The Five Stages of Early Retirement

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By Chris McClave from Connecticut, United States (050307_honeymoon_113) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve been dreaming about it for months. In meetings, you find yourself not giving a crap about TPS reports, the latest quarterly results, or whatever bullshit people-who-are-not-you care about. You constantly stare out the window, thinking about all the amazing places you’re going to travel to, all the books you’re FINALLY going to have time to read, that long lost hobby you’re going to work on. You count down the hours at work.

Then quitting day finally comes. Your heart is pounding out of your chest. You think “this is it. It’s now or never.” You pull the trigger and give your notice.

Your co-workers and boss all think you’ve lost your damn mind.  They’ve even gone out and bought a pillow for when you come crawling back on your knees in a year, broke, sad, and desperate to get your job back.

You ignore them. You go home, celebrate by breaking open the champagne and feel on top of the world!

The next day, your first full day in retirement you start to realize WOW there are SO many hours in the day! Why didn’t I notice this before?

You feel like you’re 18-years-old again and the world is yours! You can do ANYTHING!

You read that “I Am Malala” book you’ve been putting off reading forever. You finally pull out the box of paints from under your bed and blow the dust off the lid. You create your masterpiece, clean the entire house, make lunch AND dinner for yourself and your spouse, and somehow there’s STILL time left over.

Fast forward a month.

You’re still happy and relaxed. You’re feeling the satisfaction from getting everything on your after retirement To Do list done. You’ve never had this much free time before. Life is grand.

Fast forward 6 months.

Now that you’ve done everything you’d been putting off while you were working, you’re not quite sure what do with yourself. All your friends and family are out working and it’s getting just a bit too quiet for comfort. Most days you’re happy and every now and then you feel a bit anxious. Is this what retirement is supposed to be like? Aren’t you supposed to be doing something bigger? Making some sort of contribution to the world? You feel the first twinge of sadness and regret creeping in. You also start wondering what it is that you’re supposed to do with your life now. You start contemplating big questions like “What’s the meaning of life”, “When does time start, when does it end”, or “What’s my purpose on this earth?”

You used to be a [insert your previous occupation], but now you’re a…what exactly?

Somehow your retirement dream has turned into a nightmare. What do you do now? What’s the real meaning of life? How am I going to do this for the next 50 or more years?

From talking to other early retirees, this is a scenario that’s happened before. But because we saw this coming and did a ton of prep-work (including getting published, volunteering for a non-profit, etc.) to answer the question “What do we do after we pull the trigger?” this didn’t happen for us personally, but it has happened to other people. Mad Fientist wrote about it here.

So today, instead of talking about all the crazy awesome things that you get to do in retirement, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and explore all the scary parts of retirement that most people don’t talk about.

Most people think going into retirement will be easy-peasy. After all, you’re sick of your job and never having any free time. Now you have all the time in the world.

In reality, early retirement is actually a transition. For some it’s the death of an existing identity and the birth of a new one. And just like getting used to death, there are stages. So may I present (my totally scientific) “Five Stages of Retirement” to help you transition from full time work to having all the time in the world

Stage 1: The Count Down (1-2 years before early retirement)

You’re so close to the finish line, you can almost taste it!

You cut costs for everything—you can live without new clothes, eating out, or buying anything for a year, no biggy. Even vacations aren’t safe from your tornado of efficiency to get to the finish line. Besides, pretty soon your whole life’s going to be a vacation!

You start detaching from work, and you find yourself spacing out and taking longer and longer breaks. (this was Wanderer. I regularly found him wandering around in a park near his office whenever I called). For those who want to work on passion projects or part-time in retirement, this is when you should start making contacts.

Everyone around you may start noticing and wondering why you’re so happy all the time.

You start scaling “The Wall of Fear”, thinking about everything that could go wrong in early retirement, but a bigger part of you is desperate to get out to see what will happen.


Stage 2: Honeymoon (0 – 6 months after retirement)

You’re free! FREEEEE! Muahahaha. What are you going to do first? Eat an entire jar of peanut butter? (I tried, but I only got ½ way through ) Dance around like an idiot to Baby Got Back in your underwear? Go to a movie theatre at 2pm just because you can? HELL YEAH! Nothing can stop you. You’re on top of the world!

