Eighteen years ago, my husband and I started following the steps of Your Money or Your Life. Our goal was to achieve Financial Independence so we could Retire Early (aka, FIRE).
As we got closer to the retirement part of our goal, I kept searching for blogs focused on navigating the social and psychological challenges of retiring early. While there are many great blogs, books, and podcasts devoted to the financial strategies that lead to FIRE, there are few that address how to transition your identity and recreate your life after FIRE.
We spent our first year of retirement exploring a number of questions: 1) How do we design this new chapter of our lives?, 2) How will we answer the ubiquitous question: “so….. what do you do?”, 3) How do we unplug from the achievement-machine that has governed our professional lives, identities, and sense of self-worth?, 4) How do we create structure, connection and community outside of a workplace?, 5) How can we redefine “success” and “meaningful work” without paid employment?, 6) What is leisure and how can we engage in it without feeling guilty?, and 7) How can we redefine “retirement” so this new chapter can be the best chapter of our lives?
I started this blog to expand the conversation about what FIRE looks like (in reality) so a broader range of people can feel like it is a realistic possibility. That means I’m a bit different than many FIRE bloggers:
- I’m a woman of color living in Detroit (not a white guy working in tech and living in a high cost of living city),
- I loved my job (so the Retire Early part was more challenging than the Financial Independence part),
- Both my husband and I retired at the same time (my early retirement is not made possible by a spouse continuing to earn a six-figure salary),
- I don’t earn income from this blog to support my early retirement (we follow the YMOYL model), and
- We did not take the fastest path to Lean FIRE (we took a long slow path to “Fat FIRE”).
I’ll also focus exclusively on the non-financial aspects of early retirement by exploring how we’re answering the identity and life questions, as well as topics that have become increasingly important to us in our retirement (travel, downsizing, service, and legacy).
I hope this blog answers a few questions for my family and friends (who worry about me and wonder what this Type-A achiever is doing with her life!). And I hope it’s helpful to those who are:
- working towards FIRE,
- wondering what it looks like to retire early
- thinking about retiring in the near future, and/or
- recently retired and are wondering what to do once the “honeymoon phase is over”.
Wherever you are in your work life, this blog is dedicated to re-envisioning retirement and supporting those who want the post-work chapter of their life to be the best chapter.