I Never Thought I’d Write This, But… (AKA A New Approach to This Blog)

I struggled with whether or not I should write this post.  

Obviously, I’ve decided to write it.

Transparency is always best. 

Today, a look inside my mind and how I’ve decided to manage this blog going forward.  It’s an important example of how I’m continually “tweaking” my retirement experience, and a lesson I hope each of you can apply to your own life.  

I've struggled with whether I should write this post. I'm taking a new approach with The Retirement Manifesto. Click To Tweet
The First Draft of my logo (the final one is in the header)

A New Approach For The Retirement Manifesto

I wrote my first post on April 12, 2015, I’ve been writing every week for six years since.   

Every Week.

For Six Years.

In addition, I wrote a book.  Dang, that’s a LOT of writing.

(In full transparency, I’ve taken two short sabbaticals during our extended RV trips in 2018 and 2019, but still…)

“I’ve been writing every week for six years”.

Ponder that sentence for a bit.  I’m proud of it, and I’m not ashamed to say that.  Writing a 1,500-word blog post every week for 6 years is an act of endurance, not to mention throwing a book into the mix, just for fun.

6 Years. 

Starting 3 years before I retired and continuing through my first 3 years of retirement, the words I’ve written here have captured an amazing journey.  A journey that started with the initial planning for retirement, through the final sprint to The Starting Line, and every week of my first 3 years of life in retirement.

An amazing 6 years, perhaps the best in my life.  I track every post in the “Every Article Written” page on this blog, and some of you have read every single word.  I’m still in awe of you, you’re my true fans.  Take a look at that page, and scroll.  And scroll.  And scroll.  I’ve got to admit, I still get amazed when I think about the volume of work I’ve created on my little not so little blog. 

Think back to where you were in 2015, and imagine writing about everything that’s happened in your life, every week, for the six years since.  Kind of puts it in perspective, right?

Why I Decided To Write This Post

Along the way, this little blog has turned into something bigger than I had ever dreamed possible.  It’s grown into something that’s about so much more than mere words.  It’s about people all dealing with the same challenge – how to make the transition to a successful retirement.

Over 8,000 of you now subscribe to my email, and a typical month will have 70,000+ pageviews on this site.  Wow.

What touches me the most is the amount of communication I get from you, the readers.  Your engagement in the comments is amazing, and I appreciate your thoughts.  As this blog has grown, I find myself struggling to keep up with the flow, so please don’t take it personally (I read every comment, though I’ve backed away from responding to everyone).

Most important to me are the volumes of emails I receive from folks who are walking in my footsteps.  Folks who are benefiting from the words I write.  Folks who have questions, and come to me seeking answers.  I take that responsibility seriously, and I treasure each of you.  Apologies for my frequent delay in responding, my email queue seems to be growing longer these days.  

Because of my respect for you, the reader, I’ve decided to write this post.

I’ve shared my thoughts, transparently, with you for 6 years.

I can’t stop now.  Hence, today’s post.

Retirement:  A Self-Directed Journey

As I’ve written, retirement is a journey we chart for ourselves.  100% within our control. If you decide you’d like to change something in your journey, you’re free to make the change.  

So Am I.

So, I Am.

I could have simply implemented the change you’ll read about shortly without saying a word, but that didn’t seem right.  Many of you would have wondered what happened, and that’s not how I roll.  Best to use my recent decision as an example of how I’m intentionally changing my journey.  Perhaps you can learn from the example and make a self-directed change in your own life.  Perhaps you’ll think about my transparency, and decide to communicate with someone who will be impacted by yours. 

That’s how life should be, and I hope you appreciate the approach.

I also hope you’ll stick with me once it’s implemented.  Wink.

Why Now?

The timing just feels right.

I’ve written every week since 3 years before I retired until 3 years after.  Nice symmetry.  You’ve witnessed through my words the most critical time in retirement:

  • The initial planning for retirement.
  • The final sprint to The Starting Line.
  • The first days, months, year (“the honeymoon”).
  • The maturing phase, or settling into retirement.

As I move into the maturing phase, I’ve been evaluating “my wheel”.  I’ve used that metaphor to death, but it really works for me.  For those who have missed it, life is like a wheel.  Each spoke represents a different element in our wheel called life, and the wheel rolls best when the spokes are the same length.

It’s time to rebalance the wheel.

My blogging “spoke” has grown a bit too long of late, and I’d like to give my other “spokes” some of my time.  It’s time to trim back the blogging spoke, and invest in the others.  I could write an entire post on those other spokes, but suffice it to say, I’d like to spend more time outside, and less time inside.  I’d also like my time at our new second home focused on our 2-year-old granddaughter, and less stressed about meeting the weekly Deadline.  There, I’ve said it. The “D” word. 

The Biggest Reason For The Change:  I Hate Deadlines.  Perhaps a legacy effect of the never-ending deadlines of my career in Corporate America, but I detest deadlines.  They loom, they linger, they persist. 

A Deadline is like a clock ticking in the dark recesses of your mind, ever calling. 

It’s time to kill the self-imposed deadline of writing a weekly post.

What’s Changing?

What’s the big change?  It’s really not that big at all, though to me it’s huge.  A simple change, really, but with it comes a breath of fresh air.  The death of a deadline.

I’m eliminating my structured weekly schedule for this blog.

Ok, simple enough. But what does it really mean?