You tick off your post retirement to do list, one by one, giggling like a maniac. Your neighbours wonder why you’re so happy all the time and why you’re always home. You ignore them and party on.


Stage 3: Identity Crisis (7 months – 1.5 years after retirement)

The honeymoon’s worn off and you’ve done everything on your to do list. Now what?

You find yourself obsessing over who you used to be. You start wondering what your co-workers are going to think of you moping around all day.

Some days you feel a bit anxious. I mean, how are you supposed to get used to all this free time if you all you did was work for the past 10-20 years of your life. You feel almost guilty for having all this extra time.

You start obsessing over your spreadsheets and Personal Capital account. Sometimes you wonder how reliable the 4% rule is and whether you could run out of money.

You try out new projects—like volunteering, writing, and building things. Now that you’ve tried out your hobbies and read all the books you’ve wanted to read, it’s time to get productive again.

If you started building passion projects or part-time work before quitting, you can skip this step and move onto step 4.


Stage 4: The New You (1-2 years after retirement)

Trying out your new identity feels a bit weird at first—like trying on your Dad’s shirt. It’s just a bit too long in the sleeves and hangs loosely off your shoulders. But you know you’ll grow into it.

You start to relax and not feel anxious about not having a job anymore.

You start making new friends in your new community (from volunteering, hobbies, or online friends), and don’t miss your old friends and co-workers as much. You start having more in common with your new community because of your new shared experiences.

You start to realize you like this new you.


Stage 5: Smooth Sailing (2+ years after retirement)

The longer you stay retired, the more confident you become. The haters who say things like “you’re selfish for retiring”, “you’ll run out of money in retirement”, “you going to be desperate to get back to the workforce in a few years” no longer bother you at all. Not only do you know that this is complete bullshit and says more about them than it does about you, you feel super lucky to have discovered this new way of life that a couple years ago you were terrified of.

The unknown is no longer an unknown. You’re humming along nicely and you wonder why you were so afraid in the first place.



So there you have it, the 5 stages of retirement.

What we’ve found is that in early retirement, you essentially go through the same stages as regular retirement, except a lot faster. And If you’ve already planned out your projects before you retire, you can actually skip over Step 3 completely.

Whether you are happy in retirement or so bored you become desperate to go back to work depends on a) the type of person you are b) how well you plan out your time and activities before you quit.

If you’re someone who needs a lot of structure and can’t stand figuring things out as you go, retirement will probably be a lot harder than you think. In this case, it helps to set a routine so you can follow it on a daily basis.

If you’ve planned out your passion projects, writing projects, etc, before you quit, the transition and change in your identity will be a lot more seamless, like it was for us. I’d say it helps to have at least one project going, before giving your notice. That will help you step from one role into another without freaking out.

What do you think? Will you be bored in retirement? What will you do?



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71 thoughts on “The Five Stages of Early Retirement”

  1. What an amazing article. So once you get thru with the first 2 yrs you should be good and normally happy again! Great tip !
    It’s like FIRE, if you don’t give up in the beginning eventually you’ll get there! Nice!

    1. That’s what we found. Once you’re past the 2 years mark, you’ve set up a routine and built up a new community, and everything feels like it’s running smoothly. Put in the hard work in the beginning and it will pay off!

  2. I don’t know FIRECracker. I think I jumped from stage 1 to stage 5. There was never any dancing in my underwear or an identity crisis for me.

    I’ve always been a very independent self-reliant person, so any difficulties from not having work and structure didn’t bother me… I made my own!

    The haters though… Yeah I get plenty of those. I just ignore ’em. Until they’ve actually FIREd themselves they won’t understand.

    It’s kind of like riding a bike. You don’t understand what riding a bike is like until you’ve hopped on that seat and felt the wind in your hair.

    1. I’m not surprised, Mr. Tako. Independent, self-reliant people generally skip over the identity crisis steps because they know how to transition seamless to the next step.

