Retiring Early – A Final Update

Retiring Early – A Final Update

Last Monday morning I sat in my cubicle as I regularly do, reading through a datasheet for a new high-speed ASIC I’m working with.  Scott, my co-worker, walked up behind me and patted me on the back.  He patted me with a big smile, and held out his hand to shake mine.  I smiled and shook it, then he walked away without a word.

Normally this would be a strange interaction, but not this day. This day was different.

Scott had just heard the news that everyone was hearing that day – that I’d just given notice for my retirement.

Scott’s reaction was one of many that day.  He’s a man of few words, and always honest.  He wouldn’t have smiled and shook my hand if he wasn’t happy for me.  He’s an older guy, and this wasn’t the reaction I expected because from him because he always seemed like an old-fashioned “earn your keep” kinda guy who would frown on the idea of retiring so early.  On top of this, my retirement will likely mean more hours in the office for him – at least until they hire a replacement.  

I was wrong though. Scott was happy for me, and that made me smile.

Jack

My favorite response to my retirement was from my buddy Jack.  Jack’s been a friend of mine since I first moved to Texas in 2000, and he’s the one that recruited me up to Colorado 3 years ago.  He’s in management here, and climbing the ladder quite nicely.  He and I have very different lifestyles, but we’ve always shared a lot in common.

I was sitting at my desk just 15 minutes after telling my manager that I was resigning when I got a Skype message from Jack calling me lots of unflattering names and asking me to stop by his desk when I got a chance.  I came by.

“Dude, WTF?”

“I guess you heard?  That didn’t take long.”

“Man, this sucks.  You suck.  What are you gonna do now?”

“I supposed Brad told you already… I’m just going to get out of engineering. After that, I’ll just see what happens.  I told you this wasn’t a long term thing for me anymore. ”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know you meant, like, this year!  You’re a loser.  You’re a really hard-to-replace loser, but you’re still a loser.”

A few hours later I went to the gym, and got a text from Jack.  “Hey man, I talked to Bob and he wants to talk to you about your resignation.” Bob is our Executive VP.  We’ve talked 2-3 times in 3 years, so I had to laugh upon learning that he wanted to talk to me now, but then I remembered that this is how corporations work.  I told Jack I’d talk to Bob in the morning because I was at the gym already.

Jack wrote again: “He’s gonna try to talk you out of resigning.  He obviously doesn’t know you very well :)”

And that’s why Jack and I are friends.

Andy

Andy’s an interesting dude.  He’s the motive for several of my previous posts, most notably “The Non-Retirement Generation.

Andy stopped by my desk as soon as he learned that I was quitting.  At first he didn’t believe that I hadn’t lined up another job, or at the very least that I wouldn’t be looking for another one.  Finally, he gave in: “You know, just because it’s you, I almost believe you’re telling the truth about not getting another job.”

I offered to send him pictures of me relaxing at home in my underwear on a tuesday afternoon to prove that I wasn’t working anywhere else, but he said that wasn’t necessary.

Then the conversation turned more serious.  Andy sighed, and stared at my cubicle wall where I’d hung a custom calendar featuring pictures of my kids.  The calendar’s my annual Christmas gift from my wife, and each month there are pictures of my kids from exactly 12 months earlier.  This month, April, featured a picture of my son with a hammer in his hand, swinging at a nail I carefully held for him as he worked on a Saturday morning project.

Andy sighed again.  I stood up. Unlike Scott, Andy is a man of many words – in fact he never shuts up.  So watching him quietly sigh and say nothing was strange.  I waited until he spoke.

“I told you about my dad, right?”  No, he hadn’t told me about his dad.  “4 years ago he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  Fortunately, it was isolated and operable, so they removed about a foot of his colon and he’s been cancer free since.  But it was really scary when it happened.”  He paused again, and I quietly waited.

“He was still working at his job at the time…  Ever since then, he’s been talking to me about his regrets.  He regrets that he didn’t taking me hunting more and fishing more, that he worked such long hours and only spent time with me and my brother on the weekends.”  Andy paused again, then continued.  “I’m scared to death that I’m doing the same thing with my daughters, and then someday I’ll die in an office.  I mean, what’s the fucking point if I die while I’m working?

