We just completed The Final Step In Moving From Good To Great, with only 42 days to spare.
13 months ago, I began writing this “Good To Great” series with How To Move Your Retirement From Good To Great. That post has proven to be popular, with over 16,000 people reading it to date (I pause, and realize that’s 2X the population of the small Michigan town I grew up in. Isn’t the internet amazing?).
That first post in the series explained our decision to downsize twice in 13 months in our attempt at moving to Great for retirement. This series has followed our progress moving from Good To Great, with our goal being to complete the transition from our “Good” to our “Great” Retirement Cabin in the North Georgia mountains before my retirement date in June 2018. Our great retirement cabin is pictured above.We Made Our Goal Of Moving From Good To Great, With 42 Days To Spare. Click To Tweet
The entire Good To Great series is below.
- How To Move From Good To Great. An overview of our decision to downsize twice in 13 months!
- How To Move Your Retirement From Good To Great In 7 Days: The story of our relocation to the Great cabin.
- When A Home Sale Explodes: The day the sale of our Good Cabin imploded.
- Why Settle For A Good Retirement, When You Can Go For A Great One? Guest post on Financial Samurai
- Why We’re Taking On Debt To Move From Good To Great: Why we’re taking on debt for our “Great” cabin.
- The Final Step In Moving From Good To Great: Our move to Great is completed. We just made The Final Step.
The Final Step In Moving From Good To Great
In today’s Part 6 of the saga of Good To Great, we officially announce the completion of our move in “The Final Step In Moving From Good To Great”.
It’s been a Great year. We took on a tough Challenge, and…
…We Achieved The Goal.
The culmination of our moving from Good To Great may come as something which you would interpret as materialist at first glance, but I urge you to look beyond that and see something much bigger:
The Culmination Of A Dream
A Dream represented, in this case, by the remodeling of a kitchen.
The Kitchen Remodeling Project
For over 30 years of a great marriage, my wife has dreamed of doing a kitchen remodeling project. Given the transitory nature of my career, we could never justify the investment in the various homes we’ve owned along the way (10 homes, at last count, with an average stay of 3.2 years.).
After just a few short years in a house, we would inevitably Obey The Man when he asked us to take the next Corporate Relocation to a city far away. We did what we had to do, in the pursuit of the almighty dollar which is required, like blood, to flow through the veins of our lives. Until it’s not.
Financial Independence changes a lot of things.
My wife has been unable to realize her dream for three decades.
She recently achieved her dream of designing the perfect kitchen for our Great Cabin. The remodeling was completed 42 days before my retirement. Yes, it may sound materialistic, but I assure you it’s not. A kitchen is an important room in the house, especially for spouses who love to cook. It’s reasonable to dream of building a space which matters to you. A space with your fingerprint, a space with your style. A kitchen to match your dreams.
A Kitchen That’s Not Just Good, But Great.
We’ve decided to use the successful conclusion of The Kitchen Remodeling Project as a milestone to mark “Complete” our retirement transition from Good To Great. We’re Checking The Box. We always knew we were going to do the kitchen project, and felt our move to Great wasn’t complete until the kitchen was done.
The Kitchen Is Now Done. The Dream Is Complete.The Dream Is Realized. We've Finished The Move From Good To Great. Click To Tweet
Other Moves We’ve Made From Good To Great
In the 6 months since our last post in this series, we’ve intentionally targeted other areas of our lives in moving from Good To Great. Summarized, we…
- …joined a health club in our mountain community, and are working out regularly.
- …bought a truck (F250) and 5th wheel (Reflection) for our retirement travel adventures. (future post planned).
- …had our first camping trip, to a nearby State Park. With all 4 of our dogs.
- …started taking free classes at our local gym (I’ve fallen in love with Spinning).
- …become “regulars” at our local church.
- …bought a used Mountain Bike and started playing around with riding in the nearby mountains.
- …rescued dogs every Saturday with a local dog rescue.
- …found new Passions, new things to pursue as a Purpose. My wife, pottery. Me, mountain biking.
- …volunteered more, with my wife now also volunteering at our local Animal Control, gotta love those dogs.
- …booked a 3-week trip cross-country via Amtrack in August to visit our daughter.
- …made new friends.
And Most Importantly, We Achieved Early Retirement (ok, not until June 8th, but you get my point)
Look more closely at those moves, and you’ll notice an intentional mix of “Hard” ($, truck) and “Soft” (Purpose,) moves. Put it all together, and I think it’s fair to conclude that we’ve completed our initial move from Good To Great.
The Plan Has Come Together, and we’re now experimenting with new activities in preparation for our June retirement. I’m even finding a bit more time to fish. (BTW, I can’t wait for retirement, and more free time to enjoy the many outdoor activities in the beautiful mountain region we now call home.)
