I knew things were off the rails when Mrs. SSC said, “I wouldn’t say we’re back to square one, but…” Yep, we’ve been having lots of “those types” of discussions. I think it’s a confluence of a few things really.
- The stark reality that when we start building this house, our Lifestyle Change plan is set in motion. Eeeepp!!! That adds a WHOLE lot of gravity to the situation.
- What the F are going to do about healthcare and how much is it going to cost us? Depending on the yet unknown cost, we could be way under on our FI number, and need to juggle stuff, find work with insurance, or a side gig that could cover that unexpected cost over what we’re planning for now.
- We both turn 40 this year, yipe!! The weight of that milestone (mid-life crises anyone) along with beginning the last leg of our FFLC (Fully Funded Lifestyle Change) journey has us asking a lot of questions. What will our ikigai be in “retirement”? We don’t want to “retire” just to wither away and die early. Do we want to be snowbirds and go live in New England or some other allegedly cooler destination over the hot summer? How does our budget work for that? Do we want to take a “gap year” between leaving the workforce and entering our Lifestyle Change/Early Retirement? Hahaha, a gap year before retirement – what a hilarious thought!
- What do we want out of life? See point 3 for why we’re asking ourselves this question a lot more often than we used to. Will we be satisfied with living in Canyon Lake, or anywhere for that matter. In researching for the ikigai post, I discovered that people that had an ikigai (reason to live something driving them to get up every morning, but not necessarily a job) outlived those that didn’t. So, what in our life are we passionate about that will give us that satisfaction. After a summer of being a full time stay at home mom, I think Mrs. SSC is ready to deem it “really hard, and not quite as rewarding as you may think.” I haven’t gotten that opportunity yet, but it is my fear that my current job is WAY easier than becoming the “default parent” once I leave the corporate world.
Those are all the things that have been on our mind lately, and here’s what we’ve discovered.
While on vacation we got to meet up with Jillian, a.k.a. Ms. Montana from Montana Money Adventures. That was pretty awesome getting to meet another blogger in real life, but the 2 hrs that we got to hang out seemed like it went by too quickly. It brought a nice dose of reality from what post work life could be like. She’s been on a mini-retirement/work sabbatical for about 18 months now and has been as busy as ever. Jillian was talking about how she has to prioritize what she wants to work on and what she wants out of her mini-retirement because there is time to do anything she wants, just not time to do everything she wants. Even though we don’t have that amount of free time yet, just planning to get to the point of having that free time available can get pretty bananas pretty quickly.
Do we want to travel? Do we want to live abroad for a year? Maybe we could just be nomads and bounce around the US for 3-4 months at a time in a different part of the country. So many options, so little time to pursue them all.
Our priority is family, but guess what, they’re mobile and can go anywhere we take them. Talk about a heavy responsibility. Do we want to be nomads and they grow up Army Brat style without fellow Army Brats to commiserate with?
Texas being Teaxs and our new – alleged – home base being located in Canyon Lake, we’re still smack dab in the Gulf Coast climate. We decided a nice compromise would be “reverse snowbirds” and instead of living in the North and heading South for the winter, we’ll head North for the Summer. Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, etc… are amazing – 3-4 months of the year which would work perfectly for us.
This lets us prioritize family by keeping the kids in a stable home base and group of friends and we can still travel just longer term slow travel style. We can test drive living in other parts of the country and not deal with blizzards or shoveling any precipitation off of anything.
Finding Our Ikigai
So, here’s the biggie… What are we going to “retire to”? Yep, that’s the biggest question on our minds. Are we going to enter another social desert like Houston? Based on Mrs. SSC’s Facebook group research out at Canyon Lake, no is the short answer. Our neighborhood has monthly get togethers at the pool, so we can start there. School can be another social outlet getting involved there as well, but who knows how that will work out. We’ve got ideas for other things, like my desire to get involved with the Guadalupe Chapter of Trout Unlimited since I won’t be 3 hrs away anymore, but ultimately, we don’t even know what opportunities will make themselves present until we get there. I’m confident we can both find something to get involved in that will be satisfying, but it’s a real concern not having that lined up prior to getting out there.
What if we try and fail? What if we suck at socializing and creating a social circle? So many what ifs, so many what ifs… Like everything else related to planning for FIRE or your own Lifestyle Change, it’s all assumptions and managing risk associated with those assumptions. Once you’re comfortable with the risk level for any decision associated with your own FIRE/FFLC plan then you’re set. Maybe we haven’t hit our comfort level with our ikigai yet.
Well, the bold font heading says it all; it’s all unknown. We can boost our expected spending on healthcare to $10k, or $15k or even $20k per year and see how that affects the budget, drawdown plan, and depletion rate of our investments, and reshape our plan accordingly. Much like Social Security, I’m just about done counting on any version of government subsidized healthcare and am ready to say F it and assume the responsibility to take care of me and my family and not have to depend on the government.
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
We’ll reveal more later how that affects our overall number and timing, but that’s our plan going forward. On the plus side, if those monkeys in Washington can figure out something that works and is affordable, we’ll be that much more ahead.
So that’s what the conversations have been like around the SSC household the last month. Pretty heavy stuff, but really just variations on the same theme the last few years. They’re just getting more serious because the date is getting so close. It’s kind of terrifying in some ways rather than what I pictured. Below is what I thought the last leg of our FFLC journey would feel like.
Instead it’s something entirely different.
Do you get into these mind traps? What do you do to resolve them? Have you hit 40 or gone through a mid-life crisis of sorts? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!