FI Lifestyle

Mini FIRE Life Update: Spring 2022

mika at canada place

Mika enjoying a sunset stroll with me at Canada Place (during our Spring Break stay at the Paradox Hotel)

It’s time for a mini update!

Sorry that I disappeared for a while! Don’t worry—I’m okay and Eat Sleep Breathe FI is still online! Life’s just been unexpectedly busy (and continues to be). 😬

I’ll eventually share more about our post-FIRE life and finances. But for now, I hope this mini update will suffice! Here’s what’s my family and I have been up to since M retired…

4.5 months of early retirement!

As I write this, M’s been early retired for 4.5 months. So far, it’s been amazing and a complete whirlwind. Last week, he jokingly said to me (while making a batch of pizza dough), “I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do in retirement. Maybe I should go back to work.” 

We both laughed, knowing this couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t know how M ever had time to work because we’re busier now than ever. (I know it’s cliché, but it’s true!) The days and weeks have flown by—filled with things we choose to spend our time on.

THIS is what FI’s all about! 😊

What M’s been up to

M has taken to retirement like a duck to water. He’s been so busy, I can’t even remember everything he’s been up to! I’ll try my best below:

Family stuff

  • Taking Kid 1 out to practice driving.
  • Taking both boys to their appointments, volunteering, activities, etc. (It’s so nice to have M’s help with this now—until recently, it’s been almost 100% me who did this!)
  • Making traditional Christmas baking (and lots of other food) with his mom.
  • Helping his dad install a dashcam in their SUV and backup/sideview cameras in their RV.
  • Helping my brother with a tricky install of their new baby gate.
  • Helping his uncle work on his classic Mustang.

Household stuff

  • Shovelling our driveway with the boys during the seemingly endless snowstorms in December/January. (This is another thing that I mostly handled when M was working. I’m so thankful to have his help with it now!)
  • Getting to a long list of home maintenance tasks (many of which were long overdue, but we never had time to get to).
  • Planning our weekly menus and picking up the groceries.
  • Cooking and baking (SO much cooking and baking, LOL—I’ll share more on this below).
  • Planning and overseeing the installation of a glass and aluminum cover for our patio.

Fun stuff

  • Driving his classic Mustang every chance he gets.
  • Having friends over to enjoy our newly covered patio.
  • Planning for two weddings we’ll be attending (one of which he’ll be a groomsman for).
  • Practicing pizza-making with his new pizza oven*. (Two of his work friends and I bought it for M as a retirement gift.) 
*This is an affiliate link. That means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the link.

Cooking and baking up a storm

Since FIREing, M has taken over most of the cooking for our household, which I’m thrilled about! (Cooking has never been one of my favourite activities. 😬)

M’s a natural in the kitchen and loves cooking, but he just didn’t have time or energy to do it when he was working. Now that he has endless time to do whatever he wants, he’s more than happy to take on the majority of the cooking. 

napoleon dynamite yes

GIF courtesy of GIPHY

In turn, I’ve become the main sous chef/dish washer, which I much prefer. 😉 I still do some of the cooking to give M a break, but overall, this is a far better split of kitchen duties for me! If you’re wondering what M’s been making for us, here’s a collage of some of the yumminess:

food by m

If you can believe it, this is just a small selection of the dishes M’s made since he retired in November—and it’s all been delicious! I’ve been trying to shed the extra pounds I gained during COVID, but he’s not making it easy! 😅

What I’ve been up to

I’ve likewise been crazy busy since M retired. In addition to my regular day-to-day mom and household duties, I’ve also filled my time with the following:

Blog and podcast stuff

Money stuff

  • Planning our withdrawal strategy with our financial planner Ed and his team.
  • Mapping out our cashflow for the next 4–6 months. 
  • Preparing and sending off our tax records so Ed and his team can file our returns.
  • Helping my dad with his taxes.
  • Helping family members and friends with their financial planning.
  • Simplifying and cleaning up our bank and investment accounts.
  • Consolidating the cash I was holding in PayPal, our USD account, and CAD accounts that I closed.
  • Doing a ‘Fresh Start’ in YNAB to clean up our accounts and categories. (It was a good time to do this—now that we’re FIRE, quite a few categories have changed.)

