It’s official. I’m done with formal work*. So long and good-night job. It was very nice to know you, but I’m happy that our paths now diverge.


1/10/2017 (Tuesday)

I started writing this post on January 10th. I was at the library where I enjoy doing creative work. I went to my regular spot and this was sitting on a table:


I figured The Universe was sending me a message.

But we need to back up a little further. This story actually began on a Tuesday last December. I couldn’t share it in real time because I had no idea who was watching. Please step into the Wayback machine with me…


What Happened on 12/6/2016 (Tuesday)

I normally work from home, but today I was at my old work office in Chicago. I was there for a team gathering. Early in the afternoon, I rebooted my computer to install updates. When Windows came back online, my computer was barely usable. Nothing worked. I called the help desk and the technician said that I’d have to send it in to have the operating system reinstalled. No worries, I was about to be on vacation and wasn’t scheduled to be back at work until 12/27. It was not to be.

Due to holiday schedules, my computer didn’t come back until 1/3. And when it arrived, it still didn’t work. The encryption software designed to keep data safe also prevented me from logging in. Between calls to the help desk, I started enjoying life.

My day would start with having breakfast with the the girls and seeing them off to school. I’d come home and answer blog comments and email. I’d usually spend at least an hour before lunch exercising. In the afternoon, I’d write code for a personal project, write words for this blog and read at the local library. I quickly fell into a nice routine.

My calls to the help desk persisted with no resolution. No one knew what the issue was and my support ticket kept getting passed around.


1/10/2017 (Tuesday)

My computer came close to getting fixed and I was sad. I knew that as soon as Windows started cooperating, my free days were gone.

I picked up the girls and went to the library where I spotted that book. I realized one thing. I felt it deep down and was 100% sure of it. It was this:

It was time to move on.

I knew that I’d finally be able to do what I had been terrified of until now; leave my job.

I couldn’t just give my boss 2 weeks notice though. I had been there for 15 years and needed to give my team a smooth transition which would take longer. I also wanted to tell my boss in person. I knew that I’d be traveling to work in February, so I resolved to let him know then.

At the same time, it was painful to not write about all of this on the blog. But I couldn’t. My co-workers found out about my secret writer identity when my story showed up on Yahoo!. I didn’t want them to find out I was quitting from the blog.


3/10/2017 (Friday)

I just got off the phone with my boss. I told him that I had to leave.

I wanted to do it in person, but my work trip kept getting postponed. I felt bad giving the news over the phone, but I couldn’t wait any longer. My boss was talking about sending me to training and I didn’t want him to pay for this.

Quitting wasn’t fun. It had nothing to do with him. He was absolutely wonderful about it. And that’s what made it worse. Although my job has been extremely stressful at times (by far, the most severe stress of my life), the people I worked with were fantastic. I felt like I was abandoning them.


3/14/2017 (Tuesday)

The note went out to my work team. This is the one that said that I’m done. It was gracious and complimentary. I’m so thankful.

But it was final. I had passed through to the other side. The cat was out of the cube. No going back now.

The reactions from my co-workers were all over the place. One person thought I was moving on to a higher position. Someone else thought that I was going to different department. No one was negative. I feel silly for worrying about it so much.

And I have mixed emotions. Yes, I’m thrilled to be free to do whatever the hell I want very soon, but I have a little bit of melancholy going on too.

No more building servers. No more meetings to attend. No company holiday parties. No more deadlines. No chit-chat with my co-workers. No more lugging around multiple laptops every time I travel. No more big paychecks.

The way that I’ve lived my life since I took my first job in 1998 will suddenly be very, very different.

I’m happy and I’m sad.

There is this:


And this:


And some of this too:


I suppose the bad thoughts come from change. Humans don’t like it, so I’m fighting my lizard brain. I’ve always been one to embrace and even enjoy a new landscape, but this time, it feels different. I’m still trying to come to terms with it all.

Why did I quit at all then?

I don’t think it would have ever felt right to leave. Despite my mixed emotions, I believe that life on the other side will be better. I have some amazing things to look forward to:

I’ll be able to do so much that I never had time for before.

