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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
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!
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 thing 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.
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…
The good news is that Andy still entertained the idea of having me on the show…
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 on with a couple 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!!