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I left my management job in IT at the end of 2018 at the age of 43. The goal was to reach early retirement with my family so we could live a life of freedom and adventure… and now we’re homeless.
This might sound unexpected, but here’s the thing – that was exactly the plan. Being homeless is something we’ve been working toward for a long time now.
For those of you familiar with our path, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But for my new readers, you might be a cringing a little bit.
No need to fear though, we’re not homeless in the sense of sleeping on the streets. We’ve just decided to spend about a month and a half without a place of our own.
After six months of early retirement, I thought this would be a great opportunity to fill you in on how this transition has gone. Additionally, I’ll get you up-to-speed on where we’re at and what’s in store for us.
Adjustment to early retirement
Having the freedom to choose what to do with your time – that’s generally the idealistic vision of early retirement.
And I can’t argue that. Eliminating a 9-5 job from your life opens up a lot more of your day.
However, it was quite an adjustment for me over the first couple of months. I’m a man of structure and I struggled to find my place for a while when I left my job.
It wasn’t that I had too much time on my hands, but rather I felt like I didn’t have enough. It took me a while to realize what was going on, but I can clearly see it in hindsight.
I had so many things I had built up in my mental “things to do when I get the time” list. For some reason, I just anticipated that I’d get quickly them all knocked out as soon as I left my job… yeah, not so much. Unfortunately, we each only get 24 hours in each day whether we have a 9-5 job or not.
I actually struggled to get a full night’s sleep for weeks because I had too much on my mind. I couldn’t figure out how to get everything done or just to get a little bit of balance in things.
Rock and roll – the early retirement rhythm!
But after a couple of months into early retirement, I started to find a rhythm and things are rolling so much smoother now. I’m spending a ton of time with my wife and daughter, having loads of fun, and I’ve been able to make a little progress on my favorite project – this blog!
And then there’s working out. I ain’t gonna lie… I hate it, but I still do it. It’s the right thing to do and now I have the time for it. I really love going on our walks every day when the weather’s good, but I don’t look forward to the rest of the workout when I get back.
But the results are looking pretty good. I’m not quite to the level of Terry Crews, but I’m noticing that I’m getting in much better shape than I’ve ever been.
One of the interesting changes is in regards to sleep. I figured I’d get enough sleep once I retired and I was right… just not in the way I thought it would be.
I still have plenty of nights where I can’t clear my mind and fall asleep at “bedtime.” I’m guessing that’s because there’s been so much on my mind with every detail of the impending move to Panama.
But here’s the thing, if I can’t fall asleep, I stay up later and maybe read some more. If I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, it doesn’t matter – I just sleep in a little later. I’m still getting enough sleep, it’s just that the hours slide around a little bit.
Here’s the beautiful thing – it doesn’t matter. I don’t have a 9-5 getting in the way to interrupt my sleep. I’m still getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep every night and that’s a great thing for the body and mind. I’m someone who doesn’t function well on much less so this change has been wonderful for me.
Making Panama the next adventure
When we set out on the path to financial independence years ago, I couldn’t get there fast enough. And initially, we planned to leverage a lower cost of living in a place like Panama to reach FI even sooner.
Then my wife, Lisa, brought up what should have been an obvious point… “What if we don’t like it there? You’d be forced to go back to work if we wanted to come back to the U.S.”
Ouch. Good point – that would suck. So I worked a few more years to save up enough that we could afford living here in the U.S.
But… I still had this desire to move to Panama. Not only would this be an awesome adventure, but the low cost of living would still stretch out each dollar even further.
We discussed it and decided as a family we’d make it happen. So, on August 21, 2019, we’re flying to Panama with just two suitcases each. Crazy, but exciting!
It got complicated…
Then things got more complex. When we first thought about the move to Panama, we just thought about packing up and leaving. That wasn’t the case at all. We’ve been busier than ever trying to get ready to go… so many things to do!
Things have been crazy busy (such a retiree thing to say!), but that’s because we’ve been spending a lot of our time getting rid of most of the things we own. We sold our house last October and downsized into an apartment. Now we’ve eliminated most of our belongings and moved out of the apartment.
Fortunately, the hard part is over, but here’s a sneak peek at what our apartment looked like just last week while we were still living there…
You may have noticed that the beds were in the living room. Ok, what was left of the beds were in the living room. We made a weird deal with Faith to put our mattresses together for the last week in the apartment. Kind of odd, but she loved it so that’s what matters, right?
So, except for our suitcases, the only crap we now have left is what’s in our 10’x10′ storage unit…
We’ve now got everything done that we needed to here in Ohio for the most part. The next step is making Texas our state of domicile, but we won’t get there until the very end of July so we get a little bit of a break.
Too much beer and bar food will kill you
The health kick started out strong when I left my job, but we’ve hit a bit of a snag over the last month and a half. I call it a snag because it’s only temporary.
The issue is that everyone wants to say goodbye to us before we head out to Panama. This is a good problem to have, of course, but it’s also caused us to spend a lot of evenings heading out to meet friends and family.
A lot of those evenings revolved around bars, beer, and bar food. And those ingredients tend to put a kink in a good night’s sleep as well.
I would have thought that Panama would have been our party-time, but I think we’re actually in the middle of it right now. I now think that when we’re in Panama, our days will be us together as a family and our days of drinking and eating bar food will drop dramatically.
It’s been fun seeing everyone and pretending that I’m in my twenties again, but it’s taking its toll and I can’t wait until things calm down with our move. Not only will the vices be a lot less prominent, but we’ll also have more time to just be outside enjoying the beautiful weather and landscapes Panama has to offer. That means more exercise to add to the healthy living formula!
We’ve just entered the realm of even MORE freedom
Early retirement’s been busy for us. We’ve spent a lot of our time preparing to get to the point of owning little and being able to float around as we want.
But we’re there.
Now that we’re homeless, life has just become very free. The hard work is behind us and it’s time to have even more fun than we’ve been having over these past six months (hard to imagine!).
We’re now starting our July adventure which should be wonderful. On top of all the fun places and activities we’ve got planned, I’m also planning on meeting the infamous Mr. Tako. He’s enjoying his early retirement as well and our paths will briefly cross in Texas at the same time.
Then we’ll spend a few weeks living in Texas with my brother and sister-in-law while we establish that as our state of domicile. It’ll be fantastic to be able to spend so much time with them – maybe I can even convince him to cook up a delicious brisket he’s known for on his Big Green Egg grill while we’re there!
After a few weeks there, we’re off! We fly out to Panama on 8/21/19 to start an even bigger adventure!
We’ll then have a place we can call home for a short bit. We rented a house through HomeAway in Boquete, Panama for a month until we have a chance to find a long-term rental we want.
So maybe we’re homeless now, but that’s the best thing that could be happening for us! It seems like the countdown’s been going on forever, but we’re officially free and ready to start this next chapter in life!
Becoming homeless might not be the early retirement start that everyone envisions, but we’re excited! What’s your early retirement dream?
Thanks for reading!!