The Surprising Benefits Of Early Retirement I Never Anticipated

If you're thinking about retiring early, let me share some of the surprising benefits of early retirement I never anticipated.

In a previous article, I highlighted the negatives of early retirement nobody likes talking about. It might have seemed like the negatives of early retirement outweighed the positives. Further, some readers commented I sounded depressed.

In actuality, I just wanted to provide some balanced perspective before you make one of the biggest decisions of your life. Jump with eyes wide open I say!

There are some surprising benefits of early retirement I never anticipated as well. Retiring early has ironically, been my “best career move.” Originally, I thought I would just live a frugal lifestyle off of roughly $80,000 a year in investment income in 2012.

My wife joined me three years later when she also turned 34 so we could both live free and frugal together. We thought we'd rent or buy a small two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment near or on the beach in Hawaii and live out our remaining days.

Instead, our lives turned out a little differently. We started a family and unexpectedly grew our net worth and our passive income more than expected, luckily due to a bull market. Now we're trying to figure out how to best spend our remaining years.

To balance things out, let me share some of the positives of early retirement I did not foresee.

The Surprising Benefits Of Early Retirement

Surprising Benefit #1: You might slow your aging.

When I was 33, I started sprouting my first grey hair. Ah hah, the dam has finally broke! I remember thinking to myself. My hairline started to recede as well. All of this was kind of depressing as I had to come to terms that I was finally losing my youth after years of getting beaten down by the finance industry.

Then one morning a year after I retired, I was looking at myself in the mirror. I noticed I could no longer find any grey hairs. I thought it was the bad lighting so I called over my wife to inspect me like how animals do in the wild. Nope. Still nothing.

10 years after fake retiring, I'm 45 now and I still have no grey hair. My hairline has also stopped receding. If you believe your outward appearance is a reflection of your true age, then retiring early might be one of the best ways to extend your life and allow you to look happier and younger.

But of course, I won't really know whether having a less stressful life has helped increase my lifespan until after I'm dead. After all, Steve Jobs was a billionaire vegan with access to the best health care and he still died at 56.

Still have a full head of hair
Still got some hair around my double cowlicks

Surprising Benefit #2: Your chronic physical pain might go away.

While I was working, I experienced several chronic physical ailments: TMJ pain, sciatica, and lower back pain.

I constantly ground my teeth in my sleep and would wake up with a very sore jaw. Sometimes I would grind so loudly that I'd wake my wife up. Every time I would talk for longer than five minutes, my TMJ would flare-up. The pain got so bad that I went to a dental specialist and paid him $760 out-of-pocket to drill some divots in my back molars so I could close my jaw more comfortably.

Sciatica and lower back pain came hand in hand. While at work, because it was too uncomfortable to sit, I found myself standing for many hours. For many years, my lower back pain periodically forced me to stop playing sports such as tennis, softball, and golf because I simply couldn't bear the pain caused by twisting my back.

The Book That Changed By Life For The Better

I eventually got some relief after reading Dr. Sarno's book, Healing Back Pain. The book talks about how our minds can manifest chronic pain to deal with stress and anger. I believed him and got better.

Then amazingly, about 10 months into retirement, I noticed my pain had completely gone away. After 13 years of living and working through chronic pain, I was miraculously pain-free.

Looking back, it is shocking how long I put up with chronic pain in the pursuit of career progression and money. The health benefits of early retirement are priceless.

We’re not supposed to feel this much chronic pain for so long. And you won’t really realize how much pain your body is enduring until you finally walk away from a difficult job.

Surprising Benefit #3: Your infertility issues may clear up.

Both my wife and I worked in finance, a highly stressful industry that required 60-hour work weeks. Although the money was good, we were constantly tired and stressed.

The idea of children was not top of mind because we didn't feel like we had any energy left to spare. The average college-educated parent spends about two hours a day with their children. Further, we were very focused on trying to make as much money as possible in order to leave work for good.

It wasn't until after my wife turned 32 in 2012 that we began to contemplate seriously having children. We had always been told that it's best to have children before age 35 to minimize health risks and maximize the chances of success.

