100 Days To Freedom

In 100 days, I’ll be embracing something I haven’t experienced since I was 4 years old.

Freedom.

In September of my 4th year, in a small town in Southern Michigan,  I attended my first half-day sessions in a Pre-K program run by the college.  My life hasn’t been the same since.

In the 50 years since that day, I’ve had people telling me what to do with the majority of my time.  For the sake of moving ahead and being “successful” in life, I’ve mostly obeyed.

For example, when I was…

  • …Age 5, I paid attention to Mrs. Knott, my kindergarten teacher, as she taught me the alphabet.
  • …Age 11, I obediently changing classes every hour along with “the big kids” in Davis Middle School
  • …Age 14, I felt the burn when my gym teacher whacked me with that hockey stick for goofing off.
  • …Age 18, I studied diligently in the college library to earn the required “good grades” to get the “good job”.
  • …Age 22, I dutifully began my career and commuted every morning for the next 33 years.
  • …Age 46, I relocated my family for the 9th time in my career at the request of my employer.
  • …Age 50, I hit the 1 Million Mile mark with Delta Airlines, all accrued on required business travel.
  • …Age 52, I signed a lease on a City Apartment so I could be at work every day after moving to the mountains.
  • Last Week, I set my alarm for 4:00 am to make it to a 7:30 Monday morning meeting (who DOES that?)

It’s been a long run.

I’ve missed countless birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Days.  My wife has dealt with dozens of issues on her own when I desperately wanted to be there to help.  My daughter has had her “time in the spotlight”, without her Dad in the crowd.  We’ve moved every couple of years, disrupting our social networks and stability in our lives.

I’ve loved our life, and I sincerely consider ourselves truly Blessed.

However…

….We’ve always had limitations on our Freedom.  We’ve been dependent on an income, and we’ve followed obediently.

Blessed perhaps, but certainly not Free.

In 100 Days, that all comes to an end.

In 100 Days, my life is going to change, in a radical and wonderful way.

A Life Of Freedom

On June 9th, 2018 my wife and I will begin a new life of Financial Freedom.  For the first time in 50 years, our lives will no longer be dictated by the wants and wishes of others, obediently followed in pursuit of the dollars which our lives need to function.  A bit like blood through the veins of our lives.  We must have money to survive.

Until we don’t.

In 100 Days, we won’t.  We’ll cross that hurdle of needing to earn money, and we’ll become Financially Free.  Free to pursue whatever it is that we choose to pursue, with money no longer a factor in the decision.

Liberating, Right?

In 100 Days, We'll Be Free To Pursue Whatever We Choose For The First Time in 50 Years. Click To Tweet

The Power Of Financial Freedom.

What Will Financial Freedom Look Like?

I don’t really know what to expect on June 9th.  But I do strongly suspect that I’ll never again have to make a decision based on the need for income.   The Freedom that comes from Financial Independence is life changing, and in 100 Days my wife and I are going to experience that change firsthand.  We’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this change for the past few years.

It’s a big one, and we want to be prepared.

In 100 Days We'll Have Freedom. How We Use That Freedom Is Up To Us. Click To Tweet

Editorial Comment:  When I wrote the first draft of this post, it was right here that I started down a serendipitous path with a new thought.  I’ve decided to defer, and have provided that thought a Part 2 standalone post next week, titled “The Ten Commandments Of Retirement”. It builds on the thoughts in today’s post. Combined, these two posts comprise a 2-part miniseries on what we’re thinking as we approach our final 100 Days.  Watch for it Part 2 next Tuesday!

Given that, I’ve decided this post ends well right here.

It’s time to wrap things up. 

Conclusion:  The Future

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the attitude that I want to take as I start the next phase of my journey. I recognize that achieving Early Retirement Freedom is a hard-earned gift, and I intend to enjoy it fully, with an Attitude Of Gratitude. I’ve developed a personal guideline I’ll be publishing next week (a Part 2 to this post, if you will) titled “The Ten Commandments Of Retirement”.  Combined, the two posts comprise our thinking as we go through the final 100 days to Financial Freedom.

It’s been 50 years, and it’s time to change things up.

My wife and I are looking forward to it.

I’m realistic enough to know that retirement will be nothing like I envision.   From the many friends I’ve spoken to, I’ve come to learn that reality often differs from that which we have imagined. Like my friend Steve over at ThinkSaveRetire, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of surprises in retirement That’s ok, we’re going to maintain an Attitude Of Gratitude, and we’re going to go with the flow.

I’m good with that.

Besides, I like surprises.

Especially when I’m Free.

 

 

60 comments

  1. Really psyched for you Fritz. Yesterday I listened to your episode from Oct ’16 on the Retirement Journeys Podcast and it was really good. You had excitement in your voice even then so you must be stoked now.

    I’m finding that even semi-retirement is full of surprises. All these open days (like today) are glorious, but sometimes I have less than optimal days and learn something about myself. Always a journey!

