Building A Dream

The moments in our life when we are actually building a dream are few and far between.

Fortunately, my wife and I just started building a new one.  

Today, I’ll share the dream we’re building.  These are exciting times and will culminate in the relocation of both The Retirement Manifesto’s World HQ and the base of operations for Freedom For Fido (my wife’s charity)!  Exciting times, indeed, and I’m pleased to be able to share our dream with you today.

We don't get too many chances in life to build a dream. Retirement is one of them. Don't waste the opportunity. Click To Tweet

Building A Dream

I can think of few better times in life for building a dream than retirement.  While far from being the only time in our lives to build a dream, retirement is a unique time in life.  A time you’ve worked so hard to achieve. A time to do what you want to do. A time to achieve your dreams.

Don’t miss the opportunity.

My wife and I just started building a new dream.  Literally. 

As you’ll see shortly, the dream we’re building is setting the stage for an even better life in retirement.  We’re building a dream based on our passions and purposes in retirement, and we’re going to enjoy the result for years to come.  We’ve spent hours thinking as we’ve been building a dream, and we’re building it exactly as we want it.  

If you haven’t started building a dream for your retirement, I hope our current dream inspires you.  Focus on what you want your life to be in retirement and take the steps you need to take to begin building a dream.  Dreams don’t happen on their own, it takes intentionality and planning to move from vision to reality.

Is there a better time than now to start building a dream?

What’s holding you back?

Why Now?

We’ve just celebrated our second anniversary of retirement, and we’ve learned what motivates us in retirement.  As our focus on Purpose becomes more clear, it’s become evident that building a dream to support these passions will provide benefits for years to come.  To fully achieve our dream retirement, it’s time to take some action.

It’s time for us to build a dream.

For background, it’s worth mentioning that we’re experiencing some “growing pains” as Freedom For Fido continues to expand (to see pics from all of our recent fence builds, check out the Freedom For Fido Facebook page).  We expect the growth will continue, and it’s time to prepare.  As the following two pictures demonstrate, we need more room to realize our dream:

FFF is outgrowing the guest bedroom
The front porch is far from an ideal workshop

It’s important to ensure that your dreams are built on the right foundation, and we’re confident that our passion for charity work and writing will continue throughout our retirement.  It’s time to take the steps required to let our retirement passion flourish for years to come and we’re excited about the dream we’re building.

The Name of Our Current Dream Project

So…it seems we should name this little dream, right?  I’ve struggled with that challenge and considered, but discarded, the following ideas before settling on the final name revealed below:

  • The Workshop of Passion:  Hmm…could be taken the wrong way.  Perhaps…
  • The Dream Workshop:  Hmm…sounds like a sleep therapy clinic.
  • The Workshop on Purpose: Sounds like a self-help conference.

The Purposeful Workshop?

I’m liking the sounds of that one.  I like it even better with an extra “l”, as in The Purpose Full Workshop.  Let’s go with that.  We’re building a dream to pursue the Purposes we’ve established in retirement, so Purpose Full just seems to fit.  It’s official.  The name is declared.  As it is written, so it is done.  The Purpose Full Workshop.

 Now that we have a name, it’s time to explain the dream we’re building.

We’ll start with the map of our retirement homestead, zooming in as we go.  Go ahead and browse, you’ll see those amazing woods where we hike with our dogs and the Toccoa River in our “back yard” wilderness (yes, we really do live in the “sticks”).  On the closer shot, you’ll see our RV parked in our circular drive.  You’ll also notice a mysterious red box…

Our retirement cabin in the woods…what’s with the red box?

The Purpose Full Workshop

That little red box represents an exciting new project at our retirement cabin.  In the coming weeks, a new 20′ x 30′ building will be occupying that space and our dream will be taking shape.  Below, I’ll share a few pictures of the progress thus far.  First, a drawing which explains the dream:

The Workshop Layout

The Purpose Full Workshop will be a 20′ x 30′ dual-purpose building, with a 20′ x 20′ woodworking shop and a 10′ x 15′ writing studio, where future posts on this blog will be written.  The woodworking shop will become the operational center for future Freedom For Fido projects, as well as a few woodworking projects I’d like to tackle on my own.   The writing studio will allow the world HQ of The Retirement Manifesto to relocate to a new sanctuary, opening up my existing office space in the cabin for FFF, allowing my wife to move out of the guest bedroom.  (Wow, a combination woodshop and writing studio?  Some would say it’s the ultimate man cave…)

If you look at the drawing, you’ll see a big 16′ door which will allow the woodworking shop to “open up” to the outside on nice days.  My new writing studio will have double french doors leading out to a deck, with large windows and plenty of natural light.