In reality, probably not much.  I LOVE to write, and I suspect I’ll be writing for years to come.  (A collective sigh of relief, right? Smiles.)

Most of you probably won’t even notice.  Those occasional emails from The Retirement Manifesto will still pop up in your inbox, and you’ll click to read a post.  I’ve been paying attention, and I’ve noticed many of the bloggers I read follow the same course (JL Collins, Early Retirement Now, Mr. Money Mustache, 1500 Days to Freedom, the list goes on and on….).

There will likely be stretches of time I’ll write weekly.  There will be stretches of time where I won’t.

No explanation, no apology.  You can rest assured that during those times of silence I’m simply off grooming another spoke.  Perhaps I’m…

  • fishing
  • hiking
  • building a free fence
  • traveling
  • camping
  • working in my new woodworking shop…
  • …or playing in mud puddles with my granddaughter.  

Know that I’m doing something I love, and I’m doing it without the constraint of a weekly deadline.  Also, don’t be surprised if I’m not as active in the comments.  As I mentioned, it’s becoming difficult to keep up with the flow.  I’ll read every comment and smile as I realize I’m still impacting those who are following in my footsteps. 

Helping others, trying to do a bit of good in this world.  Minus the deadline.

Isn’t that what retirement is all about?

The One Thing From This Post That Matters

The point is this:  I just eliminated something in my life that I didn’t like, and replaced it with things that I love.  How can you apply that thinking in your life?

I hate deadlines, and I had a deadline in my life that was 100% self-imposed.  I Eliminated It.  The deadline is gone.  Poof, just like that.  

My love of writing will continue and I’ll likely write on The Retirement Manifesto for years to come.  Now, however, my writing will be unencumbered by that deadline that occasionally caused me stress.

What don’t you like in your life?

 For me, it was a deadline.  I’m trying to “walk the talk” in my life, and actually do the things I write about.   So, the deadline is gone.

If you read my post 20 Ways To Be Happier In Life, you’ll realize that with this one simple change, I just tackled #5 (Create Balance), #8 (Get Outside), #12 (Slow Down), and #16 (Enjoy The Present).  Perhaps it appears as a small change to you, but as I said, it’s huge for me.  

A Call to Action

Do me a favor?  Read 20 Ways To Be Happier In Life again.  But this time, don’t just read it.  Identify a change you’d like to make in your life.  Find your “Deadline”, that thing that nags at you.  Think about how you can make a change for good.  

Then, make the change.

Your life will be better for it.

I hope you appreciate the transparency.  I look forward to continuing to share what I’m learning.  I trust you’ll continue to read my words. 

P.S. – On a side note, I’m in Alabama as you read these words, nurturing a different “spoke” (being a granddad is amazing, btw).  So, I’ll be absent in the comments today.  Regardless, I encourage your comments.  I’m sincerely interested in your take on today’s post, and I’ll read every word…


  1. I have quietly read your posts for most of those years in Far North Queensland, Australia. Although I have loved and appreciated the content, I could never understand how you kept up the pace while working the long hours of you job. And I’ve been surprised that you have kept up the volume of writing in your busy retirement. I am very happy that you are scaling back. You deserve to enjoy your family, friends, interests and volunteer work and give deadlines the flick! None of your genuine followers would deny you the pleasure of writing when you damn well feel like it, and enjoying your life and relationships you worked so hard to build. Yet another situation where you are leading by example.

    1. ^^ I echo this 100%.
      Fritz – No pressure is a luxury you CAN afford, enjoy and thank you. 🙂

  2. “Rebalancing the wheel” is a great analogy Fritz!

    This past year has knocked all of our spokes out of whack. I haven’t seen some of my friends in over a year. We used to get together for monthly luncheons and miss our get togethers. Reconnecting and keeping in touch has become the spoke I’m focused on. I applaud your decision and think it’s wonderful you can “play in mud puddles with your granddaughter”. 🙂 I’m envious and remain a loyal fan.

    1. Fritz,
      Your a good man and I enjoy the RM very much. I’ll continue to read and enjoy your blog and feel even better knowing it’s 100% on your terms. I am slowly moving to “soft” retirement and look forward to controlling my destiny each day. I will become a grandpa in August and can’t wait for that next spoke. I look forward to the next blog whenever it arrives.
      Gary N

  3. Kudos dude, sounds like a logical progression to me. Your audience is big enough that it won’t matter. I’ve been at it since 2017 and post twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays – religiously. Sometimes the second post is an info-graphic or a short satirical article but they still take work. Like you I at look at the total sum of work and it’s like “wow, did I do that?”. It’s a lot, for me close to 400 posts. I too sometimes hate the deadlines, but heck they’re self-imposed. In one way it’s a vehicle to keep a disciplined regiment, in another it’s an annoying boss.

    Either way, stepping back to be outside and do those things you listed – the healthy things in life – is a worthy thing to do. Enjoy!

  4. Good for you, Fritz! No reason to let something you love turn into a thorn that you resent. Deadlines are for us working stiffs!

  5. Proud of You — Enjoy Reading Your Posts as you truly “Live What You Write”! Roll on and continue to advise us all on the awareness and need to Rotate and Balance our Wheels to truly enjoy the journey. Keep on keeping on and never ever stop chasing the simple but rewarding pleasures in life — like grandchildren and bucket list items. Life is indeed short and there are many roads to travel via our balanced and well-worn wheels! Look forward to the next post whenever it comes along.