I agreed with Andy.  There wasn’t much more to say, since Andy clearly “got it” even though I knew he’d mindlessly return to his long hours the very next day.  And he did.

Ken

The next person to stop by was Ken.  My conversation with him is a fair representative for most conversations I had that day, since his reaction was similar to most others.

“So,” he began, “I called our friends across the street and they confirmed you weren’t going over there.”  He was referring to a company across the street where several fellow employees had migrated the past year and a half.  I can confirm that he did call them, because I got several text messages from friends over there when they found out I was resigning, and telling me to let them know if I wanted a job (I had already turned down an offer last Spring).

I smiled to Ken, and confirmed once again that I wasn’t getting another job.

“So, you’re taking two weeks off and going to another competitor?” He smiled, but I knew he wasn’t joking.  In fact, several co-workers, management, and customers all asked me the same question.  I once again confirmed that I wasn’t going anywhere, I was just retiring from engineering to spend more time living and being with my family.

“So, like, you’re going to do independent contracting?”  No, I replied.  I was done with any engineering work as far as I could tell.  “Well, do you have any other skills?” he asked.

“Some, I suppose.  Hopefully I’ll learn a lot more with all this newfound time on my hands.”  This conversation must have happened 10 times last Tuesday, so I have slowly fine-tuned how I responded.  It was difficult being honest but not sounding crazy (to them).

“I live a simple life, you guys all know I don’t even drive a car into work.  I stopped doing this job for the money awhile ago.  So now I’m just going to quit, enjoy life, raise my kids, and see where things go.”

“So what are you gonna DO all day?”  he asked, like so many others.  I grinned, paused for dramatic effect, and responded, “I suppose I’ll figure that out when I get out of bed each morning.”

Thanks

This has been a 3.5 year journey since I first decided to retire early.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster from the joy of becoming a millionaire and having my passive income surpass my expenses, to loneliness when I was scared I was making the wrong move (I didn’t write so much about these more pessimistic feelings).  The truth is, along this journey I had moments where I wished I’d never heard about the idea of early retirement, where I just wanted to go back to living and working mindlessly and forget the whole thing.

But a few people kept me on course, and I’m thankful for that.  So please indulge me just another moment with a few thanks givings.

Jacob Lund Fisker – From the moment I read the free preview of Early Retirement Extreme on my Kindle, I was hooked.  That was 3.5 years ago, and no single book has changed the direction of my life in such a real way as that book did.  Jacob’s book, his blog, and his forum were instrumental in helping me to start this journey.

Mr Money Mustache – I actually started my ERE journey before the MMM blog even existed, which is hard to believe considering how huge it is now.  MMM did for me something that ERE didn’t, it gave me an occasional “punch in the face” when I swayed in my commitment to quitting this engineering gig.  I met the MMM family along with my son for a hike at Garden of the Gods 2 years ago.  It was only a quick get-together, but each time I found myself questioning whether I was making a huge mistake I was reminded of the meet-up.  What I saw in them was a family that was taking advantage of all the good opportunities that this culture gives us, but leaving all the crap out.  This helped me stay the course.

My wife – My wife always liked the obvious benefits of me quitting, but was reluctant about accepting the trade-offs it would require.  Smaller house, one car, less unnecessary travel, less “stuff” – all the crap we’d mindlessly accepted.  But my wife’s a gamer, and she played along.  Eventually she learned to like it.  It’s no surprise that she learned to like this lifestyle, since in hindsight it’s just such an obviously better way to live.  But what I can credit her for is being open-minded enough to try it out. Most people aren’t lucky enough to have a spouse like this.

The week before I finally resigned, I had already made up my mind to quit.  And each day when I came home my wife gave me a look that asked “Did you do it?”  And each day I shook my head, admitting that I hadn’t pulled the trigger yet.  Finally, on the night before I did finally quit, she responded with “You’re just scared.  You should just do it.”

In our 20 years together, and 11 years of marriage, I don’t think she’s ever called me out like that.  So the next morning, I gave my notice of resignation.  I won’t have her calling out my weakness like that!