Still, that little Voice of Doubt in the back of my head sometimes asks me what the hell I think I’m doing. It asks why I think that I’m so special that I can quit a good job at 43. It asks what I’ll do if I fail.


4/9/2017 (Sunday)

I’m at the airport in Chicago now waiting for my flight home. I just left my work office for the last time. This week, I have some random loose ends to tie up and then I’m done.

Millennium Park

I’ve become steadily happier since I told my boss that I’m leaving. My second guessing and self-doubt have been replaced with excitement and anticipation. I find myself correcting myself constantly including just a few moments ago when I was walking to my departure gate:

I’d like to reread Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but I just don’t have time.

And then I catch myself:

You do have time now! Or at least you will by the end of the week. Go to the library!

One thing I focused on immediately after quitting was downside; no more steady paycheck, no more big deposits into the investment account. No more pranking my coworkers. However, now I realize that there’s nothing but upside.

I’m not quitting work; I’ll just be spending time on projects that I’m passionate about. The primary effect of this will be greater happiness. Happiness is the main goal.

Cloud Gate

And while income isn’t a priority, it’s funny how the money flows in anyway when you’re following your passions. This blog made less than $1,000 the first 3 years. If I was measuring success by income, my amateur writing career was a stunning failure. Last year, between freelancing, affiliates and advertising income, I made about $30,000. This isn’t rockstar money, but when you can get by on $40,000, it’s huge. I’m on pace to do much better this year. With my newfound free time, it won’t be difficult to double last year’s income. I love you 4% Rule, but it’s nice to not have to worry about you anymore. Money isn’t and has never been my goal though.


4/13/2017 (Thursday afternoon) (Done!)

Last week marked my final visit to the work office back in Illinois. This week, I tied up loose ends from my home office. I’m officially done.

I can see the Rocky Mountain range from my home office window. When I’d be on work calls, sometimes I’d gaze at their snowcaps. Gazing was all I could do though until quitting time.

Now that formal work is over, I look forward to restructuring my days. One example of this is exercise.

With a job, I had to wait until 4pm to to go outside and exercise. I don’t like heat or traffic, but I had to deal with both on bicycle rides. Now, I’ll take my bike ride at 9am after I drop the girls off at school. It will be cool and the traffic will be minimal.

I also look forward to:

  • Becoming an afternoon regular at the library.
  • Having lunch at school with the children more often.
  • Wandering around the open spaces near my home in the middle of the day.
  • Tearing around Florida in Mr. PoP’s NSX when I visit at the end of the month.

I could think of a million other things, but I can see the mountains. I’m going to go outside now to have a better look at them from the park near my house.

Onward and upward!


*I hate the word retirement. I’m not quitting anything except for formal work where someone expects you to be somewhere to do something at a certain time. Gratifying work is the key to happiness, so I’ll continue to work. However, my measure of success is now happiness, not money.

Join the 10s who have signed up already!

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*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.

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129 Responses to Free

  1. Ms. Montana says:

    Yippee!!! I’m doing a happy dance for you over here. 🙂

  2. Evan says:

    Congratulations on your new found “me” time! I am semi-retired at age 38 and continue to help some clients, but only the one’s I truly enjoy working with regularly. My wife works in her family business and will continue to do so for several years. Between her income, my “semi-retired” income, and our investments, we are living the American dream in our 30’s. Best to you as you enter the next chapter of life, one that involves a lot more fun and work, but on your own time!

  3. There is nothing much to say but CONGRATS!!!! Reading through the post and seeing this: “Having lunch at school with the children regularly.” gives me more excitement and passion to stick with my goals as well.

    Well done, sir! Well done!

  4. Congrats! I HATE the word retirement also. It is only applicable to the wage slave. Have you heard many writers, artists or entrepreneurs use the word ‘retire’? Probably not (or not often). I have redefined FIRE for myself to better fit my personality: Freedom, Intellect, Resourcefulness, Enough.

    This post reminds me of two of my favorite quotes: “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” and “Lost is only when you have to go back.”