      You didn’t dance around in your underwear though? Not even a little? 😛 That’s one of my favourite things about retirement. Not having to wear pants anymore!

        1. I’ve been reading a lot of fire blogs the past year and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud when reading comments. That was a funny exchange there you two :).

          Keep the good work. Millennial-Revolution is one of my favorite blogs.. and a month ago or so I stared reading Mr. Tako and I love the human and family element in your posts…and all the awesome food pics?

  3. I’ve been trying to get the book from the library and I guess there’s only one copy and it’s always checked out. Now I’d get to keep to myself…welp, i guess I share if bribed by cookies…or pad thai 🙂

    1. Welcome to the “no-longer-have-to-wear-pants” club, Jason! I got ride of all my dress pants as soon as I gave my notice 🙂

    1. The good news is that you have more time to plan out your post-retirement passion projects…

      We started writing in Stage 0.4.

  4. We were already doing volunteer work before we quit our jobs….and it was our passion….so for us we had no difficulty adjusting to FIRE. We have a rough outline of our schedule each week…and sit down each Sunday to talk about what we want to accomplish each week. It’s funny because now we say how on earth did we ever find time to work! Besides volunteering, we are also finishing some renovations/improvements on our home which we or more accurately my husband enjoys. He likes to schedule one day a week restoring his classic truck from the 40’s. I enjoy gardening, baking and cooking. As each season changes we also discuss activities we would like to pursue, this winter we decided to get back to snowboarding……since we left b.c. we haven’t been. We also plan our vacations through out year….winter is gonna be island hopping ?, spring/summer europe. Sooooo much to do and we are 12 years FIRED.

    1. I love how you and your husband spend Sunday talking about what you want to do for the following week! That’s the key to having a great relationship and not running out of things to do in retirement.

      Awesome that you’re doing some volunteer work! We got connected to a great community/network through volunteering and we really enjoy it.

  5. I’m wondering about this. For a doctor, especially, it’s verboten to retire early, and would be hard to jump back in after FIRE. I just read an article where “retired” doctors where happily assisting on surgery, working in the ER, and other things that no one else would consider retirement.

    The hardest part for me would be the haters. And worrying if the 4% rule would hold.

    It also seems appropriate that Wanderer was wandering before he pulled the trigger.

    Thanks for the road map. And I’d love to read the Godfather’s book!

    1. If someone loves their work, they’re more likely to step it down to freelancing or part-time rather than retire fully. So that could be the case for doctors and it works great!

      As for the haters, it annoyed me in the beginning and I always felt the urge to clapback or be defensive. Now, I couldn’t care less. Too happy to bother. Ditto with the money. After we tested the portfolio during the 2015 Oil crisis so we know the defences will hold 🙂

  6. This is such a great guide to early retirement! I’m not FIREd yet, but I can see the identify crisis and all the steps in between step 1 and 5.

    For me, it’s almost the same as waiting to finish an exam (anxious and excited) and finishing an exam (happy but also deflated). But life goes on, and there are def a ton of activities we can enjoy in this world! 🙂

  7. I’m in a weird stage right now. I’m about 8 months into FIRE and I did something kind of stupid. I used to play a lot of warcraft back in the day and stopped because it was taking up too much of my spare time. Then my spouse convinced me to start playing again but he lost interest in after a few months and I ended up joining a guild and making a bunch of friends. a couple of months ago the guild fell apart and a new guild was made and somehow I reluctantly ended up being the Guild Master and it’s taking up more time than I’d like. I’m having a lot of fun and I’m learning a lot. When I went back to the game is was mostly just playing around with the economy, it was like a stock trading game to me most of the time, now that I am running a guild it is more like the most realistic RTS/business management sim I’ve ever played (and I’ve played a lot of those). I feel like it is helping me develop some of the skills I will need to help my spouse run his business, especially when it comes to dealing with people (something I’ve always avoided in the jobs I choose and in real life as I am an extreme introvert) such as conflict resolution, teamwork and leadership. With that being said I have these moments of panic from time to time when I realize I’ve spent way too much time on the game/talking to people from the game and these alarm bells start going off because I know this is ultimately not what I want my early retirement to be about and there’s other things I should be doing.

