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“Our Next Life” Series – The SSC’s

We’re continuing the “Our Next Life Challenge” put out there by one of our favorite bloggers, our next life. The following is our take on it, and even a picture of us!

Mrs. SSC

Mrs. SSC



As you may have been following, we recently went through a drawn-out lay-off situation with Mrs. SSC. It was a blessing in disguise really, because while she didn’t get laid off, it really forced us to examine what would happen if she were let go. The short answer, is that our quality of life would most likely improve and we would end up a little better because of it. Schedules would get less hectic, we could focus more on family time, have more freedom, and less stress to get to better enjoy our downtime.

In short, that’s what we are looking for with “our next life”, is a more relaxed, less hurried pace of life that will allow us more time to spend with the kids and ourselves.

We’ve come to the realization that we aren’t seeking the typical Financial Independence Early Retirement (FIRE) situation, but rather a Fully Funded Lifestyle Change (FFLC). We feel it’s a distinction for us because Mrs. SSC really wants to teach, and while I would be happy not to work, if I came across a small Oil & Gas company, I’d definitely hit them up for some consulting and part time work. So, while we’re aiming for the FI part, we don’t really see it as early retirement, because we plan to be fairly busy with other projects, we just won’t have to depend on any income they may/may not provide. We see it as having the opportunity to pursue what we are passionate about – regardless of the paycheck, and to always have the freedom to put our family first.


Currently, we live in the great metropolis of Houston. While we love our neighborhood and immediate area, we would not want to retire here because we need four seasons, mountains to hike, and a smaller town that has a community feel to it. We’re currently looking at the Roanoke, VA area because it has a lot of amenities and a lot of small communities around it, while being nestled into the Appalachian Mountains. We haven’t ruled out North Carolina, or Eastern Tennessee, however the greater Roanoke area is close to some good colleges and universities that could fit Mrs. SSC’s teaching goal quite well. But, that could all change if she gets an offer to teach somewhere else that we hadn’t thought of yet.


We’re looking at no earlier than Mid-year 2017. Unless we win the lottery, but I doubt the occasional $1-$2 ticket is going to make that happen, and yes, we will occasionally buy a lottery ticket. GASP!! Since we’re not counting on winning that, our financial models have us looking at 2017 for a few reasons. Mainly, I get fully vested with my company “retirement” plan then. It’s their version of a pension, so I’m not going to leave that on the table. I also have a golden handcuff bonus that hits mid-summer 2017, so I’m not leaving that either. Most likely it will be 2018, but if Mrs. SSC gets a good teaching job before then, and we can live off of that income, let our investments grow more, then we may pull the trigger on our Lifestyle Change in 2017.

What will we do:

We have no worries that our time will get filled up with activities. Beyond getting to have more home cooked from scratch style meals, just having free time to hang out with the kids will be awesome.

Mr. SSC: I like to play the banjo and guitar, and will spend a lot more time playing music. I also want to finally spend more time learning the dobro. Gardening is another way I plan to spend my time. Exercise. Something else I have to force into my schedule now to keep off the “office lbs” but can do for fun when I have free time. Blogging. Yep, I’ll spend some more time keeping posts coming out and updating you guys with how we’re doing. Volunteer/Part time work. I don’t know which of these will happen, but between the kids sports/activities, our local community or possibly church, I plan on doing some work with a few of these to keep socially active. Fishing, how could I have forgotten fishing? I like kayaking and fishing and plan to spend a lot of the time on the water doing one or both. Woodworking. I want to build a wood strip canoe, and maybe a wood strip kayak as well, along with other projects as they come along.

Mrs. SSC: Teaching. She will most likely have a teaching gig of some sort to keep her occupied. Photography is another hobby of hers that she doesn’t get to spend as much time with as she would like. Painting is something she enjoys but hasn’t had the time to enjoy recently. Reading. She longs for the days she can be “that girl” sitting somewhere for a few hours with a book/kindle in hand without a care in the world.


