Slowing Down Our Early Retirement

In January, I turned 31. To celebrate, I bought myself a birthday present.

I very rarely buy books anymore (preferring to visit the library) but for my birthday, I made an exception. I purchased Tanja Hester’s new book, Work Optional. For those who don’t know, Tanja is the author of Our Next Life, one of our favourite early retirement blogs.

This is not a book review post, but I do encourage you to get your hands on a copy- whether by purchasing or through your local library. I read a lot about early retirement but her book gave me plenty of new things to think about. Poopsie is currently reading it and I can’t wait to discuss it with him once he’s done!

Tanja has done a number of podcast interviews to promote the book, including this episode of Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast. While not a regular listener of the podcast, I really enjoyed this episode.

Toward the end of the episode, Paula and Tanja discuss going slower on the road to early retirement. They both mention it as a sentiment that The Mad FIentist expressed during his own interview with Paula. Tanja also wrote about this in a recent article on Business Insider:

Wise words from Tanja Hester

Since hearing her podcast, Poopsie and I have discussed this very sentiment.

A little known fact about me: I can be a little crazy. Poor Poopsie has to deal with said craziness on a regular basis. It is not unusual for me, in the course of a single day to go from hard-core-we-must-save-every-cent to we-might-die-tomorrow-so-let’s-spend-at-will.

I literally bounce from one extreme to the next, constantly. My hard core wanting to save usually stems from a) a really crappy day at work or b) reading a blog post that inspires me. Since I really hate my new job and I read a lot of blog posts, this happens a lot.

Not only did I buy myself a new book, but Poopsie also baked me this awesome birthday cake!

On the flip side, Poopsie and I are not naturally frugal people and, if I am being honest, we’re kind of snobs and do like some of the finer things in life. We don’t like to waste money but we have no problem spending more for experiences or better quality items. So when we have been entrenched in my hard core frugality for a day or two (yes, I know that’s not very long), I can flip completely and not want us to miss out and ensure we enjoy our life now.

Listening to Tanja mention wishing they’d gone slower has actually helped me. She and Brandon from The Mad FIentist are two people whose journey I have enjoyed following and gotten some great inspiration from. Hearing their sentiments about wishing they’d gone slower has almost given me permission to calm my farm and not be in such a panic every few days or few weeks that we need to be more frugal.

As a result of this inspiration, we are drawing up some new FIRE plans. We recently decided we would probably abandon our six year timeline and the advice from Tanja and Brandon has helped me to lean into that and create a more sustainable plan for us.

Of course, poor Poopsie will probably be flipped into hard core frugality in the next few days, but he will now have this post to point to in order to reduce some of my craziness. We’ll keep you updated!

How fast is your early retirement plan? Have you ever thought about slowing it down?


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10 Responses to Slowing Down Our Early Retirement

  1. Ours is a very slow journey from here which will take ten years plus and see me in my early 50s before I retire more than likely. Which is fine, fortunately I like my job just fine most days and we’re not in a huge rush to get there.

    I think it definitely helps that my wife and I both have pretty steady moods, we don’t tend to go to one extreme or the other and just plod along patiently. So much of the struggle can be mental but we really don’t have much problem with it.

  2. Funny you should say this.
    I’m only a few years off from retirement and I was planning on working full-time right to the end, to get there faster.
    But this year a couple of things have happened that are making me question whether I still want to do this. I may go part-time next year, purely to start enjoying the journey again.
    I haven’t read Tanya’s book yet, but apparently it’s better to have a hard copy of it to use as a workbook. Is that true?

    • Isn’t it funny when we’re thinking about doing something and then a fellow blogger writes about it? I hope you’re further along in your decision making.

      I think her worksheets are available on the book’s website so you can use them with the audio book… don’t quote me on that though.

  3. I’m definitely slowing down my pursuit of financial independence with taking this year off to travel around USA. It feels odd to not be actively adding to my investment portfolio right now, but I am appreciating the recharging opportunity of this mini-retirement and am getting to know more about how I want to design my life after financial independence.

    At times, I feel the conflict of wanting to enjoy a more relaxed approach with part-time work (therefore lower income), vs taking on a full-time high-powered career and raking in the dough that others seem to do. However, when I think back to my priorities, I quickly remember that I’m more about “frugality and freedom” than selling the majority of my time and energy off for big bucks. It’ll take me longer to get to FI, but I believe I’ll enjoy the journey more.

  4. Paula Pant says:

    “It is not unusual for me, in the course of a single day to go from hard-core-we-must-save-every-cent to we-might-die-tomorrow-so-let’s-spend-at-will.”

    — Ah yes, this is what we call the ‘dysfunctional pendulum swing.’ Dr. Brad Klontz talks about it in Episode 127 (I just re-listened to it the other day, so it’s fresh in mind.) The sustainable, steady approach without its wild swings will usually be more effective … and more fun. 🙂

  5. You’ve ultimately got to do you.

    Yeah, you can save harder, and/or earn money harder, and you will retire sooner – which will make you happier. That’s a very good thing!

    But at the same time, if you save at a level that makes you feel unhappy then you’ve got to pull back. When it comes to saving for retirement, we’re not talking about ploughing through and sucking it up for a few months.

    If retirement is still a few years away and saving is impacting you, then that’s a long time to be unhappy. So as with everything, it’s always a balance.

    Sorry about your job, too :(. Fingers crossed it improves or you find a better one!


  6. Miss Balance says:

    There is no point feeling like you aren’t living your best life for 6 years in the hopes that it will get better. Without sounding too cheesy – live every year as if it were your last one and look back knowing you’ve lived a life you are happy with. No that won’t mean we can all quit work and sail the bahamas, but it also doesn’t mean scrimping and feeling underwhelmed and jaded.

    Looking forward to hearing what slowing down looks like and how you will enjoy the slightly longer road to FIRE

  7. LadyFIRE says:

    That cake looks wonderful 🙂 Heres to many more delicious cakes on your slow journey to FIRE.

    I can’t wait to see what the new plan is, and what adventures you get up to

  8. I’ve been questioning lately if I can handle my highly stressed out job for another 7 years; been thinking of going part time now rather than wait another 7 years. I fluctuate daily from yeah I can do this (if it’s a good day at work) to I need to quit now …
    I bought Tanya’s book too – my local library doesn’t have it – it just arrived so will start soon.
    Looking forward to reading about your ongoing plans – I thnk it is wise to constantly review our plans & circumstances and adjust accordingly. No point in arriving at FIRE totally burnt out

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