    1. I’m having a blast writing Part 2. Spent a few hours on it last night. Exciting times! Ok, back to work, Boss! (Hope he doesn’t check the time stamp on this reply and realize I sent it from work!! Let’s just say I’m working on my blog during a late lunch, k?)

  2. You never cease to amaze me. Your gym teacher and the hockey stick? I never knew about that one. Attitude of Gratitude. Well said.

    1. Hey Sis!! Do you remember Mr. Covey, the gym teacher? He was well known for keeping a “street hockey stick” (those red plastic ones we used to use in gym) with the “hockey part” cut off. He’d whack us across the back of our thighs when we were getting out of the shower. Man, that hurt! Not sure I have an Attitude Of Gratitude toward that memory! My how times have changed, right?

  3. Be careful what you wish for. There is a reason why this is a “ reasoned and seasoned” adage. After the fantasies pass, boredom does set in. We chose NOT to live in the Greater Blue Ridge Area ( BR, Tellico, Dahlonega etc) because of the dearth of excellent hospitals ( other than a 40 minute ambulance ride) or excellent colleges and universities for courses or excellent guest speakers and the desire for different and greater choices of restaurants than those in the area. Love BBQ but not from the same place (although it is REALLY good BBQ). Would like greater “ethnic” choices rather then having to drive back toward Atlanta.
    I am NOT being a snob here, because I/we are not. We don’t have the money for one.
    But loved the area, the people, the quaint shops etcetc. However, it is a long trek to get anything done, or for that matter for people to come and visit you.
    As you age you will discover what I mean.
    In the meantime dream on! Have a GreatRetirement! Be blessed with great health for you and yours! Eat well! Travel well! Rest well! Be safe in your daily and weekly activities.
    Please continue TheRetirementManifesto!! Wonderful read and always thought provoking!

    1. Great comments, Jack, and I highly value advice from “those who have gone before”. For now, we love the Blue Ridge area. If we get tired of it, or need better health care as we age, etc., we’ll stay flexible! We’ll keep you posted (Yes, I do plan on continuing the blog post-retirement, though I may move away from the rigid weekly schedule. We’ll see….)

  4. I share the excitement, being so close also. Talk later tonight about all the good stuff we have in common!!!

    And I fully agree with all the surprises (good, bad, mixed) to unfold. Pre-retirement or post-retirement, the sun will rise and the sun will set. Clouds will gather, clouds will dissipate. Just another day, we are only wearing a different badge. I’ve learned over the years to carefully watch out for the euphoric highs and the painful lows, but that is just how I am wired, I think.

    Loud cheers to closing out your work-life successfully and transitioning smoothly into the next chapter, whatever it may bring.

    1. I’m really looking forward to our Skype tonight, Mr. PIE! We’re on similar tracks (though I’m still angry that you’re going to beat me to the starting line!).

      You’re absolutely right about “avoiding the euphoric highs and painful lows. I know in my heart that June 9th will be just another day. But different.

      (BTW, you might like the post “Retirement: Day 1” I wrote about The Groovies first day of retirement – it follows your theme of the rising sun). Talk soon!

  5. You hit the million mile mark! Wow, that is a completely different way to become a “millionaire”, or should I say Million Air? I am very excited for you and I look forward to seeing what ideas, changes and discoveries you make as you head to the other side.

    It’s funny about your ten commandments. On our first backpacking trip, we did a list of things we THOUGHT would be true and later a list of what REALLY was our experience. I encourage you to write about those ten commandments after you’ve experienced some time in retirement and see if they have changed.

  6. Yes, yes, yes 100 days!! No more triple digits from here on out. This is so exciting and quite honestly it is awesome to get to hear about your journey as it unfolds. And not only are you 100 days away from your last day at work, you are 106 days away from your first real WOW!!

    1. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about.

      BTW, we did a “test run” with the new waffle iron this past weekend! Jackie makes a KILLER blueberry sauce. We’re holding off on the whip cream until the real celebration! Hmmm….we may have to consider making Waffles On Wednesdays a tradition in our cabin and RV!

  7. The final countdown! I’m so excited for you, Fritz!

    One thing we didn’t expect is that time moves more quickly in retirement. But it makes sense. When your time is your own and you wake up excited, the days just fly by. When you’re tied to a job, each day can feel as if you’re rowing a boat through mud.

    I know you’re concentrating on being “younger next year” but we’re finding it important to keep our age in mind on this side of 50. We’re thinking about which adventures and trips we should get under our belt in the next ten years, before we might no longer feel up to them (or even find them appealing).

  8. Really excited for you and Jackie, Fritz! I know you’ll enjoy each and every one of these next 100 days and beyond. So looking forward to what’s ahead. I hope it indeed is full of wonderful surprises. Wishing you the best!

  9. Fritz – Thank you for your efforts, I enjoy reading your journey. You’ll retire voluntarily at 55, yet you can still access your 401K and IRAs without penalty?? I know if folks are laid off between 55 and 59, they can access their Retirement Accounts without penalty? I’m confused as to the voluntary retirement versus the forced retirement at 55.

