We got to spend a good chunk of time in California the past few weeks (hubby joined us later in the trip). It was amazing! If you are from the Midwest, you know this has been a doozy of a winter and I am thankful that we got to escape a lot of snow and cold. We decided that we would celebrate a few milestones including 10 years of marriage as of November 2014, ‘Lil bit turning 6 and following up on the girls getting an AWESOME talent agent and management team in LA. My oldest has been in TV commercials and has been blessed enough to book voice-over work, so we thought we’d give the “real-deal” a try in La La land.
It was so nice to be able to take so much time off to relax, celebrate and intentionally develop our daughters’ careers. As we log another debt free vacation in the books, I am reflecting on how blessed we’ve been to be able to do this extended stay with cash. Not to mention chucking out cash for regular bills, property taxes and a brand new Mac laptop for my business (lost my old cheapy one at the airport.) None of this is to brag, but really to recognize how far we’ve come.
When your mind is well rested, there’s time for so much introspection and evaluation. (Uh-uh, says hubby when I get into deep thought.) Basking in the California sun while captivated by fresh food, diverse plant & fauna and beautiful sunsets, I really couldn’t help but to thank God each day and wonder why and how we were allowed to be in this place. Not just geographically, but financially. It is really overwhelming to think about how far God brought us from our first days of marriage. Becoming totally debt free and acquiring a home debt free are fantasies that stayed in our dreams for the longest time. As our walk with God deepened, we felt a leading, a calling to get our finances in order so that we could walk in the plans God had for our family, not just chasing money to pay for stuff. It was about 6 years ago that we made the decision to become debt free and never borrow money again. We didn’t know how any of this would happen, especially on one income. All we knew was that if God called us, he would guide and provide (hmmmm…. catchy.)
When we paid off our debt, we thought we had conquered all there was to conquer in the realm of finances. Yes, we knew that Dave Ramsey had more steps such as the full emergency fund, more investing and giving. So we started on that path and we are quite close to moving from baby step 3 onto 4. But I felt we needed a somewhat of a more customized take on this plan. I didn’t know what it would look like or why we couldn’t follow exactly what he had prescribed, but I knew that we needed something different. Something that would require more of us to plan for a better future. It was somewhat of a scary feeling because, the last time I had it, we went through the gut-wrenching process of paying off tens of thousands of dollars of debt. It was not that fun, but it was VERY VERY VERY VERY worth it. I swore I’d never go through that again.
But what was new, yet familiar feeling? What are we now being asked to do? Sometimes you don’t know until you see it. It started with our fantabulous, long stay in California. I worked very little and hubby worked even less. We got up mostly every morning to eat breakfast together and would proceed through the day as a team. Kelvin helped with school work while I took a few business calls, ran to the store or exercised. Then, we would do something together like walking around, going to the pool, etc. We were together all day as a family and it was indescribable! Those kind of days are the best. I absolutely love, adore and relish when my husband is home or on vacation with us. It brings sense of balance and peace to our home that I feel we lack when he’s away working long hours. When the girls are at home pining and anxious for their Dad’s presence, it’s just a bit unsettling for us as a family. You might say, ” Don’t be silly, at least one person has to work, it’s how the traditional American family operates.” Well, I say that the traditional American family is overwhelmed with bills, stuck in the rat race a miserable! In this season of our lives, we are feeling the leading to be even more different.
All this to say, that we really feel the Lord calling us to believe for hubby to come home with us for good- as in retirement. Not at 65, but more like 37. I read about Ruth Soukup who made enough money from her blog so that her husband could come home (they even paid of their Florida home in the process!) Then I stumbled upon the 30 something, Mr. Money Mustache, who talks about the mechanics of early retirement. Jeremy at GoCurryCracker.com is another honorable mention when it comes to early retirement. I also stumbled upon on J. Money’s BudgetsAreSexy.com who has a neat Early Retirement series he’s starting on his blog.
After a lot of reading in Cali, I learned that saving about 25-30 times your annual expenses, living off the substantial returns of your stock market investments and then living modestly (or doing something at will/leisure ) is a totally doable option. All this sounds intriguing, frightening and even like a real long shot for us (but not impossible.) But, just like we became debt free, I feel like the details and strategy will come as long as we make the commitment to do this early retirement thing for hubby. You know the old adage: Where there’s a will there’s a way.
I am putting it out there for accountability sake as well: Our goal is to have hubby retire permanently from full time work by 2017. How on earth will this happen? We are still working on the details, but the hardest part is settled: the choice to do it!
In the coming weeks, I am going to start talking about my findings as I research this possibility out. I am also hoping to talk about goals, progress, etc. around our early retirement.
Are we nuts or what?
If you want to get out of debt and leave the rat race, get a copy of my free eBook , Get Out of Debt Now below: