This is the second of two posts that detail the eight dimensions on this ‘Life Wheel’ that I developed just before early retiring from MegaCorp two years ago. It is a long answer to the most common question I get these days: “What do you do to stay busy?”
Last week, I covered the first 4 sections of the wheel in this POST. Today, I will hit on the other four areas:
HEALTH / SPORTS
- FITNESS – Everyday I continue to track my fitness activity and calories consumed. After 24 months, I guess you can say it is a habit that has stuck. Last year I took over 4.5 million steps (+12K/day) and kept more than 25 pounds off my pre-FIRE physique. I’m walking on the treadmill while I type this now!
- TENNIS – I continue to play a lot of tennis – I game I loved when I was a kid. It started as just a summer thing, but I played 52 matches in 2017 and joined a club with an indoor ‘bubble’ this winter.
- OLYMPICS – No, we didn’t make the 2018 Olympic Winter Games with our curling team this past year, but we keep trying. Our beer-league team happens to play at the US Olympic Training Center in Blaine, MN – where Team USA holds their Nationals, US Open, and the Winter Olympic Trials. Challenging game!
- SKIING – I went skiing only three times this winter, but each time was a warm, sunny, weekday with no crowds at all. I especially enjoyed going during the Winter Olympics. Made plans to go to Whitefish, Montana next year with a buddy of mine.
- GOLF – For the second year in a row, I didn’t golf nearly as much as I expected I would. I probably only played 5-6 rounds. One of my brothers suggested we join a league or at least establish a steady schedule this summer. We did get out and play DISC GOLF a half-dozen times this past summer, though. Disc golf is free to play, only takes about 1.5 hours to play, and there are a variety of parks with nice courses in our areas.
- WALKING – I haven’t gone back to running, but I do get out and walk at a rapid pace quite a bit. We live on a walking path that leads right to a scenic lake. It’s a 3.3 mile loop from our house & back which times out to just about 55 minutes. Since we live in Minnesota, we also have a commercial-quality treadmill in our lower level – positioned in front of a 4K big screen TV. 🙂
FAMILY / FRIENDS
- FAMILY – Our family lives close and that has always been a priority for us. We rotate who hosts holiday events and birthdays – it was our turn to host Easter two weeks ago. My parents live pretty close by our house – we were out visiting them today. I have three older brothers, but we’re the only ones retired so far.
- FRIENDS – I can’t count the number of times we went out to dinner with friends this year, but I’m sure it averages close to once a week. Part of being early retired is taking the initiative to set things up with people who are still working. I know how busy it is working, so I’m happy to share my time by being the ‘Chief Entertainment Officer’.
- COLLEAGUES – I know some people who have completely lost their connection with former colleagues once they retired, but I’ve stayed connected with quite a few folks and often meet for lunch or coffee. I’ve been back on the Corporate HQ a handful of times in the last few years and still run into people I know around town. I worked at three MegaCorps and see people from all three of them pretty regularly.
- GENEALOGY – We expanded a lot on the family genealogy/history research we had for my wife’s family with a trip we took to Scotland last Fall. Her family ‘seat’ is in Paisley, Scotland – just outside of Glasgow. We spent a week in Scotland and found some amazing connections – including a likely ancestor that played in the first recorded curling watch ever!
- SCAVENGER HUNT – This might sound strange, but one of the key events of the year for a group of us that went to high school together is the annual search for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt. There’s no better way to spend a bitter, below-zero January night than digging through the snow in a city park based on diabolical clues published in the local papers. We were a couple hundred yards away when the $10,000 treasure medallion was found this year.
MONEY / WORK
- NEST EGG – We went into early retirement with a bit of a cushion. The cushion went UP, way DOWN, up AGAIN, and now shockingly DOWN over the last few months. As I’ve written before, we have significant MegaCorp stock options and their stock has cratered (-25%) to a 5+ year LOW over the first few months of this year. I’ll give a full update on how our retirement portfolio looks in a week or two.
- BOARD WORK – In addition to the non-profit & university board work that I wrote about last week, I also sit on the board of directors of an interesting manufacturing company in another state. It is a well-run, privately-held company competing in a challenging market. I attend just 4 meetings a year, but often have a few extra conference calls or work to do between those meetings. It’s also paid – so that funds other guilty pleasures.
- CONSULTING – I continue to do some consulting, but only on projects that interest me. Typically, these are with former colleagues/friends – but I’ve also gotten some engagements from folks familiar with other work I’ve done. It’s infrequent enough that it doesn’t interfere with my goofing off schedule and fun enough that it doesn’t really feel like ‘work’.
- ANGEL INVESTING – Our ‘One More Year Fund’ has blossomed into an angel investment portfolio of four regional start-ups. My plan was to make one investment a quarter since retiring, but I have only seen half as many companies as I thought I would want to get into. That’s fine since the investment horizon on these bets is 3-7 years. I have a lot of time to add more – and make sure I feel good about each of them.
- OTHER INVESTING – I’ve been interested in looking into real estate investing or other more exciting investing than we do now, but I haven’t really devoted any time to it.
LEARN / WRITE
- READING – My goal was to read one book a month in early retirement, but I only read 2 in the first year. I’m into a better reading rhythm now now, and am finishing my 3rd book this year (just a couple weeks behind my goal). I also met up with some long-lost graduate school friends that have a every-few-months book club. We’re meeting for our 2nd book of the year next month.
- Highly Recommended Read: Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind
- UNIVERSITY – I didn’t head back to campus for a full class (like I did last year). This year, I did sign up for a very interesting, but shorter 6 week course focused on Engineering & the science behind different materials. It was at my son’s university, although we didn’t bump into each other. I did take the time to ‘hide’ some coins & candy on campus and send him clues to find them. Good fun
- WEBSITE – I reduced my publishing frequency from 3x week to 2x week last year. As always, I try to alternate between two topic areas: 1) personal finance issues that are relevant to one’s FIRE journey; and, 2) posts that describe the FIRE lifestyle and how different it is than what we were expecting. I’ve also been sneaking in some FIRE travel articles – which based on readership – people really seem to enjoy. There is obviously a big overlap between travel & the FIRE lifestyle.
- POLITICS – I try to keep politics off of this narrative, but on FaceBook I host a page called ‘LibertyDevils’ that shares fact-based charts & commentary on public policy. Like most people, I am politically quite independent and find both parties coming up short – especially as it relates to fiscal responsibility. Check it out if you are interested …
Well, that covers the whole ‘Life Wheel’ across all 8 dimensions. It either shows you what a FIRE lifestyle can be like, or what it is like to have ADHD.
I said to my wife that I don’t think you really know you are ADHD unless you don’t have to go to work anymore. At work, there are plenty of things to keep you busy – but if you keep yourself super busy when you don’t HAVE to anymore – well, then you know you are ADHD like me.
I’m not sure how busy I will be when I turn 55, 60, 70, or beyond, but for now I like to have things to do and enjoy the variety of things that make up my days, weeks & months.
How busy are you / would you like to be in FIRE?