I’ve always loved natural light, and we’ve made it a major factor as we’ve designed our dream.

Watching The Dream Unfold

It’s been fun to watch our dream unfold these past few weeks.  After months of planning, it’s exciting to watch the dream starting to take shape. Since you couldn’t be here to watch, I took some pictures for you.  Enjoy as you witness the process of building a dream…

Clearing the site for The Purpose Full Workshop

Pouring the footers

Building the forms for the foundation

Pouring the pad of The Purpose Full Workshop

The dream begins to take shape

The dream starts becoming a reality

Inside the workshop, viewing The Writing Studio in the corner

The first piece of metal roofing goes up

The Future World HQ of The Retirement Manifesto

Log siding and a metal roof to match the cabin (part of the dream…)

The future entrance to The Retirement Manifesto World HQ

The Courage For Building A Dream

Building a dream takes courage, especially in early retirement.  It’s hard to spend money after years of aggressive saving.  As I mentioned in “It’s Time To Live Like No One Else”, you must be intentional to embrace “spending” in retirement.  Retirement is the time to enjoy the dividends of years of living a frugal life. Do the math first (of course), but if you have it to spend, now is the time to spend it.  We’ve done the math, and we know we can afford to build this dream.  So, we’re building it.  #NoRegrets

If you have a dream you’re considering, don’t let fear become the obstacle that prohibits the achievement of your dream.  Do your homework, think deeply about your motives, and run the numbers to ensure you don’t stretch beyond your capability.  Calculate the budget for building a dream, and proceed if:

  1. The benefits exceed the cost.
  2. The cost is within your means.
Building a dream takes courage. Don't let fear stop you from achieving your dreams. Develop a plan, then execute. Click To Tweet

Figure out what dreams you want to build in your life.  Refine to ensure you can accomplish the dream with the means you have available.   Take your time in the design stage, it’s the time in the process where anything is possible.  Enjoy the process of refining your dream, but don’t stop there.  Once you’ve established the limits of the dream, get on with it.  Execute the plan, pursue your dream.

The dream will only become a reality if you find the courage to execute. 

Your life will be better as a result.


I struggled a bit about whether or not I should write this post.  We’ve never been materialistic, and I was worried some readers may draw the wrong conclusion about our motives for building The Purpose Full Workshop.  I’ve always been transparent with you about our life in retirement, so I decided to tell the story of our latest dream.  I hope you benefit as a result.

To be clear, the point is NOT about what wonderful physical things we’re spending our hard-earned money on.  Our dream isn’t about the workshop, it’s about pursuing our Purpose in retirement.  It’s about taking steps to ensure our dreams can be fulfilled.  The workshop?  It’s only a means to an end.

The point is this:  Retirement is the ideal time for building a dream.  We’re building ours, and I encourage you to think about building yours.

Challenge yourself to dream.  Focus on developing your passions.  Many dreams can be achieved without spending money.  That said, recognize that investing in a few material things is fine, you’ve earned that right.  Ensure your motives are deeper, that your dream is built on a strong foundation.  If it takes an investment in a material object to achieve your dream, don’t let spending a bit of money be an obstacle.  

Once you’ve designed your dream, find the courage to execute.

Retirement is the time to live your dreams.  

If not now, when?

Your Turn:  Have you built any dreams in retirement?  Have you struggled with moving from being a “saver” to a “spender”?  How did you overcome it?  Let’s chat in the comments…


  1. I agree have dreams and desires is as important in retirement as in your early years, I think it is great that you had a vision and then took the steps to realize it. I liked how you mentioned it was your years of hard work and good decisions that put you in a position to be execute this dream. I really like the the look of the building.

    1. “I liked how you mentioned it was your years of hard work and good decisions that put you in a position to be execute this dream.”

      After years of delayed gratification, I’ve decided the waiting is over. Nothing wrong with that at this stage in life, right?

  2. Did you dream of ever having to use the bathroom while in the new space 🙂

    Couldn’t resist. You have trees nearby so it’s all good.

    1. Haha, you’re a perceptive one, Bob. Unfortunatley, our cabin’s septic is rated for the cabin only, so adding a bath would have meant a new septic system. I’ll guess I’ll have to walk the 30 yards back to our cabin in a “pinch”, in the event the trees won’t suffice for the specific need…. Cost vs. Benefit, right?

