A blog about financial independence and early retirement.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Hi, As of July 2016 I have retired early after a 20 year career in computer engineering and while still in my early
40s. Of course, early retirement is not something that I just plunged into
overnight. I had to meticulously plan it over the course of several years
before I was ready to hand over my resignation.
My journey to early retirement first started as a journey towards financial independence rather than retirement. I liked my job as a computer engineer and I still have passion for it. However, I knew one day I will get tired of working for somebody else and would want freedom to explore other interesting and meaningful things in life. And this is exactly what happened. As I entered my 40s, I started to get tired of the corporate culture and all the overhead and constrains that comes with it. For the last 17 years, I worked for one of the largest and well known computer chip maker 'Intel'. Sure, paycheck was great along with bonuses and stock options as I was a Sr. Staff Level Engineer. But having freedom and urge to work on something meaningful started to become more important than financial incentives. Besides, the job was getting less and less meaningful by the day. While still in my early 40s, I started to think about leaving my job and career. About the same time, the company decided to do a massive layoff. Thousands of long term employees were impacted. I was not effected by the layoff, but given that I was financially independent and could retire early, I decided that it was time for me to free myself from the golden shackles of the corporate world.
It's been only a couple of weeks since I left my job, but I feel like a new person already. I have near zero stress and spend my days working on projects that are meaningful and fun to me, and the best part is I don't have to answer to anyone, or go to boring meetings, or write status reports. I am essentially working for myself doing whatever makes me happy. I have a passion
for personal finance and investing; therefore, I spend most of my days working on investment related projects which include researching companies for current and future investments. Since I don’t have a regular
paycheck anymore, my main source of income will be my investment portfolio in the
form of dividends and occasional capital gains. We have plenty of savings and my wife still works; therefore, we don't really need to use our investment income yet. My plan is to continue to re-invest all our investment income and keep growing the portfolio. We would start using our investment income when my wife decides to retire in couple of years.
Both my wife and I are very frugal and we have been that way for a long time which has allowed us to continue to save big portion of our income while investing for future. All these years, we have managed to live well below our means and without any consumer debt. We don't own any luxury items. We both drive old regular cars. My Toyota Camry is 17 years old with almost 250K miles on it and it is still running strong and my wife drives a 2008 Honda Fit which is by far the cheapest Honda one can buy new. We bought both cars with cash from our savings. Taking a loan to buy a new or more expensive car never occurred to us. Our only debt was our mortgage which we payed off two years ago. Since then our already low expenses have further dropped, and we can sustain our lifestyle quite comfortably without my six figure engineering paycheck and without making any changes to our lifestyle. Despite our frugal lifestyle, we don't feel deprived of anything. We live a good and comfortable life, we occasionally dine out with friends and go out to watch shows quite regularly. We do like to travel and have traveled extensively within the US (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, and Japan.
As for the future, my wife is also considering retiring early - likely within the next 5 years. We don’t have any kids which does make the goal of achieving early retirement for both of us a bit easier. However, we need to continue to live frugally and continue to invest and grow our passive income so that in few years we both can enjoy retirement and do things we love.
Are you thinking about early retirement or becoming financially independent? Feel free to share your thoughts. Mr. ATM (All Things Money)