In the midst of my afternoon brain-chilling, cooling, relaxing—not quite meditating time, I realized I’ve hit 8 years in FIRE. I’m now well beyond any 7-year itch or stretch. I was thinking, that if I were an “ordinary” retiree at age 65, then I would be into my RMD phase and having to do extra math every January first. Not there yet!
What was my first thought when I realized I passed the great 8? It was: life is—and has been—amazing. So much great stuff, time, experiences, adventures, decisions, and people…with only a handful of bummers.
I feel like the gr8ness is based on the foundation of FREEDOM of time. I rarely have a fixed time commitment that I have to deal with. To be more specific, I seem to despise having appointment times on my calendar. (Just ask my wife why my schetchle has a “?” at the end of most items).
I’ve gained 8 years of life activities that I would have lost being committed to a full-time (or even part-time) work schedule. That’s truly priceless. We had 8 years of activities that were available to us while we were young and in our prime “retirement” health.
The other “good” news is that now at age 51—nearing 52—our end- of- plan is closer—8 years closer. I originally typed “much closer” but the emphasis of “much” would only apply if the years ahead were few. I like the simple “closer” because our retirement could still be another 50 years, or 40+ years, or less, you never know. And on that point, if we don’t know when the end is, then it’s very important to enjoy every day immediately and don’t put off experiences into the “future.”
We’ve had the pleasure of an amazing investment tailwind most of the first 7.5 years after leaving work. Lately, we’re having half a year of an interesting market correction of 20+%. Looking back, our balances are about the same as they were 18 months ago in DEC 2020 ish. At that time the balances seemed so amazingly high. So any net-worth stress has not appeared so far—quite the opposite.
Along with the world, we’ve had the strangest preview of how our SloGo years could be day to day. I am defining SloGo as the wanting to go and do things, but not having the ability to do so. In our case, it was not health or mobility, but of course, lockdowns and risk of serious illness.
Right about my 7-year milestone of FIRE I had a stomach/intestine attack (blockage)which was frustrating (painful and frightening) and it clearly (immediately) reminds you of how important health, good days, and wellness are for life enjoyment.
I’ve talked about this ironic realization in FIRE a little in the past, that I barely traveled in the first 5 years of retirement. I did jump on a trip with my friends to hike the Inca trail and Machu Picchu. But, there were very few other flying trips. I think I went to the airport two times by choice in the first five years of FIRE.
I haven’t even been to Europe since FIREing and it’s been 8 years. My only international trips were to Peru and a Cuba cruise. It feels like time to see some more of Europe. I’m only at 28 countries of my 50 states/50 countries goal.
I should share that I am realizing that we should visit some of the harder to travel to/through countries sooner rather than later since were more able to handle the harder travel while we’re still youngish. I’m thinking of countries like Poland, South America, etc. We can do some of the easier-to-visit countries when we’re a little older.
Close your eyes (and read this?!) and imagine the best summer vacations during your school years, place those back to back, consider having a nice big allowance to spend and you get the feeling I’ve felt for the Great 8 Years,
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.