Early retirement is fun

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We bought that red, ceramic globe recently near Dolores Hidalgo.

I RETIRED QUITE early, age 55, and that means you potentially have lots of years ahead of you, years in which you must do something or other.

My plans were few. I knew I’d use the time to read books. I like to read books because it’s an interesting thing to do, plus it makes me even smarter than I already am.

Not on the plan was yard work, which I dislike. My distaste for yard work was one of the reasons I recently had part of the Hacienda lawn filled in with stone and cement. That’s the lighter part in the photo above. The darker is the sidewalk, which is 15 years old.

But I’ve discovered that I’ve simply substituted one form of yard work with another. The stone and concrete require sweeping. The primary reason is that there are plants, big ones. One is the towering nopal, and the other is the monster bougainvillea.

The nopal drops big, dead, prickly “paddles.” Ker-splat! The bougainvillea snows dead leaves and other miscellaneous crap.

I was out sweeping this morning when this realization came to me. It’s still yard work. However, sweeping stone and concrete is far more fun than fussing with grass.

I don’t regret the stonework. We intend to do more next year.

Back to the theme of retirement. Lots of folks dream of retiring early, which is a phrase open to interpretation. The standard “early retirement” is 55, and that’s what I did. Other people, mostly young ones, dream of leaving the work world even earlier. At 40, for example. Good luck with that, amigos.

Here’s what you usually have to do to retire early, say, at 55. Don’t go into debt. Save, save, save … and invest wisely. Being single can help. These are not difficult things to do, but few folks do them. It’s equally simple to lose weight. Eat less crap, and do regular moderate exercise. Again, easy, but few people can do it.

I’m having a fun time, and I’ve been having fun since 2000. Before that, not so much. One late afternoon recently, I was sitting here before the Hewlett Packard screen, and I looked out yon window. Below is what I saw.

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30 thoughts on “Early retirement is fun

  1. “Don’t go into debt. Save, save, save … and invest wisely.” Simple, but not easy. When I was working, I evaluated the cost of each purchase against the time it would buy me in retirement.

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    1. Creigh: It can be easy. It was easy for me, and I started late in life. My saving and wise investing only took place during the 1990s, not before. Previously, I lived like normal people.

      Sounds like you’re a smart fellow too.

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  2. Fortunately, life in Mexico can be very affordable for everyone who retires with an adequate pension and/or Social Security from the United States.

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  3. I retired at 53. I planned on 55, but my job got eliminated when the company was sold, so I figured two years was no big deal.

    My brother-in-law’s father retired from Aramco plus a private business in Libya at 38. When he was in his 80s, he said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have worked a few more years.

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    1. Kris: Well, you lucked out even more than I did, time-wise. As for your brother-in-law’s father, surely he was speaking in jest. I’ve never wanted to have a job again. Not even for a nanosecond.

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      1. The job, I loved. Doing the work was fun. Dealing with the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers, straightforward. Company backstabbing and infighting…I just don’t get why you would want to undermine the person sitting beside you.

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  4. Being from an immigrant family it was pounded into me to save money. It is too bad that children no longer have the savings account books that we had when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. I remember a Bank of America person coming to school and setting up savings books for each class member. We were cajoled into putting something into the account each week or month. BofA even seeded the account with one dollar. This was in a public school. I will bet you a hundred dollars it would be forbidden today because it may make someone feed inadequate because they couldn’t deposit something into the account. It no longer appears that anyone saves for anything anymore. Want something you just charge it and pay 30% interest for it. Why not just wait a month or two and save the interest? Not the American way. Without that education, that may explain some of the financial mismanagement issues people are having.

    Your patio looks nice, almost like a painting! Just don’t tell me you use one of those noisy leaf blowers.

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    1. Tancho: I remember those little savings booklets. You got a real feeling of satisfaction watching the balance slowly move upward. It was lovely.

