Our Next Life Part 1: Setting the Stage

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The upcoming series of posts were inspired by our blogger friends Our Next Life who themselves were inspired by another blogger, Steve, at Think Save Retire and they will provide some insight into our early retirement plans.  I think about leaving the workforce pretty much nonstop to the point where I can barely tolerate my current job at times.  It’s probably not even healthy and I should enjoy the ride a bit more in the meantime since we’ve still got a little ways to go.  I’m working on it.

This post will set the stage leading up to our impending retirements and the next post will discuss how we envision spending our next life after ditching the daily grind for good.  The third post will give a broad overview of how we plan to pay the bills once our steady paychecks are no more.

Before going further, I want to clarify our definition of early retirement.  For us, this will be a phase of roughly 15 years before full retirement where we no longer work 40+ hours per week or have our lives dictated by our jobs.  During this period, we will not be 100% financially independent, although we’ll have enough stashed away to live comfortably for many years without any income.  Instead, we will continue to work on a very part time basis earning only a fraction of our current salaries while gaining the time and freedom to do as we please.

Let’s start from the beginning.  I’ve always liked the idea of retiring at a relatively young age.  Early in our marriage, we both planned on making the military a career, sticking it out for 20 years and then living off our pensions beginning in our low to mid-40s.  This was still the plan until early last year.  For various reasons I decided to leave active duty, joined the reserves, and was hired into a corporate job.  Very quickly I realized it wasn’t for me and started scheming ways to get out while still providing for the family.  Shortly thereafter, we started this blog and through the writing process, our goals have really begun to come into focus.  The more we look at what we currently have, our potential part time and investment income, and the lifestyle we want to live, the more we realize we are closer to our early retirement than we ever could’ve imagined.

Here’s a look at how our FIRE plans have evolved over the last two years (as told from my point of view):

  • Pre-January 2014 – both of us stay on active duty for 20 years and retire when eligible in 2026 and 2028
  • Summer 2014 – Mrs. DTG will stay on active duty for 20 years while I work a corporate job full time and reserves part time, both retire in 2028 (ages 46 and 42)
  • Spring 2015 – I can’t deal with this corporate BS, hopefully I can make it six more years; Mrs. DTG can stick it out on active duty while I hang out in the reserves
  • Summer 2015 – okay, I think I can make it another two years in cubicle hell; after that, I’ll hold down the fort while my sugar momma brings home the bacon*
  • October 2015 – fuck it, I really don’t think either of us need to work full time for much longer; we can both be reservists and/or pull in some more cash with an occasional side gig and do whatever the hell we want the rest of the time

So that’s where we currently stand.  You can see our plans have really accelerated recently.  If I hadn’t already run the numbers and known I’d be giving up roughly $125K in employer 401(k) contributions by quitting before September 2016, I might be tempted to leave the corporate world today.  Alas, I don’t want to throw away that much free money so I’ll tough it out for a bit longer.  Plus, Mrs. DTG still has a 4.5 year service commitment after she graduates next year.  I can’t just leave her out to dry.

At that point (early 2021), she’d be nearly 13 years in.  Would it be foolish to leave the military only seven years away from a lifetime, inflation-adjusted pension worth roughly $45K/yr in today’s money?  Maybe, maybe not.   She could choose to finish out her time in the national guard or reserves, as I’m currently doing, and receive a pension for 20 good years of service beginning at age 60.  In our case, it would probably be the difference between living comfortably while working part time and not having to think about money again for the rest of our lives.  Right now, we are staying flexible and keeping all options open.

Personally, I’m hoping we can both quit working full time as soon as possible.  I’m pretty much set on March 2017 and if everything works out right, she won’t be far behind.

*For some reason, she did not like this line

15 thoughts on “Our Next Life Part 1: Setting the Stage

  1. Steve @ Think Save Retire says:

    Nice addition to the Our Next Life series! I also love your early retirement progression, and honestly, we went through a very similar line of thinking ourselves (though neither of us were in the military). Blogging does tend to clarify your goals in this business of giving corporate America the middle finger, doesn’t it?

