The Race to FIRE - Financial Independence, Retire Early

Countdown Fever

Countdown Fever

When we started this journey toward my husband’s early retirement, we were years away. I refused to install a countdown timer on my phone until we were at least within the 3-year mark.

Now, we’re down to less than 2 years!

We’ve started counting down the remaining time in months, instead of years. Days even.

According to the countdown timer, he’s only got another 629 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes and 37  36 35 seconds. And yes, the timer plays the song Final Countdown as it’s ticking away.

You’d think that since my husband is soooo close to early retirement, that he would be skipping into work every Monday.

Just the knowledge that he only needs to work another 629 days, 10 hours, 19 minutes and 54 seconds, would motivate him. Like the homestretch of a marathon, when you can hear the crowd cheering as you run limp toward the finish line.

But that’s not the case.

Instead, my husband has Countdown Fever. A well-known illness that people get when they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the light seems to drift farther away as they approach. Note that this illness is typically not recognized by medical professionals.

Physically, he’s fine. Okay, maybe a little tired from all the travel. But mentally, not so good.

According to him, time seems to be slooowing dowwwwn. I imagine if anyone goes into his office at work, they’d see the same look on his face as Ferris Bueller had when the clock starts ticking backward. Beuller? Beuller?

Don’t get me wrong. He’s still doing his job. He’s way too professional to let anything interfere with the business.

Nobody at work even knows about his plans. But he knows. And it’s driving him crazy.

He can’t wait for the day when he doesn’t answer to a boss.

No Boss in Retirement

Let’s face it, retirement is the only time in your life when you don’t have a boss. You are truly the master of your time. And no one can tell you how to spend it.

Think about that for a moment.

When you are a kid, your schedule is not your own. Your parents tell you when you eat, sleep and play.

In a few years, you enter school. Guess what? Your teacher tells you how to spend your time. When to be quiet, when to be loud, when to play, when to read and when to study.

This pattern continues for the next 12 + years.

Then you enter the workforce. Yea! No more homework. No more forced eating schedule. You can do what you want, when you want!

Or can you?

Your new parent teacher commander is your boss.

Your boss dictates your schedule. He or she tells you what to work on, when to work on it, when to take a break and when you can go home.

Suppose you make it to the highest echelons of your profession, you still have a boss. The boss is called the Board of Directors, the shareholders or the partners.

Even the customers. And they are more demanding than your parents and teachers combined!

If you’re like most people, this pattern continues for the next 40 + years.

Unless you can afford to retire early.

In retirement, for the first time in your life, time is truly your own. There is absolutely no one (okay, maybe a spouse) who is telling you how to spend your time.

You can wake up whenever you want.

You can eat whenever you want.

You can go to bed whenever you want.

You can travel whenever you want.

The Situation

The truth is that if my husband quit his job tomorrow, we’d be fine. Sure, we’d have to make some adjustments to the plan. But, like I said, we’d be fine.

However, he knows that the next 2 years are very important to our plan. We’re counting on his continued income to get those kids out of the nest and flying on their own, BEFORE he pulls the trigger.

In the meantime, he’ll continue to go into the office, travel extensively for work (over 100K miles per year) and go above and beyond his duties. And he’ll keep his secret.

After all, he’s only got another 629 days, 10 hours, 1 minute and 43 seconds.

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