Updates, Epiphanies and Why I’m NOT Working Towards Early Retirement

Nearly two months ago, I set a goal to post on my blog 3 times per week. I stuck to my goal for over a month and it was great. I love writing and it felt so good to sit down and write, even when I didn’t “feel” like it.

But then life happened. I moved in with my better half (yay!), Alex had wisdom teeth removed (boo), I attended FinCon (overwhelming), we packed up two apartments in one day and moved into our new place (ridiculously stressful), we unpacked our new apartment (intense), celebrated our 4-year anniversary (*heart eyes*) and throughout all of that, I worked a full-time job. Life has been in flux and a lot has been changing, but one thing is for sure: I missed blogging and I’m so happy to be back.

It’s been a crazy two weeks and there are a few surprising lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. I Hate Moving

I know that moving is generally considered an ~unpleasant~ task, but my hatred of moving extends beyond just the actual act. I’ve moved once (or more) every year for the past 6 years and honestly, I’m ready to stop. I LOVE our new apartment and hope to stay here for as long as possible, but I’m really looking forward to one day owning a home that is ours forever. When we eventually decide to purchase a house, I know that I will 100% be an emotional homeowner. I don’t want to lose money on our future house (duh) but I’m also not looking to sell it and make a quick profit. In the same way I plan to “buy and hold” my investments, I’m planning to do the same with our future home.

2. People Matter Most

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel insanely, outrageously blessed to have such an amazing group of people in my life: my family, best friends and amazing partner. Money and work are irrelevant in comparison.

3. Early Retirement Isn’t for Me (Right Now)

I love reading about early retirement and hearing about the inspiring stories, but after FinCon, I realized that early retirement is not something I’m actively working towards. And honestly, it’s not something I want to be actively working towards right now. I’m excited about my career and I’m even more excited about what my career holds in the future.

If I wanted to, I have no doubt that I could be making six figures within the next few years and we could retire between 35 and 40 years old. But at what cost? There are SO many unknowns in my life right now: marriage, kids, pets, moving to London, grad school and extended travel. All of these things will probably happen within the next few years and there’s NO WAY I can plan for all of them at once or even predict how it will all turn out.

Instead of plotting my “freedom date,” I’m going to plot trips with friends, quality time with my family and celebrating life’s simple pleasures with my better half.

I’m still saving aggressively (more than 50% each month) but it’s not going towards early retirement. It’s going towards some of my other goals, and that’s the way I want it. (If this is a topic you’re interested in reading more about, you’re in luck! I have an entire post about this coming in the near future because I have A LOT of thoughts.)

4. This Blog’s Purpose

If you’ve ever started a blog or similar project, then you know that it’s hard to figure out exactly what your “purpose” is. When I began TFFM, it was all about my debt repayment. I was in a dark place with money and honestly, it sucked. But thankfully, things have begun to change. I no longer feel panicked at the check-out line or frantically crunch numbers multiple times a day. Instead, I’ve set my savings goals on autopilot and am enjoying life as my money hums along in the background. I’m not super frugal (I go out to eat and regularly go to Disneyland/the theatre/Halloween haunted houses/movies/other fun stuff that makes my life great). I’m not actively striving for early retirement (see #3). I’m no longer in debt (woohoo!). I’m not a minimalist (This article perfectly explains why.) and I don’t have any desire to blog full-time or blog about blogging.

Instead, I want this blog to be a space that is about REAL LIFE.

I want it to be about money mistakes, money successes, cool financial tech products that might make life better and a place where we can talk honestly about money, what it means and how we’re dealing with it. When I was at FinCon, I was continually asked, “What is your blog about?” and I struggled to answer. I don’t feel like this blog fits into one specific category and as I’ve thought about it for the past week, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I’m excited to see what this space becomes and I’m excited to continue writing, continue connecting and continue growing.

 

Has anything exciting, fun or shocking been going on in your life? I’d love to hear about it!

14 thoughts on “Updates, Epiphanies and Why I’m NOT Working Towards Early Retirement

  1. Des says:

    Are we the same human, FOR REAL?! All of this resonates so much with me, and I’m so glad your blog exists even without fitting into a “specific category.” Cheers to real-life-money blogs!

    Also, “I’m still saving aggressively (more than 50% each month) but it’s not going towards early retirement.” is something I’ve written about before, because YES savings rates can help you do so much more than retire early! (My big driver is buying a house in the next year or two, which omg is expensive. That’s what keeps me saving a bonkers amount! And I’ll be ok with downshifting that once we’re in the house and enjoying the process of getting settled.)

