Early Retirement: One Month After

My  favorite thing about early retirement is freedom to spend the day as we please.  We have the occasional swim class or daycare drop off but other than that, nothing planned.  Most days, we wake up and are spontaneous.

No more morning meetings with offshore India resources.  No more after hour’s meetings with the west coast interrupting the dinner hour with the kids. My calendar is meeting free.

Does that mean I do nothing? Absolutely not. My early retirement days have been spent focusing on four things.

Travel

Goal: Find two short weekend destinations for the Fall.

  • For July 4th we visited Isle of Palms, SC. This was our first time in the greater Charleston area. This little island was fantastic. It offered a calm beach for our little kids.   Fireworks on the beach. Cruising around on a golf cart for ice cream. Fantastic restaurants. And beautiful homes. Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s island are truly a place we’d love to call home some day.
  • Later in July we visited our favorite destination, Hilton Head Island, SC. We were joined by extended family for some beach fun, golf and exercise. While golfing I was greeted by a surprise. I had to sneak past this alligator who was disrupting the town home community surrounding the seventh green.  Who says golf is a safe sport?

Family

We have downsized our dependency on day care and I am taking more of the responsibility of our kids. There have been some challenging times, but so the fun has outweighed the hurdles. Our bond is already growing.

Goal: Free activities.

We take a morning outing before lunch and nap. Some of the things we have done so far.

  • Beach park at Lake Lanier
  • Atlanta Zoo will become a biweekly adventure. The kids love this and the annual pass costs $100 for the year.
  • We have our choice of six parks within a couple mile drive. The kids meet up with some friends and burn some energy.

Exercise

Exercise has not been a priority for the past four years. After the birth of our first son, I added about twenty pounds to my waistline. Additionally, I was recovering from surgery for a dislocated shoulder from a Crossfit injury (beware of the squat snatches!)

Goal: Drop 25 lbs.

This would get me to 205. At 6’2″ I believe this is an ideal target. Here is my plan:

  • Running three times a week. It is mostly a slow jog to start, about 11 minute miles.
  • Scheduling running events.  I ran my first 10K with only 5 weeks of training. Luckily I finished in about an hour. Running does not come easy to me, but I will maintain three runs per week.
  • Weight training/Cross fit. I have some bumper weights in the basement along with some kettle bells, box and a squat rack/pull up bar. Looking to dust off this equipment two days per week.
  • Considering signing up at a gym for some group classes. Haven’t pulled the trigger on this one yet.
  • Tracking active calories and logging my food into an app. This helps to quantify my daily calorie deficit.
  • Dusting off my mountain bike.

Finances

I am monitoring our spending a lot closer. Previously our incomes permitted us to save a substantial portion of our income without putting in rigid guidelines.

Goal: maintain and validate our savings rate is still at least 50 to 60%.

I will be tracking this for at least the next few months. Some things I started doing are:

  • Tracking our net worth. For July, without my paycheck we added 2.44 % to our net worth. A few of our stocks in our taxable portfolio rebounded.   Our goal is increase of 1% per month.
  • Launching the Expense Reduction Project to reduce our demand for outsourced services.
  • Making frugal daily decisions.
  • Researching and identifying intelligent places to deploy our cash position.

Blog

Yes, I launched this blog. I’ve contemplated doing this for years. Many thanks for the few readers so far.

I had no idea the time commitment. My goal is to post at least twice a week. Some weeks will be better, but I think two a week is doable. It has been a lot of fun so far and look forward to growing in this area. I still have a lot to learn.

Goals:

  • Post 2-3 times a week for the next six months
  • Enroll on social media; Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Network with other fellow bloggers.

Honestly, I understand why people abandon fresh blogs. After pouring over posts, they remain unread for now. With anything in life perseverance will prevail.

Blog success for the first year is about learning by doing. Posting consistently is my goal.

Setting up a website is a new skill and I have a lot to learn.

Success is also writing out my opinions and views.   Writing is helpful with defining my strategy to personal finances and investments.   My hope is it helpful for others.

Conclusion

After one month, I can honestly say our family is much happier. The kids get to spend a lot more time together. Everyone is eating much healthier. Most importantly, our weekends are spent on adventures together instead of grinding through grocery stores or catching up on all the chores missed during the week.

How time flies when you are busy not working.

3 comments

  1. I’ve been FIREd for over 5 years already and it sounds like you’re off to a great start!

    What I remember most about the first few months is feeling euphoric. So much interesting, fun, or challenging stuff to do! I started to wonder how I ever had time to go to work. 🙂
    Mr. Freaky Frugal recently posted…Bank bonus bonanza!My Profile

  2. Getting started is 90% of success and then a commitment to blogging will keep you going. This is interesting reading for guys like me so for our sake please continue.

    I just started a blog but I only intend to post once a week. That is as much as I can handle right now.

    I now regret I didn’t save more aggressively when I was younger. Take a look at my blog is you will.

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