This is it. This is the last week of the year since I left MegaCorp for early retirement last year and also the last chapter in a series of four posts about what I have been up to since last April Fool’s Day. This post focuses on the last two areas of the Life Wheel I created with goals in each area of my life – Learn/Write and Giving/Teaching.
As always, I will note that my goal was not to do EVERYTHING on the list, but rather set goals for things I’d like to get involved doing. Some I have done, many I have started and am continuing, and a few remain opportunities.
Here’s the play-by-play for these two areas:
LEARN / WRITE
- Read 10 books/year, but not business non-fiction! – I only reached 20% of goal for reading books. I really found it difficult to make the time and get started on this goal, even though in my own mind I like to read. I read a book about the Green Bay Packers’ great Bart Starr during football season and a book called The Missing Class focused on the challenges of the working poor in the United States. OPPORTUNITY
- Take classes at one of the local colleges – I spent a lot of time on this activity in the fall up through Christmas, as I took a Sociology class at my son’s university. They have a program where parents of full time students can take classes for free. I took the class as an ungraded ‘audit’ – but enjoyed being back on campus after almost 30 years. I’m not signed up for a class in spring semester – the courses I was interested weren’t at the best times – but I will probably look again in the fall. CONTINUING
- Improve this blog! – I’ve kept the blog up with the goal of getting at least to April Fool’s Day this year which will be the one year anniversary of my early retirement. Any improvements I’ve made have been small and evolutionary. I have some ideas for a big refresh soon (name, look & content enhancements) that will probably get to in a couple months. In the meanwhile, thank you for the 10,000+ reads every month! CONTINUING
- Write a book on Personal Finance or Corporate Innovation – This was a big challenge that I haven’t really prioritized. I feel like I have a lot of content I’ve created in both of these areas, but it would still take a lot of work to put them into book form. I have always had some energy for the project, but not probably enough to really go at it. We’ll see. OPPORTUNITY
- Wikipedia Author – There are few entries I’d like to make on local history into Wikipedia.org. Unfortunately, I just haven’t gotten around to them yet (or learned how to author in Wikipedia). My son worked a little on WikiPedia earlier this year, so I will look to him for a tutorial. OPPORTUNITY
- Sit in coffee shop & read the newspaper – I thought I would love doing this, but I probably only get around to it a couple times a month. Frankly, it’s easier to chill in the comfort of one’s home, and often times I will catch up on the news using my iPad while I am on the treadmill in the morning. CONTINUING
- Expand a travel / walking tour website my son & I started – My son and I authored some $1 walking tours maps of areas of NYC with the idea that if it was successful, we would have a great little passive-income ‘microbusiness’. After two years, we have concluded that they aren’t a compelling product, or we lack the right way to reach our audience. DONE / ENDED
- Go to local speakers series / author appearance – I probably went to a half dozen speaker events over the last year. Some were at the university, some were at other venues. Last month, we had tickets to see Steve Wozniak – who co-founded Apple Computer – at one of the local colleges. I’m an Apple II geek, so I really enjoyed that and I think my wife & son did too. CONTINUING
GIVING / TEACHING
- Strengthen family giving / One More Year Fund – In addition to our typical charitable giving, we pledged to give away all of the money that I made over my last year of working to charitable causes or organizations working for a public good. We made two donations for capital projects in the last year: money to redo the music library at my son’s high school (where I went long ago, too) and to our church for a project to reside the building (our donation helped choose the new color). At the same time, we made a significant angel investment in a start-up company that is focused on revolutionizing ear tube surgery to make it safer, faster and less expensive. Additionally, our next investment will likely be in a medical company that has technology to exponentially increase the effectiveness of how pharmaceuticals are delivered within your body. This has been a fun area to work on, I’ve spent a lot of time on these projects, and there is still plenty of money left in the account for us to continue finding new projects in the future. CONTINUING
- Teach MBA / marketing classes – I taught three classes at two different universities in the last year. Drawing from my background in marketing and new product strategy, I act as a guest speaker and lead a 90 minute innovation strategy workshop with MBA Students. I’ve done a similar presentation for three large corporate clients and at an innovation conference in the last year. CONTINUING
- Teach people to be smart with their money – I’ve sat down with probably two dozen people who have asked over the last year and tried to give them guidance, and now I need to think about how I would ‘package’ that up for people more formally. I am always impressed with the work that Brian at DebtDiscipline.com does to teach people financial literacy and share his path to getting out of debt. I would love to start something like this – help people get to early retirement. CONTINUING
- Help bankroll local theater – Our local theater is always looking for support, but I’m sorry to say that we haven’t gone to see a show all year! The performances they have been doing just haven’t been ones that I was very interested in. I like the theater, so maybe next season. OPPORTUNITY
- Start a scholarship fund – My wife and I met in college and I think it would be a good idea to meet with someone from the Alumni group their and see what we might be able to do with them. I’ve also recently become a ‘Class Rep’ for my graduating class at my high school. Perhaps that would be a good place to get more involved. CONTINUING
As you can see over the course of the series I’ve now completed on ‘First Year In Early Retirement’, there are an INCREDIBLE amount of things that one can get involved in. I feel like I have only scratched the surface on what is probably 5 years of activities – and new activities are constantly emerging. I hope these posts have helped you think about early retirement and how you will spend your time!
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