    I used to live in Fort Collins, CO and I miss walking out the door to see Rockies!
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Why You Need a Balance Sheet for Your SoulMy Profile

  5. You rock! Best of luck in “retirement” or however we want to call it.
    earlyretirementnow recently posted…Our Net Worth (as of 3/31/2017)My Profile

  6. Exciting! Enjoy your Gratifying Work life!

    Looking forward to the desperately needed makeover :p
    The Vigilante recently posted…Retirement Age is CustomMy Profile

  7. Congratulations!!! Way to make it through to the other side!

    I personally love the word retirement because I’ve seen the most happy and dynamic friends defining retirement as spending years pursuing their passions and hobbies in their retirement and getting more done in a day than I do in a week. You can get so much more done without a full time job 🙂
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Just a little (link) love: I love you, robot editionMy Profile

  8. Tawcan says:

    FREE! I love that. Exciting times ahead. Congrats Carl.

  9. I couldn’t be happier for you and your family, Carl. Wishing you endless fun and fulfillment that early retirement brings. Cheers!
    Michael @ Financially Alert recently posted…It Is Only Money – Book Excerpt and GiveawayMy Profile

  10. MrWoW says:

    Enjoy it!!! and try to think kindly of those of us still making progress. I was just thinking today about how there are so many other things that I’d rather be doing with my day.

    Congrats! Make the most of it!!

    • “I was just thinking today about how there are so many other things that I’d rather be doing with my day.”

      Yeah, there is too much to life to spend it behind a keyboard.

  11. Awww, rats.

    I read the title and was really hopeful you were giving something away for FREE. Nope, just a guy who retired early today. Ho Hum.


    Congrats, bud! I’ll have a beer in your honor. On Monday — I’m on call until then. Darn this job!

    PhysicianOnFIRE recently posted…Christopher Guest Post: Family Money PlanMy Profile

    • Ha ha, the FREE stuff comes next week. Unfortunately, it’s rats. Are you telepathic or something? I’ll rig the contest so you get a couple.

      • Dorf says:

        You are so funny.
        Looking forward to hearing about your life ‘on the other side’. Congratulations! You are an inspiration!

  12. So pumped for you dude. I’m drinking a craft beer in your honor. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for life.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Slowing Things DownMy Profile

  13. Woohoo! Party time!

    I still get that doubt in the back of my mind asking me what the hell am I doing? But then I just remember all the numbers are copacetic and go on enjoying life. You’re gonna love it!

    There are some celebratory brews for you at my place if you end up passing through CT 🙂

  14. Stockbeard says:

    Congratulations ! (can you hear jealousy when I type it? I’m still a few years away, but I’ll get there!)
    Stockbeard recently posted…Can you retire on 1.5 million?My Profile

  15. So excited for you! It’s about time! Congrats on day one of freedom and new adventures.

  16. I love this! Congrats on your FREEDOM!!

  17. That’s awesome!! Congratulations!!

    Perfect title for the post… get ready to enjoy your next adventure!!

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Will You Be Part of the 1% to Be Financially Independent by 50?My Profile

  18. Ty Roberts says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goal. Can’t wait to join this club: “I love you 4% Rule, but it’s nice to not have to worry about you anymore.”

    • Yeah, I can’t believe this ridiculous blog actually makes money. I’d do it for free, but I’ll happily take Google’s money any day of the week. Or month. Or year.

  19. Congrats!! We’re now halfway to our early retirement goal of having $1 M in the account.


    Wish I was there… 🙂


  21. Todd says:

    Hey Carl – congrats my friend, looks like you earned your own “Game Over” hat today 😉

    Hope to hear about a meet-up when you visit NYC!

  22. Congrats and best of luck in FIRE. I’ll ask the same question I asked earlier this week. What’s the first thing planned for tomorrow? Is there a special retirement party? A little trip for the family? Or just a normal day?
    Fulltimefinance recently posted…Retiring Abroad, Travel, and Purchasing Power ParityMy Profile

    • Yeah, there is a party on Saturday. If you’re in the area, come on by!

