First Year of My Early Reset

It’s crazy how quickly and how slowly one year can go; how many things you can do and how many things you still haven’t done yet. September 1st marks the last day I was paid to work before I did my early reset. I had no idea what my life would hold and I was very nervous to set off on the adventure. It’s been a year now and I haven’t gone broke or spent too much money! I’ve lived within my means and while my net worth has gone down due to stock market adjustments, I know to just stay the course and I’ll make it through.

What has this year brought me?

Time to unwind from stressors of work. The feeling of joy when during the work week I can say: “Wow, this is so much better than being at an office.” Even when I had COVID it was still better. The ability to spend time with family and go to events like my uncle’s 85th surprise birthday party, which I wouldn’t have been able to go to when I lived more than 2,000 miles away.

What are the most memorable things I’ve done?

  1. Visiting national parks are probably the most memorable things that I’ve done. I’ve visited more than 1/3 of our parks since I reset early last year. It’s amazing to see the vast diversity of the USA in terms of both rock formations, trees and animals. I’ve seen four black bears, more bison than I can count, prairie dogs, alligators, American crocodiles, bald eagles, and so many more animals. I’ve visited the great Sequoia trees that make me feel like a small being in this world with a short lifespan compared to their 3,000 year lifespans. The geological features are also spectacular massive canyons that were under water in another lifetime, the badland formations in Bryce Canyon, and the spraying geysers in Yellowstone.
  2. I also went on a 6.5 week long trip through Europe including a weeklong cruise with family. Spend a week enjoying Copenhagen. A week exploring the historical city of Munich. And 3.5 weeks exploring several different cities in Portugal along with meeting up with many FI community members along the way.
  3. Getting more active in the FIRE community with 2 CampFI events and Fintalks weekend. Attending 2 weekly phone calls and starting a book club.

What has this year been like?

Once past the initial couple months, where I was moving all my belongings cross-country, I really fell into a better path that meets my lifestyle — one which involves being a nomad while still having friends and community in places where I’m able to connect with frequently. I know being a nomad doesn’t work for everyone, but it is a lifestyle that works for me.

I love exploring and trying new things, and having the freedom to do those things during the week has really helped me to explore my early reset. I’ve read or listened to at least 75 books and I still am very actively trying to learn. I’ve read some good books about the body and mind, history, self-improvement, finances, just for fun fiction and so many other interesting books that keep my mind active.

What are some things I didn’t expect from this year?

I’m still shocked how much time I’ve spent moving money between financial accounts and the research and knowledge that goes into putting together a decumulation strategy, getting lower fees, and determining things like healthcare. I’ve transferred nearly all of my investment accounts due to various reasons such as additional fees for no longer being an employee, being limited by an account that only allowed reinvestment of dividends, investment options not being ideal, or just for working on the Roth conversion process. While I know I’m setting myself up for the future and hopefully this isn’t an activity I have to do frequently, it’s a necessary part of getting to this next phase of my life and that I’ll be able to go back to my set-it-and-forget-it with accounts.

What does the next year hold for me?

I don’t have a lot of things planned for next year, but I will be attending a wedding in India, traveling through Southeast Asia, spending time with the family, and attending the EconoMe conference. I’ll also be getting on an ACA healthcare plan to help lower that monthly cost.

If you’re looking at what your first year after your early reset looks like, I recommend you plan to have one thing a day in mind. You’ll likely need months to just de-stress from work and get into a routine. I still occasionally have conversations that spiral about things I didn’t enjoy in the working world. Do some self-exploration for things you enjoy and, equally important, things you don’t enjoy. Expand your community and meet more people in the FIRE community that have free time during the normal work week since most of society will still be working. Give yourself time to relax and space to explore new things.

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