My last day of full-time corporate employment is April 30th.  I hope you’ll stick around and continue this journey with me.  I think we’re just getting started!

 

The bridge will only take you halfway there

To those mysterious lands you long to see:

Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs

And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.

So come and walk awhile with me and share

The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known.

But this bridge will only take you halfway there —

The last few steps you have to take alone.

— Shel Silverstein

 

On another note, the fine establishment at bigguymoney.com asked to interview me and I happily obliged.  So feel free to stop by his site to say hello and learn a little more about me (if you haven’t gotten enough).


94 Responses to Retiring Early – A Final Update

  1. Petra says:

    A very big: congratulations! I guess it’s a little bit scary, but that’s probably just because there are so many choices you can now make. Freedom, here you come!

    I do hope that you gave Andy some insight into “how you did it”? Perhaps he will adjust his life a bit? People sometimes do need an example like you to get going, and they also sometimes need some time to be motivated enough to get going…

    • I’ve talked to Andy about similar things several times over the past 2.5 years. I believe that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Meaning – messages are all around us but we tend to hear what we want to. So far, he still can’t hear me. But I’ll stay in touch, maybe someday he’ll be ready.

    • That bit about Andy nearly made me want to cry!

      Aside from that, what an uplifting article, congrats and now we can expect many more fine blog posts from you with all your new free time 😉

  2. Jen says:

    Congratulations – happy for you and naturally a bit jealous:) Looking forward to hear about your new life that is just starting!

  3. Congratulations on the HUGE step you just took for yourself and your family. It’s evident from your blog that you’re well prepared for this, so I hope you enjoy every minute of your next great adventure :)

  4. While reading this one, I felt that my heart crumpled. My dad who was 49 years old when he was diagnosed that he had a colon cancer. He still didn’t plan about retirement at that time, he had his check up on June 2007 and he died on November 2007. It really breaks our heart, because we only seldom to be with him because of his job profession, he was a seaman before. Btw, congratulations and good luck to your new journey!

  5. Just wanted to pop by and say “congrats”, good luck, and I hope you enjoy the fruits of your hard labor.

    The reactions from my coworkers were similarly mixed from happiness to thinking I was playing the ultimate practical joke.

    I think your attitude of “hey, I’m quitting this career, but who knows what I’ll be doing next” is a great one. I haven’t ruled out doing something else other than engineering later in life (probably after the kids are well on their way in school). Or maybe go back to engineering? Who knows what the future holds. The ability to do pretty much whatever you want because you want to (and not for money) is a nice luxury.

  6. I read this whole article with a huge smile on my face. Congratulations again! It’s been really cool to get to know you just a little bit the last week. I think we should schedule a trip to Colorado to meet up – unless you’re coming up here anytime soon 😉

    By the way, the interview is up now! Sorry to all those that were looking for more of BNL but got a 404 error.

    • You’re in ND, right? We’re thinking about taking a week or two for a trip up to Grand Rapids this summer. My wife’s aunt has a vacation house up there, and offered it to us whenever we want. They really want us to show the kids Mt. Rushmore…

      Also, I kinda want to take my bike up to Sturgis at some point so maybe this year…

      (Yes – I know that ND and SD are differnt, but that’s as far north as I think we’d go).

      • Ken says:

        I had a business trip to Spearfish, SD once and I figured it would be the worst trip ever. But, it turned out to be one of the best trips. I had tons of free time and took the rental all over SW South Dakota and had a blast. Some really great riding roads in the area. Went to Sturgis too, but it was early June so the town was dead then.

      • I hear ya. I haven’t been to SD, but I spent some time in northern Wyoming and southern Montana a few years ago and it was really beautiful. I’m hoping SD will have some similar nature.

      • Ken says:

        I got lost in the National Forest for hours too, one spot I waited almost an hour for cows to cross the road. Another spot I had to off road the rental to get around a fallen tree. But the canyon drives are great. Of course, they’re excellent in CO too. There’s a pass in CO with my namesake that we still need to get to.

      • Yep, I’m up in Minot in the northern part of ND. We went to the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore for vacation a couple years ago and loved it. There are a couple really cool caves in that area also.

        Shoot me an email with dates when you get them figured out.