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  2. Our Next Life says:

    I’m SO GLAD to read all of this! I think it’s great you’re not planning for early retirement. There is something deeply sad to me about people plotting their exit from their career… for their entire career. 😦 You’re saving money, which will always serve you well, no matter what you do. We didn’t start planning for ER until our mid-30s, and will still retire plenty early… so you have tons of time to figure out what you want to do. I love that, for now, you’re keeping the future open. xoxo

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  3. NZ Muse says:

    Girl I feel you so hard on every single point. I have also moved on average every 12-18 months while renting, and owning my place is the BEST THING EVER (not to mention my health is better in a warm dry house)

    I’m supposed to be doing my career/professional development plan and I’m a bit like, ehhhhh. I want to keep enjoying what I do. Moving up will mean more project management which just ain’t fun for me. Like you I figure I could make six figures in the near future but if I have to trade off too much of the love for that, then nope. Leaving journalism for marketing I had a great straight run of increasing $$ without sacrificing enjoyment at all, but that couldn’t last forever.

    I HAVE been thinking more about, not early retirement as such but more financial flexibility. Money has always meant options to me and as a breadwinner who would like kids, I’m starting to think about how I might balance money and family in my 30s. Eeek.

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  4. Brittney @ Britt & the Benjamins says:

    I think we were tuning in to the same radio frequency this week because my post tomorrow relates to the exact same thing! I love my career and am not pursuing early retirement anytime soon. In fact, I’m already thinking about what job I want to do when I “retire” from this career (FYI – it involves doughnuts). Stick to your guns, lady (and I will, too!).

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  5. TJ says:

    I’m right there with you! I’m essentially leaving my job because I’m bored and feel complacent in life, not because I hate working or have some grand early retirement plan. I’m all about saving money though because money gives you options. It sounds like you have lots of fun specific plans for your money which I think is a lot more emotionally productive method than what I did, which was basically just “save money and then find something to spend it on later”

    I’ve mentioned before that I really do crave structure and routine, so it’s hard for me to imagine not having some sort of stable routine in life to look forward to. If I can learn to live on a lower income, then maybe that means I take on some non-profit work

    I’m also completely open to it taking on the homemaker routine if I charm the career minded woman, but I don’t think my strength is taking that role on.

    For me it’s a lot easier to do the road trip thing knowing that it’s intended to be a temporary adventure. I don’t think I could do it forever and I’m not sure that I’d want to. This makes it a bit tough to decide what I should sell and what I should put it into storage. …

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  6. gwen @ fierymillennials says:

    You go girl! Even if you decide not to pursue FIRE and just decide to enjoy summers off, you will be set for life with your present saving skills. Life is supposed be lived well, not just to be suffered through. I’m so happy we got to meet at FinCon! (And all the animals at the zoo were super awesome lol)

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  7. Kate says:

    Yes yes yes to every single word of this post. I feel like you summed up my thoughts exactly, in a way that is so much better than I could ever write myself. I have no real desire to retire at 35 – 40 and sometimes in the blog world that makes me seem like a slacker, but I want to live my life the way I want to now, which – like you – includes going out to eat and doing fun things (except not haunted houses because I’m a giant baby when it comes to scary things). Thanks for speaking my language, Taylor : ) I love your blog and I am excited to keep following, no matter where you take it!

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  8. Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies says:

    So, I’ve blogged about this a BUNCH and I’ll say it again here: While I’m really excited for FIRE people, I’m really a little sad for them too. I would hate to feel like I was running from what I did all day. Even if I only had to do that for 5, 10, or 15 years. There are days like today when I literally lay on the floor during lunch (I sat up to type this) because my back hurts and my head hurts and kids. But KIDS! Teaching keeps me going.

    I am, however, all about the FI. Just not the RE. At least not right now.

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  9. Liz says:

    I love that you have tackled this issue! The FIRE community is awesome, and I respect them for what they want, but it’s not for me. At least, not yet. I don’t want to be planning for that when my life is just getting started. I’m saving for retirement and trying to work towards maxing out my 401k, but retiring 20 years early doesn’t seem like it’s for me!

    You do you!

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  10. Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless says:

    Hooray for not blogging about blogging! (There is waaaaay too much of that going on already in the world.) And hooray for literally everything else in this post too. I LOVE that you write about Real Life. That’s the whole reason I read blogs, personally — not for advice, but to virtually get to know people and follow their experiences. I’m excited to keep reading!
    PS: Welcome to the not-working-towards-early-retirement club. 🙂

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  11. Jaymee says:

    I resonate with the not having a “purpose” for our blog 😦 and for a while, I thought that I couldn’t bring value to my readers because I write about MY money experiences (still feel this way sometimes). I’ve got to break out of this mindset because it’s making blogging frustrating for me trying to find this “purpose”. I’m happy to see you write about things you care about… purpose or not! It’s inspiring to me 🙂

    Also I’m moving out from my parents place next month! I’m excited to create my own space and purge through my stuff. I’m excited about moving but I think I also want to keep moving to a minimum in my lifetime xD

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  12. ZJ Thorne says:

    Another great thing about having your own blog – its purpose can change with your wants and needs. I do have one dedicated post a week that is just something I really do for myself. It is helpful to see those numbers in stark black and white. When I don’t have another post in me for the week, I don’t do one. I enjoy blogging, and I’d like to pursue FIRE, but only to “retire” from my crappy job to my business full-time. Or you know 3/4 time. More control and flexibility in my life is what I desire.

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