      Tomorrow, I have about a million things to get caught up on. I could spell it all out for you, but it would put you to sleep. We’ve been in construction mode the for most of the past four years, so I loads of deferred tasks.

  23. Alex says:

    Congrats! I look forward to hearing about your new adventures! Thanks for being such a positive example to all of us who read your blog.

  24. Mrs PoP says:

    =) And don’t forget your trip to Florida! If I’m done with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by then I’ll give you my copy. I picked it up at the library book sale last month for $0.50!
    Mrs PoP recently posted…Buying a Classic Supercar-The Emotional PartsMy Profile

  25. TheMoneyMine says:

    This feels like reading the last chapter of a very good book.
    Will there be a sequel? ☺

  26. Jason says:

    Congratulations. I know it is cliche but you might have screamed this today:

  27. Adam says:

    This is great. Congrats, hope life gets better and better from here on, and that you keep telling us all about it.

  28. Congrats!! I’ve loved following your FIRE journey and reading about your FIRE achievement! Living the dream.

    Looking forward to reading about your life post-FIRE 😀

    xx Miss Piggy

  29. CM says:

    Congrats. I’ll be on the lookout for the accessible Front Range-group housing-in the mountains plan. I haven’t been able to get the wife to read your Awakening post — because she’s too busy. grr. But I’ll keep trying. Louisville living is sweet, but I’m looking forward to dialing it back myself. Congrats again. Enjoy the time.

    • Louisville is a wonderful town, but wow, the prices!!!!

      I’m all for building some stuff near Nederland or someplace close. I’d love to build a some small, hyper efficient cabins.

  30. Damn congratulations!! I’m both excited for you and jealous! lol! Enjoy every last second of your (not calling it) retirement!

  31. Mr. BK2FI says:

    Congrats on the semi-retirement! Long time reader. Best of luck with your projects, and I hope you become the P90x spokesman! I would love to join in FI worldy but I’ve set my FI number too high 😉

  32. Team CF says:

    Good for you Carl! Hope you can really enjoy the fruit of your years of hard labor. Guess the song by Queen is not longer applicable 😉
    Best of luck to you and your family, may you be darn happy going forward!
    Oh, and please buy yourself that NSX 🙂
    Team CF recently posted…Healthcare CostsMy Profile

  33. Mr. Atypical says:

    Congratulations. I have started my pursuit and hopefully, I am not too far behind you in becoming free. I agree it is not about not working, but retirement or quitting is all about freedom to live by your own rules.

    Enjoy your newfound freedom. Congrats!

  34. Jacq says:

    I am so excited for you! *Happy dance*

    Enjoy your next adventures!

  35. Wayne says:

    You will fight that lizard brain till the end. Five years in and i still struggle to realize that i am the master of my domain. Enjoy.

  36. Mr. Tako says:

    Congratulations Carl! It keeps getting better as time goes on too!

    As somebody somewhere once said, “Welcome to the rest of your life.”

    Make it a great one!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…The Economic GardenerMy Profile

  37. Brian says:

    Congrats Carl! Looking forward to the next chapter!
    Brian recently posted…Interview Series: Less Debt More WineMy Profile

  38. Danny says:

    This is awesome! Congrats Carl! After following your journey to this point I’m grinning cheek to cheek reading this post. Looking forward to shaking your hand when you come out east for the summer 🙂

  39. Congrats! That’s amazing! And best of luck on this next phase!
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…How to Triple Your Investment ReturnsMy Profile

  40. Congrats Carl. I am looking forward to learning more about your next adventures in life.

    I have gots to check that book..
    Dividend Growth Investor recently posted…How I Use Frugality to Accumulate WealthMy Profile

  41. Joe says:

    Good journaling. Enjoy your ER life. It won’t be exactly as you expected, but it will be much better than working for the man.
    Friday is still great. 🙂

  42. Brian says:

    Congratulations! I hope you will now have more time to devote to fart jokes. The pie chart you posted a while back clearly showed you were not dedicating enough time for this activity.