      • Mr. FI says:

        It’s nice to know there are others who have have/are pursuing early retirement so close by! Must be something about the Western US. Fun idea with the interview. Look forward to seeing your life after work.

        Congrats!

      • @bigmoneyguy –

        I’ll do that. I’d say there’s a 50% chance we go out there this summer.

  7. […] pleased to announce an addition to the list of Blogs I Like.  Brave New Life just today announced his long-awaited retirement from his corporate position at 36 years of age, and has documented his thought process on his site […]

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi BNL,

    I’ve been reading the site since early on, but I’ve never commented before. Just wanted to congratulate you for pulling the trigger! Looking forward to seeing where the journey takes you.

  9. Ken says:

    Congrats for finally doing it! And now you’ll have time to make it up to Denver 😉

    • I haven’t forgotten! I’m actually thinking about biking up there on a multi-day trip this summer. I was hoping to find a good trail system that connects, but nothing yet.

      • Ken says:

        Not much as far as MTB trails are concerned. I have a hardtail and want to get in better shape but it’s 30-40 minutes to any decent trails from my place. It’s a huge barrier, so I might just get a stationary bike or something I can do at home.

  10. Wow great story and congratulations to you! I am truly inspired. And I will be turning 34 next week so I better get a move on it. I don’t know you but I’m very happy for you and your family. First post I read on your blog…will have to dig back into the archives to learn how you did it and look forward to reading about how early retirement is treating you.

  11. J. Money says:

    Great news man, how exciting!!! And even more so that it seems you’ll be keeping up this blog – got scared there for a second 😉

  12. Lucas says:

    Congrats!!! It was a creative way to explain the day you put in your notice, and gave me pause to think about how my co-workers will take it as well in a couple years. Good luck with the next phase of your journey.

    • Several people said that their biggest fear to retiring was less about the money, and more about what other people would think about them. One of my goals in this post was to prove that they had nothing to worry about. Glad you caught that.

  13. Man Of Leisure says:

    Congratulations, BNL! That must have been a great feeling to finally resign and fully embrace your next life.

    By the post title, I though you might be wrapping up the blog, too. Glad to hear we might get to hear about your future adventures after all.

    • Ha! I didn’t want to give away my announcement in the title, but I also didn’t mean to mis-lead people into thinking I was retiring from the blog…

      this makes me laugh though, so I’ll leave it.

      • I just caught up with an old friend (and former co-worker today). After I dropped him off at his office after lunch, he left me with the parting words “back to your f***ing charmed life, you motherf***er”. He meant it in a good way of course, since he’s down with the financial responsibility and has a nice nest egg himself.

        Every once in a while I feel a little “guilty” about pulling of early retirement at 33. I guess it’s like survivor’s guilt. Now that I’m eight months into early retirement I don’t even think about being ER’d until someone brings it up. I’m living life just like everyone else. I just don’t go to work in the morning on Monday to Friday.

  14. Joe S. says:

    Congrats, I reached your blog somehow, through the great blogs like Jacob’s and the Moustache himself and am slowly trying to get it in my head that I can do it too. I don’t know if I can, but it is blogs and writers like you guys that are my inspiration.

    Thank you,

    Joe

  15. Wow, huge congratulations! What an inspiring story. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures from this point on. And I love hearing about your coworkers’ reactions to the news.

  16. Scott says:

    Inspiring! It is great to see you pull it off. I dream of that day often. I smiled the whole time I read the post.

    Congratulations!

  17. arebelspy says:

    What an awesome post. I loved hearing those different reactions.

    Congratulations on your accomplishments. Go live your life on your terms.

  18. Congratulations! We are all excited for you, and to see what you will end up doing now with plenty of time for friends, family, and fun! Keep up posted!

    Great reaction. I’m sure you have made some of your coworkers might consider early retirement now, instead of being lifelong workers in the rat race.

    • I’m sure you have made some of your coworkers might consider early retirement now

      I have 2 friends that got particularly serious about making changes. One has been into real estate for awhile, and we even talked about flipping a house together. Ever since I announced, he’s been asking me to lunch regularly and talking different investment strategies. He said he’s determined to get out within 2 years now, triggered by my move.

