What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree

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What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree

So, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about for my first post as a new retiree.  I have all these things on my mind, but I’ve been struggling to figure out just the right topic.

And that’s when it hit me… why not just talk about some of the random thoughts that have been floating around my head this week?

Maybe some of what’s going on in this noggin of mine could be helpful for the next guy or gal planning an early retirement.

One of those thoughts is that even though you may already know it, the transition from working a 9-5 full-time job to not working is impactful in your life.

You’d think that you just quit working and you’re done.  Well, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s that easy.  Hopefully, you already have some hobbies or projects that can retire to instead of just sitting on your butt with nothing to do.

But either way, there’s a little bit of a learning curve for a new retiree.  You’re going from a job that’s been occupying a very large portion of your time 5 days a week for years (almost 20 in my case) to having all that time every day presented to you on a silver platter.

It’s different.  Good different for sure, but still different.

Holy @#$% – this is actually real!

It’s late into the evening on Sunday as I’m writing this.  Normally, I’d be asleep by now after dreading the Monday morning to come.

I’d then wake up at 6 am, get ready for work, and then lay next to my daughter for a few minutes.  At 7 am, I’d wake her and head off to the work until 5 pm… day after day after day after… yeah, you get it.  And I’m sure a lot of you can relate to that monotony.

But it’s obviously different tonight… no need to wake up at 6 am to get ready for work tomorrow.

I’ll still be getting up early, but only because Mrs. R2R is going to bring our daughter into bed next to me at 7 am.  But I don’t have to rush off either.  I’ll lay with her and watch a show on TV with her until she gets up and gets ready for school.

Even though we’ve planned for this for a while, it’s still like a bit of a dream right now.  However, it’s a dream I’m guessing I’ll get used to real quick!

A jam-packed week

What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree - A jam-packed week
That’s right – a beer during lunch at the Winking Lizard in the middle of what most folks would call the work week. I think I won’t have a problem getting used to this early retirement stuff!

It’s important to understand that I’m not completely feeling like a new retiree yet.  I’ve only been away from work for about a week, so it actually seems more like a stay-cation than anything.

On top of that, it’s a week that’s been a little unusual.  My daughter’s been off of school for Christmas break (what do they get, like 8 weeks off?!) and we’re just done wrapping up the busy holidays.

Additionally, my brother and sister-in-law were in town and stayed with us until New Year’s Eve (my last day of work).  And when my brother comes into town, he takes advantage of the time to see everyone… and I do feel like it’s everyone in the area.

It was a blast and always is, but by the time they left, we were all whupped.

I decided that with the remainder of the week, I wasn’t going to get rolling on my new planned schedule yet.  I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with my daughter.  After all, she’s my biggest catalyst for early retirement to begin with!

And spend time together, we all did!  Here are just a few of the fun things we did:

  • Played Mario Kart on the Wii (yeah, I’m talking about the old-school Wii!)
  • Went to the zoo and rainforest
  • Played billiards in the apartment complex clubhouse (that girl’s becoming quite the pool shark!)
  • Watched way too many movies together
  • Had a great New Year’s Eve with my cousin, his girlfriend, and their kids

Then to push it one step further, we also took on Yes Day.  If you’re not familiar, Yes Day! is a book where whatever the kid asks for, the answer is a “yes” from the parents.

It’s a cute idea and something we put in place with our daughter for the past few Christmases.  She gets a certificate to do a Yes Day… with an asterisk that we can veto her request if it’s out-of-hand.

So we also knocked that out and it was a jam-packed day…

  • Candy for breakfast (yum?)
  • Saw Ralph Breaks the Internet at the movies (cool, but long for a kids’ movie!)
  • Visit to Five Below (we gave her $5 to spend)
  • Lunch at the Winking Lizard (Faith’s favorite restaurant)
  • Played games at Dave & Buster’s (that’s like a Chuck E. Cheese except… well, good!)
  • Ordered pizza and watched a movie at home

One benefit I realized as a new retiree was that we were able to do this on a Thursday while most folks were at work.  That meant there were only a few people in the theater for the matinee and the normally-busy restaurant was pretty quiet.  Big fan of that!

What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree - A jam-packed week
It was pretty cool to wake up with my daughter sleeping next to me and not have to rush to get up out of bed!

With all this fun we’ve been having over the past couple of weeks, we were all just beat down.  In fact, one night, my daughter slept for 12 hours!!  As crazy as it was, I slept for 11 hours that same night!

