October Update// Entering The Home Stretch!

We’re not going to spend much time on the numbers. The graph speaks for itself. Things continue to look good, with assets as a multiple of our annual spending up from 21.39 to 21.90 over the past month.

The Final Month of Work

As long time readers know, I quit my job back in late February. However, that was more a matter of me getting things out there. The idea of keeping secrets and trying to maintain blog anonymity was becoming far more stress than it was worth. There was no definite end date to my employment.

Since then we have bought the house in Utah and our plans continued to materialize over the summer. December 1st became my “official” last day. Even that was “official” instead of official, because I have continued to discuss the idea of staying on to do some part-time work until we make the move.

Taming the Donkey

We shared in our ultra-safe early retirement plan that we are looking to develop redundant, sustainable income streams in retirement. Staying on part-time with my current employer is one of many ideas/plans that has been floating around in my “donkey” brain. Among the others that I have been considering:

  • Experimenting with part-time physical therapy work in a different setting.
  • Trying a rotation as a traveling PT to see if I like it.
  • Exploring using my PT skills outside of a traditional setting (disabled athletes, adaptive skiing, etc).
  • Growing and monetizing this blog.
  • Starting a financial coaching service.
  • Writing a book.
  • Seeking more freelance writing opportunities.
  • Taking a deep dive into educating myself on real estate investing.
  • Taking a hobby job such as ski patrol.

We discussed our plans in more detail with our small mastermind group of similar couples in early August. Having that talk has led my wife and I to have some great ongoing conversations since then.

We realized that while FIRE gives many options of things that we can do, we still need to decide what is important and what we really want to do. If we are not careful with how we use our time, we could very easily become busier than we were when working. And we wouldn’t even have the income to show for it!

My First FinCon

This past weekend, I attended my first FinCon in Dallas, TX. I went in wondering if being a blogger/writer could and should be a focus of my life going forward, or if this was just a hobby. I came out with a new confidence, focus, and commitment. Exactly how and where I will be directing that focus will be shared in a separate post very shortly.

For now, what I will tell you is that the first thing I did Monday morning was tell my boss that I will be completely done December 1. The next month will be spent tying up loose ends at work, while organizing to start a new phase of life.

The initial conversation with my boss back in February was scary to initiate and produced mixed emotions. Buying a house across the country this summer was terrifying and stressful as things became very real. Now that things are finally falling into place, I have found a peace and excitement that I have not felt in a very long time.

The Home Stretch

Trying to maintain the pace of being a full-time physical therapist, writing this blog, doing my freelance writing, teaching a rock climbing class, being present and involved as a father and husband, and maintaining my health and fitness has been exhausting.

Over the next month, I plan to focus on figuring out what I want my day to day life to look like when I wake up on Monday, December 4th. For the first time since I graduated from physical therapy school in June of 2001, I won’t have a job that I have to go to.

I cherish that freedom and space in my life. It has been something I’ve worked towards for years.

However, I also know that having some structure is a good thing for me. I find that when I wake up at 4:45 in the morning and know that I only have two and a half hours before having to get out the door to go to work, I rarely miss a workout or a writing day. However, when I have a (rare) entire free weekend, I easily manage to do nothing productive.

I want to find balance, where I am living a productive but not busy life. I’m sure it won’t be perfect, and at times will be downright ugly. I’ll be sure to share it here and am curious to hear what has worked for others who have made the transition.

A Bit More About FinCon

I am not going to write a full recap of FinCon. Many others have already done it and I am not sure what I can add that has not already been said, other than if you are a blogger or aspiring to be one you should drop the couple hundred bucks and go to Orlando next September. It is really a great conference. If you are hungry for more info about what FinCon is all about, here are links to a couple of bloggers that I regularly read that have shared their experiences.

And a couple of bloggers I didn’t previously know well, but got to have great conversations with about skiing, kids, skiing with kids, and other general life stuff.

And finally a blogger I didn’t know at all before FinCon, and now I’ll never forget. (Do yourself a favor and read this one!)

Have a great month and share your thoughts in the comments below.

*Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this content, you can find my current writing at Can I Retire Yet?. Enter your email below to join our mailing list and be alerted when new content is published.

New Reader? Get free regular updates from Can I Retire Yet? on saving, investing, retiring, and retirement income. New articles about 2-4 times/month. Join more than 17,000 subscribers. Unsubscribe at any time:

22 comments on October Update// Entering The Home Stretch!

  1. Have you considered teaching in a PT or PTA program as a part-time gig you might enjoy?

    It’s something I have found very rewarding. It certainly has its stressful moments and can be demanding, but overall it has been a really great career transition for me (obviously, I’m a fellow PT! :D).

    1. I have enjoyed teaching in various capacities. However, I am not excited about taking on any work which requires consistently trading time for money and being tied to a schedule.

      I’m still trying to figure out what retirement will look like for me, but I think those are two criteria I’m pretty firm on for now (while reserving the right to change my mind at any time 😉 )

      I appreciate the idea and it is awesome every time I find another PT reader. Thanks!

  2. Once out in Utah, look into multi unit housing to rent. You get tax write offs, depreciation and passive income, along with “something to do periodically”. This is only a suggestion but other than hedge fund owners, a majority of the most wealthiest people got their money in real estate. I wish you and your family great success and health in your new adventure. If you wake up every morning with a purpose, retirement never gets boring and quite often there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. ENJOY!