      Another friend really wants to run his own coffee shop with his wife. I’d told him in the past that my time as an engineer was coming to an end, and we joked about me working as his head barista (a job I actually would consider if it came with free coffee!). When I quit, he was shocked and, I think, newly inspired to do the coffee thing. He’s a somewhat frugal guy (Dave Ramsey fan), but I know he’s scared of the move. Hopefully we’ll hang out a lot this summer and he’ll remain motivated to make the jump.

  19. Prob8 says:

    Congratulations!

    For me, this is when your site will really get interesting. I can’t wait to hear more about how life is lived when you don’t have the burden of a job interfering with creativity and side projects. Looking forward to following along.

    • I’m as anxious as you to see how this goes. 😉

      I can tell you that I already sense some of my old energy and creativity coming back, just from the mental burden being lifted. I haven’t even started reducing my work hours yet.

  20. Wow, congratulations! I loved reading the post. This is very motivating, I look forward to joining you in early FI some day!

  21. Kristi says:

    As someone who is just starting on their path to financial independence, it’s always awesome to read about people who have really done it!

  22. Dillon says:

    Congrats!!! Thanks for the kick in the pants! :)

  23. Michael says:

    My wife and I read your post last night and were so inspired. She said what I thought she would never ever consider: “What if we sold our house?” Thanks for being an encouragement and an inspiration. MMM is in the promised land, which is inspiring, but you’re a bit closer to us, ready to cross the Jordan. We’re still in the desert trying to get our shit together.

    • And thank you for your encouragement. It makes it a lot more fun to write when I know I help to inspire others to improve their situation. I suppose our inspiration is mutual today.

  24. Michael says:

    BTW my favorite part of the post is “The VP wants to see you.” Honestly if that happened today I would get nervous, excited, revved up, interested, engaged. It was inspiring to run that scenario through your experience and contrast it with where I’m at.

    • Back in 2008, I was a long way off from FI. Actually, I’d never heard of it. And I remember distinctly one day when my manager came by my desk and asked me to come with him into his office. My heart exploded with anxiety, I thought for sure I was being fired. In that short 30 second walk, my life passed before my eyes. How would I feed my newborn kid? Where would we live? Would I ever find another job again? It sounds melodramatic, but it was real in that moment.

      Turns out, I was being promoted. Which goes to show how irrational I was back then, mainly due to my need of the job. And that was just a meeting with my first line manager that I’d been friends with for years…

      Now a VP wants to talk to me and I can just defer it until tomorrow because I’m at the gym (nevermind that it was only around 3PM). This is certainly a better place to be.

    • insourcelife says:

      I was hoping you would have a twist in this amazing story where VP offers you x% raise. I’d love to see if there is an amount that would change your mind if they offered.

  25. slay says:

    standing ovation!

  26. Congratulations! It’s always amazing to see a plan like this, a plan so similar to mine, realized. Very inspirational.

  27. Heath says:

    Love the article! Great story, keep it up.

  28. Zee says:

    That was a wonderful read, I hope to one day write about this very thing. Though I know that I have years until that day will come.

    I have always wondered how people will react to early retirement. I know that when I tell my friends or family about my goals they listen and question it. They have a hard time accepting that it is a possibility. I’m still not sure if they really believe I can do it.

    It’s stories like these that make me really look forward to the days where I am free to do whatever I want instead of being bound to a job out of the need for a thing as silly as money.

    Congratulations.

  29. OuttaHere says:

    Gave my early retirement notice also (not as early as you by a long shot and yet the office people are still shocked I can retire so “early”). I got the whole gamut of responses just like you described. It is so frustrating and sad that so many people can’t even fathom what else they’d do with their time if they weren’t working in a cube. There were also quite a few people who were/are just downright annoyed.

    I think the thing that has made the most impression upon me, that makes it clear to me I made the right decision, is that I can see that absolutely nothing will change once I’m gone. Not that I wasn’t contributing, but simply that I was just a cog in the massive corporate machine.

    My last day is May 30. It can’t get here fast enough for me.

    BNL, have a wonderful sweet luxurious time being untired. 😉

    • I think the thing that has made the most impression upon me, that makes it clear to me I made the right decision, is that I can see that absolutely nothing will change once I’m gone. Not that I wasn’t contributing, but simply that I was just a cog in the massive corporate machine.

      That was a hard thing for me to accept when I left my previous job after 11 years. It was my first job out of college, and I had gone from a young clueless newbie to a respected veteran on an executive track. I left, and people acted like it was the end of the world. 3 months passed, and people kept me abreast with how things were going, how they missed me, etc. 6 months passed, and I heard a lot less. By a year, I only stayed in touch with my good friends, but only for our friendship and definitely not for work. Because work went on. The corporation would be a pretty crappy machine if a single cog couldn’t be easily replaced.

      With this current job, I didn’t have the same worries about the machine. I gave them 3.5 weeks notice, more than enough time for the machine to find a new cog.

  30. Even Steven says:

    I’m not sure why, but I read this post and had a sense of pride or maybe it was emotion, that someone did it, retired early. Maybe it’s reading a first hand account of your day, maybe it’s day dreaming to what will happen on my last day. Thank you for this post, it’s a reminder to keep keeping on.

    Enjoy retirement.

  31. Refinerr says:

    Congratulations! I look forward to all of your new adventures!

  32. michael says:

    Congratulations! This was an exciting post to read. Although my ER didn’t come about in this fashion, I imagined what it would be like to go through all of those conversations and emotions. I’m so glad you did what you did!

    I have to ask, though, if the VP doubles your salary, will you think about staying?

    Also, how can I hear about your trip(s) to Denver area? It would be great to meet you.

    • That’s a heck of a hypothetical! I won’t have to worry about it though, I made it clear I wasn’t staying before any specific offers were thrown my way. I was pretty honest when I met with the VP.

      If he did actually offer me double my salary? I’d like to think I’d still turn it down. If I stayed, it would only be temporary and it would just be prolonging the delay until I move into the next part of my life. A life where I already have enough money to do the things I want to do.

      I’m sitting here now just enjoying my evening while some of my co-workers are IM’ing me from the office asking if they can live in my basement so they can follow into retirement me and not work anymore (true story! I took a screenshot just for kicks). That has me pretty convinced I’ve made the right decision.

      As for Denver – I’ll post something here when I finally make the trip up since it seems there are quite a few people in that area. I also got an email about a meet up there that had been arranged on the MMM forums, so I may make it up there for that. Not sure though, it’s still a month away.

      • michael says:

        Companies do funny things. I’ve known them to buy people second houses because people didn’t want to have to sell their “home” on the other coast, and other such strangities. Doubling a cog’s salary is usually beans in the grand scheme of things, so I never put it past them.

        Thanks for the tip on the MMM meetup. I’ll put it on my schedule and look forward to meeting you, if you make it.

  33. themoneybee says:

    Wow! You stuck it to the MAN! You really did it! Virtual beers all around, on me.

    Don’t even know you, but I’m really, really happy for you and your family. You have a great story to tell. You write really well too, so I hope you keep up your blog, because you’ve got everyone’s attention now, big time, like you just signed a record deal. Whadaya gonna do now? Everybody’s watching!

  34. Chad says:

    I just started digging through your poets a week ago, and I love the site. Congrats on the big new!

    Well written latest article, well done blog and site. Can’t wait to follow along for months and years to come.

  35. […] sounds a heck of a lot better.  I admire Brave New Life for making the decisions in life to enable himself to submit his resignation from corporate employment this week, but I don’t envy him.  I admire Warren Buffett for being the investor he is and pledging to […]

  36. Congratulations. I hope you continue blogging on the good life.

  37. dude says:

    Hearty congrats! Yet another inspiring FIRE story that I can look to. Since I began talking about FIRE with friends a year or so ago, I’m amazed at how many are coming around to the idea and share the desire to cut loose from the 9-to-5 life. A little over 5 more years to go for me, and I’m already giddy as a schoolgirl with anticipation!

  38. BendyStache says:

    Congrats! I’m on my way as well. It’s scary, but early retirement has become a passion of mine. Having a spouse that will support you is KEY! I’ve been lucky enough to have found my own “gamer” who’s up for the adventure.