Besides that one night, we’ve all been sleeping at least 8 or 9 hours every night.  It’s been both strange and wonderful at the same time.

So, regardless, this wasn’t a week that you could really call normal by any means.

But, by the time you’re reading this, my daughter will be back in school.  That will give me the opportunity to try to find the right schedule for myself.

A brief moment of panic

After all the dust settled from the hustle-bustle of the holidays and my brother and sister-in-law being in town, Mrs. R2R’s parents wanted to spend some time with Faith (they always do!).  They kept her overnight and that gave Mrs. R2R and I an evening to ourselves.

One of the things we did was look over our expenses for 2018.  Yes, I know that’s boring, but I said it was just one of the things we did that evening!

Anyway, I pulled up some reports in Quicken (yeah, I still haven’t managed to get off of that!) for us to review.  We then decided to project some numbers for 2019 and 2020.

The struggle we have is that, although we’re very excited about the move to Panama, we really don’t know exactly what our expenses are going to look like there.  We know it’s going to be a lot cheaper than here, but the specifics are all just guesstimates based on research and talking to other people.

Actually, when I recently talked to Jackie from the Panama Relocation Tours, she felt we could live way more than comfortably on $3k/month.  She actually lives in Boquete where we’re planning on moving and knows more about that country than probably even some of the politicians.

That amount of money is less than we’re planning on having at our fingertips, so that’s comforting to hear.  As a side note, if you’re ever considering the idea of moving to Panama, you absolutely want to be a part of one of her tours – it’s designed specifically for that purpose.  You can visit all the smart places to consider living, learn all the ins and outs of the country, and get all your questions answered.

Regardless, as a new retiree, it’s not easy to change your actions from saving to spending.

You’ve spent your life doing almost exactly the opposite and now everything changes on a dime.

We’ve had multiple financial advisors give us the thumbs up on our plan (including my favorite, Dave from Remote Financial Planner).

We know we’re in good shape and have planned on this for years, but it’s still scary as shit!  What if we underestimated our expenses?  We could really be up a creek!

And that was our thinking during our evening of going through everything.

But the more we discussed it, the more our doubts started to dissipate.  I’m sure we both have a little bit of disbelief overall even though the numbers say otherwise, but talking about it helped.

In addition, we purposely didn’t consider other income we’ll surely bring in from projects that we dig into over the years.  Things I want to do like continue blogging, write more books, etc. can only give the numbers even more breathing room.

Overall, the moment of panic subsided.   Since we’re still new to this early retirement, I can’t tell you if that’ll creep up again down the line, but if it does, you’ll be the first to know!

Getting used to extra time as a new retiree

It’s still early, but one of the biggest things I can already see as a possible double-edged sword is the extra time on my hands.

As I mentioned, this first week’s a little different than I envision my normal early retiree life.  However, I already noticed myself pushing some things back… oh that’s right, I’m retired – I’ll do my laundry tomorrow instead of today.”

I know that sounds silly, but that’s not my normal mentality.  I can see how laziness could become an enemy of any retiree.  You’re now in charge of your own schedule.  It would be easy to just sit on your @#$ all day, watch movies and TV for hours of the day, and just rot away.

In all fairness, wasting a little bit of time was part of my “new retiree” plans.  After all, we worked hard to get to this point, so I wanted to just take a break and relax for a week or so.

The problem is that I have a tough time sitting still for long.  I’m a Type A personality and generally feel like I need to be getting something accomplished… like all the time.  If not, my mind tends to wander onto stuff I think needs to get done and I start to get antsy.

It’s too early to tell, but I’m going to guess that I won’t need to squeeze getting things done into my day as much – I’ve just gained a crap-load of time.

It’ll definitely take me a little bit to get a regular routine going, but I’ll have to realize that I can afford to space my task list out a little more.  I now have a little more time to stop and smell the roses and that’s one of the huge benefits of FIRE.

Plans for the next month or so

Get in shape… for real this time!

First and foremost, the holidays are over and I no longer have “lack of time” as an excuse… it’s time to get off my @#$ and get back to exercising.  I hate exercise (I really do!)… but I know I need to get back on the horse.

I was happy with my routine last year, but with all the changes going on as we were selling the house and moving to the apartment, I ran out of time.  And eventually, I just stopped completely.

What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree - Plans for the next month or so
Haha, I saw this photo out there and had to include it. Maybe we can pretend that’s me and consider that my “before” picture?