Fertility Chart - The Surprising Benefits Of Early Retirement I Never Anticipated

We tried sporadically for one year while she was still working with no luck. Then we tried more purposefully the next year still with no luck. She had been pretty stressed at work because she had just gotten passed over for a promotion she thoroughly deserved.

I had never seen her so mad about her job before. This was when I finally convinced her to finally plan her exit strategy. But only after she got her promotion, which she ultimately did six months later.

A Miracle Baby Came After Retirement

My wife's severance was one of the best arrangements she could have imagined. She left her job feeling like she had won. A year and a half into her early retirement we successfully conceived and gave birth to a baby boy!

It was as if our son was waiting for all our affairs to get sorted before coming into this world. Then we had a daughter two and a half years later. So in a big way, early retirement gave us the greatest gifts of all. Hooray!

The Surprising Benefits Of Early Retirement I Never Anticipated - baby daughter

Surprising Benefit #4: You might become wealthier.

Depending on what part of the cycle you retire in, there's a decent chance you could become wealthier in retirement. It sounds counterintuitive that we got wealthier after we severed both our salaries, but it's true largely thanks to a raging bull market.

Growing our wealth in retirement wasn't skill, it was mostly luck. We just kept our existing investment positions and added new investments over time. ~90% of our net worth were invested in risk assets such as stocks and real estate over the 10-year bull run.

After I retired, I decided to cross off a bucket list and write a book about how to negotiate a severance package. The book is now in its new edition. It has helped thousands of people quit work early with money in their pocket.

The book currently generates about $40,000 a year in passive income. None of which would have been possible if I didn't go through my own severance negotiation.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Ebook New Edition
Get The eBook Now button

Make More Money Online

With 12-14 hours more of my day free, I spend 2-3 hours a day writing on Financial Samurai. As a result, Financial Samurai now generates enough online income where I can treat my family guilt-free to Filet O' Fishes at McDonald's. In the past, I couldn't get past the dollar menu because spending 4.5X more on a sandwich felt ridiculous!

We fully expected our net worth to stay flat or maybe even decline after we both left our jobs. But instead, one of the biggest surprising benefits of early retirement is ironically more wealth.

Surprising Benefit #5: You may appreciate full-time work again.

During the last weekend of my employment, I ran into a huge roadblock. I had accidentally e-mailed to my personal e-mail address an old client list. HR talked to me on Friday and said they'd get back to me the following week with any potential disciplinary actions. I thought my severance package was doomed.

Over the weekend, I went to a Hastings School of Law community fair where their law students and law professors helped address any legal questions residents had for free. After waiting in line for two hours, a professor basically told me I should be OK.

That weekend, I swore to myself that if I ended up receiving 100% of my severance package, I would never return to Corporate America. Yet, once my son arrive in 2017, I started itching to get back to work. It's almost like evolution forces parents to build more wealth once kids come in order to ensure the survival of our species.

Work Provides Meaning And Connections

You would think that once you've tasted the sweet nectar of financial freedom, you'd never want to return to work again. But things change because financial targets are always moving. I've got a family to take care of now.

Starting at the end of 2018, I decided to focus more time making more money online. When my daughter arrived in late 2019, my fire continued to grow. I needed to do whatever possible to provide.

Then, when the lockdowns hit in March 2020, I decided to concentrate even more on generating more income. With work-from-home here to stay for millions of jobs, work has become much more appealing again.

Not only does work provide meaning, it also helps keep loneliness at bay due to more personal connections. Finally, due to the flexibility of work, FIRE is becoming obsolete. Why save so much and work so hard to retire early when work now allows you to play during the day?

Surprising Benefit Of Early Retirement #6: You'll have unexpected opportunities

During the pandemic, I was approached by an editor at Portfolio / Penguin Random House to write a book. After negotiating and discussing for a month, I agreed to take on the project.

After all, I had already written a severance negotiate ebook in 2012. I figured why not try and write a hardcover book with the largest publisher in the world? Writing a book during lockdowns was also my way of making lemonade during a suboptimal time.

After two-and-a-half years of writing and editing, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom, became a national bestseller. The book helps you make optimal decisions on some life's biggest dilemmas using my 70/30 decision-making framework.

Buy This, Not That is your unfair competitive advantage to building more wealth sooner. You can pick up a copy on sale now.

Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom Bestseller

Because a lot of people want to build more wealth and live life with fewer regrets, my book has a good chance of generating royalties. And from the book, perhaps new unexpected opportunities may arise.

Surprising Benefit Of Early Retirement #7: You can live a second life

When you have more free time, you end up naturally doing more of the things you love and less of the things you don't. For some of us, we like to daydream about what life would have been like if we had pursued a different occupation. For me, that is tennis.

Since 2009, I've played in competitive USTA league tennis as a fun outlet. Each time I'd go to battle, I would pretend I was on the pro-circuit. This required staying in shape, practicing, and getting the right equipment. No matter how low the stakes, the adrenaline rush was always there!

Over the retirement years, I was able to spend more time improving my strokes. As a result, I went from a 4.0 to a 4.5 to ultimately a 5.0-rated tennis player. Getting to 5.0 in my late 30s was my version of “going pro” because it was filled with ex-division I college players I had admired while in college.

Discovered A Second Career

Then I got the opportunity to be a high school tennis coach for three years. The pay was $1,000 – $1,200 a month for three or four months a year. Although the money wasn't much, it was extremely rewarding to mentor kids and help them reach their potential.

Think about all the fun hobbies you would pursue and get really good at if you had more free time. I also became a professional writer after publishing Buy This, Not That.

Early retirement grants you the opportunity to follow different dreams and sometimes win. My plan now is to become a multi-book author and show my kids that their dad also takes academics seriously.

Surprising Benefit Of Early Retirement #8: You're happier for longer

It has taken me more than 10 years of early retirement to come to this conclusion, but the best reason to retire early is greater happiness for longer. It took me so long because I wasn't quite sure whether greater happiness was true my several years of retirement.

When I first left my job, I was happier, but I was also filled with a lot of uncertainty. Only after consulting for various startups, coaching high school tennis, becoming a father, and more did I realize I had a higher steady state of happiness.

I try to demonstrate my finding by drawing this red line in the famous life satisfaction by age chart. With less monetary worry, I've been able to focus my time and efforts more on the things that truly matter.

I also didn't feel as stressed during the 2022 bear market because I had a large enough financial buffer. There weren't fears of needing to go back to work in 2022, like I felt in 2018 when the stock market was also week.

best reason to retire early - greater happiness

Early Retirement Is An Adventure! Enjoy It

The surprising benefits of early retirement come when you least expect it. Retiring early is great if you have the appropriate funds. I've seen too many people retire early only to feel extremely stressed because they underestimated how much they needed in retirement. Or they overestimated how much joy they'd experience with all their free time. In early retire, minimalism is the way.

It's important to have enough assets to generate enough investment income to cover your desired life's living expenses plus an extra buffer. If you don't, you will likely feel stressed. You'll end up just spending a tremendous amount of energy trying to make money in a different way.

It's also important to retire to something so that you can fill your new spare time with purposeful activities. Have a plan before you retire early, otherwise, you might go through this strange trough of sorrow for an unknown period of time. But I trust you will eventually figure out what you want to do.

Stay Flexible In Early Retirement

Times are uncertain again. If you want to be more conservative with your safe withdrawal rate, you may have to accumulate enough capital based on a 2% – 3% rate of return, instead of a traditional 4% rate of return. My favorite net worth target to feel secure enough to retire early is 20X your annual gross income.

The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your working life to retire early and then sacrifice your retirement life by living in or near abject poverty. Instead, a better route may be to find a more enjoyable job and delay retirement.

At the end of the day, you won’t really know what your retirement lifestyle will feel like or be like until you take the leap of faith. I hope both my positive and negative perspectives will help guide you towards a more rewarding future.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Action Items For Retirement

Sign up for Empower (previously Personal Capital) to track your net worth, analyze your portfolio for excessive fees, and make sure your retirement is on track with their Retirement Planner. I’ve used the free tool to track my finances since I retired in 2012.

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Financial Samurai began in 2009 and is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites today. Everything is written based off first-hand experience because money is too important to be left up to pontification.

