Meandering to FI


Also, meandering to the point of this post (not sure I ever got there). I wrote this post in bits and pieces over the past couple of weeks. They are thoughts, feelings, and my attempts to make meaning of this crazy time. Hope you find some value here. 🙂

Sometimes people have different opinions than I do. That’s okay; the world is a big place and people have had very different life experiences.

Sometimes people are scared. That’s okay; I’m scared about the dumbest things myself–like buying a new sofa. I have a pretty large net worth and I’m scared to buy a sofa.

Sometimes people are wrong. That’s okay; I’m often wrong (Dunning-Kruger is real, y’all).

Sometimes people are depressed. It took me a long time to figure out I struggle with depression. I have really bad Seasonal Affective Disorder and when something as minor as three days of rain happens (like this week) I suffer.

Covid and the quarantine have brought out a lot of opinions, ideas, posts. There is good scientific data on how to control a pandemic, but it seems to get lost in the shuffle (here’s one of the best articles I’ve read on how to manage the outbreak and here’s a common sense article about social distancing). And everyone has competing ideas for the best way to go about our lives and keep others safe.

It’s clear that wearing a mask is a good idea (if you don’t think it is you’re probably reading the wrong blog). It’s clear that outside is better than inside, less people is better than more people, less time is better than more.

On to personal finance.

There are a lot of ideas about the best ways to save, invest, become financially independent. My ways are not the same ways as your ways.

I spend a lot more than other, more frugal bloggers. I don’t really want to be super frugal and my lifestyle doesn’t support it. Still, I’ve met a whole lot of my FI goals, so this way works for me.

Despite the fact that I have what I suppose I’ll call an investment property in Chile, I don’t like the idea of owning properties. Probably a good idea but it scares me because I don’t know what I’m doing. Sometimes pushing through fear is a good thing; sometimes it’s a warning you’re on the wrong path. Which is which? I don’t know.

When you get the money part right it eliminates a lot of problems but certainly not all of your problems. We have plenty of everyday worries. Thank goodness they’re not ginormous, life-altering worries.

It’s summer again which means I’m on vacation. Aside from tennis, working out (socially distanced), and taking the kids to events, I don’t have much going on.

We’re going to the beach for two weeks next week and I’ll be taking along my curriculum plans. The boys will be in day camp during the first week (need to write a post on “Spending Money on Things to Make Your Life Easier”) so I’ll have some time during the day to work.

Yes, that is right. I am planning to work.

What is the point of this post? I think it’s that people are in a rush to get to retirement, and I’m sweating how to fill my 60 days of summer.

Don’t get me wrong–waking up each morning and remembering it’s summer is like waking up to Saturday every single day. But I still get up at 6 or earlier. Still start my day with an hour of groan-inducing lifting or Pilates, still bookend Mondays and Wednesdays with swimming and tennis lessons.

I’m itchy–playing lots of tennis, packing my time with as many activities as I can coordinate. Wandering through the days, with no plan.

Just like last year, when I practiced retirement, I’m lost with no real destination.

I’m 40 (for a few more days, anyway), have hit my major life goals, and now get to enjoy the fruits of those labors. But I want to work.

I’ve written before about the well-being theory. Psychologists theorize that you need five elements in place for optimal well-being:

  • positive emotion
  • engagement
  • relationships
  • meaning and purpose
  • accomplishment

For me, meaning and purpose and accomplishment are coming more and more from my job. I love my job, although teaching virtually was very, very hard. But I love my non-virtual job and it brings me a lot of purpose and feelings of accomplishment. It’s awesome to have the summer to remember that–the heart grows fonder and all that jazz.

But it makes me think about our retirement plan. I suppose, like many others on the road to FI (and those on the road to Slow FI–thank you Fioneers for coining such a lovely term) I’m coming to terms with the idea that early retirement will bring us the freedom to pursue, perhaps, less arduous work. I have a feeling that nine years from now I may be ready for a slower pace at work, something much more part time, something different, but not nothing. I know Mr. ThreeYear will be ready for a less intense work situation.

Knowing that, it makes me more frustrated than ever that we can’t spend this summer taking a long, drawn-out trip somewhere. But there is next summer.

And there is now, at the beach (finally here), gazing at the sunrise over the marsh. We have today, and we have each other, we have work, we have extended family, we have many, many blessings. Sometimes there’s not an immediate goal, and that’s hard for a people who have goals and efficiency written in our cultural DNA (me). But it’s time to “work to live,” as the Spanish say, versus live to work, and practice gratitude for what is right with the world.

Beach view

Author: Laurie

Hi. I'm Laurie, and my family and I have set out to double our net worth and move abroad in the next three years. Join us on our journey!

3 thoughts on “Meandering to FI”

  1. I guess I’m lucky in that I love rainy weather. My wife and I love to fish and in the summer rainy days are much better than sunny ones for catching fish, so unlike most people a three or four day rainy forecast makes me happy! As far as work, I retired somewhat early five years ago and work about one day a week, a big change from running a large industrial complex with hundreds of employees to worry over and keep safe. And its much better now. Add in a good bit of volunteer work, fishing, running, tennis, pickleball, hiking and off-roading and life is very good. It was very good when I worked 50 hours a week too, but its even better now. I do recommend some paying work in retirement regardless of whether you need the money, at least for me earning money I may not need still feels useful somehow and adds to my identity. Plus my consulting involves a whole lot of people I wouldn’t otherwise engage with so it has a valuable social aspect that is good for me.

  2. yep. there are many different ways to skin a cat. like y’all, i really would not want to deal with a rental property. we buy stocks and sell some when they go up but we’re closer to the end than the beginning but that game is not for everyone. you know what i won’t be doing? telling anyone how to live their life or what to think. for us independent types that’s anathema.

    i prefer the approach of “here’s what we’re doing and the reasoning behind it.” then add a little of “this is what we tried. this worked and this other did not.”

  3. I hear you about wanting to work even when you’ve reached FI. I do think there’s something about a project or task that has a start and finish, has some challenge, has a benefit to others. Work is definitely more fun when you’re not dependent on it, and therefore overly stressed about having enough of it or of doing it well. The best is when you can work at what you love and take on as much (or as little) as you’d like.

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