For these and other reasons, we feel we’ve completed The Final Step in our move from Good To Great for retirement. We’ve achieved a major goal, and it’s time to celebrate. Sure, there will other goals in our future, but it’s important to stop, reflect, and celebrate when you achieve major goals along The Journey Of Life.
So today, we celebrate.Our move to Great is completed. We just finished The Final Step, with 42 days to spare. Click To Tweet
On the day our kitchen remodeling was complete, our Retirement Countdown calendar hit 42 days.
We Made It To Great – With 42 Days To Spare
We’d always planned to complete all of our “Major” expenditures before we hit our retirement date of June 8, 2018. We’d been given advice by “those who have gone before us“ that it’s wise to get all of the “Big Ticket Items” cleared before your retirement date. In reality, it’s often hard to shift from being a lifelong “Saver” to a “Spender”, even when backed by an Intentional Plan To Achieve A Great Retirement. We made a plan, and we executed. We decided what moving from Good To Great meant to us, and we took the steps necessary to get there. Yep, we spent some money. But that’s ok, it was all part of the plan.
Once you retire and that paycheck stops flowing, my friends who’ve retired have told me that we won’t feel like spending much money in the first few years of retirement. I’ve started a draft of a future post on the subject. Also (double secret) I’ll be making a big announcement on a collaboration I’m working on regarding a case study of our transition into retirement. I’ll be going to Nashville for this one, and I’m excited about it. More details in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Bottom Line: We put a lot of effort into determining what Great looked like to us. We developed a plan to move from Good To Great, we budgeted for it, and we put together a detailed spending plan via our retirement cash flow model. We knew what we could afford to do.
So, We Did It.
Sure, we spent some money. But…
…We Moved From Good To Great.
Good To Great Doesn’t Take Money
While part of our move from Good To Great included some significant financial outlays, the more important point is that the “Good To Great” philosophy is NOT about material possessions. It’s about designing your life to be the life you want it to be, and then going about getting it done.
The “kitchen remodel” may sound a bit hypocritical in a personal finance blog about early retirement, but our focus was the Achievement Of The Dream, within the guidelines of the money we could afford to spend. We were free to create our vision for what a “Great” Retirement looked like, within the guardrails of our retirement cash flow. As long as we knew we could afford it, we were free to choose, with other criteria becoming more important than the money involved.
Note, however, that our safe withdrawal rate will be below 3%. That’s not the case for a lot of folks.
And that’s ok.
Moving to Great means being intentional in deciding what you want your life to be within your pre-determined spending limits, and then taking the steps to get there. If you want to “Go Lean” and retire young, go for it. If you prefer to work a bit longer, and Great means a later retirement for you, give yourself a gold star. I suffered through the One More Year Syndrome and didn’t retire until Age 55. Now, that tradeoff is providing payback, and we were able to remodel our kitchen. We could have retired earlier, but we wouldn’t have had the Financial Flexibility that we’ll now have for the rest of our lives. That was a tradeoff we were willing to make.The Definition of Great Is Personal. Live Your Own Great. Click To Tweet
Sidebar: The Relocation Of The World HQ Of The Retirement Manifesto
Back in May 2017, I sent the following tweet, which was the official announcement of our move into the Great Cabin. It was the first public picture of my new World HQ Office in the upstairs loft of our Great cabin:
It’s been a year since I hit “send” on that Tweet, and it’s now time to call this, officially, the new World HQ of The Retirement Manifesto.
For the past two years, I’ve been writing the majority of my posts while Alone in my City Apartment. In less than a month that all changes. The apartment lease expires on May 31st, and I couldn’t be happier about it. From this point forward, most of the posts you’ll be reading from me will be created in our new Great cabin headquarters (and, perhaps, from an occasional coffee shop along the road as our travel increases).
I can’t tell you how exciting it is to write those words. I’m Going Home.
We’ve Completed The Move From Good To Great.
The Final, Final Step In Moving To Great
This past weekend my wife and I were driving down our gravel road, less than a mile from our Great Cabin. Ironically, we were talking about how we’d just completed our move from Good To Great. Suddenly, we saw a whole flock of smaller birds swarming a huge hawk. We slowed down to look.
We stopped and got out of the car.
“That’s An Eagle!! We both shouted at the same time. We stood in awe and watched as he swooped down and picked up something along the side of the road in his powerful talons.
We have an Eagle that lives by our Great Cabin, near the banks of the trout-filled Toccoa River!
How Great is that?
Don’t Settle For Good.
Go For Great.
Like An Eagle.