There, I said it! The words no one planning busily for early retirement wants to think, let alone say out loud (or write on a page). “What’s she thinking?” I hear you say. In planning for financial independence and early retirement Mr. and Mrs. PIE have got it all together. They have their finances set, a date in mind and the kids will be alright.
But don’t we all have doubts now and then?
Be honest now. Have you ever wondered, even very briefly, if you’re doing the right thing? Do the ‘what if’s’ creep up on you occasionally? Is it hard to imagine the changes and directions your life will take?
I’m not about to shoot down everything we’ve been planning for. Not by any means. I believe we really have got it all together (well, a good chunk of it at least). I just wanted to put a voice to the occasional nag in the back of the mind. Give it a little air time. Dust it off and see what it has to say. That way the little nag won’t become a big one – or creep up on us unannounced at a later date.
So let’s go, let’s list those reasons and see if we can rationalize them
It will be hard to let go of all we have here
We’ve lived in our house for nearly 17 years now. It’s the first house Mr. PIE and I bought together, not long after we’d taken the big plunge and moved to the US. We’ve done a lot of work on it, upgraded, furnished and decorated as we want. We’ve had two kids here and there are a lot of memories tied up in this place. It’s home. It absolutely will be sad to sell our home and most of its contents and move on. There’s no doubt about it.
Is that enough to make us chicken out? Let me answer that by telling you how much we love our mountain home that we will move to. How perfectly it is located and how beautiful the views are. How the kids love climbing trees and running about the yard. We furnished it from scratch, it was a blank canvas and we love what we’ve done with it.
There is no way either Mr. PIE or I can imagine spending our early financial independence years still living in the ‘burbs. There’s no benefit to living here beyond its location for commuting to our respective jobs. Yes, it will be bitter sweet to say goodbye to our first home, but even sweeter to move permanently to the mountains.
Letting go of work
This goes beyond letting go of the routine of work that we’ve been getting up in the morning and doing for a combined total of over 40 years. Work has the benefit of making you feel useful. That you’re contributing to society. Mr PIE and I have been in pharmaceutical research for the whole of our careers. I have to admit, there is something satisfying in knowing you’re doing important research into developing new medications for patients. Even after a bad day I can remind myself of that and feel (marginally) better. The nag at the back of the mind likes to ask what it will be like to no longer get paid for doing something useful. Proving your worth by earning money in exchange for your expertise.
Does the chicken get a look in on this one? The answer might come in the form of some plans I have for a volunteer / side hustle opportunity. I’ve been volunteering for two years now at a local middle school, helping out by teaching some chemistry classes once a month or so. I have every intention of continuing to do this and even to grow my teaching experience. I’ll get to use my field of expertise doing something I have found that I love. It may even have the potential to turn into a paid gig if necessary. Big change? Absolutely! Nerve wracking? Yup! Getting to do something just because I like doing it? See ya chicken!
Letting go of the pay checks
This isn’t about the comfort of having a regular paycheck. I fully trust in our savings and planning to replace that. This is the big ‘what if’. What if something unforeseen goes wrong (insert natural disaster, war, disease, financial ruin). The big nag at the back of the mind here is that Mr. PIE and I will have physically removed ourselves from a location where we can return to our current careers. Short of building a lab in the basement Breaking Bad style, I will have physically removed myself from the option of doing the type of work I do now. There’s no going back to what I know.
Shooing away the ‘chicken of doom’ here is a little harder. This is the kind of thing that makes you question if the whole thing is just a hair brained scheme. The ‘what ifs’ could keep you up all night if you let them. It’s all about not letting them.
The ‘what ifs’ are based on the fear of the unknown, and that’s fair enough. After earning a living for many years doing the one thing I learned to do at university, figuring out what else I can do to earn a living is hard work.
The rational mind that is not afraid of the unknown knows that both Mr. PIE and I have the flexibility and the smarts to apply ourselves to pretty much anything. It also knows that getting a good view into the future from our current vantage point is always going to be difficult. The rational mind knows that you have to take the leap to understand what the future will look like. It takes some confidence in your own abilities, and not letting a nag settle into your mind in the wee small hours!
Will we chicken out?
No, nope, not on your life, no, no, no!
I think that’s clear?!
I hope what I’ve done here is aired out some of the uncertainties that probably sit at the back of our minds a lot of the time. There are others of course, most pretty small and not even worthy of a paragraph! Any big life change will come with doubts, and it would be crazy to pretend that they are not there. We just need to make sure our rational mind is engaged to deal with them.