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54 thoughts on “The Surprising Benefits Of Early Retirement I Never Anticipated”

  1. Unfortunately the financially free bar is rising so fast I likely would be more stressed if I retired now with such economic uncertainty in the world. With 5-6 mill NW, and not too long ago 3mill was the “new” 1 mill, I felt like I had alot of financial freedom. But now it feels like 5 mill is the “new” 1 mill, and rising fast!! Next year alot of financial gurus will be saying 7 mill is what you really need to retire comfortably. Geez!

    So for me it is all about #1/2, and would I be more stressed or less stressed if I retired now/early.

    1. True, the volatility and inflation is making retiring early trickier.

      However, it’s better to retire in a bear market than a bull market. If you can still retire in a beer market, then your cash flow is proven and more than likely you will experience a lot of upside over the years. That’s what happened to me when I left in 2012. The bear market had already passed, but things were still extremely uncertain then.

      Retiring in 2007, on the other hand, proved to be a much mire Difficult time after. Same thing with retiring in early 2022.

  2. Money Ronin

    I would add caring for a sick loved one as another unexpected benefit. It wasn’t a consideration when I retired in my early 40s, but I’ve had to spend more time dealing with my mother’s and grandmother’s medical needs.

    More recently, my elementary school age son has been diagnosed with a non-life threatening but debilitating illness. He has not been able to attend school or care for himself for weeks; he has daily episodes when he is physically incapacitated. We’ve been unable to see the right specialists due to the shortage of doctors for this illness. I can’t imagine how much more stressful this situation would be if I had to hold down a corporate job while wondering how to care for my son. I’m very thankful that I have the time and money for my son’s care despite there being very few established treatments.

    My wife holds a corporate job and works from home. While she has no immediate plans to retire, healthcare insurance has become a HUGE factor in that decision.

  3. Great article and thanks for the specific examples. This may become my new financial test criteria :)

    “…I can treat my family guilt-free to Filet O’ Fishes at McDonald’s.”

    1. It’s an amazing feeling to not feel bad paying $4.5 for a Filet O’ Fish! It was always the dollar menu for me since I worked at McDonald’s for $3.75/hr back in 1996.

  4. Skillful Wealth

    To me the reduced stress is what I look most forward to in early retirement. The more I research and contemplate early retirement, the more I view it as a career change. As I write this I am on a stay-cation for the holidays and am a bit bored. If this was full time retirement I would definitely be looking for something to occupy my time in a productive way.

  5. Hello,
    it is so frustrating to read that it is requested to have about 3M$ to retire happily :D. I’ll never save so much money for investiments so it’s clear I ve to change some variable in your formula.

    First of all I live in italy, and I guess I could be happy even to live with 2k or 3k€ per month. Here to rent a flat might require 1k€ per month and we do not need health insurance to survive.
    Furthermore you wrote about very conservative investiments like bonds, thresaury bonds and real estate. Yes, I guess I’d do the same if I’re M€s in my pocket, but cause I do not have I guess I ve to choose for more risky investiments to reach my target.

    I’d appreciate your opinion.
    Thanking you,

    1. You live in Europe so you might have better/free healthcare, pension and other safety nets. Financial Samurai also lives in the most expensive city in the US or the second.

      In the US we are mostly on our own so need to save for all these uncertainties. The numbers that Financial Samurai posts are to account for all these uncertainties. Most people in the US will never achieve these and they just need to take their chances, like my parents. Financial Samurai trends towards “risk free” income but people need to assess their own risk profile. For example I am much for comfortable with real estate debt compared to him.
      Every situation is different so don’t be discouraged.

      1. I learnt that the risk of investments should be tuned with your age and your capital amount. If you are no more young and you ve milions you can easily live with low risk investiments cause you don’t need to improve your capital and your age doesn’t permit you to absorb markets drop. On the other side if you are young and your capital is not so big you ve to risk more in order to improve your base capital. In 20-30 years time frame even the SP500 was alway green.
        This is the rule for me, real estate or bonds would not change my life..

        1. Refugee from Academia


          This guy is a little closer to you, although not in the EU. I know there are other financial bloggers from Europe.

          Congrats on taking control of your financial life. I wish I’d figured it out sooner.

    2. You could probably be ok with $1 million, or even less, with 1k/month rent and free healthcare, plus probably other government subsidies on other things for low income. Anything over that could probably be considered cushion/FAT fire

  6. 2) Your chronic physical pain might go away.

