One of the questions we sometimes get from the very few people we talk to in person about financial independence is what we plan to do when we retire early. I think this is a very important and valid question that needs to be thought about carefully. It is not just about hitting a number and then pulling the plug on mandatory work. There has to be a larger set of goals driven by what you truly value as important in your life, and not simply “I am going to hit my number then quit my job”. I have read too many stories of people who retire early, or even those who retire later in life that have no idea what to do with their sudden freedom from working a consistent job. Some end up going back to work while others might feel lost with what to do during the huge increase in free time. Our drive toward financial independence is not driven by a dislike or hatred of our jobs. In fact we both have more flexibility in our careers than most people, and we both feel like we are doing work that is important and provides a significant amount of fulfillment. I have stated in a couple of posts that I plan to leave academia shortly after reaching financial independence, but there are circumstances that would keep in the job longer if I was given more latitude to cut out the parts that are draining and detract from the real work I want to accomplish through. I just want to be upfront that given the right circumstances, both of us may work a few additional years completely on our terms after reaching financial independence (a work optional life). So with that important note here are our primary plans for what freedom and retirement look like…[Read more…] about Project End-goals
Spending on what you Value
When I first wanted to start talking about the idea of financial independence with my wife I was hesitant because I thought she would think the idea was a little bit crazy or unattainable. I worried that if I took the wrong approach she would be turned off to the idea especially if she perceived it as simply involving not spending money on anything and living as cheaply as possible. So I decided to give her a book, Your Money or Your Life, and asked her to read it and then see what she thought of the idea from that perspective. It turns out that the approach the book takes resonated with her especially when it comes to thinking about the value of what you choose to spend money on versus how much of your life you spend to acquire or do something that costs money. In fact I think the book was one of the reasons she started to think about all the costs associated with working at her former job and this helped her to pull the plug on that and start working for herself. One of the key points presented in the book is not to deprive yourself of everything by spending as little as possible, but only spending money on what you truly value. We like that approach because everyone has different things they value and that means that everyone’s plan is a little bit different; you simply cut out spending that does not really give you value. When we started to consider what we value we found it was not items, but rather experiences.[Read more…] about Spending on what you Value
The Family Meeting
When my wife and I first got married we fell into the trap of “what’s for dinner tonight?” and “do we have enough money for this item?”, or “what are we doing this weekend/today/tonight?”. We would have these conversations everyday, at random times, or worse never make time for them at all. We were finding that operating as a family with a newly combined budget, calendar, and goals was more complex than when we were just two individuals. To address this, we started having weekly family meetings. We designed these meetings to be an opportunity to discuss our family business in a more structured and efficient way.