If you guys have been tracking my spending updates during the last few years since I semi-retired outside the U.S., you’ve seen… my spending (more or less) slowly increasing. While some of that is a result of inflation, demand, and the strengthening Mexican peso... I've also made some conscious choices.
Six years ago, I was unintentionally jobless. My severance package had run out, I hadn’t found another suitable job, and my emergency fund was all but drained. It took awhile, but I turned it around — and now, I’m semi-retired, working on my own terms and own timeline, and traveling the world. Let me tell you how.
Things happen in life that change you in a really, really big way. Sometimes, you see the asteroid coming, and you know the impact is gonna be huge. Other times, it's just a small, average snowball... from that, you would never anticipate the avalanche. While I’ve talked about some of the various big moments I’ve experienced on my website, I’m going to try something different — chronological order! — in a new 4-part blog series called "How Did I Get Here?" This is Chapter 1.
In the year-plus since I semi-retired, I’ve noticed something unexpected: just how polarizing and controversial the word “retire” is. (Especially among the generation older than I.) And it’s really no wonder that some people straight up scoff at retiring early, in a nation where busy-ness and overwork is a badge of honor... and when the first question we are asked when we meet someone new is, “So what do you do?" But many of those reactions confuse me. Here's why.
Last year, I shared that I socked away $30K in cash to fund my sabbatical, and I just revealed how I lived on $27K in 2022. So... $30K minus $27K = $3K left to work with in 2023, right? Not exactly. I have a few tricks up my sleeve... dominos I put in place in years past. It turns out the moves I've made allowed me to "earn" ~$13K in 2022 without a job, real estate, or lifting a finger (except for a few clicks of my mouse!).
I’m coming upon the end of my first year of mini-retirement, and as usual, I’m sharing yet another spending recap with you (as I’ve done all year long as I’ve traveled across Mexico and Europe)! You’ll recall, at the end of 2021, at age 36, I participated in the great resignation/financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement. After quitting my job, my goal for my semi-retirement was to take back my time, energy, and creativity for MYSELF, vs. my employer… and to get the most out of my travels sans the demands of a job. Now that my first year “on sabbatical” is coming to a close, here’s my total spending for the year (as an unemployed person spending five-sixths of the year traveling across 14 countries): $27,014.26, or $74 a day. This is how I lived. P.S. Want to join me for a free webinar and Q&A where I dig in deep to my budget and spending? Enter to receive the details by email.
December 10, 2021 was my last day of full-time employment, and if I were to sum up my first year of semi-retirement in one statement, it’s this: I am prioritizing myself like I’ve never done before. And while this could be a side effect of the fact that no employer owns my workday, this is also me making a conscious choice… I’ve chosen this. I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve identified what matters to me, decided how I’m going to live my life, and I’m doing it. And ever since then, this choice has shown up in my life in several ways.
I was 15 years old when I got my first job working at Panera Bread for $5.25 an hour. Like most people, I’ve been working ever since, without so much as a few weeks off or a few months between jobs — until my “great resignation” at age 36. I’ve worked at coffee shops, restaurants, big box retailers, golf courses… and then post-college, in two TV newsrooms and a few big corporate organizations. Sometimes, I worked side gigs and temp jobs simultaneously with my salaried job, to the tune of 60-70 hours a week, just to pay the bills or get ahead. (Damn, those days were rough.) Then, I quit. I took a chance on myself and my future: to grow and monetize this blog, publish a memoir about my journey, and THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY LIFE. I call this Julie’s Financial Independence Recreational Employment (my take on FI/RE)! Hereby, these are 7 confessions of a corporate job escapee... who's never been happier (spoiler alert).
When I announced that I was quitting my job after 14 years in the workforce and taking a 180-day sabbatical in Mexico on savings, “Why Mexico?” was one of my frequently asked questions. My answer is three-fold...