Are You Living Your Ideal Life?

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Recently, I got a suggestion from a long-time reader. Here is part of her comment on the controversial FatFIRE Is Boring blog post.

You might want to revisit your plans for when Jr goes to college. You could start living your ideal life now. Unless, of course, you have intentionally decided to wait for whatever reason.

That’s a great suggestion. You don’t wait until retirement to be happy. You need to enjoy the journey. Ideal life is funny, though. It changes as you go through different stages of life. What is ideal now probably won’t be in 15 years.

The suggestion made me think more about what my ideal life would be. That’s a fun exercise, right? Everyone needs to dream a little. However, it turns out my ideal life is very different from my current life.

Life is good now, but it’s far from ideal. I have a lot of plans after RB40Jr goes off to college. We’ll have less responsibility and we can transition to full retirement.

Ideal Life 2030

Here is what my ideal life would look like in 2030.

  • Travel. I want to travel at least 6 months per year. There are so many places we want to visit and time is running short. I’m 50 this year and I don’t want to travel much when I’m over 70. So that’s only 20 years left for extensive travel.  
  • Mrs. RB40 retires. She plans to retire when RB40Jr goes to college. Currently, she is enjoying her work so there is no hurry to retire yet. She is interested in getting a PhD in Psychology, but I’m not sure how compatible it is with the rest of my plan. There should be a good online PhD program somewhere. That might work.
  • Move to California. Mrs. RB40’s parents are getting older and they’ll need more assistance soon. She wants to be within driving distance just in case.
  • Water sports. I enjoy kayaking and paddling on a SUP. Hopefully, our next home will be near a lake or the ocean. It needs to be warm enough to enjoy water sports year-round as well. There are lots of places to paddle near Portland, but it is cold and rainy most of the year here.
  • Live in Thailand for a bit. My dad is also getting older and probably will need more help in 6 years. He is building a house in Bang Saen, a beach town near Bangkok. Seafood is very cheap there and the beach is only a quarter of a mile away. I plan to live in Thailand for half of the year after 2030.
  • Work less and try new hobbies. Surprisingly, I haven’t taken up any new hobbies since I retired from my engineering career in 2012. I’ve been too busy with being a dad and working various side hustles. Once RB40Jr goes off to college, I’ll transition into full retirement. I’m not sure what hobby I’d like to try, though. Maybe I can take up pottery or something like that.
  • Volunteer. I’ll figure this out later.

As you can see, almost everything here is contingent on RB40Jr moving out. We’ll stay in Portland for now because RB40Jr doesn’t deal well with changes. He likes Portland and his friends here. Mrs. RB40 also enjoys her job here. Actually, it will all line up pretty well. By 2030, we’ll be able to use the rule of 55 to access our 401k. That’ll make it easy to fund our travel and hobbies.

Meanwhile, we could travel a bit more. Mrs. RB40 has 5 weeks of vacation per year and RB40Jr has summer and spring break. Next year, we’ll try taking more international trips. Usually, we travel abroad once per year. Taking more trips will be expensive, but I’m ready to splurge a bit. It’s probably a good time to update our early retirement withdrawal strategy.  

Ideal Life Today

My 2030 ideal life is very different than my life today. But we’ll be in a different stage of life then. At this point, we have a child living at home. My current life is almost ideal for this stage.

When I was an engineer, I was stressed out and unhappy. I quit so I could spend more time with our son. It worked out very well and life is great today. I work a bit, cook, take my son to various activities, repair the house, and deal with the rentals. I’m busy, but I’m not stressed out. It doesn’t get better than this at this stage of life. We’ll look back on this period fondly someday.

My conclusion is the ideal life will change as you go through different stages of life. It’s good to dream about the future, but you need to be happy today as well.

What about you? Are you living your ideal life? What would that look like?

Image credit: Eran Menashri

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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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