Retire By 35: An Update

Retire By 35: An Update

For the first time in my adult life, I’m finally free of all obligations to work.

Just over 2 years ago, I made the decision to radically downsize my life.  I sold our family’s second car, took a lower stress job, moved to Colorado, and purchased a new house for half the price of my previous home.  As part of this life-transforming move, I accepted a relocation package from my current employer that covered all moving costs and more – a total value of about $60,000.  The catch: I had to work 2 full years or pay back a serious amount of that relocation money.

About a year ago, I declared myself financially independent based on the rudimentary 4% rule for calculating the amount of money needed for retirement.  That was a nice thing to know, but I still had to finish out my 2 year commitment.

On June 1st, I fulfilled that contract.

And so here I am before you, financially and contractually free from any requirements to work my normal office job – and yet I haven’t quit.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m still working.

I had always planned on giving my 2-weeks notice the day I reached my 2-year anniversary, so what changed?  I think the best way to answer this is by describing my typical work day.

I wake up around 5am, usually because my 3 year old daughter is at my bedroom door, asking if she can get up yet.  We tell her no, that she needs to stay in bed until 6.  Then I quietly sneak downstairs with my laptop and log into work.  By 6, and sometimes before that, I’m pretty much done with my day’s work.  I eat breakfast with my family, take a shower, and hop on my bike.  As I ride down the trail near my house, I make a quick decision regarding where I’ll spend the morning.  I like to mix it up between various Starbucks, the local library, or the YMCA.  Today, I chose the library.  Here, I’ll spend time reading, writing, programming, or some other activity that has nothing to do with my job.  I keep my phone on, and answer emails or phone calls for work as they come in – but since most of my team is sound asleep in Shanghai, I rarely have much, if any, activity.

At lunch time, I ride home to have lunch with my kids.  After that, I’ll either stick around and play with them for a bit, or I’ll go to the gym to work out.  Then I’ll run some errands, and come home for dinner.  3 nights a week, I spend an hour on the phone talking to China – which would be annoying if I didn’t spend the entire day not working.

There are occasional days or weeks where things are a bit more busy.  But even during those times, the benefit of being financially free is that it means I feel absolutely no stress with my work. I remember the old days, when I worked 70 hour weeks and still worried about the stability of my job.  I can remember when an annoying co-worker would have me stressed and angry, coming home and ruining the night with my family because I still couldn’t let it go.  I can even remember canceling activities on the weekend because I “needed” to work on some urgent project.  Fortunately for me, those stresses no longer exist.

So while I started out this journey with the goal of retiring at 35, I feel like I’ve accidentally stumbled into a better situation.  I get all the freedom and flexibility of retirement, but I still get paid.

Now, before anyone attacks me for abusing the situation and taking money I’m not earning, I want to clarify a few important points.

First, I’m doing everything that’s asked of me and more.  This isn’t just my opinion, my quarterly bonus speaks for itself.  The truth is, I’m able to pull off the ridiculously low number of hours simply by working more efficiently than my peers – most of whom are much smarter and more experienced than me.

Second, every two weeks in my 1-on-1 meeting with my manager, I freely admit that I’m not very busy and that I’m available to help on other things.  On rare occasions, this bites me and I end up having to work on some really mundane process improvement document – but usually nothing comes of it.

Third, I’ve offered to work part time. After my manager stopped laughing (true story), I explained to him that I was serious.  He felt it wasn’t worth the hassle of setting this up and he didn’t want to explain to others that I was now only part time, so he rejected the idea.  Since working “full time” doesn’t change anything for me, I happily accepted this response.

-

I started out this journey asking “why should I work?” but now I find myself asking “why not?”  And for now, I have no good answer to this.  When I have one, I’ll know it’s time to retire.  Whether that happens when I’m still 35, time will tell.

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67 Responses to Retire By 35: An Update

  1. Bryan says:

    I loved your equation you posted a few posts ago, where if you love your work (or don’t hate it at least) then you can add work income in to the income needed to be financially independent. That’s where I’m at, with a similarly cushy job, so I’m not in any race to retire early.

  2. brent says:

    Congratulations BNL! We’ve all been anticipating this time for you. Looking forward to what you learn in the new life!