      As for the American Way, the nation is spoiled rotten. I hold little hope for its future.

      Leaf blower?! Are you utterly mad? Of course not. That’s why the Goddess invented dustpans and brooms, both of which are nice and quiet.

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    2. I remember those BofA school savings accounts. A cloth-covered booklet with a small manila envelope for the deposit. We would bring the book and our deposit one day to school, and it would be returned with a fresh new envelope a few days later, all of the entries in the savings book having been made by hand.

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            1. Señor Cotton: I was a schoolchild a number of years before you and Ms. Shoes. That makes me older and foggier than the two of you. If my school had a program for such stuff, it has vanished into the dim recesses of my increasingly decrepit mind.

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  5. No one saves because banks pay no interest, or if they do, it is less than the inflation rate. In Europe, they have negative interest rates. In Cyprus and Greece, they seized part of peoples’ savings to keep their banks afloat. The mattress is looking pretty good now. They say we should buy silver and gold, but when the government wants those metals, they will take them. The governments of this world can print all the currency they need, but they cannot print land and jars of peanut butter. I know where my money goes.

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    1. Señor Gill: Negative interest? So if you have a savings account, you have to pay interest to the bank? Oh, dear. As for places like Greece and Cyprus, the problem is crystal clear. The governments hand out more money than they take in. It’s the socialist way.

      Just one of many indications that capitalism is best.

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  6. No leaf blower. Excellent choice. We can hear those things two blocks away in our little ciudad. That yard is looking great. You folks are masters at adding dashes of color.

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    1. Ricardo: Leaf blowers are very rarely seen or heard here, one of the many blessings of living in Mexico. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard one in my 18 years living here.

      Yep, good with color, but it’s not “you folks.” It’s little ole me. When we painted the interior of the house I chose all the colors. I felt kinda selfish doing that, so I told my wife to pick the bedroom color.

      It’s beige.

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  7. Felipe,

    Like you, I was able to officially retire at age 55. My plan originally had me retiring at age 57, after the youngest graduated from college and was firmly established on his own. God had a different plan. My work as a business consultant dried up late in 2016. I spent a year trying to revive it. Finally seeing the writing on the wall, I accelerated my retirement plan and escaped to Mexico. I couldn’t be happier with the result. I do what I want, when I want. I’m also in the best shape of my life.

    Aforementioned youngest son graduates in May. Getting him off the payroll frees up more cash flow for travel. We want to see all Mexico has to offer. Also want to visit other places in the world while we’re still relatively young and able.

    Early retirement for me was made possible by following a couple simple rules, pay yourself first, and don’t try to keep up with the Joneses!

    Regards,
    Troy

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  8. I have a small chargeable blower and I love it! It has saved me many hours of back pain. Yes, sweeping is the bane of my back. It only takes about 10 or 15 minute to have the patios and walkway done and the leaves are ready to put into buckets and give to the cows over the fence. My neighbors don’t seem to be offended and I’m surprised they haven’t ask to borrow it as they do every other tool I have.

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    1. Peggy: Omigod! You’ve bought this horrendous habit south of the Rio Bravo. I am speechless. Noise pollution! Yipes! Of course, your neighbors don’t say anything because, well, they’re Mexican. They mind their own business to a fault. But I rejoice that you live beyond earshot of the Hacienda. Sigh.

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      1. Felipe,

        Leaf blowers are all the rage in my part of Mexico. It is the tool of choice for all of the gardeners in my little community. They love to start blowing leaves at about 7:30 in the morning.

        Troy

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  9. At 55, I planned to work until I died. That is what my people did. Common sense set in at 60. Like you, I hung up my work clothes and headed south. My tropical home is not what I had in mind when I moved down, but I am content with it — and the ability to travel wherever I like. It is a good life — because I did as you said. I saved and invested. I now reap the benefits. Benefits that the Democrats now say I do not not deserve. But that is just another reason why I am in Mexico and not Up There.

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