The Our Next Life Challenge: Take 2

The Our Next Life Challenge: Take 2

Long, long ago, Steve over at Think Save Retire started a series called: our next life – then our friends over at Our Next Life, the blog, continued the series. We first participated in September of 2015 and ended that post by saying: “I should probably re-write this post once a year for the next seven years!” because plans change and ours are so fluid. So, here I am again 2 years later revisiting our plans.

Our Next Life Timeline

2018 – Take the kids to England, Wales, Norway, and Iceland – this will be a 27-day trip! This is one of the big changes from when we wrote this post the first time. This was supposed to be an England-only trip the summer after we paid off the mortgage. Now we’re doing a sweeping 4-country trip (so still fairly slow travel compared to hitting many countries) and we’re doing it before the mortgage is paid off so we can visit my parents in England while they’re living there.

December 2018 – Pay off the mortgage (currently below $40k!).

December 2019 – Take the kids to Cambodia. Mr. T already speaks Cambodian and I’ve been taking lessons for a year now. I’m still terrible, but I can say a few things. I hope to be better by then. Conversational by the time we go is the goal.

2020 – Mr. T assesses his work situation. His boss is slated to retire around 2020 which could change things drastically. He could get a new boss who is not nearly as flexible as his current one (she’s basically the greatest). He could also become the boss which he may or may not enjoy. Any way you cut it, this year will bring big changes at work for Mr. T (assuming his job remains until then).

2022 – As originally planned, 2022 would be the year Mr. T walks away from traditional work if he hasn’t already by then. To be clear, we won’t be completely retired yet. But hopefully we will have a paid off mortgage, at least $500k in our investments, and something we can work on that will be flexible work for our family and bring in enough money for the time being. The priority will be on flexibility so we can do more travel with our children and be there for all their after school activities.

2026 – Penny graduates. The plan is to not regret working so hard when she’s gone. The goal is to have spent so much time with her, we feel good about what we’ve done at this point.

2031 – Lui, our youngest, graduates. This is when we hope to early retire officially. When Lui leaves home, we will no longer be tied to school schedules.

What Our Next Life Looks Like:

I’ve realized that my dreams are different from my childrens’. I hate being tied to schedules and love to just get out do something crazy like move to another country for a year. 1 or 2 of my children especially don’t do well with this kind of thinking. They are all up for anything on school holidays. And they are super pumped for our 27-day adventure next summer, but that’s because it’s summer and they won’t be missing school. So, unless some international living experience drops in our laps and makes sense, I’m not going to push that goal. Instead, we’ll focus on giving our children a “normal” scheduled school life and take them on short trips during the school trip and big trips on school holidays.

Alaska is home base for us – at least until all the kids graduate. We really do love it up here. And in just over a year, we’ll have a paid off house here. Living in Alaska also gives my children interesting experiences they wouldn’t get elsewhere. It’s similar to living in another country.

After Lui graduates, I plan to do more long-term travel with Mr. T. We’ll have time to be there for our kids when they want us to visit and be there for major life events. But we will also have the flexibility (and savings!) to be able to just move to the UK for 6 months (the legally allowed limit).

What’s Flexible Work?

Our ideal life is one where we can work together part-time and be able to schedule that time while the kids are in school. It’s also something we can do around our health and other goals.

It’s still a big goal of ours to help employ our children. Both of our parents were successful small business owners, and we both had the privilege of working for them in high school. We arguably missed out on employment experiences at McDonald’s, but we saw how our parents were able to put something together and make it work. Also, working for family allowed us to continue family vacations (it’s nice when you have the same work schedule as your family!). Selfishly, we want that for our kids, too. So, working in “our next life” will involve something that can involve our children. It’s less important to make money and more important to cover expenses, hire our children, and focus on teaching them the skills they will need for future employment.

What any of this will look like in 2022 is undetermined.

How Does This Change Our Strategy?

The short answer is: It doesn’t.

We’re saving money, we’re paying down our mortgage, we’re experimenting with flexible work opportunities, and we’re planning travel with our children.

We’re on the path. We just need to keep pressing forward.

What does YOUR next life look like?