    Back pain for me is proportional to the level of wealth: being a single income earner and supporting a family, I used to have back pain every other month, until my net worth reached $3M in 2012, then I only experience that 3-4 times a year when we hit $5M, then maybe once or twice a year when we hit $8M. Now we’re at $10M and for the entire year 2019 I haven’t had a single episode yet. I now believe back pain is solely due to stress and have nothing to do with postures.

  7. Great post, Sam. #1-#3 all point to the health benefits of not being chained to a high-pressure career, and those alone build a sufficient case for early retirement. However, curious why you’re itching to go back to corporate America? The most obvious alternative here is to start another business, separate from your blog, that will take up more of your time. You can be your own boss and do very daring and creative things. (Vs. in corporate America, where you’ll be another employee, another cog in the machine.)

  8. I retired in 1989 at age 32. The first thing I did was move from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Diego. It was less expensive and certainly made the numbers much easier to balance.

    The benefits were I was able to do most of the things I wanted when I was younger and healthier, and have nice memories now that I’m old and cranky :)

    1. He he, great achievement. Being able to retire early allows you to enjoy life while you are still in pretty decent health and can travel / have kids. Happy to see it’s worked our so well for you.

      We lived in a semi-retired way for a decade. Conceiving as a piece of cake, as soon as we decided to have a kid, I got pregnant the first time we tried. Raising the kid is also easier when at least one of the parents is at home and still not stressed to the max.

  9. If you have bruxism, I highly recommend getting a hard fitted bite guard. No point in sacrificing your teeth. You can save money vs. the dentist by doing the mold yourself.

  10. I left the corporate world at 35 (tech sales) and never felt better. Started intermittent fasting which gave me abs and a clearer mind than ever. I trade stocks/options for a living now and fasting makes you so disciplined. Retiring early is a challenge with kids especially the healthcare part….fortunately, my wife loves to work and covers us with healthcare. Never felt luckier and have a great site like this to guide me along the way. Thanks for your knowledge.

  11. I got really fit in my thirties, elevated my tennis and became a distance runner and no doubt I felt and looked younger even as I added on years. Unfortunately now, in my 60’s, I’m still fit but gone are the days of pain free living. The seven miles I ran with friends this morning hurt and when I get up off this couch to go play pickle ball in a couple of minutes my knees are going to start whining at me. But my sixty year old buddies think I’m a beast even if I’m a shell of what I used to be so maybe it’s all relative? So many great posts of yours in 2019! Thanks for some of the best content in this space.

  12. Rootless real estate

    Hi Sam – always appreciate your posts. Column idea: how to be create synthetic market exposure to a single family home? I have funds earmarked for down payment but with life circumstances will likely be moving around for next 3-4 years. Afraid that single family homes will rise, making my down payment funds relative value shrink. Could just parking in a money market fund, but any ideas on how to track home values so the relative value stays the same? I know a plethora of REITs out there but my (perhaps misguided) understanding is that most do not track real estate appreciation per se. Obviously lots of local variations as well, but have you written about this broadly or anything come to mind?

    1. I agree, REITs are not real estate, more like bond equivalents. I would buy in the best market in the best city that I can afford, i.e. the most likely to rise in value, easy to sell, easy to rent. Make sure it is rentable to good tenants and in a desirable area for getting good tenants (e.g. University), preferably with a suite in the basement as well as the main house. Also, it should be a house and area that you would like to live in if you had to. Get a mortgage while you are working for a good salary with an FI (e.g. credit union) that will stick with you (not requalify you or refuse renewal). While you move around, you rent the house out to really great tenants. Make sure you can make the mortgage payments and expenses no matter what. Amortize for the longest period available to keep payments low.

  13. TheEngineer

    The benefits were always there. You have and will continue to miss out many more life benefits because you are looking at a wrong target and don’t have the proper metrics to measure your progress.

    Your above average intelligence is working against you!

      1. TheEngineer

        I believe that you are gifted in your in your field and kind in a sincere way, but you are trapped in your own intelligent cycle.

        Technically based on my calculation of your personal merits, no inheritances from mom and dad, you have less than 10% chance of crossing the 1% net worth barrier in 10 years (7% ROI).

