Folks, I need some help. My obsession keeps me up at night, and comes up far too often in conversation with my partner.
I can’t stop doing the math.
For the past two years, as I’ve narrowed in on a minimum viable early retirement number, I can’t stop staring at the numbers. My poor Google spreadsheet must think I’m some sort of perv, opening it at 2am, alone in the dark, just to take one more look.
But I don’t need another look.
I know that 4% of $600,000 is $2,000 per month. I know I can live on less than that, because I do and have. I know that I want to stop working full-time but I know I won’t stop earning completely. I know that I will find new projects and find interesting other ways to make money when I finally have the time to do so.
I know I’ve been working full-time more or less since I was a teenager. I know 17 years of my current career is plenty.
I have a list of so many things I want to do with my time! Including this blog!
And yet I’m afraid. More afraid than when I lived in a big old house full of roommates who were students and they would all leave for the winter break and I would be there alone for two weeks and the laundry machines were in the dark basement so I washed my underwear in the shower so I didn’t have to go down there.
I’m afraid of a lot of things.
The awkwardness of being close
Being this close to the end goal is tough when your end goal is the bare minimum. I tell myself it’d be a no brainer if I had a little more, but can’t you always have a little more? Where does it end?
At $400k it was obviously too low. At $500k it was doable, but still a bit below my target. At $600k it’s exactly my goal. Should I overshoot? Should I have some safety net? Or do I start now building the future I really want?
And I think that’s the other key — how much different the future can be. Other than the time commitment, my work isn’t bad. It’s not all that interesting but it’s easy and I like my coworkers. What I do dislike is getting up, getting dressed, having a schedule, etc. Scheduling vacation makes me feel so trapped! The freedom of working on whatever whenever for myself would be amazing.
And I know, because I’ve seen it before. Younger me helped build a company and put ass over barrel to do it, giving up everything. It was hard, but we had a large amount of freedom in those early days. (Until we grew and it got out of hand and I was working just to keep it running without thinking about the lifestyle I wanted and not focusing on my FIRE goals and blah blah blah that’s another story!)
Okay, yes, I know these are actually great problems to have. I am blessed. Lucky. Fortunate. I am all of those things and I know it! But that doesn’t stop the thoughts from swirling.
Maybe I should start doing heroin to relax? No, no that’ll cost too much. There’s just no easy answer!
Didn’t your site say you’re retired?
So I may have jumped the gun on the description and started this blog with the description saying I was retired. Yes, I have the bare minimum saved that I always assumed I’d save and then leave full-time work life. But I’m making decent money now. I could keep working! I’ve got a serious case of one more year syndrome.
Maybe I actually started this blog as a way to live the life before jumping the gun. Sort of a toe in the water kinda thing. I don’t know. But at least I’m writing this today and not staring at my spreadsheets!
Has anyone else been in this position? Got any tips on curbing my obsession? Or if / when I should pull the trigger?