Getting Older and Closer to Financial Independence

So I have a spring birthday and I have managed to get a year closer to my goal of free at 45 which got my thinking about how much progress I’ve made toward financial independence.  In a world that too often sends a lot of time on numbers as measures of progress I thought I would point out the other side of the coin: what am I going to do with all of that extra time?

I personally have tried to ensure I have a well rounded set of interests to support a meaningful life when I leave the world of full time work.  As such here are a few things that I will continue to build capacity in:

  1. Volunteering.  I have to admit after doing the school board trustee job for a while I rather like doing some  meaningful work in my life.  I can see helping out in various organizations as I have the time and using my skills to support the work they do (I’ll have to shop around and find out who’s work I like the best).
  2. Reading.  I continue to read a lot regardless of how busy I become.  I also try to keep expanding my sphere of interest by trying new topics.
  3. Gardening.  I’m not a good gardener, but I keep trying to get better at it as I learn more from others and library books.
  4. Writing.  Beyond keeping working on this blog I’m going to try to working on a couple of manuscripts that I have going.  I will also expand into the publishing side a bit by trying to self publish at least one book.
  5. Physical activity.  Including yoga, roller blading and I’m thinking about buying a bike (I haven’t owned one for years) since my oldest has now learned to ride a bike.
  6. Wine Making.  An old hobby of my that I could easily spend more time doing in the future.
  7. Building Things.  I enjoy fixing things and in the next couple of years a couple of family members will be building new cottages so I intend to help out and expand my skill sets in construction, electrical and plumbing. I’m also thinking about doing a furniture project as I can’t find a new desk that I like.
  8. Politics.  I’ve also been a bit of political junkie so I might spend more time supporting a party or running for a different office in the future.  The other side of the coin would be to do more on the activist side for a particular cause.
  9. Family and friends.  I could easily spend more time keeping in better contact with people.  This is one of my week spots at the moment as time has been tight lately.

Of course this isn’t every I could do, but rather some ideas for building capacity in various interests.  Over all I’m not even worried about filling my time.  I think at least on that side of the coin I’m ready for early retirement when I get there.  So do you try to expand your interests and try new things?  If so what have you tried lately?

3 thoughts on “Getting Older and Closer to Financial Independence”

  1. I think you’re on the right track Tim. Try lots of stuff out and run with what you have to tear yourself away from.

    It’s definitely working for me.

    I think there’s some benefit to a bit of pre-planning, but an emphasis on preparedness (cash) is more important than planning.

    I’ve found, as with so many things, that getting involved with things just because I enjoyed the process opened up so many doors for me, people I’ve met and opportunities that have come along – that I could never have conceived of before I (semi) retired. I’m glad I didn’t plan things out in detail and try to make myself stick to them.

    Oh – and w.r.t. the bike – I’d recommend a ‘comfort’ bike – you can’t go very fast anyway if you’re riding with the kid and they’re a blast to ride. 🙂

  2. You don’t have to fully retire to be able to do at least some of the things on your list. When I switched to working part-time in the summer of 2001, I already had two things in the hopper, ready to start.

    One was my volunteer work with the local school Scrabble program. I had saved a flyer I had received earlier in 2001 because I knew my work schedule was gong to change before the next school year would start that September. After clearing some simple administrative hurdles, I was in.

    The other was resurrecting an old dance hobby (advanced square dancing) I had been unable to do in the evening (too tired after work) since the late 1980s. I was able to find the local square dance caller and a description of the calls to see if I still recalled them well enough to not have to relearn them. [I also dabbled in becoming a caller but did not like it so I adandoned that.]

    I increased my personal reading, having bought more books and taken many others out of the library.

    I have become more involved with my co-op apartment complex’s Board of Directors. I am not on the Board (too many headaches) but I do some volunteer work for them so they like me and trust me and listen to my suggestions (and often but not always follow them).

    Now fully retired, I have been able to expand on all of these things over the years.

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