I recently turned 37 years old.
Had an awesome birthday.
Oh treated me to a burger, fries, and a Coke. She knows me too well!
While birthdays lost their luster years ago, I found this particular birthday to be an interesting milestone for one big reason.
It marks five years since I quit my job and made good on my promise to retire by 40!
I clocked out for good in May 2014, the day after turning 32 years old. Haven’t had a job since. If I had timed this a bit better, I would have quit a week earlier. Then I could have said I retired at 31. Ha!
Still, it’s a pretty crazy number. Retiring in your early 30s is kinda nuts.
Well, I thought this would be a great time to reflect on the last five years of “funemployment”.
Specifically, I want to share my five favorite things I’ve done over the five years since quitting my job.
Set Up My Customized Schedule/Routine
Setting up a structured routine that I absolutely love is probably my favorite aspect of FIRE thus far.
It’s so simple. But it adds so much value to my life.
The majority of FIRE’s power, in my experience, is in doing what you want, when you want, where you want, why you want, with whom you want. It’s the freedom. That autonomy is priceless.
Warren Buffett has called this phenomenon, “tap dancing to work”.
Being able to wake up around 10:30 or so (without the pleasure of an alarm clock) and then go about a day of my choosing is immensely beneficial to my quality of life. I can’t overstate this enough.
This customized lifestyle design has greatly helped me produce a ton of quality content, including my most recent best-selling book: 5 Steps To Retire In 5 Years.
In short, FIRE has given me the framework to live the exact life I want to live.
Became A Permanent Student
I’ve consumed so much content since quitting my job five years ago.
No, not news. I barely even watch TV.
Instead, I spend hours per day reading and watching various forms of information that add to my knowledge base.
Interviews with business luminaries, short documentaries, research papers, statistics, etc. I cannot get enough information.
Charlie Munger has noted that Warren Buffett’s ability to be a lifelong “learning machine” is one of Buffett’s greatest traits.
I view myself as a permanent student. However, I’m learning things that interest me, at my own pace. And I do it for free. It’s a far better experience than I ever had at any school.
Be it philosophy, economics, exercise physiology, psychology, or even space travel, I take genuine pleasure in expanding my mental boundaries. If I go to bed a little bit smarter than I woke up, I feel like that’s a good day.
Got Into The Best Shape Of My Life
Speaking of exercise physiology, I’ve used the gifts and opportunities of FIRE to get in the best shape of my life.
A lot of concepts that relate to and improve financial fitness translate very well to physical fitness.
Throughout this years-long process of learning and growing, I’ve come to realize that being in great physical shape confers numerous benefits across the rest of one’s life. And those benefits feed back into one’s physical condition. It’s circular.
It’s nice to have a high net worth and a lot of passive income rolling in. But health is real wealth. Being rich in money doesn’t matter very much if you’re poor in health.
Although I could at any time come down with some kind of debilitating health issue unrelated to how I go about taking care of myself, I feel good about my odds as they relate to living a long life with a high quality of life.
I’ve honestly never felt or looked better than I do right now. And it’s largely thanks to FIRE, for it’s given me the time and space necessary to explore what works and apply it.
Moved Abroad To Thailand
Financial independence unlocks geographic independence.
And I’ve used this location freedom to my advantage by indefinitely moving abroad to Thailand.
This has been one of the most prodigious changes I’ve made in my life. I rank the decision to move abroad as right up there with the decision to chase after financial independence.
What can I say about this?
I don’t want to come across with too much hubris here, but I’m honestly living the life of my dreams. It feels unreal at times. Because I’ve struggled so much, for most of my life, it’s often difficult for me to accept this as my reality.
My first year abroad goes down as the best year of my life.
I’m just so thankful that I have the opportunity to live anywhere in the world. That level of freedom is incredible. And I hope I can continue to live in Thailand for many years to come. It’s such a fun place.
Met New/Interesting People From All Over The World
This kind of goes hand in hand with moving/living abroad.
Since relocating to Chiang Mai, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many interesting people from all corners of the globe.
Sure, Chiang Mai isn’t some kind of “mecca” for successful entrepreneurs.
But it is a crossroads of sorts, where you almost can’t throw a rock without hitting someone with an interesting story of some kind.
We’re all just trying to make our way through this world. Life is short. And I find myself inspired by unique people taking unique approaches.
Plus, I’ve been humbled to meet so many of you readers making your way through the city. I can’t believe how many people I’ve met since moving here. I only met, maybe, five readers during my entire time of living in Florida. But I’ve met dozens of people since moving to Thailand. I would have never thought I’d have to move halfway across the world to meet like-minded people.
Also, there are obviously the Thai people. I’ve had a fantastic time getting to know the Thai culture quite a bit more. The food, the people, the way of life. It’s so intriguing to me.
Lastly, I count myself lucky to be in a great relationship with a wonderful Thai woman. Oh and I have a level of mutual respect for one another that I wasn’t able to produce in the West. I simply find the dynamics between males and females here much more healthy and enjoyable than what’s currently available in the USA.
It’s crazy how fast time flies by.
Five years since quitting my job. Almost feels like yesterday.
At the same time, though, it feels like a long time ago in terms of who I was back then compared to who I am today.
I had some big dreams when I started down the path to FIRE.
Well, looking back on the last five years, I feel great about what I’ve done thus far.
If I didn’t make the most of this opportunity, I’d be disappointed in myself. But I do think I’ve been a pretty good steward of capital, time, and opportunity. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But pretty good.
Setting up a productive routine that allows me to create and consume content, getting into the best physical and mental shape of my life, moving abroad, and developing new relationships with unique and wonderful people. It’s all gone a long way toward making me the happiest I’ve ever been.
If FIRE isn’t about being the happiest and best version of yourself, with the highest quality of life you can attain, then I’m not sure what the point is.
When I think about what I’m most proud of and excited about, these five things come to mind pretty quickly.
And I think it all sets me up to excel over the next five years!
What about you? Have you already quit your job? What are you most proud of an excited about since doing so? If you haven’t quit your job yet, what are you most looking forward to with that available time?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: NBCUniversal.
P.S. If you’d like to achieve financial independence and quit your job at a very early age, check out some awesome tools and services I personally used on my way to becoming financially free at 33!