This really compelling series first piqued my interest when I read Our Next Life’s blog post about it. The magic continued with Think Save Retire. Afterward, Northern Expenditure and My Countdown to Freedom all chimed in. All of their answers are incredibly inspiring, carefully planned, and simply great reads.
Then there’s this post.
Here’s the thing: I’m not on the road to FIRE, because I don’t want to be. Let me clarify. Mr. P and I don’t currently have any desire to retire early. But working towards financial independence? Game on.
The Game Plan
The biggest hurdle between us and financial independence is our mortgage. We bought our house while we were engaged with the intention that we would both work on it as much as we could and call in reinforcements when
the going got tough we realized the idiots that owned the house before us did things like run cable through the brick in the top of the fireplace thereby turning the family room into a pool when it rained. Fixer upper, indeed. DIY disasters notwithstanding, we were able to scoop up our house at a low point in the market for a low 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
But let’s be serious. Who wants to make mortgage payments for thirty years? Originally, we had always intended to pay a few hundred dollars extra per month. Now, I’ve earmarked all my side hustle money for mortgage repayment, and we’re trying to scale back our budget enough to at least double our payments every month. That’s a really long-winded way to say at this pace, our house will be paid off in 10 years.
There are a lot of variables that are up in the air right now. Kids, for instance. More advanced degrees, for another, since continuing education is the only way to increase our salaries as teachers. So, we could certainly be more aggressive with our payments, but I figure this is the right amount of intensity for us to stay motivated without feeling burned out or overly anxious.
I’ve read lots of posts and had lots of conversations with family and friends about leaving the workforce. People don’t like their jobs, hate the monotony, or feel that their time would be better spent elsewhere. To which I say, go for it. I’ll cheer you on really loudly from the sidelines. But I’m not coming with, and neither is Mr. P.
We love how we spend our days. Is there too much red tape in teaching? Yes. Is the entire profession in the midst of a massive overhaul that is being championed by politicians who have never set foot in a classroom? Yup. Are there days when I wipe tears, break up fights, and send kids to the nurse for chewing on pens that proceed to explode in their mouths? You bet.* Would I do my job for free? In a heartbeat.
Teaching is my passion. I love everything about working with kids, and I’m in no rush to leave. Currently, I’m on track to retire with a full pension at the age of 57 with the possibility of finishing up a few years before that. That’s more than 25 years away. That’s fine by me. Because, for the most part, I’m already spending just about every day doing exactly what I want to do.
As for what happens when 57 rolls around, who knows? Maybe we’ll travel the world. Maybe we’ll babysit grandkids. Maybe we’ll open a library in a country where kids desperately need access to books. Maybe we’ll do all that and more. Only time will tell.
*True story. Happens every year. In middle school.
So Tell Me…Do you have plans to retire early? Do you love your job? Hate it? What does your next life look like?