Happy Tuesday! Today on this beautiful fall day I am super excited to welcome Cube from over at Abandon Cubicle – A Playbook for Early Retirement, as a guest writer. Cube has been writing for a year now and has a website full of awesome content. I especially love his posts on owning rentals and what it takes to be a successful landlord! Make sure you check out his site and enjoy his post below!
By Cubert, at abandonedcubicle.com
Whenever I think about a future without a cubicle involved, I still can’t picture myself as anything other than a 60-something grandfatherly-type. It’s something I need to work on, since I’m expecting to retire early, before I hit 50.
Very few people in my life know about my plans to retire well before the societal norm of 62-67. Certainly not the colleagues I work with. Even some close friends only know some of the details. I’ll generally admit that I’m looking to “shift gears” into a profession better suited to my interests… Top secret stuff here, folks!
My Wake-up Call
Stress is a parasitic companion that dogs you in corporate cubicle gigs. Back in late 2012, my career had taken a turn south. I took a lateral move to get out of a really bad situation where questionable leadership had demotivated the entire department. Sound familiar?
In my next role, I soon found that even with the world’s best boss in my corner, the job was still stressing me out more than ever. See, I lead a team of project managers. And when things are good, life is okay. When things are not so good, the buck stops with the PMs. When things get really shitty, it’s like a dragon breathing fireballs of stress at you.
Oh, and my lovely wife and I had just welcomed twins into the world around the middle of 2013. It’s a wonderful thing, and definitely the best feeling to be a father. But boy, going from zero kids to two brings on a whole new kind of dragon!
Mustache Man Cometh
Around the end of 2014, I was reaching the pinnacle of tightly wound stress ball-ness. I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it, but I landed at MrMoneyMustache.com one day at work. This was a life-changer, plain and simple.
I knew I had to come up with some kind of plan to carve out more time for my family, and for myself. We had a pretty solid grip on our money situation, but we had no clue when it came to serious frugality and the shockingly simple math behind early retirement.
Mr. Money Mustache will tell you, with no punches pulled, to stop blowing your money on unnecessary luxuries, like big trucks, oversized houses, and private school educations. If you’re in debt, you need to scale it back. If you want the freedom and all the benefits that early retirement can offer, you’ve got to save 50% or more of your income.
A New Plan Emerges
With a wealth of old posts from the Mustached guru to pour-over (and I will admit, I read through the archives TWICE), I had all sorts of ammunition to kick our new plan off.
- We already had two single family home rentals, but we decided to add more.
- We opted to stay in our modest two-bedroom, 1500 square foot home, letting the twins share a bedroom for the foreseeable future.
- Credit cards became our secret weapon. To travel, we would rely solely on bonus points.
- Cable? Ha. Gone. We still use Netflix but that’s about it. Those handy HD antennas work alright too. And that content is FREE.
- Insurance? We gave all our policies a huge haircut.
- And speaking of haircuts, my wife now cuts mine, and we cut our kids’ hair. It all adds up. I could extend this list by 15 bullets or more.
It didn’t stop there. I eventually decided in the spring of 2015 to try bicycle commuting. My old mountain bike was undersized, still had knobby tires, and no lights. I was such a noob. Better still, I got absolutely soaked in a torrent of rain coming home that first day.
But what a huge feeling of accomplishment!
To make the 12 mile trek each-way easier, I took advantage of the bike route capabilities of Google Maps to keep me away from dense traffic. I studied up on the right gear to help me trim my commute time and improve safety (lights!)
I now ride in to work three times a week, and it saves me $10 each time in auto-avoidance, not to mention the added health benefits. Again, thank you, Mr. Money Mustache!
The Abandoned Cubicle Project
I credit the Financial Samurai for compelling me to blog about my experiences in early retirement. He didn’t directly call me out or anything. He just had a nice tidbit at the end of one of his posts about how easy it is to setup a WordPress blog. I figured, what the Hell.
I’ve been blogging for coming up on one year now. It’s been a pretty rewarding experience. At one point earlier this spring, I thought I might be running out of steam. Problem was, I had so much going on in my life that the blog became a very low priority.
Thanks to some minor tweaks in my routine, I have a renewed energy and commitment to sharing my experiences with the faithful band following my content.
What Makes Cubert Unique?
I try to ask myself that every time I strike the keys. There’s a huge and growing community of like-minded souls willing to write about their early retirement journeys, opening up their kimonos sometimes four or five days a week.
On abandonedcubicle.com, my goal is to present useful tips for reaching financial freedom, but with a good dose of my personal journey blended in. Sometimes I go a bit against the grain.
For instance, I’m a big fan of relying on steady sources of cash flow in early retirement, while others really hone in on Net Worth and safe withdrawal rates. You need a healthy mix of BOTH.
There’s also a good amount of Epic Fails that I share, with the intention of helping others avoid those mistakes. Oh yes, I expect folks are at least a little bit entertained with my dumbassity. I’ll have to coin that term.
There are really two paths you can take, if you’re just starting out in your career, or even if you’re an old goat in your 40s, like me. You can play it like the Jones’s and save a meager 15% year over year, and retire at 67. Or, you can get radical, and use the power of compounding interest and expense reduction to retire by 40.
The choice is yours. The information is out there waiting for you.
Thanks Cube awesome stuff! Be sure to check him out along with his story over at www.abandoncubicle.com