Can You Really Retire For 60 years?
Sometimes, I wonder if retiring by 40 is really sustainable. Can I really quit working full-time at 38 and sustain a comfortable retirement for 30 to 60 years? Mrs. RB40 is still working, but she plans to retire early at some point as well. Finance is a big consideration, but we also want to keep active, have fun, and enjoy life. Luckily, our net worth has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years and we’re doing well financially. Our son kept me very busy in the first five years of early retirement as a stay-at-home dad. These days, being a SAHD is much easier because he spends most of his time at school. I have more time to work on Retire by 40.
*Originally written in 2014. Updated in 2022.
Early retirement has been awesome over the last 10 years, but will it continue to be great in the long run? I have no idea. That’s why I was really glad to learn about Paul and Vicki Terhorst who retired at 35. They have been retired for 40 years and they are still enjoying life as perpetual travelers.
Paul and Vicki lived in Chiang Mai in 2014, but they have since moved on to Queretaro, Mexico. They have been nomadic travelers for years. I would love to do that, but Mrs. RB40 likes having a home to come back to. When she retires, I want to try living in different parts of the world for 6 months per year. Paul and Vicki started out living in Buenos Aires for half a year and traveling for the rest of the year. Eventually, they went for the full-time nomadic lifestyle. Maybe I can convince Mrs. RB40 to become a nomad at some point too. I’d love to explore different countries and learn more about their cultures. A quick 2-week visit is just too short.
Early Retirement Secrets
So what are their secrets to having a long happy retirement?
- Make sure you can handle it financially. I guess it’s up to you to define this, but here is a start – 3 Ways to Define Financial independence.
- It’s not for everybody. If you derive satisfaction from work and love your job, then you probably should continue to work.
- Decide what you’ll do with yourself. You need to have a general idea of what you’ll do with the extra time. For me, that’s being a dad and blogging (we’ll come back to this later). Some people want to travel like Paul and Vicki. Some want to find a creative outlet and work on artwork, craft, or just build things. It’s not enough to say you want to enjoy life. You need to have some specific ideas of what you’ll do.
- Communicate. If you have a spouse/partner, talk candidly about how much time you’ll spend together and how much apart. You also need to find out what your partner wants to do in retirement. I know we both want to travel more, but Mrs. RB40 wants to be productive. She’ll need to find something to do. Maybe she can get a part-time job or a volunteer position.
- Work a little bit. Paul stayed sharp by writing editorial pieces for Overseas Retirement Letter. He didn’t state this explicitly, but I think working a little bit is another secret to early retirement. It helps activate your brain and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Paul and Vicki visited over 80 countries over the last 40 years and they thoroughly enjoyed it. They are looking forward to having “vital, exciting lives for the next 30 years.” Their game plan: “When our bodies break down, we’ll deal with it.” They might have to settle down somewhere if their health worsens, but for now, they still enjoy traveling and being nomads. They figure they have about 10 years left on the road.
60 years of retirement?
Wow, they did it! Isn’t that an amazing story? They have been living the dream for almost 40 years. See, it is possible. Stories like this give me hope for the long term. Anyway, I’d like to share my plan for the next 30 years with you.
Joe’s ever-changing plan
SAHD phase (0-5 years after early retirement): Being a full-time SAHD and a part-time blogger. Also part-time stock investor and landlord. How did I ever hold down a full-time job?
RB40Jr’s School days (6 -15 years after ER): This is where I am right now. RB40Jr goes to school 5 days a week. I have more time to work on my blog and side hustles. In 2022, I stopped doing any side hustles because we traveled a lot more than usual. My mom has severe dementia and I’m trying to spend more time with her while I can.
Mrs. RB40 retires (2022 to 2029): I don’t see much change if Mrs. RB40 retires before RB40 junior goes off to college. We’ll probably stay in Portland until he finishes high school.
Empty nesters (2029 to 2043): I can’t wait! Life is good now, but I’d like to be able to travel more extensively. As mentioned previously, I’d like to spend 6 months traveling and then maybe 6 months at home, wherever that may be. Actually, we’d love to move to Santa Barbara. We went to college there and loved it.
Slowing down (2043 to ?): Paul’s plan sounds good. Travel before it’s too late. Once I’m 70, we’ll probably settle in one location and take it easy.
It’s tough to plan out 60 years. You never know what life is going to bring tomorrow. Anyway, we can see from this story that retiring for 60 years is possible. What do you think about my plan?
You can catch up with Paul and Vicki on their page.
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.
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