  6. Love you! I honestly have been on podcast and blog overload and am struggling to believe the FIREwalkers knowing they all go on each other’s sites and can’t tell if it’s just self promotion or real anymore. I get that you should get some remuneration for your work, but there’s too man FI people who only talk about FIRE. I love you’re deciding to do it when it feels right. I now know that you sir, are the real deal!

  7. You scared me there for a minute! You know I no longer comment but hopped on over here thinking “say it ain’t so!” Phew!! It ain’t so. You’re still writing!

    Do what makes your heart sing! Even with all the followers, blog posts, and a book, I believe this is still a hobby for you. A very involved hobby, but not an obligation. There’s SO much more happening for you! Enjoy this time.

    We must talk soon. I can’t believe Octavia is 2! And we want to know more about your second home.

    Love to Jackie.

  8. Good for you! Enjoy your granddaughter and other spokes of the wheel. Lead by example.

  9. Thanks for sharing this and we all must consider how to best balance. The grandparent spoke is one you will never regret putting in that wheel.

    All the best,

  10. Well Done, Fritz! Balance is important and when your hobby becomes a chore, it’s no longer a hobby. You deserve to make this decision and thank you for your courage to share it!
    Be well and I will still follow your blog as you always bring a thoughtful topic to the table.
    Be well and enjoy the other spokes.

  11. Thank you for what you have done and I applaud you for your recognition of what was happening to important spokes that were being neglected! I was introduced to your blog by a friend and business while we were having a farewell dinner to honor him, and have subsequently shared your blog with many friends and family members. My wife is now also a subscriber, and it has helped us ensure we are on the same page with retirement that is happening soon. From comprehensive easy to understand investment strategy that is easy to follow, to simple actions that challenge us to create our plan so we can find our way to thoroughly enjoying our retirement.

    Thank you sir!

  12. Writing to you from the northern part of the state you find yourself in right now…..There’s intrinsic integrity in living out what you recommend to your readership. I, too, have been doing some recalibration in my fifth year after “retirement” to gain time for other priorities, step away from activities that no longer hold my interest as they once did and set some new goals. This is exactly the type of control over my time I was hoping to get during retirement.

  13. If the past year has taught us anything is that there are no guarantees. Time is fleeting and children grow quickly, happy you are taking time to savor. I am still waiting for the day when. I can control my schedule but trying to enjoy the journey until I get there!

  14. Thrlled for you Fritz! Enjoy growing the other spokes of your wheel. We’ll be here for you whenever you have the urge to share something with us! 🙂

  15. Fritz,
    A sensible decision by any measure and not one you need to justify to anyone.
    If you never did another post your 6 years of posting is a legacy to be proud of and along with your book is as good as any rounded advice out their.

  16. Fritz,
    I think this is awesome! I’m happy for you. I don’t comment often, but have read since the beginning. I started my own blog years ago, wrote probably 70+ posts, and decided that I didn’t enjoy it, and (more importantly) I didn’t want to trade one career for a new job. I worked an entire career for the ability to have freedom when I retired. So I totally get it. I am in awe of those of you who find writing a passion and an outlet. That just wasn’t me. I wish I had the desire. I like teach younger folks about finance. But I totally get the desire for more freedom. Enjoy it. You’ve certainly earned it. I still hang on for every J. L. Collins post, so I’ll still be hanging around for your occasional posts! Congrats on finding your next spoke of the wheel! Now go play with that grand baby!!! 😉

  17. Way to go Fritz – I’ll look forward to your writing whenever it pops up in my inbox! With 2 & 3 yr old grandchildren- I totally get it plus all of the other outside activities – good for you!!!

  18. Congratulations! Good for you.
    Like you, I have been on this journey since Jan 2015. The progress made is amazing. Just imagine if I had started this when I started working? When getting started I read every blog I could find. Today, with the progress made, both financially and in routine, that is no longer as important.
    My goals for this year, for the first time in years, include things that are not financial. For me, it’s also time to move on to other things. Glad to hear you have taken that step.
    I find I need goals, and structure, which surprised me initially. It’s still growth, just working on rounding things out, similar to your goals.
    Wishing you all your dreams fulfilled and a pleasant journey. You are well on your way.

  19. Hey, I have scanned most of your blog posts for new info probably since you started. I am retired and have a comfortable life, Motorhome, no debt even before retirement. Enough cash flow and investment that I don’t need you anymore. That’s was why I read your posts. I enjoyed your spreadsheets mostly and after a while found you blogs somewhat boring, repetitive, overuse of the same phrases. Just look at the top of this post. Not a negative, just my thought as I really used a lot of your info early on. As someone who is a numbers person, data driven, and ADD, too many words to get to the point drive me crazy. It’s like a story on a car crash without saying where it happened.

    Please don’t take this wrong, your information is really good for those looking at retirement and I hope your book did well. Once in retirement, it is less useful. Your audience is those 5-10 years out through the first 5 years, or less, of retirement if done well. I didn’t finish this blog but got the jist. Enjoy your life, you earned it. Many people probably got to their retirement reading or in my case, using your work products to guide there plan. Me, the freeze cracked a water filter housing on my coach and I am replacing both with more effective water filter system so we can head out, so I have to go. Truly, thanks for the info.

    PS, I take $X in profit annually (or so) to stay 3 years ahead of cash flow. Petty simple and anywhere between 3%-4% will work for me forever until I have to spend more vs leaving it all for the kid. My taxable income for 2020 was $5,000.00. Know what you spend, have extra for emergencies, stay healthy and enjoy life with family. Life doesn’t get any better than that. Cheers from the TX Hill Country

  20. Thank you for taking the very steps you have told us to do ourselves! I too have spent some of my time with my precious grandchildren and I am happier for it! Enjoy every minute!

  21. Good for you Fritz – the day we spent on the lake together you mentioned you wrote a post weekly for the last X years, I remember thinking to myself “that sounds like a job”. Your retirement story has, and will continue to help many in a very challenging transitional time of life (speaking for my wife & I). Thanks for that. In my opinion you shouldn’t feel the need but to post an occasional update as you wish. Certainly there will be more to share in this new chapter.
    Well done & thanks for the help!

  22. Fritz,
    I believe I have posted this letter “not mine” previous but when I see you Blog comments about being a grandfather and the posts by others the following letter “that I reread monthly” help me stay focused on the truly important aspects of our lives retirement or working.
    In September, it will be four years since my grandfather passed away and I still think about him every single day. He was my hero. His presence in my life and the impact that he had on me will stay with me forever. At his funeral, my brother and I were given the distinct honor of delivering the eulogy. My sister and our cousin were on stage with us as we struggled through our words. To say that he was loved by his grandchildren would be a drastic understatement. And as I think about it, it is probably somewhat unusual to have the grandchildren be the primary speakers at a funeral. But it was a special case as you’ll see.

    As parents, raising our children to become productive and caring adults could be viewed as an obligation. But as grandparents, you are given a unique opportunity to mentor your grandchildren. Given my age, I obviously have no experience being a grandparent, but I do have the perspective of a grandchild that has been blessed with grandparents that made an enormous impact on my life. Given my story, I think a lot of grandparents drastically underestimate the impact they can have on their grandchildren and that’s what I hope to convey through my own story.

    The Idea of a Legacy:
    As a retirement planner, I spend an awful lot of time talking about money and sharing ideas to make that money last as long as possible. In some cases, we’re talking about multigenerational wealth. But retirement is about far more than just money.

    Ask retirees what being truly wealthy means to them and rarely will you hear answers about net worth. It’s typically about making a difference in the lives of the people around them, namely family and friends. Sometimes “leaving a legacy” is discussed in terms of making large bequests to various organizations or making sure your family will be okay financially speaking upon your passing.

    Those are certainly noble goals. But I want to challenge you to think bigger. Mainly about your time.

    My Story:
    My grandfather’s name was James Ashby Daniels. I am named after him, though few called him Ashby. Those who knew him best called him Jimmy or J.A. To me, he was Gaga.

    As a young child, I would spend at least a week with my grandparents every summer and saw them regularly throughout the year. I grew up in a lower-middle-class home. My parents worked hard, but there wasn’t much there beyond making ends meet. So, during my time with them each summer, they would buy my “new school clothes” for the year. This was a real treat for me to say the least. And every day during those weeks, my grandfather took me everywhere he went. To the post office to get the mail and daily newspaper and occasionally out to eat together. He shared stories from his childhood and about life in general.

    Before my junior year in high school, my brother Shelton and I went to live with my grandparents. My grandmother (who is quite possibly the most loving and generous individual on the planet) has told me many times that we (my brother and I) saved them. I’m still not sure I understand why, but our decision to live with them was the best thing that could have happened to them. At a time in their life that we could have been viewed as an inconvenience, we were viewed as a blessing.

    I am lucky that my grandparents chose to have an active role in my life. At the time, they might not have known the level of impact that they would have on my life, but they contributed without reservation or regard to how we might inconvenience their life and their well-earned retirement. My grandparents invested in me, both personally and financially. And while I’ll admit that I’m enormously grateful for the college education that they paid for, it is the time that we spent together and the lessons learned as a result that is their legacy.

    I want to share just a few lessons that I learned from my grandfather (and grandmother) to hopefully provide some perspective on the impact that a grandparent can have by investing real time with their grandchildren.

    Lessons Learned:
    To tell the truth: While my parents certainly taught me the value of telling the truth, the version of “the truth” that my grandfather told seemed to be a more unvarnished version. And people loved him for it. You knew whatever he told you was the truth, not a softer version of the subject with shades of gray. The truth doesn’t change based on somebody else’s ability to stomach it. I am often accused of calling things as I see it, and this no doubt is a result of hanging with my grandfather.

    The value of compromise in marriage: Okay, this one is much more my grandmother. My parents divorced when I was 7, but both sets of my grandparents had long marriages. One was over 50 years and the other over 60 years. When I think of my grandfather and grandmother, I think of their friendship. I observed firsthand their marriage and love for one another. While not perfect, the loyalty and willingness to overlook each other’s shortcomings impacts my own marriage today. This is mainly due to my grandmother who is a selfless individual. In reality, she always seemed willing to compromise on the small things but knew how to put her foot down when it mattered. Marriage is not always easy, but it’s worth all the effort that it requires. If you want to stay married, understanding the value of compromise can’t be overstated.

    How to handle disappointment in others: I was not a perfect grandchild to say the least. But the few times that I found myself in a bind, they didn’t come down on me. They let me suffer the consequences of my actions without piling on. Eventually, after the dust settled, we had discussions to ensure the lessons were learned. These discussions were never accusatory or heated, but informative and helpful. Even in my darkest moments, they were dependable. There are so few people in this world that you can depend on when the going gets tough, and they were there for me no matter the problem. Maybe that’s the touch of a grandparent, being able to see the forest for the trees. My children will be much better for that experience.

    I was never an inconvenience: Family was more important to them than anything else. It was their purpose. In many cases, showing up is more than half the battle. My grandfather made it to most of my high school baseball games and to my brother’s wrestling matches. Sometimes just showing up is all it takes to show that you care.

    Taught me about business: My grandfather, in particular, was the first one to get me interested in the financial world. He showed me how to track stocks in the newspaper and how they worked. In short, he taught me that the business world is a big place and that opportunities abound for people who are willing to work for it. In that same vein, even into his 70s and 80s, he continued to educate himself which was not lost on me. Observing him reading the business section trying to glean insights impacted me in my own desire to consistently strive to get better each day.

    Taught me about hard work: It was legend that he never missed a day of work except for a time he was hospitalized because he tried to work through a severe illness. Anything less than full effort was unacceptable. It doesn’t take talent to work hard. This may have been the “Marine” in him, but he believed that whatever you do, you should do it to the best of your ability. Simple in theory, hard in application.

    Taught me how to be financially responsible: Due to my grandfather’s business acumen, my grandparents were able to have a comfortable retirement and pay for my college to which I’ll maintain to the end of my life that it was the greatest financial gift and head start anyone could have ever given me. He taught me how to be frugal. He drove an old truck and wore old clothes. If you were to meet him, you might think he was he hadn’t attained any financial success whatsoever. He felt that “things” will never make you happy. And he was right.

    How to be generous: While he never had the nicest cars or clothes, he made sure we had whatever we needed. Every time I’d come home from college, he would ask if I needed anything for school or if I just needed some spending money. For someone as frugal as he was, he was always generous with me and was generous when it came to those he loved. They were worth far more than any “thing” he could buy.

    How to have faith in yourself: Before I decided to leave my prior firm and basically start over, I replayed words he spoke to me a thousand times. Always the woodsman, he told me to “cut my own path through life.” He encouraged me to have faith in myself because he had faith in me. He truly believed I could do anything. His confidence in me is one of a few reasons that I decided to take the leap to go out on my own.

    At the end of his life, he taught me about humility: He wasn’t quite able to care for himself in the waning days. In one experience over the long Labor Day weekend in 2014, I went down to help care for him. What was occurring with him is what most people fear most about the later stages of life. It was the stage where he was unable to care for himself. He must have apologized to me dozens of times that I had to help care for him. Each time he apologized, I told him it was an honor to do it for him. For a man that was larger than life, he was humbled and likely felt humiliated despite my best efforts and kind words.

    That stage of his life left an indelible impression on me. My time with him came full circle. He cared for me until I had to care for him. I’ll never forget those times lying next to him in their bed just listening to old stories and getting a few extra bits of parting wisdom between his bouts of restlessness. He was truly my hero.

    Would I have been willing to serve him in that way if he hadn’t taken the time with me? I’d like to think I would have, but I’ll never know because he did take the time to invest in me.

    When I think back on my time with my grandparents, I don’t think about the college they paid for (though I’m eternally grateful), or the stuff they bought for me. I think of the time that we spent together and the lessons that came as a result of our time together. It was him sharing his 86 years of wisdom with me. It was coffee on the porch every afternoon once I was an adult listening to the same stories over and over again told with the same humor that he told me the first time. It was their inquiring about my own life and listening with genuine interest.

    My grandparent’s legacy is firmly entrenched in my life. Given my personal experience, if you are truly wanting to make a difference in the lives of the people you love most, having a plan for how you spend your time in retirement is at least as important as what you will do with your money.

    Actionable Ideas from a Grandchild’s Perspective:
    When your grandchildren come over to visit or you go to visit them, take them out for ice cream. Ask them questions about their life. What excites them, what concerns do they have? Ask what’s going on in their lives, offer the wisdom of your life on how they might tackle a certain issue. How should they respond to certain struggles? Take the time to sit with them and listen. You have an opportunity to be a mentor to them.

    And if you can detach them from their phones, give them an opportunity to hear the stories of your life. You may be surprised how much they’ll be interested to hear your stories if you listen to their stories. Call your children. Call your grandchildren. Go visit them. Spend time with them. Invest your time (and your well-earned retirement) in the people that you love. They will be so thankful that you did.

    Final Thoughts:
    Knowing that life is short, we have two choices. We could invest our lives in our family and friends with the time that we have left, or we can let it roll by watching the news. Your legacy is the output of that choice. Contrary to how it’s commonly thought of, the legacy of your life doesn’t suddenly begin when you die, the impact just gets magnified. How you choose to spend the years we have left is the great difference-maker in how our lives will be recounted once we pass. Just like with your finances, the life lessons that you pass along can be multigenerational in nature albeit with the potential for even greater impact. In short, your legacy is defined by what you contribute to people’s lives.

    Because at the end of the day, legacies are not about money. They are about people.

    On the off chance that anyone is interested in reading my grandfather’s obituary (written by my father), here is the link.

    Thanks for reading!
    – Ashby Daniels

    1. I was so happy to read this post Fritz. I finally beat you at something in retirement. I did exactly what you are doing a month ago and even went a step further rolling my VLR website into my friends website booming encore. No more deadlines all I can say is it’s about time. We are still learning about this retirement thing aren’t we!

    2. Loved reading this wonderful tribute and advice Ashby! Grandparents and grandchildren have the potential to create such a special and powerful bond.

    3. Ashby,

      I am truly moved by your post. It was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. My two children are 43 and 37. Neither plans to have kids so I will never get to be a real grandfather. Reading your post makes me miss the chance even more.

      As a substitute, I adopted a few kids from World Vision. I can only make their lives better through sponsoring them through the program. I will never get to meet them and do the things you recommended that Fritz should do with his grandchild, but at least it is something.

      The value of your education shows though in your post. I too am a believer in life long learning. I earned my MBA at 35 and I began my Doctoral studies at 60 years of age. (I have been a college professor for the past 12 years and although I turned 70 last October, I am still loving my students and teaching my classes.) Both of my children graduated from college without student loan debt. My daughter went back to get her Master’s Degree in Social Psychology, 2 years ago, to continue her work with mentally challenged adults. As a part of her final year internship, in addition to seeing clients and counseling them, she came up with an idea to help students who are high school drop outs, get their GEDs. She secured a local community college willing to offer the GED classes online. In order to give the students access, she found a sponsor to buy the Chrome Books for her 5-8 students, for the pilot class. Her sponsor was me.

      As parents, we all hope our children will grow up to be successful, in whatever their chosen profession. Short of that goal, we pray they will be productive, contributing citizens. I am truly blessed that my payers for my children have been answered…just as your grandparent’s prayers for you were answer.

      Continued success in your career and in life!


  23. Fritz GREAT CHOICE! Understand your decision completely. Although I am still working, I am counting the days to closure of my professional life. If you are not enjoying “a retirement task” that is purely optional, why do it.

    Please make sure you capture pics of the many memory moments with your grand kids if you can. Look back at them often and reflect as it goes by fast.

  24. My biggest concern about going into retirement was encountering a new kind of negative peer pressure. Most retired people are kind of crazy, constantly needing to give advice, constandly putting up pictures from their travels and new toys. Like a 4 year old on the playground screaming: Look at me, Mom, look at me what I can do! Just looking at some of the blogs retired people are putting out there made my head spin. Why? Is constand approval needed? Why are people doing this? Can’t they just sit back and do nothing?? Yes, Do NOTHING and be proud of it for once! I shake my head in disbelieve and sadness. The corporate world did a great job of messing up minds.
    Fritz, I just saw you recently by chance in an interview where you talked about your retirement life and I felt so sorry for you. Your words were many about a busy and luxury retirement, however, something came across that said: I need to slow down. Thanks for making the decision to slow down and smell the roses.

    1. J thanks for your Do Nothing comment. I always thought am I the only one in retirement who doesn’t feel the need to be volunteering for everything under the sun. Or working in some capacity. I’m retired so I don’t want to do anything I don’t feel like doing. I hate having to be somewhere at a specific time. No obligations for me. I like just doing nothing. Thanks 😊

  25. Congratulations on becoming a Granddad! No one can tell you the joy of having a granddaughter, you must experience it It is lifechanging!

    Enjoy this venture, it is THE BEST !!!

  26. Hey Fritz. I’m so happy for you and I’m glad you’re making this decision for yourself. To be honest I’ve been waiting for these words to come across. Although I thought you would give up writing altogether so I’m really glad that is not the case at the moment but if it ever does come please don’t apologize. This is exactly what retirement is all about doing what makes YOU fulfilled.

  27. Fritz, thrilled that you have made this decision, as it not only impacts you, but Jackie and the others you love. I’m sure the stress of an impending deadline also impacted your family as well. Enjoy your family, Fritz; I’ve learned tons from you…and will continue to do so at an easier pace! 🙂 Hugs to you all.


  28. Classic Fritz being Fritz: Evaluating life and making choices to create the Better. Well-done sir. You have created great change in my life. Once again, thank you.

  29. Congratulations Fritz! I applaud your decisions and wish you all the best in your “new life.” Now I’ve got to make sure my wife never sees this blog! I’ve always thought John Bogle was the pacesetter. Who knows? Maybe you will be for a lot of your followers. I hope so.

  30. I have always thought we were on parallel paths. I’m also making a big change in my life. The consulting gigs I’ve done for the last five years, my first five of retirement, I’m closing those down. I’m letting my partners keep going with them but I’m stepping aside. It will feel odd to start withdrawing from our portfolio for the first time. It is kind of senseless to earn money I don’t need, I was really just doing it to stay occupied and to force some structure into my lazy self. And it wasn’t filling that need very well, I know I can do better than that, so I’ll be hunting for better starting next month. At the same time my wife has expressed that we are too tied down with our tennis team commitments and we should be traveling more, something I whole heartedly agree with. Maybe every five or three or six years this is what retired people need to do, some reinvention of themselves? Congrats Fritz! And just maybe we are both headed into the best years of our lives.