    Cheers,

    Brent
    brent recently posted..What Happened the Night George Zimmerman Killed Trayvon MartinMy Profile

  3. Andrew says:

    So jealous! How can I get a job like yours?

    • Greg P says:

      Agree with that. I know I’m more efficient as well, but that make it so that I have to “help” those paid more, who can’t do their job no matter how many hours in the day…. something needs to change with this equation.

  4. Michelle says:

    Wow, definitely sounds like a great situation to be in :)
    Michelle recently posted..Bridal Shower and $3,645 in Extra IncomeMy Profile

  5. GalinAZ says:

    If your manager can demonstrate that your costs to the company is resulting in equal or greater returns, then this situation is acceptable. Otherwise the manager and your are abusing the company (and stockholder’s) investment. Would you recommend we invest in your company?

    • My company is mainly a technology manufacturing company that operates under minuscule margins. My function is in design, where the margins are about 8x higher – so there’s no doubt I’m still adding considerable value to the company, thus no real moral dilemma. There’s no doubt I can do far more, but there’s only so much value I can add within the confines of my office structure (unlike my last job, where I could always find new and better ways to add value across the organization).

      With all that said, I would not and do not invest in my company for various other reasons.

    • In my corporate experience and from a large amount of anecdotal evidence from friends there is a ridiculous, colossal amount of wasting of money and resources that goes on within large corporations. I’d say the two main areas of waste are in terms of general running costs of the business, and in marketing / corporate schmoozing.

      Moreover the people involved in or who can influence directly those areas of waste generally get paid far more than the people like BNL who are the ones actually creating the product and directly producing the value in the company.

      To have a pop at someone who is actually getting paid fairly or has engineered a decent lifestyle around their valuable skills in this sector for a change seems rather uncalled for IMO.

      p.s. Congrats BNL on acheiving FI and continuing to work only because you want to! I’m hoping to be there in around 5 years time!
      Andy @ theFIREstarter.co.uk recently posted..A brief interlude – I just cancelled my monthly cinema pass and it felt fantasticMy Profile

  6. Joe says:

    That’s a pretty good life man. Enjoy it while it last. I wouldn’t worry what everyone else think.
    Joe recently posted..Can you retire with a million dollars?My Profile

  7. curious says:

    What exactly is your job and how do I get one like it?

    • I’m an electrical engineer. It’s not hard to find a job like this, in fact we’ve been reviewing resumes for 3 months with no success.

      So go get your engineering degree and give me a call when you’ve got your diploma. :)

      • curious says:

        On it :) I’m actually not an engineer (a dreaded MBA) but I managed to land a pretty cushy gig myself. My company moved me to CO then closed the office 4 years later, allowing me to work remote since my wife was in grad school here. It pays probably somewhere in the neighborhood of what you’re making, 100% remote, a medium – high travel requirement. Downsides are it’s in a shaky, cyclical industry, so little/no job security and I have to file timesheets, so to pull off the Pareto Principle deal you’ve got going I would have to either lie regularly via spreadsheet or have a frank discussion with my boss. Which shouldn’t be a problem as I get closer to FI, but I wouldn’t risk it now. If it all goes south, engineering is a possibility as traditional MBA jobs go against my grain. Need to use up some leftover GI bill anyway, might as well do it in a way that makes money.

      • curious says:

        Wait, have you had no success because you’re not getting resumes from engineers, or because they don’t meet some specific requirement? We were hiring some EEs not too long ago, and the HR gremlins got absurd with the job requirement, this for a pretty general position that strictly speaking only marginally called for an engineer.

        On it :) I’m actually not an engineer (a dreaded MBA) but I managed to land a pretty cushy gig myself. My company moved me to CO then closed the office 4 years later, allowing me to work remote since my wife was in grad school here. It pays probably somewhere in the neighborhood of what you’re making, 100% remote, a medium – high travel requirement. Downsides are it’s in a shaky, cyclical industry, so little/no job security and I have to file timesheets, so to pull off the Pareto Principle deal you’ve got going I would have to either lie regularly via spreadsheet or have a frank discussion with my boss. Which shouldn’t be a problem as I get closer to FI, but I wouldn’t risk it now. If it all goes south, engineering is a possibility as traditional MBA jobs go against my grain. Need to use up some leftover GI bill anyway, might as well do it in a way that makes money.

