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.
So we spent our first year of retirement exploring a number of questions:
- How do we design this new chapter of our lives?
- How will we answer the ubiquitous question: “so….. what do you do?”
- How do we unplug from the achievement-machine that has governed our professional lives, identities, and sense of self-worth?
- How do we create structure, connection and community outside of a workplace?
- How can we redefine “success” and “meaningful work” without paid employment?
- What is leisure? How can we engage in it without feeling guilty?
- 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 early retirement looks like. Unlike most FIRE bloggers, I’m a woman of color, I loved my job (so the RE part was the more challenging than the FI part), and we did not take the fastest path to lean FIRE (we took a longer 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, those who are traditional retirement age and thinking about retiring in the near future, and/or those who have recently retired and are wondering what to do once the “honeymoon phase is over”.