  31. Good on you! As my husband who loves the beach says, “If you love the beach, don’t get a job there.” That’s why he never started teaching others to kiteboard…he wanted the freedom to do it himself when the wind was blowing! If your passion starts to feel like a job, with deadlines (as you say) or responsibilities, it’s time to reconsider.

  32. Hi Fritz. Silently enjoying your writing for quite awhile. Good on ya for giving yourself a break. No one will fault a flexible missive! 🙂 I went back and read the Happiness List. I noted that someone said it didn’t really require money. I think I need to stretch my creativity a bit. I assume you know what a wonderful life you have created with mobility, second home, etc. In this year of staying at home, it has been a bit harder in retirement to grab this happiness.. I am a Hospice volunteer and that has been suspended, many volunteer opportunities have been, though I keep searching. I did hike over 1500 miles last year just around the area. Thoughts on breaking out of this? Money does come into play here, though I do recognize this is most likely a well off group. Trust me, in this new world, I know there is much to be grateful for. Enjoy your even more enhanced freedom!

  33. Good for you Fritz. Deadlines are unproductive in retirement, focus on what’s important at the moment is much more enjoyable. I have read every post, and your book a couple times. I very much enjoy your writing and I have learned a lot from you over the years. Your prospective on various aspects of retirement has broadened my views considerably and helped me live a fuller and more enjoyable retirement. I appreciate all you have done, and look forward to all you have yet to do. What you do matters, thank you.

    The invitation is always open for you and your wife, and of course your dogs, to stay in our extra R.V. spot if you ever find yourself in the White Mountains of Arizona. Be well, and focus on what works for you. I look forward to your future post, and most importantly enjoy your retirement, I’m pretty sure you only get one.

  34. Congratulations. You will never regret the time playing in mud puddles with your granddaughter. Wise move. Take care of yourself. Write when inspired and when you have something to say that must be said. Thank you for the book, and the blog and the wisdom you have imparted to people who will never meet you. Fair sailing sir.

  35. That is wonderful for you and for your family! I kept pretty darned busy in retirement until Covid19 lockdown came along. One year later, In lieu of in person volunteering I’ve switched all of my volunteering to virtual which I prefer. I’m doing a lot less of it, since it seemed like work.

    You’ve inspired so many. I wish I’d found your blog before I retired in 2016. Thanks for everything, and I’ll eagerly await whatever comes next!

  36. Good tor you! So much of our torment and lack of balance is self induced. It’s so healthy to take time to step back, breathe and reassess what’s important in life!!

  37. While I’ll miss the weekly posts, I had to smile when I realized that you have finally followed item IV “Make No Obligations” from your retirement ten commandments. This is the one that I sometimes struggled with since I am a director of music ministry at my church. This last year of pandemic has meant no choir and the freedom that gave me, even with all of the other restrictions, makes me wonder what I want to do when life returns to normal. I think I will be a little more willing to miss a few weeks at a time to travel or do other fun things. Changing your blog from a weekly format to one that fits your ideal retirement is exactly what you deserve. Congratulations and thanks!

  38. Congratulations on your decision! Well-deserved. Thank you for all you’ve done to educate your readers. Now, get out there and enjoy life!

  39. Congratulations on your decision! Well-deserved. Thank you for all you’ve done to educate your readers. Now, get out there and enjoy life!

  40. Hi Fritz, I’m a newbie to your blog, only about one month. I thank you for keeping all your old posts available, as the content remains relevant. I just explained your 3 bucket system to my wife. We are in our second year of retirement with no regrets. It’s going well. Congrats on your “second (semi-) retirement”. No more deadlines. It’s a wonderful thing! ~David

  41. Good for you! Live by example – we all need to continually re-evaluate our lives and be courageous enough to make the changes that reflect our BEST life. I have always said that that too much “good” stuff can keep us from GREAT. I expect your writing will be even better without those dreaded deadlines. Best wishes on the new journey!

  42. Phew! I thought for sure this was going to be a post about you either selling the blog or no longer posting. I’m so glad you’ll still be posting, but I’m also really happy for you. I’m glad you are eliminating the deadlines that you dreaded and instead just going with the flow a bit more. I have nowhere near the number of followers that you do, but I basically did the same thing this year. Of course, once I said that I have consistently posted each week, but I think the mindset of not “having” to do it really gave me the freedom to enjoy writing even more. Congrats!

  43. Good on you! Now go play in a mud puddle!

    Life’s too short to have regrets about not spending time with your granddaughter to write a blog…we’ll manage!

  44. Hey Fritz. Without a doubt. Your a man that walks the talk. The history of past blogs continues to be relevant to all today. Hope you continue to enjoy retirement and throw us readers a bone occasionally. Many thanks to you and Jackie.

  45. Kudos on publishing every week for six years! That is a serious commitment. Your decision totally makes sense and will likely lead to even better work. Enjoy your time and new found freedom 🙂

  46. | *
    | * Your
    | * Happiness
    Your | *
    Values | *

    Your use of Time, Money, Energy

    Let’s see how this “graph” displays. It is modified from Carl Richards napkin sketch.

    I have a Carl Richards quote included in my email signature block.
    “Real financial advise is not about numbers and calculators and spreadsheets.
    It’s about helping people live the lives they say they want to live.”

    Just change that to real wealth is the means and ability to live the live you really want to live, and you can see making these necessary “spoke” changes are every bit as necessary as reviewing and adjusting your asset allocation.

