Thursday, February 28, 2013


Now that we have been getting out and about--with our hiking group, our volksmarch group, the genealogy group, etc--one of the most common questions we get is "what do you do?"  I kind of stumble over this question by saying "this is my husband, he is retired, and I...well I am kind of retired too."  At which point people note that I am too young to be retired.  I guess I can say "I don't do anything" but that sounds worse.  So for now, I consider myself retired until I find something, work-wise, that I want to do.  People's next question is often "how can you retire at your ages? (hubby happens to look much younger than his 64 years, and, when people find out how old he is, they still think he is too young to retire).  Obviously the "hows" of retiring early are too complicated to discuss in passing with people and it would probably be a weird conversation if I launch into my top ten list, but for those of you who care to read it, here are the top ten reasons that we can retire early:

  1. The kids are grown, self sufficient, and living on their own.  If we had any other people to be financially responsible for, one or both of us would probably have to work.
  2. We have no debt.  It's easy to cover your basic expenses on a fixed income when there are only a few basic expenses (and not a bunch of credit cards and loans to pay off).
  3. We moved to a place with a cheaper cost of living.  Not only do our basic expenses cost less in Las Vegas than they did in Seattle, our house payment (our only debt) is a quarter of what our house payment was in Seattle (for a slightly smaller, slightly newer house).
  4. We have very few needs/wants.  Back when we were average consumers, our needs/wants list was huge--the latest electronics, the newest cars, expensive vacations, shopping sprees at Macy's, etc.  Now there is literally nothing (besides food and basic toiletries that we absolutely need).
  5. We do have a regular income coming in each month which includes the hubby's pension and his Social Security.  In addition I have some freelance income coming in occasionally.  Without hubby's income, we would definitely still be working because while you can live on much less than "normal people", you can't live on nothing.
  6. We are super happy living like "poor" people.  We only buy our clothes at the Goodwill, we have one old car that we share, we track our electricity usage to make sure our electric bill doesn't get out of hand, we mostly cook and eat at home, we find free activities to do to keep us occupied, etc.
  7. We don't have any vices.  While hubby does play poker every day, he only spends his monthly "fun allowance" on the game and stops for the rest of the month if he runs out of money (fortunately he actually makes money playing poker most months; the extra money he earns pays for some of our groceries and shopping!).  We don't drink, smoke, have a shopping addiction, etc which tend to cost a lot of money.
  8. We are so much more in control of our money now, even though we have less money than we have ever had before.  We do a monthly budget, we save for purchases, we discuss money together regularly...all of the things Dave Ramsey recommends.  Back when we had a lot more money, we never really talked about it--earning it or spending it--so there was no control over where it went and, surprise, we let A LOT of money slip through our fingers on frivolous purchases.
  9. We don't have anything to "prove" to anyone.  For many years, we wanted to keep up with the Joneses.  We didn't want people to think we were "poor" so we did everything financially possible to look like we were "rich"--leased nice cars, put our fancy vacations on credit cards, wore the latest styles, gave expensive gifts, etc.  Now I don't give a rip what people think about me.  Oddly enough, now that we have stopped caring about people judging us on appearances, those people who would judge us by appearance have gone out of our lives.
  10. We are happy hanging out together and happy with our lives.  In a lot of cases, people work hard to earn money so they can spend their earnings on things that make them happy (clothes, ATVs, going to bars, lavishing gifts on their kids, etc).  We are at the point now where material goods won't make us any happier than we are now so why spend our time slaving away at work when we can hang out together and do fun, free activities?


  1. Well said! Have you seen this: