I couldn’t fall asleep last night. The last few days have been depressing, with my mood swinging from hope to despair. It feels similar to my working career while trying to start a side hustle. Actually, this is much worse. At least back then I had a salary and money coming in.
A few years ago, during a housing boom, we sold up and it looked like I could retire early. In our family I was the main income earner and always dreamed of building my own business. The first two years were pretty good. My family life was great, and I had time to read, invest, travel, play sport, and send time with my wife and son. I gave myself some time to explore business ideas, and used some savings to stake a trading account, which I’d dreamed about for decades. It was a stress free time to explore and learn without needing, or expecting, to make money right away.
Things seemed to be going well. I was learning a lot, even produced some prototypes, and had time to sorting through trading ideas and carefully test strategies. I was even starting to get a little too comfortable, life was perfect, but becoming repetitive and a little boring.
Then things started to change. The income from our most conservative investments started drying up. My most risky trading account halved in value, and my other trading strategies were becoming too risky to generate any income. At the same time my father-in-law passed away from old age. He was a good man, I liked and respected him, even though we were always separated by a language barrier.
I started looking more closely at our savings and spending from the previous few years, which covered our working and retired life. We hadn’t been extravagant with our daily spending, but lived a comfortable life. My spreadsheets predicted we only had enough savings for 10 to 15 more years. This would be fine if I retired at 65, I would have sold/leased my assets once our savings ran low. The problem was that I was only in my late 30’s.
I knew my family and friends would tell me to get a job, but there was a reason I retired, which I discuss in another post.
Early retirement was supposed to be rewarding, maybe even boring. I’d escaped the “rat race”. I’d won, right? When the party was over, and I was fat and content, the totally unexpected reality of early retirement hit me. There was a mixture of the really good things about not working, the things I enjoyed in the first two year of retired life, and then the horror of witnessing your life savings bleed to zero.
Given the lack of care I’d given my health, I expected I wouldn’t live past 65. Now I was scared my family would run out of money long before I got to that age. Old age had become a luxury I couldn’t afford.
Joe retired in his mid-thirties to spend more time with his young family. He started this blog to share his story, help others plan their path to retirement, and enjoy retired life.
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