I Survived 3 Months of Early Retirement :)

As of today, I have survived 3 months of early retirement, Yay!!!

Yes, it's been full three months since I left my job and engineering career at Intel to retire early. Also, I am not shedding any tears as it was more of an accomplishment for me to leave Intel on my own terms and after 17-years of service.

Household Chores
One of my new jobs is a house husband in training. It is actually quite an easy job as we don't have any kids, so there is not a whole lot of chores for me to do other than occasional cleaning, vacuuming, doing dishes, and cooking dinner for two. I am also in charge of setting and monitoring DVR timers to make sure all our favorite programs are getting recorded without a glitch. Keeping all our computers up-to-date with security patches and running regular back-ups is also part of my house husband job.

I also handle most of the construction/house repair projects as well as landscaping during summer.

In my new job, there is no staff meeting for me to attend, nor do I have to write a monthly report or work on my focal review (focal is the dreaded yearly performance evaluation at Intel). I am hoping Mrs. ATM is not going to make me go through a performance review at year end. In any case, I have no competition now, so I should do fine and may even get a promotion to a full-time position with benefits :)

So far I like my new job. I don't get a paycheck in my new job, but I do get paid in appreciation, and stress is non-existent for me. That's a big plus.

Health and Diet Status
Lost nearly 10 lbs in weight with more to go. Yup, eating healthy and excising daily is starting to reward me. I believe my cholesterol and triglycerides levels are going down as well, I will know for sure when I go for a blood test in December.

In the past three months, I had only a single onset of migraine and it was much weaker in pain/intensity than what I used to get. I am still off coffee and only drink decaf now. I also take Vitamin D supplements per my doctor's recommendation. Some recent studies indicate that vitamin D deficiency can cause migraines. Another study in the Journal of Headache and Pain indicates that migraines are more common at higher latitudes where sun exposure is decreased. I live in the Pacific NW and we don't get much sun, especially in winter. Also, I am pretty sure not having work related stress has greatly played a role in reducing my migraines.

My back has been doing mostly good, except for a recent issue. Last week, I hurt my back after a long and intense walk. I don't know exactly what happened, but it seems I may have over stressed it by increasing my walking duration and intensity. Hopefully, I will recover fully in the next few days, and then I can get back to my regular exercise and walking routine.

I have been doing some research on dietary supplements. As we age, our body needs some help from supplements to keep our bones and joints strong and pain free. Gelatin seems to be one of the super foods/supplements that is known to help keep our bones and joints in good shape, especially as we get old. It is also known to rebuild any lost cartilage and help with knee and joint pains. I am not that old yet to have joint pains, but I can feel that my back is getting more susceptible to pain and aches. In addition to exercising, I have also decided to preemptively give Gelatin a try.

If you are interested, just google "benefits of gelatin". I picked Great Lakes brand because they seem to be the only ones who have the gelatin in a hydrolysate form which can be taken with hot or cold drink rather than in a jello form. This is supposed to be the purest form of gelatin one can buy.

Three months ago, I started this blog and I am still blogging. Man, blogging is very time consuming. I don't do it for money, but still it takes quite a bit of time and effort to write something that would be interesting and useful to others. It takes a lot of words to write about complex topics such as investing and personal finance. It is a difficult balance as you don't want to bore your readers with all the technical details but still want to provide some useful information or at least point them in the right direction.

For now, I will continue blogging as a hobby. It's part of my early retirement activities. Since I left my job/career, I see my life as an exploration for adventure or an empty canvas where I can paint whatever picture I like. It would be interesting to see how I feel about blogging 6 months or a year from now.

Financial Matters
Our net worth grew substantially even though stock market has been pretty much flat or slightly lower the past few months. I took advantage of the lump sum distribution option of my Intel Pension Plan and rolled it over into my tax deferred IRA account. I had a sizable pension after many years of service (Thank you Intel).

This is one of the advantages of staying with one company for a long time, though very few companies offer pension these days. Even Intel has limited the pension offering to employees that were hired before 2011. I treat my pension as a going away gift from Intel and icing on my early retirement cake. I will be investing this new sum of money in the stock market for better future returns.

