Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In Need of a Break

I used to love summer breaks. There's something magical that happens when you wake up without an alarm clock and don't know what day of the week it is. Being able to do anything on nothing more than a whim is extremely freeing. The last time I had an extended break was over 4 years ago!

That last break lasted a month when I was between jobs. It was good, but happened during the cold months of the year and all of my friends (and future wife) had to work. I ended up playing lots of video games.

My last true summer break was right after my last semester of college before I got a job that September. It was the best summer of my life! I would take 25-30 mile bike rides every day, golf, fish, and take on fun projects like building a stone wall for my parents and renovating rooms in my parents house. My wife and I still rave about that wonderful summer together. I think the fun times we had helped cement the foundation of our relationship even today.

I'm getting to the point where I feel like I need another extended break. Part of the issue is that my wife is a teacher and has summers off. I've noticed that the past few summers are when I most feel the need for a break. It's hard to go to bed early while she stays up late and have to wake up early while she sleeps. Plus, returning after a day in the office while she can enjoy the outdoors adds to the jealousy. Teachers have a pretty decent balance of work and time off. I'm a product of the school system where we work hard for 9 months and get 3 months to decompress. A full 12 month work schedule isn't how most Americans were raised/programmed.

I also think part of the issue is being somewhat close to financial independence. I will earn over $16,000 in dividends this year. Add in the cash in my account and I'm roughly 2/3 of the way to covering my "stay alive" expenses and approaching full FIRE income levels at a 4% withdrawal rate in just a handful of years.

I'm not sure how close to full FIRE I'll get when it's all said and done. I'm all for making some decent income in semi-retirement, just with extremely flexible hours/terms. With that as my base case scenario, why wait until full FIRE? Why not have enough passive income to cover base expenses and use earned income for luxuries? It would pull forward FIRE materially and increase quality of life meaningfully. Or perhaps it's better to stick it out that extra couple years to full FIRE and still be able to use earned income for even more luxury? Tough decisions...


  1. My last great summer was 10 years ago, just after the last year of school, and before flying abroad to my next adventure.
    I literally had 5 full months of vacation, and it was awesome.

    1. Isn't it an amazing feeling that you can't wait to get back? That's why early retirement is so important to me - to reclaim that feeling of freedom to do whatever whenever.