Tanja and Mark decided to retire early. Much, much earlier than me. They decided to retire in their late 30s, early 40s.
Their website, Our Next Life, outlines how they approached their goal. And it looks like they have been successful.
They posted a great article on 10 critical questions to answer before you make the leap to early retirement.
I think most of these questions are relevant regardless of whether you are retiring at age 40 or, in my case, age 61.
I took a bit of a stab at answering the questions. Some I will have to spend a bit more time thinking about before I retire in the next few months.
Q1. How will you support yourself without a job?
In our case, we are well prepared. I have defined benefit pensions, investment accounts and government pensions that should allow us to live very well in our retirement years.
Q2. What is your backup plan for dealing with financial emergencies or hardship?
In our financial plan I have a cash buffer to cover one year of expenses. We have two topped up TFSA accounts which we can use in a pinch. There is enough in there to last us several years. We have a contingency of about 40 percent of our annual retirement income in uncommitted spend in our retirement budget. So no real worries here.
Q3. How will you get health care?
As Canadians, we do have a pretty good health care system. I also have good retirement benefits program from my employer and we will have additional travel insurance for when we head south for the winters.
Q4. How will you keep your body and mind healthy?
I’ll keep riding. Cycling does a lot to keep a body healthy. And I will do more strength and flexibility work in retirement. Lorraine and I plan to be active in terms of walking, hiking and touring. For as long as we can.
Q5. What are you retiring to?
This is the one area where we will have to make sure we put enough structure into our lives. Yes, we will be doing a lot of travel in our coach. But it is important to revisit goals and to make sure that we are keeping very engaged in life.
Q6. What will your living situation be?
We downsized our house but did not buy another property. At least not yet. Our plan is to travel in our coach for the winter and rent during the summer months in Canada. If we get to that point where we want a permanent spot in Canada, we will have lots of time and sufficient financial resources to do so.
Q7. What do you want a day in retirement to look like?
Not sure. I’ll have to give that some more thought.
Q8. What will your social circles and interactions be like?
When traveling in our motorcoach, I have absolutely no worries. We have made so many friends in our travels to date. Our time in Canada may be a bit more of a challenge depending on where we land. Generally though, our involvement in church life provides a lot of social interactions.
Q9. How will you and your partner stay one the same page about money and goals?
We talk about this part of our life constantly. We are ready and anxious to get started. I suppose the real question is what happens after the retirement date has been reached which leads to the final question.
Q10. How will you define yourself and derive self worth post-career?
I see this question a lot and I guess I’m just not that worried about it. I have always had so many interests outside of work that I suspect I may fall into the trap of becoming too busy with too many interests. We’ll see. Lorraine has always had a better perspective on what is important about life. She has not been in the career track and she has never defined herself by a job.
All in all, a good set of questions and certainly relevant to our stage of life.
Not sure that I would have been ready to retire in my early 40s like Tanja and Mark.
I know that I am ready to retire now.