Hello everyone. It’s time for my 11he annual early retirement update! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I left my engineering degree. Early retirement has been great. I do not regret at all. This past year has been more challenging than usual, but I still love early retirement. It would have been a lot more stressful if I was still working. That is sure. Ok let’s do a quick recap and then I’ll share what happened.
Early Retirement Summary
before the ER – I worked on computer chip design for 16 years. At first, engineering was great. I enjoyed learning and working on technical issues. Eventually, I became a senior engineer and needed to take on more leadership roles. The race was no longer a good fit for me and my health suffered. I personally believe that every engineer should plan for early retirement.
Year 1 EN – I retired to become a SAHD/blogger in 2012 when our son was 18 months old. That first year was the hardest year for me. Being a SAHD for a young child was a lot of work. At that age, they do not listen at all and constantly push the limits.
Year 2 to 4 ES – Life got a little easier once RB40Jr started preschool. I had more time to work on my blog and my health. It was a good balance. Life gradually got better as our son got older.
Year 5 and 6 RE – RB40Jr started kindergarten and life turned amazing. I had a lot more time to myself and he made a lot of friends. It was a big turning point.
Year 7 EN – We had more challenges than usual and I was stressed. My mother was diagnosed with dementia and she moved to Thailand. I couldn’t take care of her and my son at the same time. Eventually, he would have to go to a nursing home. It would be much more comfortable for her in Thailand.
Year 8 EN – This was a strange year. Life was great until the coronavirus pandemic hit. Our Governor closed non-essential businesses and closed all schools. We didn’t do much.
Year 9 EN – We stayed at home and life slowed down. We didn’t mind because we enjoyed being home. I went to see my mom in Thailand. Life was almost normal there at that time. There were only a few cases of Covid, so I had a good rest during the peak of the pandemic in the US. It was so nice that I had a hard time adjusting to life at home.
Year 10 EN – The new normal has arrived. Everything opened up and we spent more time outside of our house. I went to see my mom in Thailand and I enjoyed my time with her. Unfortunately, she lost the ability to walk that year. My dad continued to take care of her, but she was getting too difficult for him.
year 11 is – Ms. RB40 took a sabbatical. We traveled for 3 months. RB40Jr started high school. Mrs. RB40’s father fell and was hospitalized. I went to spend 3 more months with my mom. The blog lost momentum. My mom passed away. It was a tough year for me.
Oh! Year 11 was quite eventful.
First of all, RB40Jr started high school. It was difficult for him because he was very familiar with the old elementary school and its staff. The new school was very different. The children were much older and he did not know any teachers. Also, middle schools were in the news quite often this year. Some kids misbehaved and caused all kinds of havoc. He got over it, but it was not a pleasant year. His grades weren’t that good either. He will have to improve next year. We will pay more attention to his homework.
Ms. RB40 had a good year. She took a year off and we traveled to California, Thailand and the Maldives. We had fun. I encouraged her to retire early afterwards, but she decided to go back to work. She’s just not ready to retire yet. The work is rewarding and she is a crucial member of her team. They appreciate it. If you’re doing well at work, then keep it up. Don’t quit just because you can. She plans to work until our son graduates. Then we will move to California to be closer to her parents. Her dad is fine now, but she will need more help in the future.
As for me, I had a difficult year. Traveling was a lot of fun, but I also spent a lot of time away from my family. I returned to Thailand again at the end of 2022. My mother contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized. She never fully recovered. Her dementia continued to worsen as well. It was hard to see my mom in that condition, but I’m glad I spent time with her. She passed away a month after she came home. It was hard and I’m still processing it. Life is short. You have to enjoy it while you can.
Early retirement is still awesome
I had a rough year, but it would have been more stressful if I had been working full time. I didn’t have to worry about work when I spent time with my mom. That’s exactly why I love early retirement. I have the autonomy to do what I want.
Early retirement is still awesome, but the next few years will be a period of transition for me. Since I retired from my engineering degree, I have spent most of my time blogging and being a stay at home husband. However, RB40Jr is growing and the blog is on the decline. In 6 years, RB40Jr will go to college. Blogging will probably be dead at that point as well. I need to reinvent myself before that.
Successful early retirement?
Alright, let’s finish with an evaluation. There are 3 indicators of a successful retirement: health, wealth and happiness. Let’s see how I do in all these areas.
Last year was not a great year for health. I walk a lot in Thailand, but I am much less active at home. My blood pressure is also higher. I need to exercise more and eat healthier.
All the ups and downs also affected my mental health. I’ve been thinking about death and legacy and all that stuff. Do I only have 25 years left? That’s not a long time. It’s a bit depressing.
The past year has been surprisingly good for investors. The economy kept rolling and the stock market made big gains. Our net worth is almost back to its all-time high now. This is a great improvement. I feel good about our finances right now. Our passive income streams are also working well.
Right now, I’m a little emotionally unstable. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this past year. I guess that’s life. But we had more bad news than usual, so it wasn’t the best year for me. However, the weather is nicer now. We have some upcoming road trips this summer. That should cheer me up. I’m going back to my basic happiness.
All in all, the last 11 years have been amazing. Life is so much better than when I worked full time. I don’t regret retiring early at all. If I didn’t leave my engineering degree, I would be less healthy and more miserable. It may not even be richer. When you’re not happy, you spend money to feel better. Who knows? He could have had a mid-life crisis and lost control if he was still stuck in the old gray cubicle. That is the true key of FIRE. You make it your target and go after it with everything you’ve got. Life is short. Don’t spend it doing something you don’t like. Keep it up and good luck everyone!
Thanks again for following my early retirement adventure and good luck with yours! I appreciate your support over the past 13 years. I’ll keep blogging while I can.
*Passive income is the key to early retirement. These days, I’m investing in multi-family properties with CrowdStreet. They have many projects in the United States. Go check them out!
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have a lot of projects in the US so check them out!
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you achieve financial independence.