present is a gift, early retirement, retire early, live in the present, no regrets

The Present is a Gift

She said: Our goal to retire in 10 years is fairly ambitious. But to be honest, we could do it in less time. If L and I both worked full time plus part-time jobs, lived in a small apartment, delayed having a family and saved every single penny we made, we could probably retire in 5 years. However, in this process we have made a very important decision… don’t give up now for later.

To achieve our goal of early retirement we do make sacrifices. We live in a house that is less than we can afford, we don’t eat out much, we have to turn down social engagements, we don’t buy a lot of the things we want and we don’t drive brand new cars. We see all of these as small sacrifices in order to achieve our larger goal, but there are some things we’re not willing to give up.

We want a family. We were not willing to delay having children, once we were ready for a baby we didn’t want to wait. Of all the decisions we have ever made, this one was the best. We love our kiddos to the moon and back, and they make our lives worth living even if they add a few years to our retirement goal. Not only do we want kids, but we also want to be able to give them a childhood they will look back on fondly. We want to take them places they enjoy; hey we even bought a boat! I have such wonderful memories boating as a kid and I wanted to pass that on to them, despite the fact that owning a boat is NOT early retirement friendly. We also live in an extremely nice (aka expensive) area. However, this extra cost is worth it to us to raise our kids in a beautiful, safe and family friendly area.

Although we do make sacrifices in order to retire early, I definitely do not feel like we live some underprivileged lifestyle. We have everything we need and most of the things we want. The things that are most important to us are prioritized. We are not living like paupers now hoping to retire early; we still live very happy and fulfilling lives. L and I don’t go out to the wine bar like we used to, however we do pick up a bottle at the store and share it on our back porch after the kids go to sleep and that is just as good, in fact it’s even better.

He said: First of all I have no clue what a pauper is and being that I’ll never compete on Jeopardy I probably wont look it up either. She is right though, we do enjoy ourselves and we’ve found it doesn’t take much of a tweak to make an expensive enjoyment more practical. Also, despite our early retirement there are things we are willing to splurge on. One of the biggest ones is vacations.

We are willing to spend money on vacations and travel because we want to experience life, more importantly we want to experience life with our kids. For instance, we have been planning a Disney trip for years and it will be a trip of a lifetime for our kids. We still have a few years to go and that is because we want to save up and make it as memorable as possible. Our first rule though, no debt in order to travel. Therefore, I work overtime to make the money for all of our vacations. Does it suck being away from the family? Yes, but it’s worth it when we go someplace worth remembering.

We also look for experiences that are cheap but that we can all enjoy. Just today we took the kids out for a bike ride because the weather was so nice. The only costs were the initial bike purchases that were made years ago. The next warm day we plan on going hiking in the mountains. The cost is only a $7 national park entrance fee. The point is we can all enjoy our families without spending a fortune, which allows us to prepare for the future.

We also need to ask ourselves if we are doing things for our kids or for ourselves. For instance, we once spent $200 to take our kids to Sea World. They did enjoy it, however, we now spend $130 a year and can go to the zoo as many times as we want. It turns out they enjoy themselves just as much there as they did at Sea World for a much lower price. Finally, and this one hurts a lot of people, do we really have to eat out as much as we do to enjoy our families? Don’t get me wrong; we do go out, but only for special occasions. You can even make cooking a family event and enjoy the entire process while bonding!

We said: Life happens. We’re realists and we know that there are accidents and illness in this broken world. The last thing we want is to give up everything for the next 10 years only to have tragedy strike and one of us not be able to enjoy the lifestyle we’ve worked so hard for. One of the reasons we want to retire early is so we can look back on our lives with no regrets. We also don’t want to look back on the 10 years we worked for that goal with regrets; we want to enjoy the present as we look towards the future.


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