I recently left my job (8 weeks ago) because I could (yeah!). I’m 54 (now 55) and many people did ask me what was I going to do? Would I look for another job? Was a I retiring? Since I worked in a higher education setting I tried to give them answers they could relate to; I’m taking a gap year, I’m taking a sabbatical, I’m living off my savings until I run out (I won’t), it’s a mini-retirement. But they all wanted to know how I did it. There were several answers that they could understand without me being preachy. One answer: My fixed expenses are low. My house is paid for (7 years of sacrifice by me), my son’s college is paid for (thanks dad! for the college fund), my electric bill is low (only two people, 1200 sq ft house, line drying, efficient light bulbs, etc), water is bill is low (could be lower, but I do enjoy the luxury of the dishwasher), no cable bill, no internet bill (paid for by grown college son, thanks son!), low garbage service (every other week because we don’t generate much garbage), paid for cars, low insurance(old cars), low food bills (mostly vegan household). Some couldn’t relate but others could see the possibility, but all were fascinated. I wasn’t shy I gave them all my expense numbers (they did ask after all).
My second answer: With my bills so low I saved up a pile of cash. This they were astonished by. This total number I did not share, because I don’t want to make them feel bad. Because although I have advantages of living in a great bike commute city, with free city buses, great farmers markets, reasonable housing prices, etc, they do too and have not chosen the same path as me.
My third answer: Check out – Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, Dave Ramsey and Mr Money Mustache blog as I used all of the philosophies to get here.
The other thing they all wanted to know, and actually I think this is where some people are fearful, what are you going to do with your time? Even I didn’t know the answer to that question, but my standard reply was “I’m going to take 6 months to recover my soul”. They loved that answer, somehow that answer hit home with them.
Although it’s hard to talk about money, we should talk about it more. I think we FI’ers should talk about our choices, if for no other reason then to save our soul and those of our friends and family. (Soul is not used in a religious context, but a self context).