        Let’s say the odds are in your favor and you made it – I am guessing you will be in your early or mid 50’s.

        Can you project the state of your health base on the how you feel today?

        Can you project the state of your relationship with your wife and kid base on how you feel today?

        You are what you are, a thoroughbred, highly competitive but without direction and the infrastructure to let you passionately run.

        Anyhow, I will be in Japan from the month of March to April. Come and enjoy the cherry blossom in Tokyo from March 29th to April 5th. The festivity will transform the Financial Samurai for the necessary paradigm shift.

        1. Sam does not disclose his current net worth, but if I were a betting man, he has already crossed the 1% threshold.

          I retired in my early 40s 6 years ago, and I would never pay full price for a filet-o-fish like big spender Sam. I’ve got two kids to feed so it’s Happy Meals and the dollar menu for us, unless I have a coupon. Some spending decisions are made independent of wealth.

  14. The good Lord could use someone with your perspective and talents. You have wise. Sage advice to share! You have many blessings and the ability to relate. You “lived” the dream and realized there is more to life. I love your honest, humble yet confident approach to share. “Yes I lived the dream only a few get to experience, then life happened”

    Sir… you have many gifts to help others and I am not saying you have to give money away to do it! I am. 50 year old who had kids early in life and didn’t have perspective until later. ( better late than never I guess). Thanks for sharing your story and you have a new reader! Blessings on your journey..

  15. Hi

    The quoted benefits of the early retirement is priceless. This will enable one to have a fruitful life journey. One will have the peace of mind and I believe that such peace of mind will also give one the positive energy which will be beneficial for the life well beings.


  16. I think it’s funny how all these bloggers keep moving the goal posts.
    First it’s 4% then 3 then 2%
    If you follow this advice you will never retire because you will need 5mil
    And when you get to 5mil it will be 10mil
    I don’t know how you sleep at night if you always feel you need more.

      1. Social Capitalist

        Yes declining interest rates do decrease fixed income assets but in that, they make other assets less risky- stocks, real estate, etc. simply cause folks either park their cash in these assets or under the mattress (which is what one is doing by staying in “non risk assets” that are risky because of their declining returns.)

        Inflation should determine wealth needs- unless your net worth is decreasing unplanned then the amounts needed become unrealistic to retire for most folks.

  17. …. I wish I had hair gray or not. I have so shave it or else I have George Castanza hair style. And I’m mid thirties. I started losing it in highschool though. Sometimes it’s the cards your dealt.

  18. Really great list! Slowing down the aging process is legit and a huge benefit imo. You really prepared and planned your FT work exit so well and that’s such a blessing you were able to start a family afterwards and utilize as much time as you wanted to be there for your son. Congrats!
    PS – that Dr Sarno book you mentioned is a serious huge life changer. Saved my back and neck pain on many occasions.

  19. There’s always more option for better income to earn. Hope you can find a job you like in 2020 although i’m reluctant to see Finance Samurai go.

    Thanks Sam for revealing your candid thoughts and experience in personal life and finance. I’ve learned a lot from your blogs in the past 10 years, especially on how to analyze financial report in charts.

    1. Thanks! My hope is to do both. Why not? I’ll wake up by 5 am, work on FS for 2 hours, then go to work, pick up my boy, spent time with my family, then work on FS after 10 pm like I did for three years. It’ll be fun!

  20. Sam, I read your companion piece on your decision to go back to work due to rising costs of early retirement. I was wondering why you’ve chosen to stay in SF, you outline the living costs there as the main reason you now need more passive income. Since you’re no longer tied to a job and you even mention your RE investing has been in the cheaper Midwest, why not just move to another large but cheaper city?

    1. It’s hard to leave because my boy just got into preschool and the preschool process was a real PITA. We also have a house we enjoy.

      The easiest course of action is to simply try and make more money until he’s eligible for kindergarten somewhere. Stay tuned for a more detailed post in the new year.

      Also check out:

      It’s hard to just go to the Midwest.