    Best of luck in your retirement. I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    Thanks for showing us all that it’s possible.

  39. Dr. Doom says:

    BNL, a big congrats on your achievement, for having the faith in yourself and your planning to finally walk away, and for taking the time to share, in detail, your experiences.

    As an aside, I’m a little surprised you are so public and open about the reasons behind leaving your job. A while back I made a decision to hide the full truth from my own employer when I leave. My assumption is that most reactions will be jealous and borderline hostile and I wanted to avoid any messiness. Your post has made me rethink my position — most of the responses you’ve received seem good-natured.

    Please keep blogging. I’m very interested in how you feel about life without formal office work. Wishing you the best!

    • I guess part of my honesty was because I wanted to continue the message I give on this site: That the decisions I’ve made are what’s enabling this opportunity. They all know I bike to work, even in the snow. They all know I bring my lunch to work while they eat out daily. Some of my closer friends like to joke about these things that I’m just too “cheap” to eat out. So this was my way to tell them that I always had a plan. It wasn’t about being cheap, it was about consciously making daily decisions that allow me to live how I want. Hopefully, if they are jealous in any way, they’ll start to look at how they can put themselves in a similar position.

      I can tell you that 3 different people have been talking to me a lot over the past week and a half about how they can do what I’ve done. If I somehow enable those 3 to get away from a job they don’t like, then any negative backlash (of which there was very little) will have been worth it.

  40. Chris says:

    Congrats BNL, I’ve been hoping this day would come for you. Can’t wait to hear what adventure comes next. Your story has been inspiring.

    On another note, I just applied for a 15.5 year retirement, from the military and got denied. 4.5 more yrs of stuffing the coffers and buying real estate until I get my moment.

    Best wishes!

  41. @freepursue says:

    BNL – CONGRATULATIONS! Life is definitely better on the other side. So happy you took the leap.

    I also quit in April (2013), nice coincidence. For fun, here’s my, somewhat similar, story:

    I also had a big wig try to talk me out of resigning when I gave my notice in early March – because I was making “such a big mistake”. (Well, I was leaving a year earlier than I had initially anticipated because I just couldn’t deal with my manager anymore – that fact probably saved me from the “fear” of handing in my letter).

    I finally agreed to take a 3-month leave to “think it over” so they would just let me go (they didn’t know there was no way I was coming back). Best of all, HR was told that I was leaving for medical reasons – it HAD to be “burn out” because I was leaving a great job and a great pension and not moving on to another position. I guess retiring early is just that, well, incredible. 😉

    So…welcome to your new “incredible” new life!

    • Thanks, freepursue. I’m glad I wasn’t offered a 3-month leave, because I’m afraid I might have taken it and then the next 3 months would lack the finality I desired.

  42. Brian says:

    Savor the moment BNL and best of all the fun is just getting started! Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring the rest of us still striving towards FI.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your new path.

  43. Laura says:

    Congratulations! These conversations are so interesting. It must be fun to be so far out of the mainstream that people simply can’t comprehend what you’re trying to do!

  44. Shawn says:

    Congratulations BNL! I just started reading your blog and MMM’s blog 2 months ago. I actually read all of your blogs completely from beginning to end last month and hadn’t been back in the last 2 weeks. Read this blog post this morning and was super excited for you. I’m exactly 10 years older than you. I spent the last 5 years getting completely out of debt, except for the mortgage, and building up a cache of money and investments (mostly following the Dave Ramsey plan). Had not considered early retirement until I started reading your blog and MMM’s blog. But now wish I was back in my 30’s and pursuing early retirement. I feel like I was only 35 yesterday. Is it too late for me?

    Shawn (btw – I’m north of you in Castle Rock, CO)

    • Well, it’s too late to retire at 35 – that can’t be argued. :)

      But it’s definitely not too early to continue moving towards financial independence an early retirement. You’re out of debt, so that’s great. That gives you more freedom than all the debt-ridden people around you. Now, as you build up more and more savings beyond what you already have, you gain more and more freedom with your work. Long before you reach FI, this increased savings and passive income give you power to reject crappy work, change jobs, etc.

