Save. Spend. Splurge.

Re-considering the Early Retirement Plan

I am sure I already came to this conclusion but it bears repeating for my rather fatigued Parenting Brain that there are other factors at play after I mused in my Mid-Year Money Goals post.

1. We live to be quite old in our family

People live regularly to 80 if not 90 unless we are beset by a cancer (a cause I donate to annually).

We also eat fairly well, have gone more plant-based in our diet but not entirely, which I think will help alleviate some of the issues caused by excessive consumption of…. any foodstuff, really.

I also try to take care of myself, but I am not militant.

2. I still want to travel as long as I can

I know as I get older I will not want to do this, but I still want to travel and go places for as long as my health (and my partners’) can take.

Already, I miss Hong Kong very much, and I want to go back to Sweden and visit more of Europe.

3. I want to take periodic sabbaticals here and there and live abroad

My partner and I are talking more and more about this — we are now starting to truly and seriously bat around the idea of taking years off here and there to live abroad.

It is starting to become something we are working towards now.

In the gaps* of our work, we are considering that if he is not working and I am not working, we will both pack up and leave for 6 months or a year, stick Baby Bun in whatever local school is there, and live pretty dang frugally in other countries for a year.

Not to mention really testing my minimalist tendencies I keep crowing on about, because we will NOT be going with huge suitcases, but perhaps a full suitcase packed for each of us, if at all. I’ll have to really select and pick out my favourite pieces to wear. 😛

*Note: As I was typing, I actually had to search for the word “gap”, because the immediate one that came to mind was: trous or ‘holes’ in French which makes me quite pleased because my brain is starting to be truly bilingual. It makes me want to live in France even more.

Why do we want to do this?


Seriously, it will give Baby Bun a nice experience abroad, and it will be like those exchange-student programs I dreamed so often about doing but could never afford nor muster the energy to go out and fundraise for my dream (I was surprisingly lazy for scrounging up money and fundraising..).

I will say though that Baby Bun does not enjoy change of any kind, and I am half excited to challenge him to get into a new environment and learn how to adapt and overcome this mental obstacle, learn how to make new friends and so on, and half scared to force him to do this as it will re-start the cycle of sobbing and clinging to Mommy.

I think as he gets older he may thank us for this precious opportunity to live like nomads, but he won’t when he is younger, wondering why we are uprooting him here and there.

Or will I scar him for life? Parents? Help me out here.

I don’t plan on uprooting him yearly, but once in a while, we spend the year abroad. Or maybe during the summers, for 2 months out of the year or longer, we just move and live in another country instead of staying in Canada.

Also, money-wise, this works because in about 3 months I can make enough money for living expenses for the year (taxes taken into account). Anything above and beyond that is gravy and a bonus for savings.

4. ….I don’t want to actually stop working completely

Early retirement is sounding more and more like something I don’t actually want to do, I think what I want is something more flexible.

I am sure I came to this conclusion a long time ago, that I very much like my sort of nomadic, free, hipster-ish life, sans couch surfing and living off scraps, strumming tunes on a cardboard box with roommates stacked in every corner.

My idea of being a nomad is more in line with at least living in a small apartment with a lock on the door, in peace with my partner and Baby Bun, with money to be able to buy food and enjoy life.

I want to just take advantage of my youth and my high income, save a ton of money, take a year off or so, go back to work, and wash, rinse, repeat until I am actually ready to stop dealing with the office and going in to work.

I’ll just keep taking contracts here and there to keep topping up my savings accounts but … not to actually work full-time nor stop working full-time. Something sort of in the middle.

Maybe the market will decide for me, as I do not really see any women near retirement age at work still in my field (the few that I see anyway), and maybe I will get heavily penalized for being an older woman, as an older man is seen as experienced and full of greatness but an old woman is a crone.

*shrug* That means I need to not only smash this gender barrier if I can and push things forward for everyone who comes after me, but to also make sure I have a cache of money saved so that I CAN scale back my life and tell all of them:


I hope to never have to actually do that, but you know, it could happen.

5. So what does that mean in the end?

I guess we can assume that I will work until I am 65 or older. You can work as long a you want here, there’s no pushing out period, so maybe I’ll end up like my mom, working on and off until I decide it’s over.

My mother by the way, loves her job and never wants to stop. I feel that way about my career, so why would I stop if I enjoy it?

It would get me out of the house, I socialize, I don’t need to take things THAT seriously as I’d be older and less focused on paying off whatever I have as debts and the like, and I make money. Wins all around.

If I actually stopped working, I’d find something to replace it — more blogging, volunteering… it’d all amount to the same thing just without any income. I need to keep my brain alive somehow, or I’ll just degenerate into a Jerry Springer-watching hot mess with a cabbage in place of a brain, drool coming out of my mouth and being fed baby food. I know it.

I am not someone who is actively looking to ever stop working.

I like going to work, dressing up for it, talking to people, solving problems, and using my brain. It is actually enjoyable. I don’t love the political aspect of treading lightly around managers, but that’s why I stopped being an employee.

OK. So I work until.. whenever, and take money when I need it, and just focus on increasing my net worth at least a bit each year.

My sweet spot is still $2.25 million saved*

*aside from owning my own home outright of course, which I do.

I think my sweet spot is still at the $2.25 million saved before I can say that I truly need not work but choose to take contracts that sound interesting to me. That would pay out a decent amount of dividends to cover my lifestyle expenses, and leave a huge pot of cash to draw upon here and there if I don’t find contracts to take.

All of this flexibility is actually now adding more unknown variables as it is all based on when I will get contracts, for how long, and at what rate.

… so I guess I should refer back to this post and remind myself to shelve all discussions of retirement until I am at least 50.

In the meantime, my only goals:

A) Grow my net worth yearly by at least $25,000 – $50,000 on average (depends on contracts)

Check for 2017. I’ll add about $100,000 to my net worth if I can stem the outflow of cash and rein myself in, spending-wise.

B) Chill out, I’m still young with plenty of years left to work

…which is what makes it very hard for me to rein in any kind of spending, I keep seeing my future as being open and my net worth makes huge jumps up every few years or so, as evidenced by this chart — you can see when I work and when I don’t — any peak means work, any valley means zero work.

If I project for the end of 2017 it looks like this, give or take:

Note: I projected it with my income, minus $4000 for spending per month (a generous safety net)

C) Keep expanding my skill set in my field as safety nets to stay in demand

Nice and flexible, that’s sort of the way I like it.

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