    Originally, my goal was to retire before I reach 40 (I’m 34 right now), but that would require 6 additional years of working. Yeah, screw that. After months of doing a ton of reading, interacting with other like-minded people and blogs and, most importantly, working on our finances and early retirement lifestyle, we’ve moved that up significantly – to the end of next year when I’m 35. My wife will stay on for another two months because otherwise, she wouldn’t get social security because she wouldn’t have worked long enough!

    And that’s an interesting problem to have…no working long enough to receive social security, yet being financially independent enough to live out the rest of your life without a full time job.

    Good luck in your pursuits! March of 2017 will be one sweet month for you guys!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thanks for stopping by! The last four months of blogging have been a lot of fun and we’ve learned from everyone in this early retirement community. Having financial security or FU money really lowers one’s tolerance for corporate BS.

      How many people can say they had to work longer than they planned just to be eligible for social security! That’s awesome!

      Like

  2. mrsssc says:

    I’m sitting in my office right now as they are handing out layoff notifications and security is pacing the hallways… they’ve locked access to our data files, so we have nothing to do… I get what you mean about wanting to escape corporate hell 🙂 Honestly, ever since I got my husband on board with FIRE, it seems like every few months our date jumps sooner and sooner as we realize there are more ways to speed up the date or change our lifestyle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Wow, that is intense! I’m sure most people are sweating bullets.

      We’re in the same boat looking for easy ways to cut costs or make a little more on the side. A couple bonuses and 401(k) vesting are the biggest things keeping me in the grind!

      Like

  3. Maggie says:

    For those of us that are relatively new to this whole thing, I really think this should be an annual post. As Steve said, the more I write and the more I read, my plans change. It’ll be interesting to see how long any of us actually last! Awesome addition to the series (can’t wait for part 2)!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lisa says:

    As I have been reading your blog and others like it, my desire to do the same is increasing. It finally hit home the other day when our daughter, a recent college graduate, on her very first day of work (at a corporate job) said “This is it? This is what my life is from now on?” Unfortunately, yes. She is way ahead of us though by recognizing this right away and planning her future life differently. She just talked about doing a working holiday in Australia. Now for us, we need to do a lot of downsizing yet, and I am not totally averse to working, I just want to do it on my schedule, not theirs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Lisa, thanks for the comment. It must be a sobering feeling for your daughter to recognize it on her first day of work. On the bright side, she can adjust her goals and aspirations accordingly before she gets trapped. I’ve looked around my office many times and said nearly the same thing, “I can’t believe this is my life.”

      And similar to you, I don’t mind working at all. I just don’t have much interest in the stuff my employer wants me to do. I feel like I’d be better off doing side projects on my own.

      Like

  5. Jennifer // Simply + Fiercely says:

    “For us, this will be a phase of roughly 15 years before full retirement where we no longer work 40+ hours per week or have our lives dictated by our jobs. During this period, we will not be 100% financially independent, although we’ll have enough stashed away to live comfortably for many years without any income. ” This is my ‘rough’ plan as well. I quit my FT ‘career’ job back in June and I’ve been doing temp work since them, which is fantastic and I have the flexibility to work when I want. Of course, there is no guaranteed income, but I live a simple life and spend well below my means, so I have some wiggle room.

    It’s hard to say if it will work forever, but I’m happy to give it a good go and see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Like you, I think this lifestyle will work for us. We are working on simplifying our lives and hopefully these small steps will have a huge payoff. There are so many things to see during our short time here on earth and I can’t imagine spending the majority of the next 30 years stuck in an office working for someone else.

      Like

  6. our next life says:

    Thanks for the contribution to the series! I laughed out loud at your evolution from 10 years to “fuck it.” That’s pretty much been our path, too — once you get serious about retiring early, you find other ways to optimize budgets, or just start getting more and more willing to sacrifice things! We can relate. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Thanks and you too. Yeah, it has been a quick progression. All these thoughts and ideas have been building for years and we’re now coming to the realization that we can have everything we want without a full time career.

      Hope your work travels and house staining are going smoothly!

      Liked by 1 person

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