  21. I have never really had a full time job up until 4 years ago. Before, I owned a distribution company and was always on my feet – never had a problem. The problems started when I switched to full time work at a Utility company. I use a standing desk simply because sitting all day makes me feel lethargic. I don’t know how my coworkers do it. I feel just…off. Not my usual self.
    My wife and I are currently in the process of reaching financial independence with 3 kids under 2 years old – got you Sam! It’s honestly ridiculous the amount of work her and I do on a daily basis and that doesn’t even go into trying to run a business on the side. There’s an excellent saying that I came across a few days ago that is worth mentioning…
    “The 9-to-5 pays the bills, the 6-to-12 builds the Empire”

      1. Yes, one boy turning 2 on January 2nd and twin girls were born August 20th of this year. It’s chaos. Plain and simple – cannot describe it any better. I actually find that I am more focused on my goals and seek to minimize the amount of time spent on any one task. I have become, in a manner of speaking, RUTHLESSLY EFFICIENT but problems keep cropping up. I wrote a whole list on my site and it keeps growing…never stops.

  22. I have come to realize that mental stresses can manifest themselves in physical ailments. For the first 45+ years of my life, I didn’t even know what sciatica was. Then as I went through a stressful life transition where I decided to resign and negotiate a severance package without having another job lined up, I had a sciatica flare-up that rendered me barely able to walk. Only 3 weeks of rest and a lot of ibuprofen got me back to normal. Then, 3 years later, I went through another career transition and surprise – another sciatica flare-up. Not as bad as the first one, probably due to being in a stronger financial position which eased some of the stress.

  23. It’s a little pretentious isn’t it? You can’t sustain on $80k annually? I’m retired from the military and own a patent that I’ve created a passive business around. I’m 42 and my wife and I are retired. We have sold the houses and moved into a camper for 2 years to travel North America. We’ve seen 19 National Parks and been to all 50 states. We pay ourselves $80k and occasionally less when the income is needed in other places. We have 4 kids, the youngest 12 with Down syndrome the other are grown and off in college and life. How is it that you can’t sustain. Could it be that you’ve create an existence that was too expensive and static to begin with?

    1. Not sure if an $80K income is pretentious when the median household income in SF is around $100K today. It’s more my desire to keep up with inflation given housing, tuition, healthcare costs are rising much faster than CPI.

      The median home price in SF of $1.6 million is 20X greater than $80K. Whereas, the median home price in America is only 4X greater than the median household income in America.

      It is great you’ve made things work for your family. Perhaps my situation is different, and I think that’s OK. We also don’t have a pension or a patent.

  24. Same here. I am 33 and my hair looks like it’s 55! I do think genetic plays a big part though.

    Also I see another benefit of early retirement, spending your time as you seem fit especially with your kids/parents/spouse etc. Someone once told me you don’t run out of dreams, you run out of time! That’s why I equate time=money adage to be very accurate.

  25. Buns of Steel

    The best treatment for back pain is to train your glutes.

    Deadlifts. Glute-ham extensions. Glute bridges.

    Learn to activate your glutes. Your life will train

    1. + squats and try some flow yoga. I play bball and yoga helps with recovery. Feel stronger than ever at 37. Plus I quit my day job, feel younger and stronger. No complaints

  26. I’m 100% sure that stress induces grey hair. I used to have lots of grey hair in college and they disappeared when I started working. Also, better after I retired early.
    However, I don’t think I doubt stress is related to receding hairlines. That’s genetic, IMO. But what do I know.

    For me, I feel a lot healthier after early retirement. Stress was giving me a lot of mental and physical problems. Sitting in front of the computer for 10 hours/day is really bad for you as well.

    Also, I have more time to focus on eating healthier. When you’re busy and stressed out, you just eat so you can get back to whatever it is you’re busy with. No time to make a good healthy meal either. When I ate out, I went for the delicious option, not healthy…

  27. It is amazing what a physical toll work has on your body that you come to accept just because you think that’s the norm.

    As a radiologist I do not do much physically challenging things in my workday but I do sit around in front of a monitor the majority of the day and that creates issues itself. I started developing lower back pain even though I had an ergonomic chair but recently switched to another chair and that really helped the issue out.

    Happy to see how beneficial retirment has been for you and your wife. I’m looking forward to the day I can do that as well. I agree having a nice buffer over your desired yearly spending budget is a necessity

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