I’ve been burning down vacation time until my last day, which is today. I’m 34 now, and have had an exciting 14 year career as an engineer. You might think because I’m quitting, I hated every minute of it. But the job had its good and bad days. The good days were spent playing in flight simulators or catching a ride in the back of a high-tech aircraft. The job also paid well and I made many good friends. I might even be a bit jealous of the person who gets to take my place. There were however many days where I could envision much more amusing ways of passing my time. For that reason, I’ve been working toward financial independence and early retirement for years.
Avoid lifestyle inflation
I was fortunate to have recognized lifestyle inflation early on in my career. You get out of school, start to make a buck, and all of the sudden you deserve better. How will everyone know you are successful if you don’t show it? With a mantra like that, it’s not surprising how quickly money can start flying out of your pockets. I exhausted my wallet a fair share of times, spending cash out at bars and fulfilling my adolescent dreams for sporty vehicles. Luckily, I also remembered what I learned in college – you can get wasted with friends for ten bucks at home, and a Honda Civic will take you anywhere you are willing to drive. Screw being frugal, that’s just economical.
Spend less, save more and retire early
When your salary keeps increasing and your cost of living remains the same, it’s amazing how fast things can move. We recently became financially independent, years sooner than I thought possible. When you do the same thing for 14 years, it’s easy to predict what your next day will look like.
I suppose I’m quitting my job just so I can get up in the morning and do something different. I don’t have any plans and that’s the part that has me excited. Over the years, Mrs Crazy Kicks and I have had an ever evolving vision of where we wanted to end up and what we wanted to do in our retirement. Ideas ranged from living off the land in the mountains to buying a house in a touristy town and running a bed and breakfast. My wife also loves school and wants to be involved in the community.
Nurture cheap hobbies
Our ideas of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go evolved because so did we. We didn’t want to get into homesteading years down the line without knowing anything about farming. Starving in the boonies did not sound like much of a lifestyle upgrade. So we started gardening on our small plot of land. After visiting some farms including urban homesteads we decided to raise chickens, right where we already lived.
We traveled to places that we’d want to move to. And rather than doing the touristy things, we always sought out what it would be like to live there as a local. In the end, we have learned a lot about who we are and what we like to do. We also realized for right now, we have gathered many of the things we were looking for right here in Connecticut. That doesn’t mean we are going to always stay here, only that we still haven’t found a better option that’s persuaded us to move.
We are close to family, friends, major airports, and have our own urban homestead where we practice many of our hobbies. We will keep looking though, and we’re OK with having no idea where this next chapter will take us.Our way of life is probably a bit unconventional and yet I have found some great inspiration – not just through our travels and experiences, but also on the internet. Many bloggers like Mr Money Mustache and Jeremy at Go Curry Cracker have not only entertained me while sitting in my cubicle, but also helped galvanize my ideas on financial independence.
Although I’ve been mostly a reader to this point, I plan to try and contribute more. Some of my hobbies include traveling, gardening, home improvement, cooking, brewing, and living well for less. I hope to share some my of sentiments and experiences on these topics in this blog.