      It’s never too late to improve your situation. Keep driving down your expenses and increasing your investments and before you know it you’ll be free to do whatever you want.

  45. Evan says:

    Been reading a while and I am happy to say – congratulations!

  46. Mr Sunny says:

    Congratulations!!! It is a great feeling isn’t it? As always, thank you for sharing.

    Best regards

  47. Congrats! I think you’ll discover its worth the trade offs. You can live a happy life without all the extra stuff. Material things are not what make a high quality life. There is much more to explore!

  48. Shawn says:

    Congrats. It is about time!

    I have not read any of the above comments yet and I feel like blabbing like Andy but will keep it to a Jack Level…

    You are on our short list of thank yous

  49. Inspiring story! I hope to have my own version one day.

  50. Big congratulations for making the leap to the next phase! I’m really happy for you.

  51. Jared says:

    April 30th was last Wednesday. Are you a free man now? :)

    • I am! I ended up working May 1st, which extended some of my benefits by a month (why not?), but as of 5pm on Thursday I’ve been free.

      So far I’ve taken the kids swimming, ridden my bike a lot, painted 2 rooms, ripped out tile and carpets in 3 rooms, and started installing new wood flooring – all in 2 days! Today I’ll be working on my portfolio for a few hours in the morning, then back to laying down wood all afternoon. Retirement is a lot of work!

  52. Petra says:

    Indeed…. April 30 has passed… So how does it feel?

    • It feels damn good. I’m sore from all the physical work I’ve been doing already (see my reply above), but mentally and emotionally I feel like a new man. I thought it would take awhile to transition into this new lifestyle, but it appears I was wrong.

  53. […] farming analogy, you actually can escape from the corporations’ colonization of your life.  I did it, although my way is not the only […]

  54. Maverick says:

    I can only imagine what your feeling now that you have quit corporate life at your age. It’s a powerful emotion, I’m sure.

    I’m a few years more senior, and I left my employer last fall during yet another layoff announcement. I walked into my manager’s office and volunteered to be selected. For me, there is a lingering feeling of guilt. I feel guilty that I left the “corporation’s colonization” as you call it. I left behind colleagues and friends at work. All of my local friends continue to make the daily commutes. Holidays no longer have the same appeal as they did when working. Every day seems more “equal” now. I treasure the luxury of being able to persue my hobbies full time.

    Do I have any regrets? Not really. Sure, I wish I could have become FI earlier. But I wanted to ensure that my ‘stash, as MMM calls it, was sufficient enough to use at a SWR <4%.

    I wish you nothing but continued success in your "BraveNew Life"!

  55. Andrew says:

    Congratulations!

    I too am a 36 year old early retiree living in the Springs… well, sort of early retiree, I’m still working up my courage to actually resign from my job. So major props to you for pulling the trigger.

  56. […] so this morning, like every morning since I’ve retired, I laid there and rested. I focused on my breathing, I listened to the birds chirping outside my […]

  57. Great story and the way you described all the interactions it felt like I was reliving it. Good job on the writing. Yeah some people cannot grasp, that you can enjoy your life without a job. People in my place of work are still there in their 60s and 70s, and if you ask them when are you retiring, they look at you weird. Pretty sad if you ask me.

  58. […] with my employer regarding my reasons for leaving, preferring to withhold the RE details, but Brave New Life revealed all on his way out. Even though our decisions are different, we’re each making the choice that […]

  59. MJB says:

    Congrats (in arrears)! Just getting caught up on your postings. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s quite inspirational. I probably have five years to go but will be under 50 when my turn comes. Gotta love the reaction from the Mrs. when early retirement gets put on the table. :)

  60. […] couple of days in the office. Another blogger, Brave New Life, chronicled his own experiences in great detail, and it came down to farewell conversations with individual people regarding his own plans to leave […]

  61. Wololo says:

    I’m where you were 3.5 years ago, with the same fears, goals, hopes. Can’t wait to be on the other side of the fence. Congratulations on your early retirement!

  62. Each individual will work almost half his life. And when you finally retire you must have the best option on where you would stay.

  63. Getting older and planning on retirement is crucial in your life. Plan it ahead while you can.

  64. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

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