We plan to travel during the summers or the kid’s school breaks. We want to take at least a month and road trip each summer across the US or maybe even Canada. We’ll just knock around camping and seeing the country. We also want to see a baseball game at every major park, and we can start knocking some more of those off of our list again. International travel is something we want to do, spending a few weeks or so in another country with the kids. I think it would be great cultural experience for everyone and a fun way to spend part of the summers. We’d like to live abroad at some point, but it will have to wait until Mrs. SSC’s parents are gone and the kids are out of the house. Camping and hiking whenever we have free time. With the Appalachians at our door, we are positioned well to be in the woods a lot.

I’m sure we will probably end up with a schedule where we will mix up time for kids, music, gardening, blogging, napping, exercise, and more once we get our rhythm established and get the pace of our lives turned down from 11 to a more respectable 3-4 level.

That’s what we see as “our next life”, at least as it is looking this month. It changes, but the overall goal is the same – more freedom, less stress, and enjoying life.

20 thoughts on ““Our Next Life” Series – The SSC’s

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      What can I say, Great minds think alike! I wish I could do more fishing now, but our oldest is starting to want to go more, and this weekend our youngest was asking to go, and she’s never gone before. Maybe I’ll have to take them out soon. The killer is our neighborhood lakes are full on filled with weeds at this point and the water is down almost a good foot or two making the walk-able fishing spot, not very fishable. Well, it’s super fishable, but horrible for catching. 🙂

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire

    Very cool, thanks for continuing the series! I think your plans sound awesome. It’s true that there is a very real difference between financial independence and early retirement, and one certainly doesn’t NEED to retire early just because they are financially independent. Looks like you guys are going to be traveling down that road in the very near future.

    I lived in Knoxville, TN for a while and have spent quite some time in the Smokey Mountains. My brother went to Virginia Tech, too, so I have some experience in that area of VA – it’s definitely a nice place to live if you like trees and rolling hills. Lots of hiking. Cool weather in the winter, but you aren’t looking at bitterly cold temps.

    I’m looking forward to follow your journey as you move closer and closer to your escape date. It’ll be here before you know it! I keep telling myself that, too. 🙂

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Themore we’ve talked about it, the more we realize we’re only half into the FI-RE equation, but I won’t mind saying “I’m retired” when that time comes. 🙂 You guys have some interesting plans as well and can’t wait to follow you and your full time explorers photography blog. Those are some sweet pics!
      We like that area of the East due to 4 seasons, topography, hiking, streams, etc… We’ll see, it could all change with a teaching job offer somewhere else.

  2. Our Next Life

    Love it! Thanks for adding your voices to the series. I love what a long list you guys have for activities you want to do — people who say, “Won’t you get bored?” are so clueless! There’s so much more to do in life than most people ever even think about. But you guys are thinking about it, and that’s awesome. Love seeing the ski pics, too! That’s our favorite way to “show” ourselves — love those layers and goggles! 🙂

    You know we love the mountains, too — don’t write off the west! There are lots of options that aren’t crazy expensive, especially if you’re willing to live *next to* the mountains, instead of in them. Salt Lake City is a vibrant town right next to the incredible Wasatch Range. Reno, NV, is affordable, and nestled up against the Sierras. We keep hearing how dirt cheap Wyoming is. Denver has a ton of options (and features Longmont, the suburb where MMM lives). Bend, OR, has the Three Sisters and is right by Mt. Bachelor… the list goes on!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      No problem, it was fun continuing the series! Boredom around here is a rare/extinct commodity. I saw those ski pics and told Mrs. SSC “Oh, we should put these up as a “Meet the SSC’s” sort of pic”, lol.
      Thanks for the suggestions on the western towns. We’ve actually looked into 3 Sisters, and other, similar locales near more expensive cities. If we get to CO, I wouldn’t want to do the Front Range as a first choice. I know of some other Longmont’ish towns around that we’ve investigated as well that could fit our needs. We do love to browse Zillow. A lot…
      Even better for finding those sorts of places is the “find my spot” website. You put in your preferences and bam! a list of 20 or so cities that fit that criteria. That’s how we’ve initially come across a lot of the places we have researched.