    We started passion projects long before FIRE so I shouldn’t be in the identity crisis stage but I kind of feel like I am. We had some setbacks when it came to our passion projects that we won’t be able to take care of until after the holidays so I’m hoping to get back on track in the new year.

    1. I’m like you. Even when I’m having fun with friends and I don’t NEED to do anything at all, alarm bells go off in my head, nudging me to “get productive”. I think type A people are just like that. No matter how much we do, it’s never enough 😛

      As for the passion projects, I know what you mean about the setbacks. With every project, there will always be setbacks. Even the fun ones. But what works for us is realizing how important it is. When you know it’s something you’re doing to help others, you push through the setbacks, even when it’s frustrating and doesn’t feel fun anymore.

      Hang in there! You’ll get back on track next year. Just give it time.

  8. Well said…. I guess I’m firmly in step 1 as I sit in a stall at work commenting on this blog.

    Luckily we’ve got some stuff were really interested in as we go forward so I’m just excited to get where we need to be and figure it out.

    I had a taste of it last summer and it was fantastic. I loved every minute.

    1. Sounds like a great plan! 🙂 Also you have a thirst for travelling, so I have no doubt you won’t be bored in retirement.

  9. Great guide/breakdown. I’m a true believer that not only we need to plan for the financial aspect of FIRE, we also need to plan for the personal aspect of FIRE. What I meant is focusing on self-improvement and happiness. 🙂

    1. Right on, Tawcan. People think the financial aspect is hard, but that’s actually mathematically proven. The personal aspect is more difficult to nail down. Self-improvement and happiness are great things to work on in retirement.

  10. I can’t tell you in words how much I love you guys and your blog posts.. I have lost count of the number of people I have shared your blog with. Ironically, I work as a consultant for a bank and am working on a project that is introducing a new investment product. Part of it will allow customers to buy GICs and Mutual Funds by paying heavy MERs. Many times I feel like a hypocrite because I’d never buy either of those myself.. but then I remembered what Garth said, this system punishes the financially illiterate. People buying such investments can’t escape part of the blame for buying them.
    Anyhoo, working up numbers on my spreadsheet while taking a break from my work is one of the best moments of my work day. Even though I’m a long way away from FIRE, I can so easily see myself crossing the finish line. The awesome thing is I’m purposely taking my time because I don’t want to trade my current happiness for it so I feel like I’m enjoying the best of both worlds. Being a consultant allows me to take more time off than regular employees. Just this year, I had two and a half months off during summer and it was almost as if I was getting a taste of the delicious fruit that is FIRE and that I will enjoy once I achieve it.

    1. Thanks, Ambreen!

      Wow, with the ability to take off 2.5 months during the summer, you’re basically living the mini-retirement life already! I love your attitude of enjoying the best of both worlds.

  11. Hahaha, well it’s good to know what we have to look forward to here. 🙂 I think we’re all on our own journeys to figure out who we are; more so for when a job is no longer a mandatory part of the picture.

    1. That’s exactly it, MPP! When a job is no longer there, we really have to find out who we are. No more excuses 🙂

  12. Excellent article! You basically wrote out my life in the last five years!

    I don’t regret what I did and I love what I do now and feel incredibly grateful that I can make choices.

    It is still a bit surprising hearing people say how lucky I am that I took a 1 year sabbatical, was able to switch careers from engineering, or able to walk away from a golden government pension… or have the time to take mini extended vacations with my kids.. Maybe people don’t plan nor execute well? It’s not based on luck, but orchestrating an idea aligned to your why, thoughtfully planned and executed over many years.

    My response to those who say I’m lucky is that anyone can do it if you have the will and the why figured out in the first place. The how will come to you.

    Excellent article as always.

    1. Lots of people like to point to “luck” so they can excuse themselves from having to take risks or actually DO shit to make things happen. Some things in life are indeed due to luck but most of the time luck looks a whole lot like hard work.