    As a parting gift I offer you this koan originally uttered by a friend’s child:

    Can a fart be lumpy?

  43. Zaxon says:

    I wonder what your sisters reaction will be 🙂


  44. Beth says:

    Congrats!! I’m so excited for you and I hope to one day be in your shoes… You have so much to look forward to with the freedom that you have attained!! I will live vicariously through your posts until I hit my own goal in around 5 years.

  45. SpacemanFry says:

    Congratulations!! So happy for you!

    I have to say, if my office had a view of the Rockies I’m not sure I’d be able to keep working. I admire your self control. As it is, I have my back to my window and I keep the blinds closed most of the time so I don’t keep thinking “Why am I cooped up in here when it’s so nice out there?”

    I’ll have a nice beer in celebration for you today after work 🙂

  46. Wow. Huge congrats to you! I’m a little jelly, but mostly happy for you! You’re plan for your coming days sounds amazing.
    Freedom 40 Plan recently posted…How to Invest Post Tax Money in Your 401kMy Profile

  47. Congrats! That is huge!

    I think it is natural to feel you abandoned wonderful people, but it helps they were so understanding about it. It wasn’t a forever commitment, so don’t feel guilty about getting out!
    Brian – Rental Mindset recently posted…A Cash Out Refinance is Tax Free MoneyMy Profile

  48. Mrs. BITA says:

    So happy for you. I wonder if someone at your work is standing in your ex-bosses room right now receiving a swift kick in the pants for taking so long to get your computer back to life again. “If you had just done your goddamn job Carl would still be here with us today!”

    Congratulations to you and to your family for winning you back from corporate America.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…Of Generosity and GratitudeMy Profile

  49. Tom says:

    Congrats Carl! That was a wonderful post. It’s funny, those little things that finally trigger big changes, the ones that finally shout loud enough to be heard over the lizards in your head.

    Speaking of reptiles, the dinosaurs will be happy to have you around more to play with! (Until you get the NSX, that is.) 🙂

  50. Justin says:

    Wow dude, congrats! Huge milestone in your life right here. 🙂

    I feel you on the “it’s not retirement; it’s just not working for the man because I have to any longer”. Though I cheat and use the word “retirement” all the time because it’s easy shorthand to say “I’m no longer working full time at a 9-5 job, and not routinely doing productive stuff that earns me money”.

    Have a blast! It’ll be interesting to watch your transformation from worker-attitude to retired (or “retired” 😉 ) attitude over the next several months.
    Justin recently posted…March 2017 Financial UpdateMy Profile

  51. Finally! Welcome to the cohort.

  52. Anna says:

    Woohoo!!! Congratulations dude! You are my hero.

    I’m working towards FI myself. Probably at emergency expenses coverage level now. Will trudge through another couple of years of work so that I get to a portfolio that will cover some fun stuff too.

    So excited for you!!!

  53. Jacob says:

    Congratulations, been following your journey for a long time now!
    You have even inspired me to start blogging about my own financial journey, feel free to check it out .
    Hopefully one day ill be posting an update on my own blog just like this one, entitled ‘Free’
    Congrats again!

  54. caren magill says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! I think I would feel all the same feels that you’ve got right now. I think it won’t take long for your life to fill up with things you love.

    Enjoy your new found life!! I’m equal parts envious and inspired 🙂

  55. ambertree says:

    Congrats on reaching this milestone. All the best floating somewhere else!
    And big thx for sharing your personal thoughts, fears and moments of joy while you go through the last mile. Appreciated.

    Yesterday night at work (big deadline on Tuesday, meaning also working on a public holiday) we discussed at work that one day in your life, there will not be another day anymore. The same as the book title… Is that a message from the universe?

  56. Eric says:

    Congratulations on your newfound freedom! I am less than 1000 days to my own Freedom Day. I plan on enjoying the mountains near Lake Tahoe and spending more time with family.

  57. Beautiful Carl. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

    TheHappyPhilosopher recently posted…Falling into HappinessMy Profile

  58. Huge congrats to you man! I don’t think I’ll ever want to retire. Work is just too much fun at the moment, and honestly I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I weren’t working.
    Troy @ Market History recently posted…How long should you wait before buying the S&P 500?My Profile

    • Thanks Troy!