    Good for you!

  47. 100% approve (not that you needed it).

    You gotta do what makes you happy. Writing once a week for 6 years is A LOT of writing. I applaud you for it. Your audience is big enough and your content good enough you don’t have to.

    A lot of the bigger blogs re-post things that are timely. You could consider that as an option, but you do you.

    Thanks for all of your great content!

  48. Good things are always worth the wait…
    Thanks for continuing to share your wisdom, insights and observations from your experience!

  49. Happy you are following your bliss! I always enjoy your blog and will continue to do so even sporadically. Our workaday world places many constraints on us, retirement is the time to shake loose and do what you want – last chance!

  50. Good decision, Retirement well planned and executed gives us the choice to do things on our own schedule ( within reason as we do make commitments ). There are so many things we want to do that we need to set aside time for them.

  51. Good for you, Fritz. Not going to lie, I always get a little excited to climb into bed on Wed nights and look for your post. I have read them all and you helped me so much in the retirement journey. It’s like you were speaking to me, though we never met. I clung on to your wisdom and advice. I’m retired 4.5 months and it is all exactly as you described! Thank you so very much for documenting your journey and sharing it with us.
    PS. I read everything I could get my hands on, books, blogs, podcasts. And you were by far my favorite!!!
    I look forward to any future posts 🙂

  52. Congratulation Fritz…

    Statistically, very few people achieved FI at 55 or younger.

    The successful ones do not really understand the word “Freedom”.

    They correctly identified partial definition of Freedom…meaning FI = Financially Free.

    Freedom has 2 components…Physical + Psychological.

    Since I am an engineer, I am going to define Freedom as follow:
    Financial Freedom + Psychological Freedom = Freedom.

    So far you have the “A” in the equation.

    Find your “B” and the “Deadlines” mentioned in your article will be seamlessly eliminated.

  53. Makes a lot of sense Frtiz. You need to set up something that works for you, especially in retirement.

    Deadlines!= freedom. 😊

  54. Now yer talkin’! This is why I unsubscribed to most, if not all, of my retirement blogs, newsletters, etc. (including yours, I’m afraid, but obviously I still check in periodically). Enjoy your newly balanced lifestyle. All the retirement but with 50% less stress than other lifestyles.

  55. Well, this is actually hysterical. I recently heard you interviewed on a couple of podcasts and said I want to read/listen more to Fritz. This was the very first article I read and sure enough it had you making a decision that I think is exactly you. I congratulate you for being transparent and encouraging your readers to make choices outside of how much money they have to sustain their retirement. Clearly, this is a choice you feel great about, a sense of relief eliminating a deadline that could interfere with playing in those mud puddles with your granddaughter. I’m sure you will always find time to write during the week and you can post when you feel like it. I’m sure your subscribers will still be there looking at their inboxes for your next email where you’ll dispense more common sense ideas and guidance to help them towards/in their retirement . Congratulations!!

  56. It sure makes sense to me. I really enjoy your blogs (and your book), and I don’t mind the extra wait between additions. Enjoy the extra time doing things you enjoy, and that matter the most.

  57. Very well. That leaves me with just “slightly early retirement” on my regular and now, dwindling blog loyalty list.
    It’s time for a repurpose, retooling, and restructuring of time. So, heck ya, new pages and new chapters for activities and focus are important every three years and you’re over due Fritz.
    Shake down the fifth wheel and off you go. Route 1, end to end on either coast is a mighty fine idea.

  58. Thank you for your blog! Retirement is all about doing what you enjoy most, so you have made the right decision to scale back and eliminate those deadlines. I’ve began to read less blogs as I continue to mature in my retirement so we’re in sync. The very best to you with fulfilling your “retirement commandments” and I hope you are able to savor every moment with the things you know in your heart you enjoy most. I still plan to get up to BR from Atlanta when the pandemic settles down to help you folks out with Freedom for Fido!

  59. Hi Fritz, good for you – “deadlines” are one of those things I’m really looking forward to limit in retirement myself! I missed the comment deadline for the 20 things to make your life better article in February, but I did want to share a interest/passion I’m recently undertaken per your request in item 11 asking for comments. I mentioned in the guest blog I wrote for you a while back that I had developed a spreadsheet based financial model for my retirement. One of your readers asked for a copy of it, and regrettably I had to turn him down as I didn’t feel it was something that could be picked up and used by someone else). Fast forward over a year later, and as I started teaching some younger co-workers how to.build such a model for themselves I gained a fresh perspective. This led me to begin a total revamp of the model with the intentions of making it available to the masses (probably along with an ebook user guide, etc). My main target would be federal employees like myself as it will be tailored to the federal retirement system. I may run out of gas before it gets to that point, but it’s an exciting project that I have started working on part time while still working. Then when my work deadlines fall away at retirement, I have nice transition passion to continue and hopefully finalize/roll out after I begin my retirement in 1-2 years. Finally a project that doesn’t have to wait until retirement and gives me something to run to!!!

  60. The couple of years before retirement and then the period just after it was great to hear about all the planning and the tools and so forth. Thankyou for all that! Nowadays it’s not necessary as there are loads of retired people blogging about their lives and how much they enjoy retirement…so no need to push more of that out than you want. Relax. More. Cheers!

  61. Dear Fritz,
    You rock and thank you for all you do for us. I like your course correction and MO.


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