      Kudos for escaping your 9 to 5!

  13. would love to read The Simple Path to Wealth so I can reach FIRE sooner rather than later!! it’s hard to imagine me getting bored with free time- so many things interest me!!

  14. Yep, I walked straight in to 5 paid side gigs and 6 volunteer ones and there was no stage 3. Now I’m the guy who used to run the biggest company in town who is a consultant now. People have no idea what to make of me, they just see how happy I am. It is a little tedious turning down 9 to 5 job offers but still fun to say no.

    1. Sweet! How did you end up getting those paid side gigs? Was it become of the contacts you made while running the company?

      1. Yes, it is all about networking. I had friends in state and federal government and in my industry worldwide and with most of the business leaders in my state. I had always volunteered for everything at work, especially for things like communicating with elected officials and regulatory agencies and with our trade association. Two of my side gigs came straight from me pitching other large companies in my state that they needed my help on some regulatory issues and the other three are situations where companies have sought me out without any advertising or marketing on my part. The phone would just ring and an old friend would ask for help and I was happy to help, for $250 an hour plus expenses! That even happened this morning while my wife and I were decorating our Christmas tree. I try to avoid for pay working more than two days a week and so far that’s been workable.

  15. This year I have… found out about your blog and have since read every post and all blogs I can find related to FI, graduated from Waterloo in chemical engineering, started my first full time job, and am currently PUMPED to start my FI journey. While I’m not quite at any of these steps yet, I am excited for the day that I am, and I appreciate having your blog posts to help me get there!

    I’d also listen the shit out of that audiobook, enter me into that raffle! 😉

    1. Woohoo! Waterloo alumni! You are going to rock this FI journey 🙂

      “listen the shit out of that audiobook”…well, who can say no to that? 😉

  16. I went through stages 1-5 but with shorter time frames, ala mini retirement. Now I’m back to work starting the process all over again because I’m a sucker for punishment, and I like to create higher goals.

  17. Great post! I would struggle with the identity part, being used to always producing and hustling, it’s hard to not have something to do. And there’s guilt for not earning income when I’m still able. Right now I’m working on my investments and learning to be an active investor. The savings part is natural but the uncertainty of the stock markets and paper assets weighs on my mind. Although, I don’t gravitate towards home ownership and all the maintenance and upkeep … I’m just rambling here. Anyways, I would love a copy of the audiobook because I would share with the single relatives in my life who have seen personal setbacks and need help with financial planning and encouragement to dream larger. So please enter me in the raffle.

    1. The good news is that initially you end up struggling but later on, as opportunities in retirement come up, you may find that you’re hustling harder than when you were working…but in a much more fun way because you can choose the hustles.

  18. Spot on! What a great article. I particularly like the concept of starting up your passion project / hobby and building those connections before you pull the trigger. It’s all part of surrounding yourself with a supportive and encouraging community!

    1. The supportive and encouraging community makes a HUGE difference. The FI journey is hard enough as it is, without the haters trying to tear you down. That’s why we need Chautauquas, FinCons, and Mustachian camps! 🙂

  19. Yo! I would love the audio book for my sister. She’s 3 years younger than me and just about to jump into the workforce in a low paying industry.

    Thanks for the great blog posts as usual! Do you know of any FIRE communities in NZ?

  20. Hi FC,

    I believe that Wanderer must have a lot of things to ponder during his wandering tour of the park. He must have gained valuable insights.


    1. Ha ha. I wish. He mostly spent that time “researching” Pascha, the biggest brothel in Cologne Germany, on his phone. On our world trip, that was literally the one thing he knew about Cologne. Time well spent 😛

