Remember my post about the Road to FI?
For those of you on the road to financial independence, what happens after might seem like an afterthought. Life will be all sunshine and unicorns right?
If you’ve already reached financial independence, what happens after early retirement is a tremendous challenge!
Finding ways to productively fill our days can be nearly as tough as the road to get here!
Don’t see the problem?
Look at it this way: You’ve spent decades working 60 hour weeks, commuting, and then squeezing your life into the few hours that remain. Suddenly you hit financial independence and say goodbye to that job. There’s no boss telling you what to do. No deadlines, no performance reviews, no goals, no real stress, and roughly 15,000 days of life left to live.
What are you supposed to do now?
Finding a post-FIRE occupation is key to fending off the demons of mindless boredom!
Things To Do
My suggestion is to look at the “Post-FIRE” blogging community for examples. These individuals are already early retirees, and have had many years of practice filling their days with some kind of activity.
They provide outstanding examples on how to
waste utilize your time!
Let’s take a look at how some of the more popular post-FIRE bloggers fill their time. I’ve picked out my favorites, but omitted their names to
protect my butt make this more fun!
See if you can guess which blogger I’m talking about!
The Stay At Home Parent
This is the post-FIRE category I fall into.
I gave up a decent paying career to play the role of stay-at-home dad for our youngest son in my early retirement. This is a challenging job to say the least. It takes my full mental capacity and stretches it to the limits!
After early retirement I get to utilize my B.S. degree to engineer my way out of a daily dose of poopy diapers, tantrums, and feeding times. Then, I use my Master’s degree to produce a masterful meal each and every night. Yes, every night. I sometimes even blog about it! (Yes, reheated frozen vegetables do count as a meal.)
Thankfully, such a job comes with breaks: A weekly trip to the empty grocery store, doctor’s visits, and nap time. Oh yes, we live for nap time around here!
Fortunately, I’m not alone in this excellent post-FIRE occupation — several other personal finance bloggers have taken on this
burden nightmare opportunity and lived live to blog about it.
Like lifelong friends, the stay-at-home Dad blogging contingent is pulled together by common ground. We email and comment on each other’s blogs about the joy of stay-at-home parenting:
“Your kid start school yet?”
“Nope, still have one more year to go. Where did I put that whiskey? I need a drink.”
“Yeah, drink one for me…I have 1045 days left!”
The World Travelers Who Stopped Traveling
This duo of financially independent bloggers hit their million dollar financial goals, retired early and decided to travel! These folks really use their precious time to the maximum!
They traveled the world camping out of their SUV, and made meals over a campfire. How fun is that!
Their blog is filled with fantastic locales, muddy roads, car problems, more mud, cats, and the adventure of navigating customs with a U.S. licensed car in third world countries.
Ah, the paperwork and legal forms! This blog is the stuff of legends!! I’m in awe of their beautiful photos of mud!
Apparently only one year of this fantastic life is enough to permanently squash that travel bug. They’ve recently put down roots and spent nearly $300k of their $1 million to buy a house!
Now, they look forward to being AirBnB landlords in their new home. I suspect they may also end up taking part time jobs to fill the income gap.
I can’t wait until we get the blog updates about the AirBnB landlord experience! What an interesting new way to fill the time!
The Gourmet Gamer
The Gourmet Gamer is a popular blogger…mostly because he writes useful stuff! He’s got a talent for navigating through the bureaucratic minutia of government programs.
On his blog, he writes about the Affordable Care Act, Social Security and 401k to Roth conversion ladders — Everything an early retiree might want to know about manipulating government programs to the maximum.
Besides his excellently written blog, how does this veritable genius fill his days? By eating gourmet food and playing video games! What could be better in life?
You might think video games are a waste of time — well, you’d be wrong! Video games are actually an extremely cost effective form of entertainment. For less than the cost of a meal out, a gamer can fill nearly 100 hours of his life from a single game title. If you need to fill your days with something, video games just might be a great way to go!
