Early RetirementJune 21, 2022
How Retirement Started
Thirty years in my profession. Ten years in college, graduate school, and post-doctorate education. Part-time jobs since age 14.Now what do I do? Although not unexpected, retirement was strongly encouraged by my most recent employer. I can’t argue, my heart was no longer in job. My wife and I are DINC’s so we were able to set aside a fair amount of money but not enough to travel the world at a whim. How much? Well, our net worth is about 8 X our most recent annual combined salaries. About 70% of that is cash, stocks, and related relatively liquid securities. If this fits you, and you know the movie line “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”, this blog may be for you.
My wife and I started financial planning in our early forties, our income finally reached that level that allows additional savings. I’ll leave financial planning blogs to the experts. This first blog is about state-of-mind planning, and that started about 10 years ago. My wife is a list maker (and follower) so we made a list with the following main headers:
- What do we each need to be content?
- What are our passions?
- What hobbies can be expanded upon in retirement?
Short, sweet, achievable.
Finding Nirvana (not the band)
My therapist may roll her eyes at item number 1,but that is to me the most important question to ask. I have watched too many friends find destructive activities that give the endorphin bump we all need.
1. To be content I need to be
a. Financially secure – I spent the first 30 years of my life worrying about money between paychecks. It sucks and won’t happen in retirement
b. In good health – I’ve dropped 20 pounds since retirement and went from two bottles of whisky a month to a couple of beers a week.
c. Pursuing tasks that are fulfilling – Okay, this I can’t go through in a blog correct short sentence. I’m doing all the things I wanted as a teenager but my parents said, “no boy, college or reform school, your choice”.
d. Learning something new – Want to speed up dementia? Fall into a routine. Want to live a quality life? Never stop learning no matter how “simple” the learning may be. Perhaps the wisest decision made since retirement was obtaining my Commercial Driver’s License. Second wisest was asking local farmers if I could help out with harvest.
2. Passion that does not need a little blue pill
For most of my life I thought my passion was science and outcomes from it, climbing the corporate ladder, the number of contacts on LinkedIn. If true, then why was I over weight, drinking too much, and never happy? Because they did not align with the authentic Brad. So, I refocused on what I really want to be known for.
a. Food security in the face of climate change (yes folks, it is real and human activity is the main contributor) – Call me a prepper, call me delusional, but when 60% of the foods we directly consume come from states that are running out of water, I smell a business opportunity. For me? Probably not as I'm not sure I have the work it would take in me. But to teach other? K!
b. Revitalization of rural communities – Small corn, soybean, cattle, hog, poultry operations that are the so called “bread basket” are never coming back and neither are the jobs gone to automation. I’m very interested in small niche farms that may replace at least some of the production in those desert states. Citrus in Saunders County Nebraska? Google Citrus in the Snow. As my farmer buddy stated, “so you are the Guinea Pig”. - Yup!
3. To me, expanding a hobby means growing it into a revenue or happiness generating venture – Golf is out. While I wish I could just shut it all off and be content doing things for the simple pleasure in them, that is not how I'm wired.
a. I started beekeeping as a hobby three years ago. This hobby is now Country Road Bees. Will the honey the bees produce allow me to purchase a used Russian megayacht? No, but it is a net positive revenue stream.
b. Whilst I may never farm 5,000 acres of corn, we just finished planting citrus trees into our Citrus in the Snow greenhouse and were eating fresh greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and beets in early March when the ground outside was still frozen. Is there a market for these fresh crops in the cold Nebraska winter? We will see.
c. Teaching was the most rewarding part of my time in academia. I’m a good fly fisher, even above average, but not great. I am better that someone that has never held a rod and enjoy teaching new folks how to fly fish, tie flies, read a river, and find out what Zen really means. So yes, I will teach anyone that asks what I know about fly fishing, beekeeping, or any other hobby. Golfing is all about the beer cart.
Well, given the first draft of my first blog post was five times longer, I’ve done what I can to learn the internet version of good writing (see, there is something to learn everywhere). Hopefully I’ve provided enough information in an enjoyable style to bring you back and follow along with my Unboard Retired Guy blog posts. Who knows, perhaps I’ll learn how to vlog.
There's always a fresh pot of coffee on the farm. Stop by for a cup.