  3. Tawcan

    Very cool, I always enjoy reading more about fellow bloggers in the FIRE community. You guys should definitely make a trip to Canada. Western Canada offers a lot of good skiing (i.e. Whistler).

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      We plan to head up that way eventually. Hopefully we can catch up with you guys when we get there. It would be fun making a blogger road trip or just meeting up with fellow bloggers as we get near their home turf.

  4. Ditching The Grind

    This sounds like a perfect FFLC! We actually have a lot of similarities. Aside from Colorado, we’re also considering VA, NC, and TN. We visited those areas several times when we lived in Ohio.

    I’ve always loved the college atmosphere. Every time we stop in a new town, I want to pass through the local university. For a while, I thought I’d end up teaching at one of the service academies but it never quite worked out.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, we think so too! 🙂
      Colorado would be nice, it is just finding that right niche for us. Although if Mrs. SSC got an offer in Ft. Collins, I’d be allover it!

      College towns are nice in that there is usually, a nice vibrancy and feel to them. I grew up in one, so maybe I’m jaded, but it seems like there is almost always something going on.

  5. Jason

    I do have to say I love this. I want all of those things except we already have the teaching part. I think the big thing for us would be to potentially move back where we are from or even live abroad for a couple of years where I could maybe teach on a Fulbright. I have even toyed with the idea of giving up my tenured position so we could move back where we are from and/or live abroad. The only problem is giving up tenure which I worked hard to attain and finding something for my wife who also teaches. That and paying off debt keeps this next life off into the horizon for a few more years. But I can live vicariously through others.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, the teaching part sounds nice. It would be hard to give up tenure but if there are more benefits to outweigh it, you never know, it could be worth it. Sort of like us examining the reality of getting laid off. It actually sounded way better than the current schedule and lifestyle. 🙂

      Everyone has their own path, this is just our vision of ours. Yours sounds pretty nice too, especially if you could parlay that into an overseas gig. Like you, I can/will have to live vicariously through others until we hit our number, get a teaching offer, or both!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I think education would be rewarding, and I liked teaching. It’s all but destined for Mrs. SSC. I hope you get back to it once your debt is gone.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I find the more we talk about it and the Lifestyle Change the more honed in it gets. However, it also seems to change the more we talk about it as priorities get refocused and other things come to light when we dig deeper into the details. It’s still fun though.

  6. Fervent Finance

    Those are awesome plans! Nothing wrong with buying the occasional lottery ticket – I buy one every so often if the jackpot is nine figures 🙂 I definitely say come to the eastern time zone! That’s where all the cool people are. Roanoke sounds like a great area, with decent amenities and COL. Also eastern Tennessee would be perfect for all your musical hobbies!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      We like the eastern time zone, and look to get back to some topography, seasons, orchards, and all that. We currently have zillow saved searches for Roanoke area, NC, Johnson City general tri-city area, and still some out west. It’s fun getting the emails on the weekend to see what houses came on the market. Not that we could get one now but it’s fun window shopping.

  7. Prudence Debtfree

    Like other people who have commented, I’m struck by how similar your vision of FIRE (or FFLC – did you make that up?) is to mine. Learning the dobro (I had to Google that one) is not a typical vision – and it’s not mine – but I do find myself thinking I’d like to learn Latin. Why? I don’t know. But it will be great to make choices and not have to make sense of them. 2 years is not a long wait. I wonder if your anticipation will build as the time draws nearer – like a child’s for Christmas once December rolls around.

    1. Mr. SSC

      For a great sound of what I’d like to do with the dobro, YouTube jerry Douglas dobro. Wow… And as far as FFLC Yep, that’s ours as far as I can tell. While we may not retire we want a dang lifestyle change, and if we hit FI then we don’t need to RE right, but rather have a fully funded lifestyle change. We found that fit what we wanted better than the FIRE category. If I can find a gig wherever looking for oil or gas, I’m in, I love it! Its fun for me so why not do it if it can fit my lifestyle. If not, I have plenty of other things to do as mentioned above. Mrs. SSC is pretty set on teaching so there won’t be much retiring really just changing lifestyles. Win win right!

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