Dog Search 
Not much progress in this area. We decided to hold off getting a dog till early next year. This gives us some time to think about and narrow our search to the kind of dog we really want. We would prefer getting a puppy, however it would mean a lot of work for me during the day. I think it would be a lot of fun to get a puppy, but I need to be ready and physically fit to take care of him/her by myself during the day as Mrs. ATM would be at work. Or we can wait on getting a dog till Mrs. ATM also retires in a few years. Hmmm, I don't think we want to wait that long getting a dog.

We are also looking at the option to adopt a dog from our local shelter. The dog would be already house trained. Anyway, too much to think about and I usually struggle with decisions involving emotions and love. I would let Mrs. ATM have a veto power on our dog selection decision.

I want this puppy!
I also do quite a bit of daydreaming these days. Recently, I have been daydreaming about becoming a musician. Not a big musician but someone who can compose a nice tune or music.

In my free time (which I have in abundance), I play around with my Commodore 64 computer that has a cool sound chip (it is called SID - Sound Interface Device). It uses four different wave forms (Triangle, Pulse, Saw-tooth, and Noise) to produce synthesized sounds. For example, I can create my own music instrument by machine code programming certain registers in the sound chip and then filtering out various harmonics. I can essentially create any music note and instrument. It's actually pretty cool stuff and if you have ever played or worked with Commodore computers in the 80s, you would know what I am talking about. Commodore 64 was the best personal computer of its time, even better than Apple IIe. Maybe someday, I will have a demo video to show it off.

I also daydream about becoming a baker. I love baked goods, but have slowed down my consumption of these goods. Mrs. ATM and I have been watching a show on PBS called Great British Baking Show which not only makes me very hungry, but also entices me to bake beautiful pastries. Currently, my baking abilities are limited to baking pre-made cookie/bread dough that you can find in a grocery store.

Life is pretty good right now and I am taking it slow and easy. I have no idea what I would be doing a year from now, but it would be definitely something fun and geeky.

What do you daydream about?

This is my favorite position for day dreaming.


  1. It sounds like you are really enjoying retirement and from a physical fitness standpoint are doing amazingly. Congrats. I think one of the things I fear most about early retirement is what I will do with all my free time. Based on what you're sharing above that shouldn't be a problem since it appears you are able to stay extremely busy. I'm about five years away but really looking forward to FIRE.

  2. Thanks for encouraging words Mr. MSM. Yes, I have made some good progress on physical fitness/health goals. However, I still have ways to go. I need to work on strengthening my back and losing some more weight. Taking care of my health has become a top priority for me; as without good health, FIRE is not going to be that enjoyable.

    Sometimes I do get scared about what if I get bored in early retirement, it's been only three months. But again, there are so many things to do and so many choices of activities. Main thing is to stay healthy and be able to do all those things, after all that's what FIRE is all about.

    You are not that far away from FIRE, but still have a few years to think about what kind of things you would want to do or try with all the free time. Start making a list :)

  3. The first quarter of many and sounds like you are living the good life! I'm sure the lack of stress is helping you physiologically, mentally, and physically, which is what I want if I am ever lucky enough to retire significantly earlier.

    You're so right with blogging. It's been a ton of fun for me the past 5 months but man it was so much more than writing a post and forgetting about it. Social media, networking, and a lot more work behind the scenes. Every time I hear someone has a blog, my respect goes up a lot because it's not easy work.

  4. Given what I have read on your blog, I am pretty sure you will be able to hit financial independence and early retirement in your 30s. So, just stay focused and keep chugging away towards that FIRE goal. You are starting early and have the perfect mindset to be very successful.

  5. Great to hear you're enjoy early retirement. Life is great when you're not stressed out. Blogging is a lot of work. It's not passive income, that's for sure.
    Day dreaming about all the great food we'll eat when we visit Thailand. :)

  6. Thanks, I know what you mean about day dreaming food, we do the same when we visit Japan. :)


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