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.