      1. You can always add one of those composting toilets that they show on the Tiny House shows. I understand why you wouldn’t want to add a new septic system but if you and your wife will be working in the Purpose Full cabin all yer, you might not want to sprint to the house in the rain and snow! Anyway, congratulations on a wonderful new adventure in retirement and for inspiring so many of us.

        1. I had the same thought – add a composting toilet. It can go in a corner of the wood working shop. Running to main house in inclement weather is a drag… I know, because I have a horse barn here on my property and have to dash for the house when nature calls.

  3. Love this Dream as it benefits All of us since you’ll be writing more great posts for the Retirement Manifesto!

    “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.“

  4. I shared this with my husband, who said: ‘Now THAT’S a man cave!” Congrats – enjoy the fruits of your labor and planning.

  5. Even though you and your wife are doing great work with your passions – this will make you both even better! Nice way to maximize your lifestyles in retirement! Nice design and look ! You both should be very proud and I’m happy for you !

  6. I think that’s awesome Fritz! And I find myself being quite envious as I’ve dreamed of a secondary writing cave as well! Looks like you’re close to finishing it up. Hope you’ll post the finished product pics!

    1. Envy was not my goal, Ashby, but I’m glad you like it. I do think I’ll have a series of posts as The Purpose Full Workshop continues to unfold. They hooked up the power yesterday, should have lights today! After the contractor gets done, I’m planning on painting the floor with epoxy in the shop and laying wood laminate in the writing studio, then it’s on to building out my work benches. This is going to be a blast, I’ll share more as things unfold….

  7. We were house hunting, on one of the properties we researched, a fellow, apparently an ex-train engineer, placed a caboose on his property! Restored it and made it into a cabin for guests. A beautiful restoration. Be creative and think out of the box!

  8. Congratulations! I see you love it. Remember, “Safety First & Always”! Power tools pack a severe punch. Every time I turn on a power tool in my shop I hear the ER Nurse say, “you’re the luckiest table saw victim of my career” (all digits intact and no surgery required). I’m sure many a pooch will appreciate their new found comfort and freedom resulting from the work you produce. Be safe and please keep up the good work in the form of this blog. While we’re told we’ve crossed the financial barrier to retirement, we haven’t crossed the fear barrier yet. Eventually we’ll pull the retirement trigger and jump in. Until then, you are one of my regular reads. Thanks for sharing your experiences and wisdom!

    1. Kevin, thanks for the focus on safety. After 30+ years in harsh industrial environments (think, molten aluminum), safety has been deeply ingrained into my persona. I always take it seriously. After all, it’d be hard to continue to write if I let that table saw remove my fingers… Thanks for being a regular reader, get up the courage and jump that fear barrier, you won’t regret it!

  9. Great post Fritz, the shop is awesome! It looks like a great space for your wife and yourself to pursue both of your creative passions, and isn’t that one of the primary objectives of retirement? I couldn’t agree more that ‘now is the time’ to do the things you have always dreamed of doing, for if not now, when? All of us only have a limited time on this Earth, and the catch is none of us know how long that time is. Nearly every day of my career I came in contact with people who had their lives changed in an instant. One of the many things I learned from that was that none of them ever saw that life changing shift coming. I’m happy for you and your wife that you are making your retirement dreams a reality, and I know the struggle of transitioning from retirement saver/planner to retirement spender/doer. My wife and I are celebrating our 7th year of retirement this month. We have enjoyed doing a million things together in retirement these last few years that we were willing to spend our most precious resource on, our time. Along the way we have purchased a few big ticket items that we worked into the budget, not because we wanted to impress anyone, be because we wanted to enhance the experience of the last trimester of our lives together.
    Enjoy the fruits of your labor, make the most of life every day, and try to let the guilt of spending money that you have saved all your working career go. As we progress through our retirement my wife and I find the money becomes less important and our time becomes invaluable.

    1. “Enjoy the fruits of your labor, make the most of life every day, and try to let the guilt of spending money that you have saved all your working career go”

      Wise words from one of the few readers who has read EVERY ONE of my posts! Thanks for your consistency and support, 31! It’s noticed and appreciated.

  10. Great looking workshop and office space….they make a screen door that will fit your garage door that would make those days you want the big door open and don’t want the bugs a reality. Hope to get down to Blue Ridge some time yet this year !

    1. You could even bring that amazing bass boat along with you, Mo. I have the perfect place for you to park it when we’re done on the lake….smiles. (You better hurry, though, before I fill that space with my woodworking tools.)

  11. Very cool! I love that you’re actually doing something about your dream and not just talking about it! Why not, right?

