It has been more than five years since we became financially independent. It was end of 2017 when we concluded that we have enough investments to call it a day and hang our boots. It felt like life would be awesome and we can enjoy living a slow life. Which is exactly we did for the past five years and we have absolutely zero regrets regarding early retirement. We are living the life at the slowest pace we have ever done. There is barely any urgency in any matter of our life. No wonder so many people ask – what do you do with all the free time?
Well, I don’t know what I do with all the free time. I drink coffee for 15 mins. I go for long walks around our neighborhood for 30 mins engaged in casual conversation with the wife or mom or kid. Sleep 8 hours a night without fail. Sit with my daughter reading a book for 2 hours straight until my lips are dry and the voice starts becoming hoarse. Or watch her struggle with origami for an hour. Exercise for 2 hours. Take long baths. Yeah, its my life, you don’t get to judge :).
In the last 5 years, there have been some crazy events (in my lifetime) including a never before seen virus that threatened to wipe a large portion of the population. Countries going into lockdowns. A war between nations (Russia and Ukraine). Stock market falling in the US and yet Indian stock market showing a lot of resilience. It is all happening. Many things worked out fine for us and some things did not go as planned. But that has always been the case, whether retired or not.
We spent a lot of time with friends and family. And the best part is that we do not have any constraints. We are as free on a Monday as we are on a Sunday or a Friday. Everyday feels the same or different depending on how we want that day to be. It could be a busy couple of days of gardening, and removing weeds, or it could be five days wasted in watching a test match. As I said before, it is my time and I don’t care what others think. Many call it wasting time, I call it living an absolutely slow life. Of course some people need excitement and cannot live a slow life which is fine by me.
Then there is my most favorite pasttime of all – watching my daughter grow up. I have seen so many phases of her life up close and center. She went from super gullible, innocent phase to the now naughty and crazy girl that she is. There was the tantrums phase and there are years of super loving and hugging phase. She went from worrying about being away from us to now happily staying at her friend’s house all day long without as much as a worry. It is so amazing that they change so quickly and in so many ways. By the way she is just 9 and a half years old. So I am left wondering as to how many more colors will show up before she becomes a full grown adult.
Health and fitness goals are going fine except for the self inflicted injuries and the resulting down time :). Hobby projects are also going well so much so that I am not getting enough time to finish up some long standing to-do tasks in each of my projects. In between there was quite a bit of travel just for fun and meeting friends. So that also got me quite busy the last couple of months.
Coming to the most important aspect of financial independence which is the finance itself, we are doing fine. Not great, but not bad. We are running a bit below out projections, but I am not worried because it is expected and things will normalize over time. While the corpus is growing below expectations, we are not in any kind of crunch with respect to everyday expenses. We may have to delay some expensive purchases although we haven’t done anything like that yet. Purchased a new laptop, phones and car as per schedule and according to the plan I made 5 years ago.
The returns have be 9.4% (XIRR) in the last 5 years since financial independence, while I was expecting 10%. Close enough. While inflation has been 6% which is exactly what I expected and our expenses have been exactly inline with projection. Although, 5 years feels like a long time, it is actually very small compared to how long we will possibly live. So it is way too early to celebrate. I would be happy if I am in the same or better situation (in all aspects, not just finances) after another 5 years in financial independence. But we should be living life one small step at a time, so lets wait and see.