So USAA hit me up the other day asking if I’d like to partner with them on their #LifeUninterrupted campaign, and after reading the inspiration behind it I was sold on the spot:
“For most people, retirement isn’t about luxury cruises and trips around the world. It’s about making sure their life can go on as normal once they retire. It’s continuing to do the things that make them happy without worrying about financial interruptions. Put simply: Keep living life as you know it”
YES!! 100%! It’s not a magical day where your life changes overnight – it’s just the time when you no longer have to worry about money anymore! And if you’re doing it *right*, you’re already enjoying a version of that “retirement life” up to that point – it’s just relegated to your nights and weekends until you can finally pull the trigger…
There’s a line people say that when you come into a lot of money “it doesn’t change you, it only amplifies who you are as a person,” and I feel the same can be said for retirement.
You’ll still be YOU when you hit that magic number, just a better version of yourself because now you’ve freed up the time to spend even MORE energy toward the stuff you love and enjoy! Which you then smoothly transition to! But if you’re not doing jack with your life up to that point or work IS your life, well, then you’ll only have more jack to look forward to and will probably become one of those people who think the FIRE movement is dumb, haha…
In which case, read this –> It’s Not About The Money, It’s About The *Lifestyle*
The trick, of course, is knowing *when* you can finally pull that trigger, and we all have our opinions on how to calculate it.
Those of us in this FIRE community like to tout the 25x Rule which says having 25x your yearly expenses banked is a good starting point which you can then adjust from there, depending on your comfort levels and desired lifestyle. Some people prefer to live larger in retirement than they are now, while others think they can cut back even more and be just as happy.
This community has no shortage of different FIRE flavors to choose from, and it seems people are only coming up with more as the days pass ;) Here are some of the more popular ones:
- Lean FIRE — when you’re comfortable living off a lot less in retirement
- Fat FIRE — when you’re shooting to live off a lot more in retirement
- Barista FIRE — when you keep a side gig going even though you’re already retired for additional benefits/income/fun <– What I’m personally shooting for
- Fart FIRE — when you try to hit whatever FIRE suits you as fast as you can so you don’t end up sacrificing all of your time in the process (“fart” means “fast” in Swedish I’m told ;)). This one comes from Mr. 1500 Days who adds, “living without the distraction of having to earn money allows you to get closer to who you really are. A more authentic version of you.” And considering he’s currently living that dream right now, I believe him!!
Here are some resources around the FIRE strategy if this is the type of retirement that speaks to you the most (FIRE stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early” btw – for anyone new here. With that first “FI” part there being focused on the most since as you’ve probably noticed many “retirees” in our space don’t actually stop working forever ;) They just re-direct their time to more passion projects!):
- A simple Early Retirement spreadsheet via J. Money
- The Ultimate Directory of FIRE Calculators via Cashflow Cop
- A list of the top FIRE bloggers via Wallet Hacks
- The Crowdsourced FIRE Simulator (cFIREsim)
And then of course there’s the more traditional/non-FIRE type of retirement planning for those who don’t buy into the whole 25x yada yada yada, which is also fine. Because as we all know there are multiple ways to cross that finish line!
For these types of people, a slew of calculators and planners are much better equipped to answer the age ol’ question of “when can I retire?” – and in a much less aggressive way :)
Here are some good resources if you fall more into this type of party:
- A handful of great Retirement Calculators via Financial Mentor
- A list of *traditional* retirement bloggers via Rockstar Finance Directory
- 6 recommended *books* on retirement via AARP
- A (free) “Retirement Review” from USAA — This is part of their #LifeUninterrupted campaign where you can speak with a REAL LIFE financial advisor on the phone (for free – whether you’re a USAA member or not) and have your financial plan looked over. Which might be smart for anyone who just wants another pair of eyeballs on it! Here’s the number to call if you want to take them up on it: 1-800-531-3392 (the link up there also features some other resources as well)
[And this is totally unrelated, but a reader just emailed me this morning about some features USAA has in their member portal that I had no idea about! And I’ve been a member for over 20 years!! The next time you log in, look for “Savings Boosters” on the far right side (under “My Tools”, and then “Budgeting and Goals”) and you’ll see all kinds of app-like features you can activate to help save more… The automatic “ATM Rebates” one is a good one!]
At any rate, hopefully some of those resources up there help you along your journey whichever side you fall on ;) You know the one I’m shooting for (hint: it rhymes with WIRE), but again there’s no right or wrong way to manage this stuff outside of the one that’s right for you. And really you won’t even know how certain it’ll pan out until you’re actually LIVING IT! Haha…
So in the meantime, keep tweaking your *current* life to get it as retirement-esque as you can, so by the time that fateful day DOES eventually come (and it will!), you’ll already know what you’re going to do as you’ve been doing it all along…
You’ll of course come across a dozen other little perks to look forward to in retirement too, but better to be enjoying your passions NOW where you can grab ’em vs wasting away your life for “later” to come! It doesn’t always have to be so black or white – enjoy the colors along the way!
PPS: If you know all this stuff already but just need a good boost of inspiration, try out one of Cait’s Adventure Tuesdays and see if it sparks anything :) Sometimes it’s the littlest actions that end up snowballing into bigger ones! Not unlike saving itself!
[As mentioned above, this is a sponsored article in partnership with USAA… who I’ve been personally using for over 20 years now and highly recommend!]