      • The requirements are not too specific, but the availability of good EE’s in this city just doesn’t seem that good. Either that, or our HR team just sucks.

        It’s baffling to me, actually. The pay is good, and there’s not many places in this country that are more beautiful than the CO front range (to me, anyways).

      • Envious Not Jealous says:

        I’m an engineer, alas a civil one. If mere capacity for technical prowess and project management is enough that would be awesome and please let me know. However I am mostly inquiring for my friend, who is an EE. Please email me the town, company, compensation package, and whether he can get a similar gig as yours (or whether he will need to be an in-office 9-5er).

  8. cottingh says:

    While most people have to give at least 40 hours in an office in any given week, I’ve often thought (and observed) that the actual productive, useful, income-producing work achieved by any worker accounts for only a couple hours of their day at most. Everything else is just noise. Unfortunately it’s hard for managers and employers to distinguish the noise from the important stuff. Kudos on finding an employer who recognizes your value without you needing to waste your time making noise.
    cottingh recently posted..Going it aloneMy Profile

  9. Mike @ UB says:

    Your story reminds me of this girl’s story. She’s getting her PhD at 16 and her parents who homeschooled her said there’s no reason why anyone can’t start college at 12.

    I can’t imagine how much more I’m learning on a daily basis just surfing the internet on whatever I’m curious about.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363834/Americas-brightest-teen-Girl-went-college-12-set-PHD-16.html
    Mike @ UB recently posted..My man, Dr Joel FuhrmanMy Profile

  10. Great post. I hope to be at this point in 7 years as well. I’m curious, what do you plan to do with the excess cash? Create an even bigger cushion with your existing investments? Or will you branch out into areas with higher risk/return?
    Progress Trap recently posted..FI by 32: June 2013My Profile

  11. Q_Train says:

    I’d really like to know:
    Is your manager aware that you don’t need to work for a living? Obviously he knows you’re doing OK financially, as you’ve indicated you’d be happy as a part-timer.

    I’ve hinted to my own a couple of times that money isn’t important to me compared to things like respect, work-life balance, but wonder sometimes if there’s additional advantage to being overt about it all, i.e. stating I’m FI and could nearly RE.

    • Similar to you, I’ve only hinted at it. Frankly, though, I think the idea of being 35 and FI is so far-fetched in just about every social circle except for the ERE/FI crowd that it would take a lot more than hints for anyone to suspect it.

      I’m not sure if there would be benefits or not, but it probably depends on your particular job situation. In my case, I know that my management is very worried about losing me or one of my 3 peers, so I could probably tell them and milk it, but to me that seems like abusing a situation that is already pretty darn good.

      The only way I can see myself telling them is if I suspected that there might be downsizing, in which case I would probably fall on the sword and ask to be the first to go.

  12. Susan says:

    Congratulations! It’s a life situation that I am so looking forward to. BTW, do you have plan to continue update your Early Retirement Monthly Results? I am sure the reports are very inspiring for many of us who are on the same early retirement journey.

    • I’ve been debating that for a long time now. Honestly, those were the most popular posts, but they were also the most painful for me to write.

      I originally wrote those posts for myself, mainly to track my spending and monitor my progress to FI. But I found that once I got my spending down, the paradigm shift was complete and monitoring my budget was no longer that important.

      I do think I’ll probably start writing them again at some point, I’m just not sure when.

      I’m curious, what exactly did you find inspiring?

      • curious says:

        Not sure about Susan, but for me the most inspiring part about seeing someone’s results posted who is far ahead of me in the FI department is validation. For me, there’s a lot of self-doubt about whether this thing will actually work, running contrary to the basic math that shows it will. As you mention above, it’s a fairly rare path to take and unless you’re in a room full of FIRE practitioners it can get pretty lonesome. Seeing how the numbers went from miniscule to meaningful to significant and beyond is, well, inspiring.

      • Susan says:

        Exactly as Curious said. Seeing how the numbers went from miniscule to meaningful to significant and beyond is truly inspiring.