The focus this time around will still be to take it one step at a time, but now I have a partner in the game.  Mrs. R2R and I plan to do this together and give each other some motivation.

Every day after Faith goes to school, we’ll head over to the exercise room in the complex to get rolling.  Fingers crossed, but I think this will be more of a lifestyle change for us than anything so I’m hoping we’ll be good over the long haul.

Additionally, I just talked to my buddy that I did my backpacking trip with in 2017 and we’re going to make that happen this year before we move to Panama.  That means I have an added incentive to get back in shape so I don’t, ya know, die while hiking.

Route to Retire site makeover

I’ve discussed how I plan to work on my site once I was done with the 9-5 and that’s definitely high on the list.  In fact, that’s going to be my big focus this month.

I want to find a new theme for the site, which, unfortunately, means a lot of tweaking to get everything working right.  I’ll be working with my cousin to develop an actual logo for the site.  I also want to update a lot of pages that have grown stale over the years.  The list of changes goes on and on.

If I get to it, I also need to optimize some of what I do with Route to Retire’s Pinterest involvement.  I’m no expert and I definitely don’t pay enough attention to it, but I’m still averaging over 7,000 views a month.  Imagine if I put some effort into it!

FIRE & Geoarbitrage – Event for ChooseFI Northeast Ohio

I met Deanna from Ms. Fiology at a get-together with other FIRE folks earlier this year.  She’s become a good friend who also lives in the Cleveland area.

She’s too nice though (dammit, Deanna!) and she somehow convinced me to do a talk with the local ChooseFI local chapter here.  I’ll be talking about FIRE and geoarbitrage and our plans to move to Panama.

I’m excited to do it as I’m sure it’ll be fun, but hell, I really don’t know anyone who loves public speaking!

Regardless, if you’re up near the Cleveland area, we’d love to have you come.  The event is on 1/27/19 at 3 pm at the Independence branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.  If you’re part of the ChooseFI Northeast Ohio group on Facebook, this link should work for you and give you more info.

Marriage, Kids, and Money podcast

I announced my last day of work on the Rockstar Finance forums on New Year’s Eve.  I then took advantage of an opportunity to try to score a podcast appearance on Andy Hill’s Marriage, Kids, and Money show against the better judgment of ESI…

What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree - Plans for the next few weeks

The good news is that Andy still entertained the idea of having me on the show…

What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree - Plans for the next few weeks

As a side note, John at ESI and I spend our time busting each other’s chops, so don’t think that this was just some guy being a jerk.  He is a jerk, but only I get to say that… well, and probably his family as well!  Ok, probably most of his friends, too. 😉

Anyway, I’ve since talked to Andy and plan on being on his show in February.  I’ll be sure to put out a quick post on it once the appearance goes live.

What’s Up Next podcast

Well, there you go.  As I’ve been typing, I just got invited by Doc G to be on the What’s Up Next podcast that he does with Paul Thompson.

I won’t give too much away, but I’ll be on a panel with a couple of other guests talking about passive income.

That’ll be at the beginning of February… looking forward to it!  And, of course, I’ll let you know once that goes live as well.

So that’s about it.  I have a lot of things I want to get started on, but I don’t want to try to make things happen all at once either.  It’s time to realize that I should enjoy life and not treat it so much like a task list.

Even though I’m excited, I need to pace myself… and now I have the time to do just that.

What I’m most excited about though is that with my new schedule, I can work on everything I want to during the daytime.  That’ll leave my evenings free to be with my daughter when she gets out of school and Mrs. R2R.

And probably the most important topic is that I’m rocking a good start to a beard. I’m not going to keep it too long (maybe another week or so), but why not? In fact, every new retiree should grow a beard right after leaving their job… unless you’re female.  Well, I guess I shouldn’t judge… grow one if you want regardless of your sex – more power to you!

Have a great week and thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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28 thoughts on “What Did We Just Do?!! Thoughts from a New Retiree”

  1. Hi Jim,

    I can understand your feeling on this lifestyle. This is in particular in respect of the feeling on Sunday night in which one dread working on the start of the workweek.

    I currently have it. The dread feeling of working from 8.30am to 11pm every workday per week is demoralising. This makes me more resolved and determined in making the “long awaited” decision. The thing which hold me back, is whether I have sufficient muscle to last me till the rest of my life without the full-time employment.