    1. Real estate is definitely a future interest for me. I just am trying to remember to not try to take on all of those interests at the same time.

      I always appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Hopefully we can cross paths before we head west.

  3. I loved chatting with you at FinCon! Can’t wait to see where your experience there takes you. 🙂 I’m already making all kinds of improvements and it feels great to be inspired and energized again. I purchased tickets to the 2018 event (and even convinced Mr. Picky Pincher to tag along), so I hope to see you there. 🙂

    Also, Route to Retire is AMAZING. I had never heard of his blog before but he is just such a cool dude. And the costume was the icing on the cake, hahaha.

    1. Wow, look who appears to have made a good impression with Mrs. Picky Pincher… this guy!! 🙂 Of course, she’s pretty awesome as well!

      Mr. EE, congrats on calling an end date to your employment… probably a little scary, but an exhilarating feeling as well. I’m looking forward to reading how everything comes together.

      It was great to meet you at FinCon (my first as well). The event exceeded my expectations and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone (hopefully you as well!) in Orlando.

      — Jim

      1. Thanks for the kind words Jim. Great to meet you as well.

        I think the mohawk made an impression on everyone!

    2. Likewise. You were one of many people I wish I had more time to get to know better. FinCon is definitely an overwhelming experience, especially for a first timer. I already have a ticket for Orlando. See you there.

  4. Have you published an outline of how you have investments allocated? I’m curious about the positions you have and if you’ve taken a more defensive approach now that you’re not working full time.

    1. Excellent question.

      Here is a link to our investment allocation.

      The only real change we have made is that we have far less cash than our plan would suggest b/c we put a good bit of our cash reserves toward the down payment on the new house. Once we sell our current home, we’ll pay off the new home and replenish our cash reserves. Otherwise no changes are imminent.

      It is important to note that we are not planning a traditional retirement. If so, we may take a bit different approach. Since we will still have my wife’s 30 hour/week income which should cover our living expenses (+/- $5k) we feel we are well insulated from sequence of return risks and so feel no great need to get more conservative. Hope that helps.

  5. I’d be curious in finding out at what stages of FI those at FinCon are - thanks for sharing that last link J$. I didn’t know of it either.

    1. I met people on all ends of the spectrum of FI from just getting out of debt and getting started (Jonathan of Choose FI comes to mind) to those that have been FIRE for years (Darrow of Can I Retire Yet? and Doug Nordman of The Military Guide jump to mind). I think the majority who write regularly are still somewhere on the path.

      I think there is value in finding a couple of people at different stages that you relate to. I wrote about that here if interested.

  6. I’d second that opinion that if anyone is interested in FinCon, figure out a way to go to Orlando. It can be done frugally, I’m planning on finding a card or 2 to cover/offset airfare and hotel as it will becoming out of my allowance next time. 🙂

    I have similar issues with being non-productive on weekends. During our Harvey 10 day “flood-in” Mrs. SSC told me, “Um, I’m not too impressed with how you spent these ast 10 days. So unproductive… I hope this isn’t what FIRE is going to look like for you.”

    I ahd to remind her that having 2′ of water surrounding your house and all businesses, gym, etc… closed doesn’t necessarily reflect the same activity level as if I wasn’t working, lol. On the other hand, I also need to work on a better balance on my days off because it’s easy tog et out of sync and just relax.

    1. Come on triathlete boy, you could have worked on your swimming stroke! 🙂

      Definitely think we all need to have a purpose and be productive in “retirement”. I think it will be an interesting challenge to find a happy medium between constant business/productivity of pre-FIRE, and not drifting to laziness/purposelessness post-FIRE.

  7. I find that when I wake up at 4:45 in the morning and know that I only have two and a half hours before having to get out the door to go to work, I rarely miss a workout or a writing day. However, when I have a (rare) entire free weekend, I easily manage to do nothing productive.

    This hit home, I’m mostly the same way. Since I went part time at my job I find myself sometimes wasting lots of time when I have it in big chunks. But I also wake up before 5:00AM and, with some coffee, find that I get a good amount done before work. Overall, I feel ironically somewhat more stressed now that I’m part time. The “productivity beast” inside my brain seems to be yelling GO-GO! during those times that I now have off from my job, as if I’m gonna get all-the-things done at once. I think I need to settle into my new reality more but it will take time.

    Your list of things you have going on is exhaustive just to read. Kudos to you, you’re killing it.

    1. Agree that I need to settle into this new reality as well. It should be interesting.

      Don’t know if I deserve kudos or a face punch for my excessive business. I am definitely committed to trying out becoming less busy very soon!

  8. Best wishes for Monday!
    I’ll be looking forward to hearing more about your adventures from here. We’re still more than a few years away from FI but reading posts like yours is super inspiring!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and well wishes. When I started reading these types of blogs a few years ago, I also found them very inspiring but honestly didn’t always believe the stories were real as it seemed so unlike anything I was seeing in my normal life. As Friday came and went, I can tell you it is real. 🙂

    1. Thanks ZJ. All went well and now I’m adjusting to this new version of life. (Adjusting quite well I may add 😉 )

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: