Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

Month One of Early Retirement

Here we are at the beginning of May, and it’s hard to believe that I am ONLY one month into my early retirement (ER).  So much has happened since my last day of work on April 1st.  The first half of the month consisted of continuing to downsize our things, spending time with family and friends, and prepping for our trip.  The second half of the month has consisted of settling into our new way of life in Granada, Spain

Our new home in the historic Albaicin neighborhood of Granada, Spain.

I have to say ... we are settling in nicely to our new home, and it is going to be very hard to leave this place if / when we decide to.  Life here is much slower paced which is exactly what we were looking for.  I’m learning to really appreciate the little things more.  For example, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the kids and I get up early (say around 10 am ...ha!) and walk about 10 minutes through the winding streets of our Albaicin neighborhood to the farmers market in Plaza Larga.  This is where we buy our produce; a typical haul looks something like this.  

In this post, I want to focus on two areas of life in ER that I think tend to get the most attention from those who are confused how someone would even think of retiring at 40.

  1. What are you going to do with your time?
  2. What if we run out of money?

What are you going to do with your time?  Or, aren’t you going to get bored? 

After one month of being retired (and almost a year since Tara has worked full-time), I can say with certainty that I am not going to get bored in ER.  Our days here have been full of exploring, World Schooling, shopping (groceries), meeting new friends, reading, and taking naps (my personal favorite ... how has the US not caught on to the importance of a good nap after lunch?!  Ahhh, that live to work mentality).

A Typical Day for Me

8:30 - 9:30 am: Wake Up

I wake up naturally most days (that is without an alarm clock) between 8:30 - 9:30 am.  From there, I get up, exercise, and make the kids their breakfast.

Sometimes breakfast includes treats from María Panadería.


10:00 am - 12:00 pm: Adventure / World School

Then usually between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm, we squeeze in some more traditional / at home learning before heading out on an adventure.  Our adventure could be anything from visiting a museum, to visiting the Alhambra, to playing at a local park, or just visiting the local market / bakery for goodies.  

Field Trip to Parque de las Ciencias.

Field Trip to the Alhambra.

Field Trip to the Alhambra (Generalife).

Our park for pull ups and exploring (also featuring our Tortuga day bag).

One of our World School bakery stops.  

2:00 - 3:00 pm: Lunch / At Home Learning May Continue

Last week Tara’s history and art lesson focused on the Alhambra and Tessellations.  You can access her resource here.

Usually after our adventure, we head home for lunch and more World Schooling at home for the kids.  This usually includes reading and writing, math, virtual Spanish classes, science, history, the arts, and budgeting / investing classes (this is a new one that I have put together to teach the kids how / why we do what we do when it comes to anything and everything regarding our money).  Note, Tara will do a post in the near future that goes into more specifics on our current approach to learning. 

3:00 - 5:00 pm: Siesta

After school is wrapped up, it’s time for a nap (for me!).  While I’m napping the kids are usually playing out on the roof deck with their new friend Momo.  This is also a great time to get some reading in.  Luckily Tara set us up with the Houston Public Library on-line resources, so we have free access to thousands of books.  (The kids also have a subscription with Get Epic).

Our landlord’s kitten.  Momo!

5:00 - 7:30 pm: Dinner (Cooking / Dinner)

Once nap time is over, I usually start dinner.  Sometimes while dinner is cooking, the kids and I will head to the park.  Other times we just lounge around.  After we have had dinner as a family (key phrase a family!), it is usually around 7:30 pm.  (Note, the Spanish timing and approach to meals is a lot different than the US way... we haven’t necessarily adapted to all of those changes yet.  Basically, late and light breakfast.  Biggest meal at lunch which would be after 2 pm (followed by a siesta!).  And dinner is more of a lunch ...and late.  We were letting the kids stay up even later when we first arrived, but we decided they needed more sleep.  They are going to bed later than they normally would in the US).

7:30 - 9:00 pm: Chat with Family and Friends 

After dinner the kids usually take their baths and settle in for the night.  We have found this to be a great time to chat with family and friends back home in the states (since we are 6 or 7 hours ahead from Texas and the East Coast).  That keeps everyone busy until about 9 pm or so.

10:00 pm - 12:00 am: Netflix and Lights Out

Between 9 pm and 10 pm the kids go to sleep and that gives us a few hours to relax and catch up on some Netflix.  We usually call it a night around Midnight.

If the first month of retirement is any indication, we are going to stay plenty busy in our ER.  The only difference is now we are spending our time doing things that we WANT to do not things that we NEED to do.  There is a big difference.  

What if we run out of money?

As you know by now our early retirement (ER) plan is based around the 4% safe withdrawal rate.  If you need a refresher on what that is ... read this post.  The cliff notes version is save up enough in low cost investments (like VTSAX for example) and once 4% of your total investments covers your desired cost of living you are set to retire.

Upon planning for our early retirement, I always liked the idea of using geographic arbitrage as a strategy to live below our means and still have a high quality of life.  This idea, along with the desire to live in a Spanish speaking country (for ours and the kids own learning purposes), led us to Spain.  

Through speaking with other expats, I had a pretty good idea that Granada would be a great place to kick off our ER journey.  However, it wasn’t until I got here and settled into our neighborhood that I realized just how great this whole geographic arbitrage thing is going to work.  

May is the start of our first full month in our new home so I don’t have any official numbers to report on what it is going to cost us to live here, but I have a decent idea.  Based on our first couple of weeks here I think we can afford to have a high quality of life here for around $2,000-2,400 USD per month.  That number is for a family of four and includes rent, utilities, groceries, medical / dental, and spending money.  I will put together a detailed post on all of our May expenses in early June (including a three night trip to the beach in May!).  

Comparing this level of spending to our current investments we can afford to live on a withdrawal rate of less than 2% by being in Granada, Spain.  At this level of withdrawal rate there is absolutely no doubt that we will never run out of money, and in fact our investments will certainly grow to a level that is well over and above what we will spend in our lifetime.  Not so shabby.

View of our neighborhood from the Alhambra.

So ... what are we going to do with our time?  We are going to do a lot of learning, exploring (and traveling!), relaxing, reading, playing, and napping!  The best part is we are going to do it all together as a family.

And ... will we run out of money living this way?  Not a chance.

How do you plan to spend retirement?  Or how do your currently spend your time in retirement?  Need assistance with getting set up with financial success?  Reach out, and let’s talk.  You can also comment below.


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