        Also, we would like to see how diversified your passive income is and what are the income sources. You have written articles about passive income diversification. And the monthly reports are a consolidation of all the sources with actual results, which are very good for FI newbies like me. You know, you have been a mentor of me on the FI pursuit. :-)

      • @both – Thanks for clarifying. I hadn’t considered the element of “self-doubt” but that’s a really good point. I personally haven’t experienced that feeling, but I suspect that has more to do with my personality of optimism and unbridled arrogance more than anything else. :)

        @susan – Thanks for bringing this up, and it has me motivated to write the updates again. Maybe not every month, but at least every couple of months. And by the way, you can see my passive income status by clicking the “passive income” link at the top of the site. I update that every month or two. After hearing what you said (and I’m genuinely flattered by the “mentor” claim), I should probably add a chart to show it growing over time, so you all can see it’s not only possible but it’s consistently progressive.

  13. Q_Train says:

    Thanks for the response. I think I’m going to stay the course and keep hinting at it rather than stating it, which might be taken as crass or even offensive.

    At any rate, I appreciate all of your sharing in this and other blog posts. Congrats and good luck. It sounds like you have a fantastic situation.

  14. Iowa says:

    He Lives!!

  15. Chris says:

    BNL-

    First off, big congrats, you sound happy, simple and fulfilled. However, I have to admit I’ve been anticipating your retirement article and am a bit disappointed it didn’t happen.

    There’s got to be more to the story here though? Have you had a big sit down with your boss and made a deal to work from home?

    • @Chris –

      Please, don’t be disappointed for me. I’m in a good spot, a perfect balance between work and life (not like the “work/life balance” you’ll see paraded around a corporate office). I’m choosing to work by choice, and nothing else.

      With that said, I understand your disappointment. I do. Honestly, I feel like I had a greater draw to “retire” last month based on my goal to retire (retire by 35, ERE, MMM, etc. ) than anything else. But, that would be equally as lame to do it based on those expectations as it would be to work for any outside expectations. If I have one quality in life, it’s rejecting that…

      So instead, I think I’m in an optimal position and that’s why I wanted to flaunt it (sorta). I’ve achieved FI, but work very little. I now get to avoid all the crap others have to deal with in my office, but get the luxurious paycheck for as long that it lasts. It’s not selling out, because I still get to do things my way. It’s not abusing the system, because I’ve been completely honest. It’s really a nice place to be, which is why I wanted to share with everyone.

      • Chris says:

        Glad to hear BNL.

        You caused me to sit on my back porch tonight and comtemplate negotiating one workday per week at home. It likely won’t fly in my profession-we’re a bunch of workaholics (Military Officer) and I’m a supervisor. I envy the taste of freedom you must feel right now. I’m starting to taste it-5.5 years to go until retirement.

        A final note, I find it hard to articulate to most (Supervisor’s, friends, wife, family) the importance of daily time in my life to read, research, explore, think and dream. I’m envious again that you are getting to do this on a daily basis right now.

        Best continued wishes.

  16. Ken says:

    Where in CO are you? My dad is an EE and I’ve been trying to get him to change jobs forever now.

  17. Squire says:

    Is Physics close enough to EE? I’m in the Springs.

    Don’t think there’s anything wrong with not retiring BTW. Looking at MMM’s “retirement police” article, I’d say at this point you are retired, just choosing to do what makes sense for you. Way to go!

    • Sorry man, I’d be happy to hire an intelligent free-thinking person with a physics background for a job like this (assuming a few other soft skills are present), but I can’t see our company hiring anyone without the official EE diploma.

      Thanks for the MMM link. I’ve been reading his blog for awhile and even shared a few hours with his family at Garden of the Gods, yet never saw this article. It gave me a good laugh.

      • Squire says:

        No worries, thanks though. Funny thing is when I was going to school I was working at a research lab where all of the scientist looked down on the engineers. Groupthink I guess.

        I liked your “Great Explorations” post BTW. No doubt you know about the Cottonwood trail pretty nearby that Woodmen intersection? I highly recommend riding/running it from Autin Bluffs to Academy- mostly all downhill and very scenic. Not GoG scenic, but not bad either. And the park is a nice waypoint to loiter for a while if you make it a family hike instead.

        Please continue to keep us posted on BNL’s progress from time to time!