  10. So happy for you, Fritz.
    My husband and I are right behind you at about 125 days for him!
    Are there any last minute items on your to-do list? How are you handling your vehicles? I would like for husband to upgrade his ride in the next couple of months. He says just planning for the expenditure within the next couple of years is fine. I see that but have this feeling of wanting “all ducks in a row.”
    Thanks!

    1. Congrats, Cyn!! I actually built a timeline when we were a year out. We sold my “commuter car” (a 2010 Nissan) in November and bought the truck we’re going to use for camping. We bought our camper (a 5th wheel) last month. Last week, I bought a laptop to replace the work laptop I’ll be losing. This week, our kitchen remodeling project starts. Busy times, and all part of the plan.

      I’ve had some retired friends recommend that we buy what we’re going to need while we’re still working. It’s hard to spend the $$ after the income stops, so we’re doing all of the big ticket items now. They’ve all been built into a cash flow model to insure we’re spending within a budget. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when you read this to your husband! (btw, his plan is ok, if you don’t NEED to replace your vehicle, there’s no reason to do it just because retirement is looming. Just make sure you have a plan for when you want to buy the next vehicle, and have the cash in Bucket 1).

  11. This is such an exciting part of the journey. The finish line is almost there, I bet you can taste it. 🙂
    I’m looking forward to reading more soon. It’ll be awesome.

  12. I’m so excited for you!! I’ve been retired just a month short of 2 years now. (At 49 years old) Time does seem to go faster for sure. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already. You are gonna love it. I can’t explain how wonderful it is to do what you want when you want. As usual I look forward to your posts and I did take the retirement survey you are working on.

  13. You’ll ever really know until you do it. I’m sure my eventual retirement will be a lot like my decade living in prison: Time is everywhere. The best part about so much time, is having all the time in the world to find what makes you the happiest, and then doing that over and over again, and finding deeper truths within yourself to pursue. That’s the life I look forward to when I am retired (again), the life I had in prison, but now I’ll be able to go anywhere in the world, and do anything I want to, at any time. You’ll have a blast. I watched my Dad, who is Mr. Structure, fall in love with his totally unstructured retirement life and hasn’t missed a second of work in his last 13 years out of his job.

      1. I’ve done alot of thinking on this. I am sure the surplus amount of “time” aspects are the same between prison and retirement, and also the aspect, that you get to choose what you will create with all that time. Will you create a mindset that leads to emptiness, depression, and loneliness? Or will you create a mindset that leads to exploration, discovery, and enjoyment? I’m 99.9% sure that how you structure your mind during these periods of surplus time, will determine your experience in it. Create a healthy mindset, and you’ll experience a fun, healthy reality . But create an unhealthy mindset, and you will experience a negative, unhealthy reality. But those are just my thoughts, from my uncommon experience in life.

  14. Fritz,
    100 days – the finish line is in sight !

    I’m not far behind – 180 days… I have really enjoyed all your articles about leading up to retirement , and look forward to the 10 Commandments + your experiences in the first days of retirement. I can totally relate to your articles – keep them coming !

  15. I remember very well 2013 and the change in my life. It was such an unusual thrill to wake up and realize that every day I could do whatever I wished to do. No weekdays anymore: all days were weekend days. No more commutes. NO MORE MEETINGS!

    By now, in my fifth year of freedom, I may take freedom for granted. Your post has helped me remember how precious it is.

  16. That’s fantastic.
    Be sure to take a lot of unscheduled time in the first couple months to clear your head, clear your schedule, and detox. I’m going through that now that I downshifted to part-time. I didn’t realize how much I had missed or neglected until now. Life was toxic and I just grinned and bore it because I thought I had to. After that “transition phase,” you can begin to look forward to your new life ahead. How exciting!

  17. Because I have sworn eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the minds of men, tears welled up in my eyes as I read this post. You’re an American hero, my friend, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your rebirth of freedom. Cheers to you and cusses to the wretched yoke that has only 100 more days in its miserable life.

  18. And down the stretch they come! I have 36 days left (but who’s counting) myself when I retire at 61. I too while be moving from corporate Road Warrior and I plan on becoming a Road Hog while my wife and I see the USA in our Chevrolet. I can imagine us now cruising down the highway blissfully oblivious to the fact that our turn signal has been on for 15 miles and people are making various hand gestures at us while they blow by. It is a great feeling and I enjoy your reading our post and all the comments-best of luck and let’s see how it goes but I’m thinking seeing real farms is going to be better than the cube farm!

  19. Congratulations Fritz!
    I doubt you will be bored. But FIRE boredom is deliciously luxurious boredom to be savored!

  20. Congrats Fritz! So excited for you. You’re heading into retirement with the right mindset and I have no doubt you and your wife will live it to the fullest. You’ve earned it!

  21. I don’t know what the future holds either, but I told someone the other day that at 60 I don’t plan to have a 9-5 any more. Sooner would be better, but it was about having a idea of what life is like 25ish years in the future and I know that much.
    You and your peers in this FIRE realm are an inspiration and I look forward to hearing about your journeys and learning from them.
    Less than 100 days! Keep up the great work Fritz!

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