50 Year Old Goal: Simplify My Life
Gosh, I slept for 12 hours Friday night. I had a cold and went to bed at the same time as RB40Jr (8 pm) and didn’t get up until 8 am the next morning. I haven’t slept 12 hours for years. It’s too bad that I had to wait until I’m sick to catch up on my sleep. Life is still hectic even now that I don’t have a full-time job anymore. I usually work on the blog until midnight and get about 7 hours of sleep on average. I take one or two nights off a week and I use that time to catch up on my books and shows. I just finished the first season of Last Kingdom, a BBC historical drama based on Bernard Cornwell’s books (one of my favorite authors). If life was perfect, I’d have a little more leisure time and get 8 hours of sleep a night. Actually, life is much improved from just a few years ago. I did not have any leisure time at all when I was working full-time, blogging on the side, and being a dad to an infant. Anyway, time flies and I’ll be 50 before I know it. I need to simplify my life so I’d have more time for leisure and self-development before then.
*This post was originally written in 2016 when I was 43 years old. Now, I’m 48 and 50 is right around the corner. Ugh! Getting older is no fun. Updated in 2021.
Blogging takes up a significant chunk of my time. I spend about 4 hours every day working on Retire by 40. Writing, answering comments and emails, managing the blog, social media, and general goofing around on the internet all takes a lot of time. I enjoy blogging, but eventually, I’d like to spend less time on it. I’ll probably cut the posting frequency down to once a week at some point. It would probably be a good idea to hire out some of the less enjoyable tasks as well.
*2021 Work Update
Yes! I am spending way less time blogging than 5 years ago. These days I spend about 15 hours per week on Retire by 40. Each week, I write a new post and update an older post. (Like this one.) This amount of work is just about perfect for now. Writing two posts per week was tough.
Oh, I have another side hustle now – charging scooters. This side gig takes a lot of time, but it’s outdoor and I enjoy it. The time commitment is a bit strange because you can work whenever you want. In the summer, I spend 2-4 hours per day on this side gig. In the winter, the demand is lower and I work way less. Once it’s really cold, I plan to stop working until spring. Oh, this side gig probably will disappear soon because the next generation of scooters has swappable batteries. They won’t need chargers anymore. That’s alright. I’m ready to work less.
Most of our investments don’t require a lot of time so that’s great. The exception is the rental properties. Next week, I’ll need to schedule a tree trimming so the maple will stop dropping a ton of leaves and pollen on the roof. I’m constantly dealing with various issues and I want to minimize that by the time I’m 50. Here are our investments.
- Rental properties – I’ll have to get a good property manager or just sell them off.
- Stocks in taxable account – Most of the money in our taxable account are invested in long term dividend growth stocks. There are just a few stocks that I need to sell off and move the money into solid dividend stocks.
- P2P lending – P2P lending is mostly automated for me, but my auto-screening isn’t picking up enough new loans. I’m going to move this to a fully managed account and see how it goes.
- 401k and Roth – These are all invested in low cost index funds. We only need to check and rebalance once a year.
- Other P2P investments – I have about $1,000 at Kickfurther. Investors can fund small businesses and make a little money. This is like a hobby so I don’t mind spending a little time on the site. It’s interesting to see what kinds of products are being sold.
*2021 Investment Update
I made quite a few changes with our investments since 2016. They are more passive now and will be even less work by the time I’m 50.
- Rental properties – Now, we only have 1 rental condo and the duplex we live in. Next year, I’ll put the rental condo up for sale. After that we’ll only have one rental unit left. In a few years, we plan to take over both units in our duplex to increase our living space. We plan to travel more so I can’t be a landlord anymore.
- Real estate crowdfunding – We invested over $150,000 with CrowdStreet and it’s working out quite well. Real estate crowdfunding is a great way to generate passive income and diversify. It’s way less work than being a landlord. CrowdStreet has many commercial projects available for investing in. Check them out if you want to generate income from real estate and don’t want to be a landlord.
- Dividend stock – This part of our portfolio is doing well. 2020 and 2021 were tough years because some companies cut dividend payments. I’m optimistic our dividend income will increase once the pandemic is over.
- P2P lending and Kickfurther – I stopped investing in these. The reward isn’t worth the risk. Real estate crowdfunding is a much better way to invest because those projects are backed by real properties.
- Retirement accounts – We continue to contribute to our retirement accounts. They are all invested in low cost index funds.
RB40Jr is growing up fast. He still demands a lot of time, but he can play with his toys with less supervision now. Once he learns how to read, he’ll be able to spend more time exploring books. He already likes looking through the picture books that Mrs. RB40 brings home from the library. This fall, he will start full-time kindergarten (8 am to 2 pm.) That will give me a little more time to myself. I’m planning to exercise first thing in the morning and then go from there.
I’m not really sure what to expect 8 years from now. He’ll be 13 and I don’t know what kind of time commitment kids need at that age. When I was 13, I didn’t need much supervision at all. I read a lot and didn’t participate in team sports. My parents rarely had to drive me anywhere. Kids these days seem a lot busier. I guess we’ll see how it goes.
*2021 RB40Jr Update
My stay-at-home dad life changed significantly since 2016. Kindergarten was a huge turning point. RB40Jr spends a lot of time at school and I have a lot more personal time. Even when he’s home, he doesn’t need a lot of supervision anymore. (He’s 10 in 2021.) He plays video games, watches shows, and reads books. RB40Jr plays soccer and I’m the assistant coach for his team. This takes about 6 hours per week, but I’m glad to do it. Being a SAHD became much easier as RB40Jr grew older. It’s great.
Mrs. RB40 is very busy with work and errands, too. She plans to quit her job by 2020 and that will give us a little more time together. She has projects she wants to do so she will stay somewhat busy. I read that it’s not a good idea for couples to spend a lot more time together after retirement. A little more time together will be good for our relationship. We rarely do anything as a couple these days. The third wheel is always there.
*2021 Mrs. RB40 Update
Mrs. RB40 still enjoys her job. She works in a wildlife conservancy organization and she likes making the world a better place. She isn’t ready to quit yet. However, she is planning to take 6 months off next year. We’ll travel and spend time with families.
Oh, working from home has been quite good for our relationship. Now, we go out for a lunch date at least once per week. It’s been great.
Simplify My Life
Whew! I’m still quite busy in 2021. All in all, I have more personal time now, but life could still be simpler. I’ll be 50 very soon and I want to relax more. Once I sell our rental condo and stop working side gigs, life should be much easier. Although, now I think it’s good to be a bit busy after early retirement. I’ll be bored if I have too much time. A leisurely retirement can wait until I’m 55. Heh heh.
So what would I do if I have more time? All these can wait until after full retirement.
- Yoga, tai chi, and meditation – I haven’t practiced yoga and meditation for a few years and I miss it. Not yet…
- Spend more leisure time with the missus – We could go out more and explore the local sights. This part is good, thanks to working from home.
- Catch up on movies and books – I’m way behind on a ton of shows. This one is good too. I have more leisurely time now that RB40Jr is in school.
- Take some classes at the local community college – I would love to take a photography class. Not yet…
- Play music more often – This is always on my to do list, but I rarely do it. Not yet…
- Do some good in the local communities – You need to help others if you want to live a meaningful life. It seems I’m not this type of person…
- Start some new projects – I’ll only do this if I cut back more on blogging. A new project requires a lot of commitment.
- Maybe write a book – I don’t think I can do this. It’s too much work.
What would you do if you have more time? Are you trying to simplify your life too?
Image credit: CJ Johnson
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!
Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.