    1. I don’t know you well enough to talk about your particular situation, WTK. However, in my situation I know I’ll be able to get a rhythm figured out… it’s just going to be a big change. To me, I’d rather have a month or so of adjustment to enjoy the freedom that FIRE provides than to be a drone for the next couple of decades. That may not be the answer for you or anyone else, but to me it’s worth it.

      Good luck on reaching a decision, WTK!

      — Jim

  2. I’m one week short of having been retired for three years. Today started like every Tuesday has for at least twenty years, with an exhausting 5 AM five mile run with my wife and some friends. Some patterns are worth keeping. I’ve also kept a day or two of work each week, consulting, and added non-monetized blogging purely for fun. I kept the charity work I was doing before and do it better now with additional time. So today is running, a strategic planning meeting for a foundation I chair and then bass fishing with my wife. Is it better than my old life running a chemical complex, you bet it is! You are going to love your new life!

  3. I’m only half retired but the shock is real, and over a year later I sometimes still think “It’s 11:00 AM on a Tuesday, I’m not at work, I think I’ll go for a bike ride – life is good!”. Enjoy it, but don’t try to do too much. Just go with your whims for now. Things will fall into place.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think I do that often enough. It’s good to know what’s actually on other bloggers’ minds considering we really do tend to relate to each other over time. Plus, it helps each of us grow when we can relate on a more personal note.

      — Jim

  4. I just reached FI too and can relate to so much of this! One of the things I always do is set myself goals and targets but now it’s not just about saving and investing it’s about personal goals such as getting fit, walking 25+ miles per week, playing sport and taking my kids to school at least twice a week. I already feel more alive than I have for years!

  5. Great post and congrats! Sounds like you are getting off to a really good start in early retirement. Keep the updates coming as I’m sure things will settle a bit more into a “routine” here soon.

  6. You know, it’s been three years and I still go through moments of “What the hell did I just do?” I’m still not “used” to it.

    Congrats on reaching early retirement Jim! You’ve now become a gentleman of leisure, which is to say you’ll still work your butt off from time to time, but can actually take time to relax too!

    (P.S. Congrats on getting on all those podcasts! That’s something I’ve yet to manage)

    1. Interesting… so that feeling doesn’t completely go away, huh? I guess I can live with that if that’s the worst of it!

      It’s funny you mention the podcasts in regards to yourself, because I’ve been wanting to hear you on one of these… when are you going to make that happen? 🙂

      — Jim

  7. How quick time flies! I remember chatting about your upcoming retirement over burgers at FinCon and now you’re almost to Panama! Not sure if your apartment complex has “Fitness On Demand”, but I’ve tried that out and it works better for me than just getting on a machine (I tend to want to leave after a few minutes sometimes…). The FOD machine program me at least finish an exercise class!

    1. I hadn’t heard about FitnessOnDemand (they don’t have it here), but I just checked it out and it looks pretty cool. I hear ya on wanting to jump ship from a machine after a few minutes, Olivia! So far, I’ve been at least doing the built-in programs on the treadmill and that seems to be working pretty well. Why can’t exercise be like drinking beer – I’m good at that and really enjoy it!! 😉

      — Jim

  8. Hi Jim,

    Well appreciated your reply. I agree with your analogy and feedback. I know the cruz of my situation. It’s due to my consideration on other people’s potential perception on my decision which I opine to be a totally irrelevant perspective as per my view.

    Removing such perceptions in my decision makes it a clear-cut and easy decision to be confirmed and proceeded.

    Once again, thks for your advice.


  9. Jim, I can’t believe the time he finally arrived! I gotta say, readings about your retirement plans leaves me a little green with envy! 🙂 We’ve pretty much made the decision that the kids need to stay in the US til they finish school, but man I’m excited for you guys and your new life in Panama!! So proud that you did it!! Can’t wait to hear more!

  10. Heyyyy!! Congratulations, you!! I’m so excited to keep following your journey but kinda bummed you are leaving CLE. However, that is just motivation to visit you in Panama. 🙂

    No picture of the beard? Maybe when you guys get to Panama we’ll get to see some pictures of your journey…

    I’m so glad you agreed to doing the talk this month for our local ChooseFI chapter!! The niceness pays off. 😉

    You are going to do awesome…

    1. Thanks, Deanna – I really am looking forward to the geoarbitrage talk… just had to tease you a little bit! 🙂

      Good call on the absence of a beard pic – that should have been a staple of this post!

      — Jim

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