September 2017 Plan Update


Our Merch by Amazon Adventure


  1. I definitely need to go back and re-write mine now that HP is here. Reading your comments about Penny are exactly how I feel (or how I’m afraid I won’t feel). I’m still really passionate about my work, but man, oh man, do I love this little nugget and want to spend more time with him!

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes. Kids change EVERYTHING. The clock is always ticking with your time with them and you’re constantly making a mental list of ALL THE THINGS you want to teach, do, and show them before they go!

  2. I really like the idea of charting your next life!

    The flexible work/small business route that can include the whole family sounds incredible. Do you know how you may want to pursue this?

    • MaggieBanks

      We’ve experimented with lots of things. Our current favorite side hustle we’ll be sharing next week!

  3. TheRetirementManifesto

    Great idea to write out a long term timeline for your plans. Plans inevitably change, but it’s very helpful to have a broad plan for your future. I don’t know why, but I found your post fascinating. We’re ~20 years ahead of us (our daughter is now 22, and recently married), but I see many similarities in our journeys. We were VERY intentional in carving out time for high quality memories (int’l travel most years) while our daughter was still home.

    Now that we’re “Empty Nesters” with FIRE on the horizon (248 Days, but who’s counting), we have no regrets. Live Life As You Live It. Live a life of no regrets. You’ve got a great plan!

    • MaggieBanks

      Better to enjoy the whole journey with your kids while you’ve got them then kill yourself while they’re home. That’s what they’ll remember. I’m glad to hear you think we’re on the right track. 🙂

  4. Love it, Maggie! I think there is a lot of wisdom in flexible work…in working part-time. It’s like the best of both words, especially if you have kids at home. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. I just wish Mr. T could enjoy it with me. 🙂 We’ll get there!

  5. I love it! One of my goals is also to employ our kids and give them those life skills. Our oldest is turning 10 soon, which is a big milestone in our house. He gets to invest in stock! I am also letting him test working as a graphic designer on my canva images.

    And I’m totally with you on flexible work that has enough margin so we aren’t running around like crazy people. 🙂

    • MaggieBanks

      Love it! It sounds like the ideal life for all of us. If we’re looking for more time together, employment should be a part of that!

  6. Now I feel like a total slacker. 😉 First, I said I’d do a post on that last year and never did.

    Second, I’d like to go to Japan in the next three years (totally made up that number) but I haven’t done much of anything to learn the language. Time to fix that!

    As for our next life – I am drawing a total blank on the specifics for our work. So…

    – 2018-2020: Japan in the next three years. (Maybe it makes more sense to wait more years so that JB could actually enjoy it?)
    – 2018-2019: Hawaii in the next two years. Because I don’t really care if JB remembers that, I just need my malasadas, Side Street dinner, poke, and loco moco ;D
    – 2033: JB graduates from high school.

    There’s a big undescribed gap somewhere in there. This is totally in line with my crappy ability to see what I want in the future versus but my great ability to plan nonetheless.

    • MaggieBanks

      These are fabulous goals – sure there’ a big gap in there, but like I said, our plan changes yearly. 🙂

  7. David

    Nice thoughtful post here. Your goals look so concrete, like they are sure to happen. I guess that means you’ve spent a lot of time on them. I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a few weeks now, originally prompted by an Our Next Life post. Maybe this will spur me to actually put in the time.

    By the way, very inspiring progress update (your most recent post after this one)!

    • MaggieBanks

      “They are sure to happen!” – I wish all it took was concrete thinking. 🙂 But yes. I do love plotting in the right direction! And thanks for the compliment on the progress. I feel pretty good about it. When you look at the day to day, sometimes it feels like failure until you look at the bigger picture.

  8. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    I really like the approach, format, and thinking here. Jaime and I haven’t gone to the point of writing out a full plan like this, but as we’re getting nearer the end of our mini-retirement – and starting to look at financial freedom plans – something like this would be a big help!

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh yes. The end of a mini-retirement is probably the perfect time to plot this out. 🙂

  9. That’s amazing that you’ve thought so far ahead! We’re 18 months into our next life/FIRE and haven’t planned anything beyond helping our son thru college (3yrs).

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