Well, here we are: my last month of work.
Last month of work? How did that come so fast?
The truth is it did not come fast – although things have accelerated in a HUGE way since I announced I was leaving MegaCorp. I wrote just a few months ago about how slow things were progressing as I worked my way through my last year before early retirement. In retrospect, those months now seems like the blink of an eye.
All of my plans for announcing my exit from MegaCorp were executed almost exactly as I would have wanted them to play out. I was able to secure all of the financial incentives I wanted (401k vest, annual bonus & stock options) ahead of time. I was able to make the announcement with a little flair and a bottle of scotch. And, my crazy news was met with great surprise and respect from everyone I’ve talked to.
That said, it was funny to be announcing my early retirement at work as the financial markets were roiling with uncertainty. The S&P 500 was down almost 10% at one point and led to a lot of funny comments about what an inappropriate time to be quitting my job. Our retirement portfolio was pretty well defended from the magnitude of that loss. After a relatively ugly January (-2.3%), our portfolio bounced back in February, closing on Leap Day at +0.8%. The overall stock market continued to be down (-3.2% S&P 500), but my MegaCorp stock options carried us into positive territory (+3.0%). Combined with a healthy amount of cash, bond funds, and some fixed real estate funds, it hasn’t been a bad start to the year. While our portfolio isn’t really growing, I am happy to avoid ugliness right now.
I also finalized our health care plans in February and signed up for both medical & dental. I wrote about the options that we had in this POST and we selected plans that are very comparable with the coverage with have through MegaCorp. There may be better approaches for us in the long-term, but I wanted to make sure we knew exactly what we had of now.
Once I announced, the month also got busy with opportunities. A great number of people that I shared my news with had terrific ideas on new activities and connections to opportunities that would have been impossible to consider while I was working full-time at MegaCorp. Additional board work (corporate & non-profit), opportunities to speak & write, invitations to join investment groups, and participate in some interesting activities (fencing club, anyone?) The number and variety of potential ways to spend my time have been incredible. At the same time, it’s a bit daunting and following up on the interesting leads feels a bit like a job in and of itself.
At the same time, I’m still at work. I gave my boss his choice as to how long he wanted me at the office and he took the max I was willing to give – almost two months. My final day will be (appropriately) April Fool’s Day – so I have this last final month plus one day (which is a Friday). There’s no word yet on who my backfill will be and my boss has said they probably won’t be named before my final date. People are telling me there is a good chance I get asked to stay on longer, but I do have some plans I am lining up for early April.
My checklist for ONE MONTH left before early retirement is a big one, and I’ve been posting many of the major events in “real time”. Here they are (and a few others):
- Announced early retirement to my boss
- Shared a list of things I plan to do in retirement
- Chatted with a lot of friends & colleagues about my long-planned secret escape
- Organized health insurance with individual coverage
- Arranged for an extra contribution to my 401k before leaving MegaCorp
- Continued to deposit money in our “One More Year” Giving Fund
- Started to bring things home from the office
There’s not much left to do at this point. I have just three weeks left (and a week-long spring break in the middle), but there is nothing but a lot of work projects to transition to others. Then, I will start on projects I have planned for early retirement.
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com