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June 6, 2016

Why I'm Ready to "Retire"

I just realized I’ve declared I’m ready to “retire” and started this blog, but I haven’t really explained why. This is a very personal subject, which I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but will probably struggle to write about, so I’ll do the best I can.

Family Time
The most compelling reason to make a radical change in our lives is the four month old little girl who lives in our house, but I rarely see. I love her more every day, but I barely know her.
I am lucky to have my wife staying home with our child, and she is doing an incredible job, but I feel like I’m missing out. While I’m at work or sitting in traffic on the 405 my daughter is growing up. I leave in the morning before she’s awake and I return when she starts getting ready for bed. I don’t get a lot of “quality time” with her, and that is unacceptable.

Somehow our society has determined it’s OK for one or both parents to work, and lose precious time with their child, but I’m not buying it.* I deserve to raise my daughter, and she deserves a mother and a father to raise her. She deserves two parents who love her and give her the best care humanly possible. She deserves to have her dad around to show her how a man should treat a woman. She deserves to have both parents teach her and mold her. She deserves my everything, and that doesn’t cost a dime.

My child doesn’t care if we have a big house or a fancy car, but she does care if her Daddy is never home, so I won’t be satisfied until I’m home with her, no matter what that takes.

*I understand many parents have to work, as I do now, and I am not judging them for doing what they have to do in order to get by. I'm just trying to do what feels right for me and my family.

Commuting Sucks
I’m currently commuting about two and a half hours a day. It is an incredible waste of time and adds to my stress level. The one positive is it gives me time to listen to some good podcasts, but overall, it is terrible and keeps me away from my family.

Work Sucks
I’m only 29 years old, but I’ve already worked for four of the biggest companies in the world, and none of them were particularly enjoyable places to work. The people were great, but the work was not.

My jobs seemed cool. They should have been great. I’ve worked on airplanes, satellites and passenger cars; all things that I’m into, but every company I’ve been at finds a way to make you miserable.

It comes down to the fact that I have not been permitted to reach my full potential in any of my jobs. There are countless roadblocks in the form of processes, procedures, budgets, useless meetings, and unhelpful people.

In big companies, rational humans are quickly ground down to the point of not caring because they know anything they do is for naught. They just don’t want to fight anymore. As we all know, nothing will demotivate people faster than feeling like the work they do isn’t important, and that is exactly what happens everywhere I've worked.

The worst part of it all is that at every one of these jobs it was painfully obvious the company’s bottom line was much more important than the happiness or welfare of the employees, and I think that is completely backwards. Happy employees are good employees, and in the long term, that will be reflected in a company’s results.

The seemingly obvious solution to the problems these huge corporations present is to quit and start working for a small company where I can really make a difference. That sounds good in theory, but I have two big concerns:
  • Stability – In general, big companies are more stable than smaller ones, and when you have an expensive mortgage to pay, that is very attractive.
  • Hours – I’m concerned a job with more responsibility at a smaller company would result in longer hours. I’m not opposed to working hard, but my main priority is spending more time with my family, even if that means staying in an unfulfilling job.
My solution to these concerns is to stay with a big company until we get to the point where we don't really need more income then start working for my own small company. Once income is no longer a priority, running my business will be low stress and I can focus on enjoying what I'm doing, rather than making a fortune.

It’s Time to Build My Dream
I’ve worked for some pretty impressive companies in my career, all of them started by dedicated men following their dreams. I’m proud to have been a part of that pursuit, but now it’s time to build my dream. I’m ready to put my time and effort into projects of my choosing. I want to build something for myself. I know I can do it, and it’s time to prove it.

Enjoy The Prime of My Life
If you think about it, retiring at 30 makes a lot more sense than retiring at 65. Who do you think is going to enjoy their free time more and really make the most of it? Obviously, the 30 year old. If you have the means, retiring early is a no-brainer.

I’m in the prime of my life, and I intend to enjoy it. There are all sorts of things I want to see and do that I don’t have the time for now and probably won’t have the energy for when I’m older. Most important among them is playing with my daughter, who will be grown before I know it. Becoming Fiscally Free is the only way to live my life the way I want to, so that’s what I have to do. 

If things don't work out the way I plan and we run out of money, I can always go back to work and make more, but I can't make more time, so I plan to use every second to the fullest. After all, time is the one truly non-renewable resource.

Are you ready to retire? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. I have observed one very important thing to having a successful retirement is a perfect plan in place to cover health costs during the years after retiring. Healthcare can be incredibly costly so once you have a good health coverage you can think of retirement without any hitch.

    1. There's been a lot of controversy over "Obamacare," but it has made getting affordable healthcare in early retirement much more reasonable. If your income is low (and it will be for many retirees), you can get affordable healthcare, and that's what we plan to do.
      My only concern is if the system gets "repealed," but that seems unlikely given that I've not heard of any credible replacement.

  2. I totally get you on the commuting thing! It really is terrible. I drive one hour each way. We just recently started two work from home days per month at my work, and the no-commute makes it totally worth it!