      • Oh yes, I know the Cottonwood creek trail quite well, I take my kids out there almost everyday after dinner. Here’s a pic of my ride into work last winter on the trail…

        http://bit.ly/18qzEhz

        I rode Cottonwood during my “Great Explorations” post, although the real fun didn’t start until I hit Academy with trucks splashing me with the puddles. :)

  18. Insourcelife says:

    Sounds like a great position to find yourself in. With no downside to the life/work balance, many of us would probably do the same. The best part is that you can always walk out if the comfortable equilibrium you’ve achieved changes. The true beauty of FI is that it gives you all these options and you are the one making the choices instead of the choices being made for you. Congrats!

  19. Shawn says:

    Hey BNL
    I always enjoy your posts. Despite being five years younger than I and our timeline for leaving the workforce a bit behind yours, you have been a great mentor to our family as well as I read your posts on like- minded forums and have enjoyed BNL. ER, FIRE, ERE…..however you frame it, we currently and IMO will always be a minority. It seems to me we are even more singled out with in the ER community as we have children. Voluntarily stopping the upper middle class consumer rat race again decreases our numbers. Even more few, are those who share these experiences online for all to see.

    That being said, I am slightly perplexed. I anxiously awaited your “retirement post” and thought that it was likely coming soon. Having somewhat like minds, I waited to see what creative pursuits you would fling yourself into after decoupling from full time employment.
    Deeper into your post it made a lot more sense. You have an excellent set up made possible by FI and I completely understand increasing margins with those luxury paydays. If I am doing any fault-finding with what you have so generously shared, it is from a completely self-centered origin.

    It is not fair to compare my current full time work arrangement with the work arrangement you have constructed. My full time employment requires 42.5 hours per week at the facility. I do have down time and some free time but simply being present is likely my biggest burden. I have lists and lists of skills to master, business ventures to explore, follies to entertain, and ways to waste time.

    Continuing full time employment for either of us is still exchanging our time and energy for other things we would like to be doing. I am happy for you that your bartering is currently very agreeable to your great lifestyle, (If you can’t tell yet I am envious of your position with both employment and overall retirablilty!) but I still can’t wait to read about your endeavors when you de-couple from the workforce and focus totally on YOUR direction.

    • Hey Shawn – Always good to hear from you, and I actually wondered what your thoughts would be on my temporary decision to not quit quite yet…

      You’re right that we are, and likely will remain, in the minority. With that said, I’ve seen my traffic to this site continuously grow, especially recently, and it’s actually gotten me excited. I know I’m not good enough at writing to thing I bring them in with my great prose, so it excites me that more and more people are interested in the message itself – to reduce consumption and expenses, and increase real joy. As of late, I’m optimistically wondering if we might be pioneers of a paradigm shift in the middle and middle-upper class for the end of consumerism (Keep in mind, consumerism culture is only 50-60 years old, it’s not like it’s engrained in our genetics.) We can hope..

      I appreciate your comment. The most meaningful part was when you said “I waited to see what creative pursuits you would fling yourself into after decoupling from full time employment.” It kept me up last night. It was a bit of an awakening and reminder that I could and should be pursuing these things, since I have plenty of time despite still holding my job. In fact, I got started on a new project today! It’s something I’m doing with my wife, and eventually I’ll talk about it here.

      Hope all is well, man. It’s too bad we didn’t get to meet up last month when I was in your neck of the woods, but next time for sure.

      • Shawn says:

        I agree that we are pioneers of a (re)new(ed) way of life. Spreading the word through the internet surely awakens many from mindless consumerism.

        I am very happy to hear that you are getting started on some new projects! Can’t wait to hear about what you guys are getting into.

  20. Congratulations! What a great situation to be in! I hope I can be in a similar spot in a few years.
    GamingYourFinances recently posted..Our fun and frugal weekend!My Profile

  21. No Waste says:

    In short, your entire website inspired me.

    I’m laser-focused on following your path.

    Also, your job sounds like an embarrassment of riches – cheers to that!
    No Waste recently posted..How Did I Get Here? (Part I)My Profile

    • You have a very interesting site yourself. I hope you’ll keep writing and pondering. I’ll make a point to stop by on occasion, and I’ll be rooting for your success (and your goal to get 1M readers/month so you’ll show your net worth :) )

  22. motiv8ed says:

    Congrats! I’m not disappointed at all in your not retiring. The goal was never really about not working your job, it was about not NEEDING to work your job. You’ve achieved the dream we all have, you work 100% by choice and it doesn’t keep you from pursuing any of your passions.