  21. I find I am already checking out now and again (daydreaming) even though I get to choose my consulting projects and work from home. I have a 5 year plan to keep consulting full or part time until my kids are through high school. Then I need to decide if I fully retire, or continue to dip my toes with side gigs. My husband and I are already researching where we will live during the winters to avoid Canadian cold weather. I have been slowly getting involved with a volunteer group for a passion I believe in, just lacking the time right now to do more. I could see it taking 2 years post retirement to settle in (finish pet projects, complete DIY renos, read the pile of books by my bed). Funny thing is I am not worried about being bored or not having enough to do. A colleague who retired at 65 and was counting the red X’s on her calendar for the last year from her cube, only lasted 3 months. She got bored and is now working 2 contracts. She keeps warning me that I’ll be go squirrelly and won’t be able to tolerate retirement….I don’t think so!! 🙂
    I would love a copy of J Collins’ book because I lack the confidence of investing on my own. I have made mistakes in the past so I have an underlying fear that always nags at me. As someone not well-schooled in investing, I do what I can from reading blogs like yours, but additional knowledge would be super helpful.

    1. “husband and I are already researching where we will live during the winters to avoid Canadian cold weather”

      I hear you! After travelling the world, we never wanted to see a damned snowflake ever again! Mexico turned out to be the closest, more convenient option for us. South East Asia is our favourite and Southern Europe (Portugal and Spain) are good options too.

      Like your colleague, I was also marking my calendar with X’s and counting down the days until retirement. I was a little worried I’d be bored in retirement, but because we planned for this, I was SO wrong. No regrets 🙂 But it definitely helps to plan ahead of time.

  22. Amazing article! I am at stage 1 (hope to be “retired” in a couple of years).
    I am very aware of stage 3 so I am already coming up with all sorts of side projects now to keep me busy when that happens!
    The only problem is that all these ideas are making my Stage 1 far too busy and sometimes I feel like I am doing too much.
    I should try to stop and enjoy life a bit more now too!
    Oh well, party time will come soon! I hope 🙂

    1. Wow, congrats on getting to Stage 1! The count down is going to be fun 🙂 It’s also very smart of you to have side projects to make the transition seamless. I hear on you on how the side projects made Stage 1 crazy busy. It was like having two jobs when we were writing and working at the same time. That’s why it was such a relief to let go of the 9 to 5. Hang in there! You’re so close!

  23. This was a great post! I was ready to retire early last year, even received a small severance package from my employer. Then I got a contractor job and am nervous to pull the trigger (again) and potentially disappoint the people I work with because they “need” my help. It feels like groundhog day for Stage 1. I’m soooo ready, but I’m also soooo scared. 🙂 It doesn’t help that anyone I mention it to says “That’s a stupid idea” or “You will hate it!”

    It’s great to hear the success stories!

    1. That’s why it’s called “golden handcuffs” :). Can you go down to part time on the contract to ease yourself into retirement?

      So funny when other people say “that’s stupid” or “you’ll have it”. Rats don’t like it when you escape the rat race. Makes them feel like they’re being left behind.

  24. I want this book to further my education on early retirement. I am on my way…One day I will say FU to the haters at work who all they know is work and competing for lousy penny raises.

  25. Hello Wanderer and FIREcracker,
    first of all, I love your blog, thank you for sharing your investment knowledge and experiences with your readers. I’d never heard of the FIRE movement and your blog inspires me to get educated and learn about personal finances, which is something I’d completely overlooked so far. Plus, reading this blog is not only informative, it is also entertaining, as your writing is amazingly funny and witty.
    I don’t know if you’ve addressed this elsewhere, but here’s my question: you make a good case for index investing and I know that many acknowledged finance advisors also recommend this strategy. But I’ve come across a few articles that mention the possibility of an ETF bubble happening in the future, given the rocketing number of index investors in the US market. Isn’t that a concern for you guys? (I am, admittedly, a complete novice in matters investing, so I’m asking this because I’d love if you could give me some insights into this issue.)
    Browsing through the comments section of your blog (I think it was one of the first posts of your investment workshop), I saw FIREcracker’s reply to a reader from Singapore, where she mentioned that the reader could apply the same strategy to their country’s funds. I understand you have limited knowledge of stock markets other than the ones you actively invest in, but is it possible that your index investing, modern portfolio theory and rebalancing “combo” doesn’t work for markets that are very different, such as the emerging countries?
    I know this question is kind of off-topic, because the focus of this blog doesn’t seem to be international macroeconomics or anything of the sort, but, again, some insights would be lovely.
    At the very least, I’d just like to point out that you guys have a growing international readership (but you’re probably aware of that!), and I’ve come across a few other Brazilians who are fans of your blog.

    Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved so far and all the best to you!!

    1. I don’t think there’s anything to the idea of an “ETF bubble” because ETFs are just an investment vehicle. Bubbles form on assets, not vehicles, so it makes as much sense as saying “mutual fund bubble.” You can have bubbles on bonds or stocks (neither of which I think we’re in) but as for an ETF bubble forming because more and more people are choosing ETFs over mutual funds makes no sense.

      As for international investing strategies, we are actually in the process of putting together an article on achieving FIRE in Brazil, so stay tuned for that 🙂

  26. I would like that hammock … but near Hong Kong or Singapore …. as for the stages of retirement … I think it is basically true … though the older folks retiring may experience the stages a bit differently … there are several life stages I guess too … or several interest phases that folks pass through too… but I wax philosophical … the thing is there is something always new to try and explore or perhaps revisit … when you are retired you can dabble in what you like for as long as you like …until the next interest comes along … Cheers, CPO, From the Far Side of the Planet 🙂

  27. I wish I had a passion project or some interest other than doing outdoorsy stuff. I walked away from full time work to be a SHM in 2016 and I’ve been a little restless. Everyone around me is still working and if they are SHM, they are really involved in so much activities that I get a headache just thinking about it. That’s why when my daughter stars Kinder in a couple of years, I might go back to work until we hit FI.

  28. I’ll have to admit, my first 6 months off was like a big exciting vacation. I was still trying to pack every day in like it was the weekend. I still haven’t had much time to read as much as I’d like. You really start tor realize there is only so much time in the day, and I’ve actually felt busier than ever. Now I try and regulate how much time I allocate for each hobby.

    At the beginning, it was really exciting, but I was also a bit stressed about whether I’d need to go back to work. That feeling has dissipated over time as I’ve donated more and more of my Polo shirts 🙂

  29. GREAT GREAT GREAT article! I love the framework that this provides around early retirement. I’ve moved several times in my career (chasing higher pay / promotions), and agree that the same general approach applies around major life changes like that as well. For my family there’s always been a honeymoon phase, a scary “holy crap, what have I done” phase, and then the final phase where you finally get settled in your new surroundings. The framework you propose sounds similar, which sort of makes sense to me as early retirement would also be a major life change as well.

    In my case, my biggest concern is stage 3 (the “identity crisis” stage). I’ve had a paying W-2 job since I was like 14 years old (ie, for more than 30 years!), so – for better or for worse – work has become a major part of my life and my identity. So while the idea of (sort of) throwing all of that away to do something different and more fun (slow travel anyone?) sounds awesome, doing something different after 30+ years is a bit unnerving as well. Although one can start planning and testing out that new identity before they retire, I have to think that there’s a limit on how effective that can be given competing priorities around work, etc. But l‘ll tell you what – reading about your travels and how awesome (and inexpensive) it can be definitely help me deal with the “wall of fear”! So please keep the articles coming!!

  30. This is such an amazing article that I had to reach out to FC and get her OK to translate and use parts of it to share to our Brazilian FIRE community (yes, there is one). She is so generous that she actually replied to me and approved my request.
    FC and Wanderer, you guys are doing such an amazing job on this blog that it’s hard to express in a comment.
    Huge thanks

  31. Interesting article FC! I think that this will pertain more to Mr.Wow since he is the one that wants to retire from traditional work life. I have a hard time putting myself in my own retirement shoes. Since I run my own company, I am working towards shaping it into what I want in the years to come. It is hard to consider retiring from it any time soon, but rather adjust the path to meet my needs in the future. My company is already my passion project so I guess I consider myself lucky. Just throw in a little more traveling and volunteering and I am set.

  32. Interesting article. My friend is past the honeymoon period and is really struggling to find purpose. Will pass this along. Thanks.

  33. You have such an entertaining way of bringing all the parts together of the retirement puzzle. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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