  12. Fritz,

    Congratulations on the Purpose Full Workshop! I don’t see this as materialistic at all. Rather, your spending on this project has helped you fulfill a purpose in retirement or perhaps I should say 2 purposes.

    Honestly, purposeful spending is what has allowed my wife and I to achieve Financial Independence. We have no problem spending on the things that are important to us and we spend very little (if anything) on things that aren’t important to us. I imagine this is what allowed you and Jackie to achieve FI earlier than most people. As a result, this new Purpose Full Workshop will allow you to “live and give like no one else!”



    1. “I imagine this is what allowed you and Jackie to achieve FI earlier than most people.”

      You imagine correctly, Tim. Time to reap from whence we’ve sown. Hope to meet you on a future trip to my neck of the woods, you’re always welcome to help us build a Fido Fence if time permits…

      1. Fritz,

        I’m sure we will connect during one of our many future trips to Blue Ridge. Once we’re settled there, I would be happy to help you build some Fido Fences. I think my wife would enjoy that too!

        Keep up the great work!


  13. Since this is a financial blog, I have to ask what type of tax write-off you can take in this construction since this is a business/non-profit charity. I would like to think that you consulted a good CPA prior to breaking ground. Any help you can receive from the tax man would certainly be helpful in this project. Congrats to both you and your wife!

    1. Ricardo, gotta say, I haven’t worked the tax angle on this at all. With the $24k standard deduction (and no significant deductions since we’re 100% debt free), I just do what feels right without looking for the tax angles. Same goes for all the miles I put on my truck when pulling the enclosed trailer that we bought personally for use on fence builds. Yeah, I’m missing some opportunity, but it just feels better to me to do it that way. When we “refill” our Donor Advised Fund with ~5+ years of charitable donations, I may take the time to track our miles and, perhaps, “donate” the trailer that my wife and I bought. Until then, it’s not something I’m focused on.

  14. Fritz,

    Congrats on setting up the new HQ. Looks like we all should give it a visit at the grand opening.

    I love the log siding – something we’ve been considering for our house. Where did you buy those siding from? thanks and best wishes on your dream.

    1. Funny you mention the Grand Opening, we’re actually planning one with all of our Freedom For Fido volunteers! Come on down!! The “D-log” siding is very popular in our area (lots of cabins), it’s available in all of our local lumberyards. Cheaper than full logs, but looks great. We couldn’t be happier that we were able to “match” the look of our cabin (same logs, same color, same green metal roof).

  15. Congrats on living your dreams in retirement Fritz! The “purpose full workshop” is an excellent example of accomplishing a meaningful project that will provide years of satisfaction. Love all the design elements and how attractive the exterior is finished.

    Like yourself, I also have a rural property. My project was tearing down two old sheds (before they fell down) and building a 20 X 20 garage / shed to store my lawn tractor and other equipment in. I decided to do all the work myself saving on labor expenses. More importantly, I really enjoyed building it and gained great satisfaction throughout the process.

    Being retired is about having something meaningful to do. Great post on living your dreams!

  16. Someone else stole my line, I saw this and said “Man Cave Deluxe”. Huge congrats man, it looks amazing and the views of the woods and nature are spectacular. I want one dammit!

  17. Congratulations to both of you. So exciting to see dreams grow. You have worked hard. We benefit both from your words, your wisdom, and indirectly, through your joy at living your passion. Thanks for the photos. Enjoy!

  18. I followed my retirement dream, but was lucky enough to recognize the dream and build for it in the 2 years before I retired. Similar to your new workshop, I built a 26×26 garage workshop for my retirement dream of car projects and restoration.

  19. Don’t forget good dust collection…save your lungs!

    If you’re not too far along, I would plan for a central unit OUTSIDE of your shop with ductwork going in. I’ve designed a couple of shops, though none from the ground up. I was never able to actually put one outside, but always wished the structure would have allowed it.

  20. Oh, Fritz, how exciting! Thank you for letting me share via the pictures. It just goes to show that a good retirement is one in which you grow.

  21. What an inspiration Fritz! Especially the pic of the man (you?) in the red chair imagining what stories will come with that wonderful wooded view. Or maybe that blissful moment to relax the muscles and bask in the hard day of physical labor put into something worthwhile. It certainty has given me pause this morning to think of all the possibilities that lay ahead for me once I decide to take the leap out of my paying job. Thanks for sharing Fritz!!

  22. Love the shop, and the dream. My shop is our detached garage, about 16′ x 24′. No office space, not a great view and, like you, I have to go back to the house to use the bathroom. But I love it!

Comments are closed.