Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 5, 2011
This is a guest post by Martin, who is preparing for retirement within the next 5 years; no later than his 40th birthday. He is married, has 2 young children and lives and works in rural Alberta as a regional finance manager for a large energy company.
Relative to those around me, I’ve lead an unconventional life.
It started out common enough. I grew up in a rural middle class upbringing, uneventful yet memorable at the same time. Perhaps time has softened my perception of it a bit, but I have no complaints. Like most small town teenagers, the desire to break out took hold of me; carrying me off to university, arming me with commerce degree.
Following the path of so many others at the time, I migrated to Calgary and began my career, but not before stretching my boundaries during a half-year backpacking adventure overseas (again, not overly unconventional). Like every other young college grad in the downtown towers, I worked hard trying to learn the rules of the corporate world and unlock the path up the ladder.
It was during these first few years when disillusionment started to creep in. It was a combination of many things about the big city and the corporate world that seemed misaligned with my personality, beliefs and values. I was slowly realizing that doing things the conventional way was not going to lead me to ultimate happiness. Not knowing how to change the scene I was in, I continued on.
I’ve struggled for a long time to characterize what happened next. I hate to call it luck as it implies that I had nothing to do with it, but it was more luck than anything else. I received an unsolicited offer from a former colleague to work overseas in the Middle East (on a rotational basis; one month working followed by one month off). It couldn’t have come at a better time and it thrust me headfirst into the unconventional.
Over the next four years, my wife quit her job, we moved out of the city, simplified our life, travelled the world and reacquired a sense of purpose. This re-grounding lead us to having children and settling back into a more conventional rural life in the foothills of Alberta’s Rockies where we live and work today.
Through a combination of good earnings, fortunate real estate decisions and valuable stock options, we always knew we were well ahead in the game. Along with our very modest lifestyle and retirement plans, we knew that early retirement was on our horizon, just not as close as we are planning for now. The tipping point came a year ago while I was enjoying a leave of absence after the birth of our second child. I decided it was time to engage the idea of early early retirement, and begin searching for sources outside of the rhetoric of the mainstream. I found that blogs such as this offered the most honest and genuine perspective on the topic. I dove in and became much more informed on the process involved in unconventional retirement planning and became energized and focused.
As our plans stand right now, we are within 5 years from early early retirement. Five years out would put us at 39 years old with our kids being 8 and 6. The items I’m currently working at are expense analysis, quantifying the cost of kids and their effect on our cash flow and hobby/interest development.
My job and career will not allow me to ease into retirement by going part-time. I am going to go from dedicating 55-60 hrs a week (include commute time) to my employer to gifting that same time and more to my family, friends, community and myself. I’m not foolish enough to think that it will be a seamless transition. One of the activities that I would like to get back into is writing, starting with guest posting. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts from my own journey. Hopefully, I can inspire others out there as I have been inspired.