sets on your current life? What will your days look like and what will you do with the additional time you will have available to you? Allow yourself to dream. And if you like the dreams your mind comes up with, make some plans to achieve your “next life” as soon as possible.