Hey fellow shufflers, I have been patiently waiting for my girlfriend to write a post for the website and she finally agreed! I have bestowed upon her the title of Steph the Shuffler. Today she shares with you what it was like to find out her boyfriend of 5 years had been inflicted with the FI/RE disease. I hope to make her views on shuffling a regular occurrence around here.
* * *
Five months ago, Pat first told me about his intention to retire early at 39 years young. Quite out of the blue, he revealed his plan to achieve this by saving and investing as much money as he possibly could for the next 10 years. Initially, I was somewhat apprehensive. Excited, because this is such an outstanding accomplishment to work toward, but still apprehensive.
Why? Because Pat is the type of person who will do whatever it takes to achieve something he puts his mind to, even if it means taking measures that others would consider extreme. In other words, Pat is committed and unrelenting which are traits of his that I admire and love, but he can easily forget about balance along the way. Perhaps that is why he is a Project Engineer. He just ‘gets shit done’.
So I knew that when Pat said he is retiring young, he was serious. My main concerns at that point were that his frugality would be at the expense of:
- a social life
- doing things we love to do, like travelling
- doing things I like to do, like trying out different restaurants from time to time and getting inspired by dishes. Pat has never really been too fussed about this.
I guess I shared the same initial concerns that often fuels the criticism of Pat’s online ‘haters’ today. For example, some people say happiness is not something that you postpone for the future, it is something you design for the future. Others suggest it’s not worth living a ‘shit life’ for a whole decade all in the hope you can retire early.
Several months on and I realise that I needn’t have worried! Here’s why.
Spending time with friends and loved ones doesn’t and shouldn’t have to cost a lot of money.
It was a fantastic moment and sigh of relief when we received support from the friends that were in full agreement with the above. As Pat has written in one of his previous blog posts, having that support network of like-minded people really does make all the difference.
Pat and I have always enjoyed bike riding, picnicking, hiking and going to the beach so much more than night clubbing or spending the day at a shopping centre. Ironically, Pat and I actually met at a night club, but that’s another story. All in all, we have become closer to the friends that feel the same way.
We’ve adopted a lifestyle that not only saves money, but makes us happy.
There is something about Australians and wanting to explore the world. It might be a combination of the fact that we are living on an island and the fact that the majority of us have migrant parents or grandparents with rich cultural backgrounds. I definitely have the travel bug. For me, being exposed to different cultures is such an enriching, eye-opening and important aspect of my life. I cannot imagine a life where I could not travel, it is what I look forward to and crave.
However, travelling costs money.
Even when travelling the way Pat and I do – strictly hostels only (because we love the vibe as much as the price) and only ever using carry-on luggage – there’s always a bit of money to fork out.
Luckily, Pat and I have ticked off most of the expensive travel locations on our bucket list already – like Switzerland and Japan. In the near future, we’ll be focussing on the super cheap travel locations like a road trip across outback Australia or a trip to New Zealand or Indonesia when we cannot bottle up the urge to fly overseas any longer.
I’ve learnt that I don’t need to spend $20-30 on a restaurant meal to feel inspired by food, and thank goodness for that. Creating new and interesting recipes at home is so much more fun and holy moly guacamole, incredibly cheap! I genuinely enjoy experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, now that I’ve made more of a conscious effort to do so. I leave going out to restaurants for special occasions or meeting up with friends that I haven’t seen in a while.
All in all, I can honestly say I don’t feel like there is anything significant we have sacrificed since embarking on this journey to early retirement. The key difference is that we are now investing our hard earned money into our future, rather than materialistic items and depreciating assets that add little value to our lives.
I am a big believer of always making sure you have something to look forward to in life. Having something positive out on the horizon to work toward increases your happiness and will leave you in a much more positive day-to-day mindset. For Pat and I, it is early retirement and I can’t wait to share our journey with you. Feel free to say hi and join us.
Steph the Shuffler