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There’s Much More to FIRE Than Frugality
There’s a lot of chatter about the FIRE movement. Chris Mamula, who retired at 41, joins us to discuss his journey to early retirement, the upsides and the challenges of FIRE, why the transition can be challenging, and his advice on what it takes to retire early with the FIRE Movement.
Follow Chris at Can I Retire Yet?
Chris’ article in MarketWatch:
This first year of early retirement has been one of the hardest of my life
On The Transition to Early Retirement
“Like a lot of people planning for retirement, I think I kind of had this vision in my head like I was going to have total freedom and that was really appealing to me. And what I’ve really found in this first year is that I really desire some routine and some structure. I think when every day is like a Saturday, that sounds really appealing when you’re working 40, 50, 60 hours a week from Monday through Friday. But even when I was in my career, what I found was I would get up every morning at like 5:00. I would do my workout, I would shower, I would write for about an hour all before I went to work, and that forced structure caused me to get things done.
A lot of times when I was working, on my Saturdays, I would find my days would just blow by and I wouldn’t do anything productive, and that’s kind of what I found myself doing some of these days. You feel like you’re going to have so much free time, and it just gets filled. And if you’re not very intentional about how it gets filled, you find your days can start wasting away. I actually like structure, and I’m trying to implement that in my life now. We don’t have a set routine yet. We keep modifying things with the move and with the change in seasons and with having a young child, but I’m trying to find that structure and that routine.”
“I think you read a lot as you start to get into retirement planning that you shouldn’t retire from something, you should retire to something, and I think that’s great advice. Because I think in my career as a physical therapist I got to witness people longitudinally. People would come in and then they’d come back years later with a different problem, and I had a particular physician who I became friendly with, and I got to know him fairly well as a patient. He came back years later with a different problem after he retired, and he was always a really jovial, happy guy. And I asked him, “I assume you’re loving retirement?” He said, “Oh, I hate it.” I said, “Well, why?” And he said … he just felt like he lost his purpose, and he said, “The only thing I like to do now … I don’t have anything to do, so go work out five, six hours a day,” and he ends up tearing his rotator cuff, which is why he’s coming to see me because he was over-working out. Now he was really depressed because he lost that. So, I think a lot of people don’t really think … and I think I was this way … with much thought as I put into this. I’ve been writing about this for five years, I don’t think I put enough thought into what it was going to look like. I think we tend to really focus on the financial side, and kind of underestimate the quote, unquote, “Softer side,” of this, but it’s very important, and a lot of people struggle with that.”
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