Then there’s the food. This blogger posts pictures of fabulous food, and who can blame him? When you have a fantastic blog income, and 15,000 days left to eat on this planet; why put anything less than the best food into your mouth?
The Perpetual Remodeler
The Remodeler is actually financially independent, but stops himself from actually retiring early.
Why does he keep himself from retiring early? He’s got an addiction to home remodeling!
Instead of putting his hard earned income into the portfolio (and increasing his passive income), he plows his money into continuous home remodeling projects. It’s a great blog, and good for people who love remodeling!
How does he manage to find remodeling projects continuously? He finds some portion of his home that is completely ordinary (and by no means substandard), and then transforms it into a gigantic DIY remodeling project that takes months to complete.
He really knows how to fill-up his time. The results are amazing, and I have to say it — I’m in awe of his DIY remodeling skills.
He spares absolutely no expense to beautify his home. He could win a home remodeling beauty pageant…if there was such a thing.
Given enough time, I suspect he’ll finish the current house and then flip into another fixer-upper. He’s got an addiction to feed afterall.
The Boomerang Worker
The Boomerang Worker was one of the very first early retiree bloggers. He was treading new ground when he retired early and blogged about it!
Unfortunately after living for a couple years on an extremely small budget, the Boomerang Worker decided to just go back to work.
Perhaps it was the boredom of early retirement. Or, maybe he was suffering under the severe austerity of his small income. Whatever the case, he is back “working for the man.”
Now he fills his time the way everyone else does — Working 60 hours a week, and commuting to his workplace.
If you really work hard and save your income, you might just be fortunate enough to take this path too!
Mr. Badass Bike Blogger
The Bike Blogger has a super successful blog and a mission to save the world!
Mr. Badass Bike Blogger (BBB) is trying to save the world by promoting the use of bicycles. He continuously extols the virtues of biking. It’s good for your physique and pocketbook!
What a great idea to fill the time! Instead of driving his cars to get somewhere quickly, he fills his remaining days by riding a bicycle! Why go fast when you can go slow, burn calories, and save the planet at the same time?
Only one problem — his plan must be too successful! He hardly ever blogs anymore. He must be out bike riding! Now, when he does blog, it’s mostly advertising to sell consumer products: cellphones, Tesla cars, and eBikes.
I wonder if he worries about his readers getting fat on those electric bikes, or riding in those electric cars?
The Portfolio Hawk
This individual retired early with too little money (if we assume traditional withdrawal rates). Mr. Portfolio Hawk is making it work though! He derives most of his income from day-trading and writing options.
He spends his days glued to a computer screen — following different stock and option prices. He’s searching for opportunities to generate income. With enough work (and luck), he can generate an adequate income in retirement.
What happens if he has a few bad trades? Well, I guess things get a little lean that month. Rice and beans anyone?
The Property Manager
The Property Manager is a big believer in real estate. Which is strange, because he used to work on Wall Street. Rather than build his portfolio from traditional financial instruments (like bonds or equities), he chose to purchase rental property.
He owns a lot of rental property, and has large mortgages to match.
He fills his time by self-managing those properties. It’s a way to save money and improve cash flows. He does maintenance, repairs, and upgrades to his properties (in addition to handling the financial side).
Renter got a clogged toilet at 3AM? Just call the Property Manager, he’ll come out and fix it! He retired early, so he’s got lots of time!
Even More Paths
Those are just a few (tongue-in-cheek) examples of how people can fill their time after early retirement. There’s tons more too! As I always say, “Financial Independence is only just the beginning…”
Traveling the Road to Fi takes time, discipline and hard work. So much time and hard work that what happens after sometimes gets forgotten. In my experience, finding a road after FI is nearly as important.
Whichever path sounds appealing to you, make certain you’ve got a plan. You don’t want to fill your remaining days by staring at a wall and contemplating that orange peel texture. That’s just a dead end.
In my mind, long term happiness is derived from continuous improvement, health, social connections, learning, and eventual achievement.
Should I have included a post-FIRE occupation of sarcastic online blogger? I’d be guilty of that one! What post-FIRE path will you take?