    I do hope you don’t lose interest in keeping this blog, especially your updates involving numbers and growth. I think a chart would be excellent. It definitely is motivating to see the ideas come to fruition with proof. Personally I enjoy your lending club and dividend growth updates the most.

    I stray from the minimalist concept often, but I enjoy your blog and it corrects my course and sets my sights higher.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, motiv8ed.

      I never realized how much value people received from my monthly reports, and I’m convinced now that I should start writing them again. I think I’ll change the format a little from how I used to do the reports and focus on the growth of passive and enjoyable income (not my corporate salary), and compare that to my expenses. It seems to me that that’s where the value is for most people. Net-worth and salary don’t seem that important anymore.

  23. Well done, sir! Congratulations!
    Pretired Nick recently posted..Dividend mapping: The craziest thing I never didMy Profile

  24. [...] hearty congratulations to BraveNewLife on an amazing achievement: Financial Freedom. At 35 years [...]

  25. Thomas says:

    I just simply like that you have a plan and goal and worked towards achieving it. At this point you are working because you want to and honestly why not. You are enjoying your day, getting the working done, adding value, the boss knows, and you are getting paid. Thats all I am working towards. Its not about retiring but the ability to retire when you want. Great job!
    Thomas recently posted..The Liebster Award – Being Nominated For ThreeMy Profile

  26. Great post! It sure looks as if going minimalist was the right decision for you. I would love to follow your lead but it would be difficult to do so for at least a few more years. I applaud your success and hope you have continued success.
    zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com recently posted..Cure for Writer’s Block : 109 Great Blog Post IdeasMy Profile

  27. Congratulations! That’s a great achievement and I can appreciate continuing to work if it’s a good situation.

    These stories are great for those of us still on our way!
    Done by Forty recently posted..Use Your Tax DollarsMy Profile

  28. Yabusame says:

    Congratulations BNL!

    You’ve reached FI and you’ve fulfilled your obligations to your employer. Now you’re continuing to work because it suits you, not because you have to. I’m sure there’ll come a point in your life where you want the working to stop, but if it doesn’t then who does it hurt? You’ve reached FI. That’s the goal, retirement is simply an option at that point, not a requirement.

    My path to FI is going to be long and arduous. I’m at the early stages of a second career (minimal pay at present) and I’m 42 years old. Wish there were PF & FI blogs when I left school…

    Congratulations and KEEP POSTING.

  29. Brian says:

    It’s all about work life balance. I don’t think anyone should judge you for continuing to work if you are fulfilling all the other things you want to accomplish. I am all for working efficiently – I find that when I am able to work from home, I accomplish the same amount of work, or more in about four hours of concerted effort. Unfortunately, my job requires frequent interaction with my team members, so it’s not an option as often as I’d like.

    I see no reason for you to give up working until the situation you describe changes!
    Brian recently posted..Updates: July 14 – 20My Profile

  30. BNL,

    Wow. Congratulations. You are free to spend your time however you choose for the rest of your life. That’s really phenomenal to have that kind of power at such a young age.

    However, I can’t say that I’m not jealous of you. Not only are you completely financial independence at an impressively young age, but you are choosing to continue to work because your employment situation is pretty amazing. You get to live a life fairly close to the ERE/FI lifestyle, but still have a job. Fantastic stuff. You’ve put yourself in a wonderful situation.

    I know I won’t be joining you in working beyond FI. I have a job where it requires me to be in the office for more than 50 hours per week. The work/life balance is skewed against my benefit to a significant degree. I suppose it’s my distaste for my job that drives me to pursue FI so hard.

    If you had a setup like this all along would you still have pursued FI in the manner you did? I don’t know how interested I’d be in early retirement if I had a job where I was making 6-figures and had such a beneficial work/life balance where I largely got to live life on my terms.

    Best of luck going forward no matter what you do!

