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.