First Year of Early Retirement (3) – Work/Money & Family/Friends


This is the third chapter in a series of four posts that look at how our first year in early retirement has gone.  This chapter covers activities related to Family/Friends and Work/Money.  These are two of the busiest areas on my Life Wheel map and have been very satisfying.  (Here are links to the FIRST and SECOND posts of this series)

My goal wasn’t to accomplish EVERYTHING on the list in the first year.  You’ll see that I’ve completed a few things, made progress on a lot of them, but still have opportunity to pursue others.  Here is the play-by-play …


  • Spend more time with our family – I’ve done more of this, particularly over the holidays.  We’re fortunate that they all live just 20-40 minutes from our house.  In the last year, we’ve celebrated birthdays/holidays together, gotten out on the boat, enjoyed a number of shows, played some golf, seen museum exhibits and just enjoyed each other’s company. CONTINUING
  • Expand on the family genealogy/history research – I did quite a bit of this work over the last year.  Unfortunately, we attended a few funerals and maybe the only the family genealogist finds those events productive!  I didn’t have one specific goal – genealogy is kind of like a never ending puzzle to solve – but I did spend a good amount of time on it.  For Christmas, I put together poster-sized family trees (with pictures & dates) for both sides of our family that turned out very nice.  CONTINUING
  • Organize more time with friends – We’ve always done a good amount of entertaining and spending time with friends, but I doubt we really did more than previous years.  There are still only so many weekend nights for friends that are still working.  That said, the time we do spend going out with friends is SO much more relaxing than it has ever been!  CONTINUING
  • Meet old colleagues for lunch – listen to them bitch about their jobs  – I’ve probably gone to lunch/happy hour with old colleagues 100x over the last year. People regularly reach out – or I call them – and it’s fun to catch up and hear how things are going in their lives and back at MegaCorp.  I worked at three different companies in my career and I keep up with people from all of them.  CONTINUING
  • Scavenger / Treasure Hunts – With some friends of mine from high school (and our kids), I’ve annually been on the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt.  Over the last fifteen Januaries, we’ve been trying to crack the daily clues in the metro newspaper and find ‘the puck’ hidden in an area park.  Winner gets $10K and more importantly – the fame & glory of finding it!  We didn’t find it this year, so this is definitely CONTINUING until we get lucky at some point.



  • Corporate Board work – I’ve been on the board of a manufacturing company for the last 18 months.  It’s a good sized, family run business that was looking for some outside expertise and my background at MegaCorp was relevant to them.  I’ve enjoyed working with them and being on their board doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time, so I am thinking I should start networking for additional opportunities.  CONTINUING
  • Business Consulting – I’ve also been doing a little consulting for a wide variety of businesses.  Some of the work is simple – just doing phone interviews on different topics that I have some expertise in.  Other work is in person for a day or two, including presenting at corporate conferences.  I haven’t looked for these jobs – they’ve found me – and I probably won’t do an extended consulting projects, but the short-term stuff is fun and lucrative.  CONTINUING
  • Non-Profit Board work  – I’ve been involved with the Minnesota Zoo board for more than 12 years.  I was Chairman of the Zoo Foundation for a couple of years and decided to stick with it into retirement.  The current chair asked me to lead the zoo’s strategic planning process and work with our new CEO, which has been a lot of fun.  I’ve also gotten involved in a marketing planning committee for the 2018 Super Bowl that will be held in the Twin Cities next year.  It’s been fun to see the overall planning for such an amazing event for the community to host.   CONTINUING
  • University MBA Program Executive Board – Over the past 10 years, I have been very involved in MBA marketing recruiting at two different MegaCorps.  In retirement I’ve stayed involved on this Big Ten university board (2x meetings/year) and worked with the staff and students.  CONTINUING
  • Angel Investing – I got involved in angel investing early last year and have been learning a lot about start-ups and corporate financing.  It’s kind of like a Midwest Shark Tank.  We’ve made one investment for our charitable Angel Fund and will likely soon make our second.  I also served as a panel judge at for the Midwest Clean Tech Open – an organization on helping environmentally-focused companies get started.  CONTINUING
  • Set up a small “day trading” fund – I thought it would be fun to ‘play the market’ a bit in early retirement, but I really haven’t had the time to get started with it.  The other things I’ve been working on have kept me quite busy and this one isn’t really that much of a priority.  OPPORTUNITY
  • Develop some real estate investments – I’ve heard this is a terrific way to supplement investments in the stock market & bond funds, but I don’t know a lot about it and I think the learning curve is a little steep.  OPPORTUNITY
  • Mrs. Fire Station’s work – Last fall I posted that MrsFireStation had taken a part-part-time job at a local boutique as a fashion stylist.  She’s been enjoying it a lot, although I’m sure sometimes it feels like work.  No update here, other than to mention it is one of the things she has been doing in retirement.  CONTINUING

As you can see from this and the prior two posts I have made in this series, there is NO shortage of things to do in early retirement.  Your imagination is really the limit.  If you are getting bored with this SERIES, I am sorry to say that there is one more post coming out next Monday which covers the Life Wheel’s segments on Learning/Writing and Giving/Teaching.

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8 thoughts on “First Year of Early Retirement (3) – Work/Money & Family/Friends

  1. Fascinating to watch your first year “unfold” before our very eyes! I’m 15 months from FIRE (June 2018), and am thinking alot about my “first year” in the future, as I read about yours in the past. Nice blend of things you’re working on, I like the balance. I find some of the areas fascinating (angel investing, how cool is that?), and enjoy these updates!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments. I think I started this blog when I was just about 15 months out from FIRE. It went pretty quick. One of the fun milestones was when you hit the 12 month anniversary of your FIRE date and start doing many things for the “last time”!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great overview of your first year of retirement. The posts in this series have inspired me to reflect more deeply on my own 1.5 years of retirement. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear it – so much happens during a year, I thought I would give people an idea of ALL of the things you have time for in early retirement. One more week!

      Liked by 1 person

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