    Take care.
    Dividend Mantra recently posted..My Brand New Minty Fresh Dental PlanMy Profile

    • “If you had a setup like this all along would you still have pursued FI in the manner you did? I don’t know how interested I’d be in early retirement if I had a job where I was making 6-figures and had such a beneficial work/life balance where I largely got to live life on my terms. – See more at: http://www.bravenewlife.com/07/retire-by-35-an-update/comment-page-1/#comment-11916

      That’s tough to say. When I started out, I didn’t have a wife or kids. My work was my passion, and my friends were my co-workers. I loved what I did working 80 hour weeks, and making a third what I make now. I don’t think I would have traded any of that.

      Additionally, working 3x as much for 1/3 the pay – in hindsight – is what makes me really appreciate what I have now, and what FI means. Had I started with the situation I have now, I probably never would have done the soul-searching and life-planning that I did, which led me to discover the concept of FI.

  31. [...] people voiced admiration and jealousy when reading my last post about my financial freedom and what it’s offered me, I have only this to say.  Financial independence is a great thing, [...]

  32. Cassie says:

    If you enjoy what you do…continue to do it. It’s just that wage slavery can often suck and that’s why so many rush to quit. Sounds like you have a good master-er-boss ;-)

    We are three weeks out to our retirement -or jubilation- because the word in Spanish for retired is “jubilado” – “jubilated”. We are moving to the Caribbean and living off our investments.

    One thing I’ve learned in this process is that our jobs are not “ours”. We are completely replaceable cogs in this job system. We cannot sell our jobs. We cannot sublet or rent them. We have no control over this as an asset. We cannot do anything with them except either stay on the payroll or stop.

    And even in the cases of a good gig like yours (and mine actually), there still is that feeling of knowing we are “owned” by someone else and that they can and do tell us what to do with our time. We are also focused on projects that may or may not be what we would otherwise choose to direct our energies/our life.

    So we are going to be living like tropical monkeys and maybe we will miss the rat race, but we’ve never been free before so we are excited/scared/intrigued to try it out.

    At least you know what you are doing and have a choice in the matter. Many people earn so little and/or spend so much that they don’t really have much of a choice.

  33. EricB says:

    “I started out this journey asking ‘why should I work?’ but now I find myself asking ‘why not?’”

    Congratulations on your enviable position. But can you really not come up with something better to do with your time than work for a few hours per day?

    If you’re socking away the extra money to pad your retirement accounts (say, to get to 3% SWR), I think that’s totally fair and prudent. But if not:

    Do you have a plan for the “excess” money you’re currently earning? Or are you just earnings (slash potentially saving) more money because that’s what you’ve always done?

  34. AEBinNC says:

    I look forward to seeing what you have to say about a nano business. I would love to start a side hustle and am brainstorming some ideas.

  35. Jarrett says:

    First, this is awesome! I am 30 years old and I make 60k a year but my job is stressful. I am debt free other than the mortage but I almost triple the payment. I should pay the minimum amount because my rate is low 4%. Like you I’m into divided stocks and lendingclub. I want a rental home also. Is there a reason why you keep money in the stocks? The loans seem to make more income but without capital increasing with the market. Sadly the market seems top heavy now and yields are low. I know you are already locked in but do you have any advice? Any divided stocks you love at yhe moment? I’m thinking about going more into a vanguard mutual fund. I am also curious about what you read regularly? WSJ or forbes? Any particular blogs? Again I want to thank you! You don’t have to help out strangers but you do. You are a linchpin and Seth Godin wrote a great book about your type.

  36. That’s awesome that you are basically free from work. It seems that most people in the technology field have it very good salary wise that they can effectively retire sooner than others. Maybe you can share one day how you built up the dividend portfolio.

  37. [...] “For the first time in my adult life, I’m finally free of all obligations to work.” – BraveNewLife.com [...]

  38. Sounds like the perfect day. Work, lunch, family time, gym, dinner. I guess you CAN have it all. Thanks for sharing!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Money Manners: Property DamageMy Profile

  39. congratulations! It must be great to be financially free. I think having the choice on working as opposed to having to work makes a big difference. Working on your own terms and knowing that you have enough makes you see things differently. I hope to be free one day and I too will probably continue to work, just having that choice makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing the inspirational post.
    Shobir @ Find Some Money recently posted..Day 8 – Establish an Emergency Fund, Savings Account & Investment AccountMy Profile

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