FIRE Escape – Early Retirement 12 Month Checklist

Retire Picture

It’s hard to believe that I have reached the one year mark on my expected early retirement on April Fool’s Day 2016.  It arrived just a few days ago when I was prepping for a multi-day work offsite that my boss asked me to plan & lead.  I ended up so involved in the offsite that I didn’t have a lot of time to reflect on the fact that I was now within 1 short year of the end of my 27 year journey to retire at age 49 (“FIRE by 50”).

The last day of March also marked the start of our “One More Year Fund” as my DW and I are planning on saving every paycheck over the next year and put it into a charitable giving fund to start giving away upon retirement next year.  I’ve always thought it would be a great “victory lap” – work an extra year as a purely philanthropic act.  You can read about my plan HERE.  I wrote “LAST PAYCHECK” on the pay stub I received on March 31, 2015 and put it in my desk drawer.  It is the first of many lasts, I expect.

What made the end of the month much nicer was a big boost to our retirement fund.  My biggest holdings are in the stock of the MegaCorp I left two years ago.  After a high-profile merger in their industry, their stock jumped +8% over about 3 days.  I was able to sell some options at a great price and boost our retirement fund well ahead of schedule.

Over the last month I’ve mostly been thinking about my time in post-retirement.  I posted earlier about planning out “things to do” so that I don’t get bored.  Just today, my wife & son said we should do something, but they weren’t sure what.  So I pulled open the list and we picked to spend the day at the local Zoo.  I noticed that the list of activities is pretty split between: 1) things that you need to plan in advance (concerts, sports, plays); 2) things that require nice weather (zoo, parks); and, 3) things that you can do more spur of the moment (museums, shopping).  I’m still working on the list, so I’ll have to put more focus on more impromptu activities.

Career planning is still something that I am spending a good amount of time on.  You wouldn’t think I would care if I’m retiring early in one year, but I want to still keep my options open and see what happens.  It’s to soon to reveal anything to my boss, but I will in good time.

So here is my checklist with 12 months left in my last full year of working:

  • Continue to build cash reserves to cushion 3 years of retirement spending against market swings
  • Keep your options open at work – no sense to start talking about early retirement with the boss yet
  • Meet with folks that retired early in the recent past and tap into their wisdom to help you plan
  • Watch the financial markets for signs of trouble that could cause you to change your plans
  • Put focus on what you are going to do with your days in retirement – “practice” on weekends
  • Enjoy your work.  You still have quite a few months left – focus on the good

Image Credit: Pixabay

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