Freedom in your 50s

April 10, 2018 marked the last day of employment in a high-stress work environment. Work had begun to steal away my private life and I was tired and unhappy. Surely, there had to be more to life? I finally hit my breaking point and found myself without a job – years earlier than I had planned. But honestly, my sudden joblessness felt like a new beginning, a chance to create a better version of myself.

Enter The World of S-FIRE

I was a 54-year old single mom on the day I lost my job. My 20 year-old child was just weeks away from leaving the nest, about to start a new job at the Grand Canyon. I had been planning for an early exit from the workplace for years, so I was in pretty good shape financially. I had paid off my house years earlier, which turned out to be a fantastic move, and had no debt. I’ve always been a saver, having tucked away 56% of my salary over the last few years of employment. But suddenly, I had no income.

For years I followed the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retired Early) community. I’ve admired those who managed to leave the traditional workforce in their 30s, 40s, or 50s – taking the risks and reaping the rewards of a more fulfilling life. But I got a late start, so here I am in my 50s, writing a new chapter in my life. And I’m not quite at the FIRE stage. Instead, I’m at S-FIRE (Semi-Financially Independent, Retired Early). Realistically, I need to bring in some additional income to supplement my retirement, savings, and investment accounts. But I don’t need a high salary, unmitigated stress, or toxic work environment. I’m going to take charge of my own future!

The Journey Ahead

As I write from my gazebo, the experience of joblessness is new, exciting, and scary. I now have the most precious commodity of all – TIME. And I want to use my time to build a healthier body, practice mindfulness on a regular basis, spend time in nature, and treasure family and friends. I am a traveler of the five journeys, seeking a more fulfilling, balanced, and meaningful life. I’m not sure how this will all play out, but I’m opening a window into my new life. You’re invited along for the ride.

Financial Starting Line

I am going to be totally forthcoming. It’s only fair that you know my starting point. After digging myself out of poverty and near homelessness in my early 30s, I’ve been on solid financial ground. And religiously saving and investing. It’s taken over 20 years, but I am beginning my new chapter with a net worth of $1,143,201. Here are the nuts and bolts.

  • Retirement: $771,500
  • House (Zillow estimate): $289,086
  • Savings and Investments: $82,616
  • Debt: $0

I plan to live off of savings and investments and income for at least five years (preferably ten). I will work on building income based on my skills and interests – consulting, teaching, writing, painting, carving – and will be entirely practical as my financial needs change.  Job #1 is to create the Early Exit Academy to help others leave the workplace early. Whatever endeavors I pursue will not come at a cost to my personal health and happiness. It’s that simple.

Do you Have a Story to Share?

Did you end up leaving your job in your 40s or 50s to discover a better and more meaningful life? Are you S-FIREd? If so, I invite you to share your story with our readers. Just send me an email (brenda at thefivejourneys dot com) with the subject “Reader Profile” and I’ll take it from there.

Are you just starting your journey? Take the 30-Day Million Dollar Challenge to launch your dreams. You can do this too!


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