Early Retirement? Start here!

sunrise photo

NOW what the heck am I doing? To be honest, I’m not really sure. Part of me thinks that writing could be a healthy outlet now that I’ve made this huge change, and early retirement is a topic of interest to many people! We will have to see if I keep this up! In the moment this is an experiment and one for which I am thankful and also humbled to have you on this journey with me.

Let’s play catch up: about six weeks ago I left a successful, exciting, and fulfilling 23-year career in biotech to “do something on my own”, outside the corporate world. To date, I have rarely called this transition early retirement, and even then only to those closest to me. Why? I suppose primarily because it’s an odd word to me, and even more so for a 47 year-old in 2020 to use. Most of the world does not really know about the concept of FIRE (financial independence / retire early), even among my friends and family. If you need a quick intro to FIRE, this book (and accompanying documentary!) is a solid introduction! [I’ve since written a post on how to determine when you can retire!] Second, I know I will “do something else” following said career – retirement doesn’t mean air-whittling or sitting idly on a park bench for me. And third, historically it has made me uncomfortable to use “the R word” with most people – either because I don’t want to face the questions that necessarily follow, or made to feel guilty, etc. I don’t really like to talk about the last bit and perhaps I will address this important topic later. For now let’s just say I have left the only career I’ve known with no plans to return to it.

Four weeks ago my family moved from the San Francisco Bay Area, south to the Central Coast region of California. We’ve known for around four years that mid-2020 would likely be the opportunity for me to bow out of the corporate world, and that meant we had to exit the insanely expensive housing market of the Bay Area. The search for our next town of residence is perhaps a subject to cover in a future post. For now, suffice it to say that we found a wonderful house to purchase. The past month has therefore been largely spent unpacking, making small repairs and improvements, and settling in to a new town. Did I mention COVID-19 is still a thing? Of course it is, which has necessarily added some speed bumps and odd turns at times in our home purchase and subsequent activities. This is again perhaps a topic for another time, since at present we are all living this and need no further reminder.

Before closing let me get a few things out: I feel very, very fortunate to be in the position I find myself. Success in the workplace is never assured and it requires many things to fall in to place – a topic which I’ve given much thought and will assuredly write about soon (Done! Find the series here). And success at work does not in itself lead to early retirement necessarily. That said, my chosen path, some careful planning, hard work, and a healthy dose of good luck has led me to this point. I am grateful to all of those who helped me get here, from whom I learned much along the way, and who supported me over the 47 years I have been alive. It is a privilege to be able to make the decision I’ve made, and I don’t take that for granted. I am thankful most of all to my family who has always been there for me and rarely complained – even when I was traveling often, working long hours, and not being sufficiently present. I am so appreciative of the support I have had, which has clearly enabled this next phase of my life. Here’s to what comes next!

PS – Yes, I noticed how many topics about which I potentially committed to writing posts in the future! I have so many post ideas though, and even thought I might not launch this until I’d written gotten a few in the bag. But then I figured let’s pull off the bandage now, without further ado!

photo credit: “sunrise @ komodo island” by j3ffm4n is licensed under CC BY 2.0