      I’m not quitting work, just moving on to things I’m passionate about like writing and building. Gratifying work is the key to happy life.

  59. jlcollinsnh says:

    Ah, man.

    I am so sorry!

    We’ve all been meaning to tell you. You know, let you in on it. But you know how it is, we got busy and things kept coming up.

    Plus, you weren’t writing on your blog about quitting, so we just thought that was still far off, or that you’d figured out what was really going on.

    See, here’s the thing. This FI/retire early stuff? We were all just kidding, man. Inside joke. Nobody really does that! I mean, come on. You didn’t really fall for it did you? This post is just a late April Fool’s joke, right?

    Anyway, you want to call that boss of yours up and get back on the payroll. If you want, I’ll talk to him. I feel kinda responsible, after all. But, in my defense, we never thought you’d really fall for such nonsense.

    Ah, well…

    ..maybe you can find a new job…

    • Shit! I suspected it too. It just seemed to good to be true. I initially became suspicious when a mysterious reader told me that you’re actually a 15 year old Japanese girl with ties to Vanguard. Damnit.

      As soon as Taco Bell opens, I’m going down there to apply. I hear they’re hiring for drive-thru positions.

  60. Slow Dad says:

    Congratulations! I hope your transition out of the rat race is a smooth one, and you find fulfilment in whatever comes next. Thanks for taking us all vicariously along for the ride.

  61. SB says:

    Congratulations on being free! Thank you for sharing your decision and related feelings on leaving work behind. It serves as an example of courage to make the decision and leave with dignity. I have now set a date for FIRE…the numbers work out….and I can feel the time nearing. Still it will be difficult to break the tether of so many years and experiences. Look forward to hearing how your new life emerges. Again, congrats!

  62. Mrs.Wow says:

    Incredible! I am so happy for you (and totally envious too!) Enjoy the next chapter!
    Mrs.Wow recently posted…Why Early Retirement Makes You an A**holeMy Profile

  63. Laurie says:

    How exciting!!!!! It’ll be so cool to read your posts from the “other side.” 🙂 You did it!

  64. Congratz man! It’s awesome you were able to take the leap and follow a dream you’re passionate about! I have learned as well that being passionate about your job is well worth whatever pay it brings. As long as you can pay your bills and not rack up debt!

    I look forward to seeing where you are in following years after you have been out of it for awhile.

    What book are you currently reading? I’m always looking for a good book about finance or entrepreneurship.

  65. 1500 –

    If this isn’t inspiring, motivating and hear-felt, then I don’t know what else is. I can see how scary/nerve wrecking quitting could simply be, all of the people that respect and love associating themselves with you and all that you had brought to the table/taught others. But at the same time – following your passions, your heart and making a decision for your “time” is incredible, priceless and “right”.

    Love the post and appreciate you for sharing!


    • Thanks so much DD!

      “But at the same time – following your passions, your heart and making a decision for your “time” is incredible, priceless and “right”.”

      Yep, all of that right there and more. Thanks for the kind comment.

  66. Pingback: The Sunday Best (4/16/2017) - Physician on FIRE

  67. G-dog says:

    Congratulations! Oddly (for me) – leaving formal work is the only decision I haven’t second guessed! It feels like the same will be true for you as well.
    It gets better! There is some adjusting in the beginning, and then it gets even better. Crazy.

  68. The Roamer says:

    I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I was going to say I can’t wait to hear what actually happens. Because like you said and I think Mad Fientist has said time just fills up. The good thing is both kids are in school and so you really do have me time.

    I’m looking forward to what’s ahead for you.

  69. Live Free MD says:

    Cool post. I could feel the emotions you were feeling as you departed from formal work.

  70. CloserToFree says:

    I only recently found you guys (through the MadFientist podcast I believe, and maybe Frugalwoods too?) and am still working my way through your posts, but loved this one. Congrats!! We’re about a year away from calling it quits and reading stories like yours gives us inspiration to power ahead. One of the things I’m most excited about is being able to get outdoors and do active athletic stuff during the “work day” – I bet you’re going to love that freedom! Awesome job pulling the plug and can’t wait to hear how things go.

    • Thanks for the kind comment CloserToFree!

      “I’m most excited about is being able to get outdoors and do active athletic stuff during the “work day” – I bet you’re going to love that freedom!”

      Hell yeah! While this is still all new to me, on Friday I jumped on my bike and wandered aimlessly for 2 hours. It was spectacular!

  71. Freedom35 says:

    Well said, and congratulations. Look forward to enjoying the next awesome phase of your life 🙂

  72. Mr W says:

    “The primary effect of this will be greater happiness. Happiness is the main goal.”
    I was here pretty much exactly 2 years ago . It felt weird to leave the office but I’m so thankful I did. The most important thing that changeged after I quit is that I have mor etime to think about things that matter. Not just for me, but for the people around me. I think, you’re going to come to the same conclusion: a good community is what makes one really happy. That comunity can be real, can be virtual, close or far, helping the community will make the difference.
    About the 4% rule. I’d be curiouse to see how you will actually implement it. What normally happens (with many early retirees) is that you don’t need to sell stocks at all because you’ll make money anyway with your hobbies.
    I wish you all the best with your new life and hope to see you soon in Scotland! Will be there this August.

    • Thanks Mr. W for the kind words!

      At this time, we don’t need to implement the 4% Rule. This blog makes enough for us to live on. So does Mrs. 1500’s job. So do our real estate hard money loans. So, we won’t have to touch our nest egg for a while. I’m very thankful.

  73. Rob says:


    Quick story – A couple years ago, I came home early from work on a gorgeous summer day to surprise my wife. She was sitting on our porch with the baby, and called out, “Hey! Watcha doing home so early? Did they fire you?”

    Joking, of course. But being laid off was something I worried about frequently.

    Sitting there on the glider at 2:30 pm, feeling the breeze through the screens, I said, “You know, what if I HAD been fired. What would we do?

    We chatted about it for a few minutes. . . figured that between E’s part-time nursing gig, my part-time Army gig and my 3 rental units, we could easily meet our annual spend (about $30K). We could sell one of our two paid-off cars, which would no longer be necessary, and I could do more DIY with the newfound time, which would cut expenses even further. It would be tight, but we could survive indefinitely without losing our home or foregoing medical and dental insurance.

    The anxiety fluttered away and was followed by a newfound sense of freedom.

    Did I quit my day job?

    No. I like my job, and it’s a huge financial blessing. But that day my plan to retire early became real. Like you, I will hit that magic number at 43 years old (in 7 years). I will retire from my day job and the Army a rush of glory, and I will start doing only work that makes my heart sing.

    Also, I’ll give all my alarm clocks to the local charity thrift shop.

    Congrats again, and thanks for the inspiration!

    • Wow, what a great story! It underlines something I think about often: When considering some decision in life, always think of the worst case scenario. Usually, it’s not that bad and frees you up to make a decision without stress.

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  75. Paul Jackson says:

    Congratulations! I love your post – welcome to your ‘Gap Life’! I empathise with so much you said, as we recently decided to bring our ‘dropping out’ (aka retirement) forward one year; my wife drops out from wage slavery in 3 weeks and I follow at the end of next month. Man, it’s starting to feel real….scary, but real.

    So enjoy your life to come and let us know how it feels as it sinks in over the coming months.

  76. Very exciting stuff! Congrats for finally making the move!

    I do wonder whether you’ll think to yourself, “I shoulda done it earlier!” or “Uh oh! I wanna go back!”

    I’m guessing the former.

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    • Ha, on the very first day, I thought of how ridiculous it was that I stayed for as long as I did. I enjoy making money, but man, living my own life is so much fun.

  77. Fantastic Mr 1500! 🙂

    I love the fact you found that book at the library, poignant indeed!

    Millennium park and the cloud gate pics are cool 🙂

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