Very Visible Early Retiree

Thinking about retirement? Friends of mine are.

I enjoyed a frosty refreshment with an old friend recently and he said, “I never thought about retirement until you retired. Since then, I think about it almost every single day”.

Another friend recently called and commented, “we haven’t talked in a while, but I have to tell you – your early retirement is never far from my mind.” He & his wife bought a new house last month and he’s hopeful they stay on their FIRE schedule.

Another friend & former colleague just found out he was losing his spot at MegaCorp and will be taking an early retirement package. He said since he got the news, he’s been re-reading all of my MrFireStation.com posts to be “fully prepared”.

As the first person in my cohort of friends and colleagues to retire, I’ve tried to productively lead others down this path. I’m admittedly quite conspicuous about showing the ‘good life on the other side’. While most people that I know are reasonably well-saved for exiting the work force, I find that many need to be assured that “you won’t be bored – there is a big wonderful world of things to do”.

Since I started “skipping school” five years ago, I have regularly used social media to post my workday road trips, early happy hours, and the general Kidulthood of our FIRE lifestyle. It helps that I love photography and capture a lot of pictures with my camera and drone.

As a result, my personal Facebook feed is a colorful collection of adventures – places to visit nearby, beautiful hikes & waterfalls, sporting events & concerts (before CV19), and other oddball excursions. I also post photos of some of the trips we’ve been on since quitting work, which have taken us all over the world.

More than a year before I early retired, I published my ‘Not Bored List’ – over 150 activities that I could look forward to each year in our new FIRE lifestyle. As suggested in Ernie Zelinski’s book, How To Retire Wild & Free, putting it together was a ‘pressure test’ of my ability to keep busy with enjoyable activities.

Frankly, after 5 years goofing off, I’m at the point now that I could probably fill 365 days of activity without too much trouble. Many weeks are too busy with activities – even though they are all fun.

I hope my adventures inspires a few people to get going on their retirement plans. I’m continually surprised that many friends my age still don’t have a particularly clear plan for what they want their lifestyle to look like in retirement. I share what I’m doing to show people that there are so many interesting things to do, there is no reason to worry about being ‘bored’.

How Evangelical Are You With Friends/Colleagues Who Are Still Working?

Image Credits: (c) MrFireStation.com

8 thoughts on “Very Visible Early Retiree

  1. Chief, I applaud your passionate espousal of FIRE and your disciplined approach to successfully achieving it. Personally, I do not promote it. In my observation, 80% of people are not prepared financially, physically, emotionally nor spiritually to attempt FIRE. Those willing to seek counsel like yours, and follow your prescriptions, are far more likely to succeed. Those who stumble toward FIRE should be very wary. Most people I know who are approaching retirement, I advise to work for as long as they can, as long as they enjoy the work and find it meaningful.

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    1. I think (early) retirement is a bit like having children: some people will love it and take to it naturally and others not so much. Either way, no one should decide to have kids/retire because someone else told them they should (or shouldn’t) or how amazingly fun/fulfilling/life-affirming it is (or isn’t). These are big, personal decisions and best made after thoughtful preparation, planning and introspection (although retirement can be much more easily “undone” 🙂

      If someone asks me how I like being early-retired or how I was able to achieve FIRE, I’m happy to talk about my process and my experiences and/or point them to resources (like this blog). But I try never to follow that up with, “so you should definitely do it! You won’t regret it!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I said in another comment, perhaps ‘evangelical’ is the wrong word as it connotes a certain pushiness. I meant to say that I try to be a visible role model for the FIRE lifestyle such that others can see that they won’t be bored and imagine the fun of early retirement. I agree with you that it’s clearly a big choice for people that requires a good deal of planning financially & otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Perhaps ‘evangelical’ is the wrong word as it connotes going out of one’s way to engage people in the idea. I just try to ‘set a good example’ and let people see what fun it is. Because of my unique & visible situation, many do seek out my counsel which I am happy to provide – usually a link or two to some past posts. Most people I know are largely financially ready – or could be in just a few years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you stumbled onto the correct word “evangelical” to begin with. I think those of us who find FIRE can’t help but want to help others find the same happiness. It’s natural to want to show others “the way”. After finding FIRE, I think most of us become eager and even over zealous (to some degree) about helping others realize the great side of FIRE. I did. Unfortunately, I found it very frustrating to try and help the unwilling, and had to learn that is ok too.

    Like you, I don’t “hide” my enjoyment of being early retired. I post pictures of our adventures and speak freely of our travel and free time, if asked. But I can honestly say after four years of being early retired, that I no longer promote the concept to others. Unfortunately, I find that it is a dead end conversation for most people. If they ask, I will gladly provide brief suggestions or advice and then simply stop. I find that 99.9% are just only curious if there is a “quick fix” to their current problem(s), and will never have the will power to do the planning or the minor lifestyle changes necessary that would disrupt their overconsumption lifestyles. So I (now) just quietly enjoy my life and help the eager few who truly are actually willing to get there. To each his (or her) own… and I’ve learned that is ok. I’ve quietly learned, that we each have our own thresholds and lives that make us happy, so I’ve learned some people simply won’t feel the same as us. It’s greatly reduced my frustration and probably helped a few friendships survive. Just my two cents…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK – I looked up the definition of ‘evangelical’ and it says … “zealous or militant in advocating something”. I’ve always avoided being to forward with people. If they bring it up – and many do – then I am happy to discuss. As you say, I don’t hide my situation, but I still have many good friends that aren’t even aware of this website.

      To your point, I’m not sure the conversations I have are effective anyway. I can’t think of anybody who has actually made a decision to retire early based on anything I ever told them!

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      1. I mentor one couple that is in their mid-forties, that I can honestly say has asked for assistance and listened over the years. They are on track to FIRE in 7-8 years. I have also mentored several successful rental real estate investors. One just turned thirty years old, and already owns six rental units and is also ardently saving for FIRE. I’m very proud of those folks, but there are dozens who have not listened or not taken any steps beyond several short conversations, so I’ve learned to let them make their own paths to save my frustration.

        Please don’t get me wrong. I think you and other bloggers are phenomenal in what you do. I’m glad you guys are “zealous” because you are desperately needed in an industry that lacks viable information. FIRE Bloggers fill an amazing void, by teaching those willing to read, amazing personal finance strategies. I think you guys do so much good for the eager-to-learn people, and I’ve referred your blog many times. I just find most folks don’t have the persistence to follow through. So I hope you continue to take an evangelical approach for those wanting to learn. I’m sure you’ve helped way more than you realize to find their way.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great that you have been able to effectively mentored people personally over the years. When I think about it, there are several people/couples who really have taken my counsel to heart and one that has successfully fully taken the FIRE leap. In general, these folks were pretty committed from the get-go and just benefited from someone to provide a ‘case study’ to learn from.

        As you say, many others have just wanted “short conversations” and didn’t seem too focused. I see that lot of these folks have their retirement plans built around their kids’ ages or are pretty far off financially to make an early leap.

        When I started thinking about FIRE, I was inspired by a blog called ‘Retired Syd’. Her blog is still out there, but she hasn’t written too much in quite a while. It was the first FIRE blog (started 2007) that I found that explored the ‘lifestyle change’ side of FIRE. She worked as a CFO, so she is effective in speaking to the financial side of things as well. I really like her straightforward writing style and how she shares what she’s thinking about even the smallest things.

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