Category Archives: Retirement

Going Dark: The Post FIRE Disappearing Blogger

“Are you going to keep writing your blog after you quit?”

“I was planning to do a few posts afterwards, so yes.”

“But I don’t want you to disappear like so many other FIRE bloggers.”

Ah, yes, the post FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) disappearing blogger case.  For those of you that read a number of FIRE blogs you have likely noticed a bit of trend with them.  They write like clockwork until they hit early retirement and then after perhaps ten posts or less they vanish without a trace into the voids of the internet.

Some examples that I recall and miss include:

https://livingafi.com/

http://www.bravenewlife.com/

http://lackingambition.com/

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

And there are many more examples so if you have any in particular you miss feel free to share in the comments.

So what the hell happens after everyone retires early?  Well in short I would guess the original reason for the blog is basically dead.  After all most of these blogs focused on the journey to FIRE so after getting there they write a few post cards from the other side and eventually just stop writing.

Also I suspect there is the other side of the issue.  After getting ER they go do other things with their lives  such as learning new hobbies and developing new passions about life.  Then eventually they realize they want to spend more time on those things and they drop old things that no longer interest them (like their old FIRE blog).

And finally I suspect another leading cause of leaving their blogs behind is they feel they have nothing else to add.  They saved, they invested, they taught you how to do it and they told you about the ER life…so after that anything else they would say would largely be repeating themselves.   After all, how many times can you say “yep, still retired and life is good”? I understand this problem well as I know I have repeated myself on this blog in the last decade, but honestly I just stopped caring if I did that a few years back.  Hell, I even got over contradicting myself as my views changed over the years.

Yet here is the most important thing for people to understand, it is natural to lose interest in something.  Most blogs do in fact have a life cycle: they are born by a strong passion for a topic, the blogger learns more about the topic and cross links to others, they may even get a bit respect in the community and their life goes some other way and they lose interest and stop writing.  Hell this is so common place there is reason why most bloggers burnout and stop within the first three months or 100 days.

It take effort to collect new ideas, draft a post, edit the post (I suck at that stage), add the links and respond to comments and you are mostly doing it out of pure interest in the topic (since most bloggers make VERY little on their blogs…me included, but that is another post).

So will I go dark after I retire early?  Potentially yes but I honestly don’t know.  On the one hand, I am really attached to this little blog after all these years, but on the other hand I don’t just keep something just because it is old.  I suppose it depends if my other interests in my post ER life take over or not.  I will say that I plan on to keep posting for at least the first full year afterwards to document my transition.  Since I plan on writing a second book on the actual transition to retirement so I likely won’t lose interest in this blog for a while.

So what FIRE blogs do you miss? Or how do you keep interested in a given topic?

The Detox Rules

Detox. Now there is word with a lot of different meanings.  For a drug addict it means a lot of pain to give up their drug of choice.  For the health nut it means cleaning out the toxins from your body.  Then for the early retiree, detox means getting all those side effects related to your job out of your system.

If you read enough blogs and forums on early retirement the detox phase is typically the three to twelve months after you initially leave work where you adjust to your new life of freedom from your old work life.  The theory is your work life has usually left in with an excess amount of built up stress in your life and you need to learn how to relax again so you can find out who you really are before turning to building a new life without work.

In my case, I’m a bit different since I’ve been reducing my stress at work for years already with staying out of upper management jobs and keeping very clear boundaries between my work and home lives.   I already spend most of my weekend not even thinking about work so I would say I have a health distance to it.  Also I’ve been asking myself the question: who am I, for years now.  So I’m fairly familiar with myself.  I know what I like, what I don’t like and what I just don’t care about. So in short I don’t expect a very long detox period for myself.  In fact, I’m only planning on giving myself around three months or so as my detox period.

Yes, I know that is short, but like I mentioned I don’t expect I will have as much as an adjustment as some others.  Yet to be fair I’ve developed some rough ‘rules’ to help guide me to my new found freedom.

  1. No Long Term Commitments – This might be obvious but let’s state it for the record.  I will not get a fun job or commit to a multiple year term as a volunteer for my detox period.  This does not prevent me from doing fun things, but I should avoid adding to my life until I work out my post work looks like.
  2. Leave the House Once a Week – This might seem odd until you realize I could very easily become a hermit and never leave my house for weeks on end.  Give me a stack of books, Netflix and a pile of computer games and I might not go anywhere for a month.  So to avoid that fate and to give my wife some time of her own I plan to do something outside the house at least once a week.  It may be just writing in a coffee shop for a few hours or seeing a movie by myself, but the point is to see the world outside my house.
  3. I Don’t Have to Be Productive – This one is going to be a bit hard for me to adjust.  I’m a ‘to do list’ type person so learning not to be productive every second of every day is going to be difficult.  For example, I can manage about three hours on a beach before I feel the need to do something else.   So to meet in the middle on this I’m going to do something every day, but that something could be a quick a five minute task like paying my Visa bill.  That way my mind thinks I’ve been productive if it is was only in a tiny way.  The point is to learn how to take a day or two off and realize the world won’t end if I am relaxing for a while.

Then I have one last item on my list.  After my initial detox period I plan to review how things are going.  How do I feel about my new life?  What do I want to do more of?  What do I want to do less of?  And of course, I will give myself permission to extend the detox period if I want.  The point is to get used to my new found life of freedom until I feel like I want to go explore the world again and get involved in new things.

So follow early retirees, how long was your detox period?  Did you have any ‘rules’ for that period? What did you enjoy most about your detox?  And for everyone else, any other suggestions or insights into the detox  period that you have read about and want to share?

I Don’t Want to Think About It

It may come off as bit self serving but I’ve been somewhat avoiding  my own blog lately.  Why?  Because honestly I’m trying not to think too much about how close I am getting to the end of my early retirement goal.

You see my current tactic is to keep busy so that the time flies by and before I realize it another month has past and I’m even closer to the end.  Oddly, this tactic  seems to be working for me.  I’m keeping myself occupied at work, my chores list at home is longer than I would like and don’t even get me started on how long my Netflix queue is right now.

The other reason I’m being cautious here is frankly I can be a wee bit obsessive about early retirement (as if you can’t tell by over 10 years of blog posts).  So when I do start thinking about early retirement in depth I can can so consumed that I almost cease to think about much of anything else for hours.  This of course then get me dreaming of my post work life and then I get a surge of disgust of having to go back to work then next day which then leads me to being distracted at work.  After all, it is hard to do good work when your motivation died and is buried out back.

On the pure math target I’m about 99% of the way there so it really isn’t particularly healthy to start counting down by 0.1% segments.  I suppose I could but it seem sort of silly.  Also I’ve also figured out that I’m not that good at countdowns.  I actually find them more demotivating than motivating for myself.

What I am working on is trying to guess on some of the emotional impacts I may feel going through this process of leaving work later this year and prepare for them.  Yet with that I’ve come to the conclusion isn’t that useful since I don’t know what I don’t know.  I think that this level of change is really beyond the average person’s ability to predict your reaction to, so the only way to really know how it feels like to early retire is to in fact do it.  Hence I’ve been spinning my wheels on some draft posts.

So that is lead me overall to avoiding this blog and of course that means less posts recently.  Yes, it does suck for you dear reader, but on the upside I am building up a nice list of items to talk about in future posts.  You you have a bit of drought now but you likely will have a bit of a flood later on this year.

So how do you deal with being close to the end of a big goal?  Any other tactics that work for you?