Fun stuff

  • Planning and going on several staycations (Whistler with friends in November, Burnaby in January, and Downtown Vancouver in March).
  • Meeting up with two of my FIRE besties (Ryan, my former podcast co-host, in December and Court from Modern FImily in March).
  • Making plans for nearly every day during spring break (more on this below).
  • Planning our summer travels and activities.
  • Dog walks with friends.
  • Learning about and doing some visible mending (it’s so much fun)!
  • Learning how to counter-condition Mika to negative stimuli (so that we can trim her nails without her freaking out 😫).
  • Trying to read physical books again. (I’m struggling with this—audiobooks remain my go-to!) 

Spring Break

March was extra busy for us because the boys had two weeks off for Spring Break—and we filled nearly every day with something fun:

  • Visited Science World with my sister and her kids. (We really missed Science World and were so happy to be back—our last visit was pre-COVID, in July 2019!)
  • Spent four days downtown in the Paradox Hotel (formerly the Trump Hotel) in a gorgeous luxury suite. (We got an amazing friends and family deal from a friend. Thank you, friend!)
  • Had our good friends over for dinner and a movie. (We watched Turning Red—I loved all the Canadian references!)
  • Saw M’s brother’s new house for the first time and enjoyed a sushi dinner with him and his family.
  • Had my family over to celebrate Kid 2’s birthday (M made pizzas for everyone in his new pizza oven—yum)!

Spring Break was amazing, but I needed a break from the break—I’ve spent the last couple of weeks catching up!

A big surprise 

Another reason I’ve been so busy is because I’m clearing the decks so I can keep April open. I’m going to be working on something that many of you will be excited about! There’s still a lot to sort out, and things aren’t fully confirmed yet, so I won’t reveal anything right now. Stay tuned!

That’s it for now

As mentioned, this is just a mini update, so I’ll have to end it here. 🙁 I’ve missed connecting with all of you, so please leave a comment. Let me know how you’re doing and if you have any questions about our FIRE life!

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  • Reply
    T on FIRE
    April 6, 2022 at 7:09 am

    Ok so, very happy for you here, but also jealous. Haha! All the busy-ness sounds fantastic! I really need to work on FIRE accelleration, so I can spend more time cooking and travelling, and visiting science world. hehe.

    What strikes me is I feel like you two were really “ready” to FIRE. As in, you are not floundering about “what to do” with more free time. To the point that you have less “free” time!! Although I’m convinced that I won’t flounder about either, I still need to better define what I will do in my retirement (or semi-retirement…something to be thought about). Anyway, what’s this exciting thing you are working on? Can you just tell us in the comments?

    • Reply
      T on FIRE
      April 6, 2022 at 7:10 am

      Also, the food. WOWZAAAAAA

      • Chrissy
        April 6, 2022 at 7:56 pm

        Wowza is right!!! It’s been too easy to eat way too much lately, ha ha.

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 7:24 pm

      Hi T—you’re doing great on your FIRE journey. You’ll get there in due time, and I’m sure you’ll find new ways to speed things up along the way!

      That’s such an interesting point about us being ready to FIRE. I can thank the OG FIRE people like the Mad Fientist for sharing their FIRE mistakes. He and others mentioned the need to retire INTO something rather than AWAY FROM your job/pre-FIRE life. (Since M doesn’t listen to FI podcasts, I made sure to drill this info into his head, ha ha.)

      As a result, he’s been thinking about his FIRE life for many years and even made a list of post-FIRE pursuits. Funny thing, though—he’s already made his way through much of that list! He’s also done a complete 180 on some items and no longer wants to pursue them (e.g. pottery). It’ll be interesting to see what ends up being his long-term “thing” (aside from cooking)!

      About the surprise, I don’t want to say too much yet because other people are involved. 🤐 I will DM you instead!

      • T on FIRE
        April 7, 2022 at 2:56 am

        He has done well. I will get started on my FIRE to do list!

  • Reply
    Liquid Independence
    April 6, 2022 at 7:43 am

    I liked Turning Red as well. So many jokes hit too close to home. 😂 Mi s such a great artist. I can tell by his cooking, lol. He can share photos of his creations on IG if he’s not already posting. Good idea staying in a hotel in downtown. Was there a big bath tub in your suite? Sometimes they’ll have a large hot tub.

    I’m happy to hear both of you are enjoying life in retirement together. My wife quit her job recently and I can’t wait to quit as well and join her in a couple of months. 🙂

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Liquid—that’s a great suggestion for M to share his photos on IG! His friends kept telling him to share his cooking there, so he actually has been. (He hates social media, so this is a big deal, ha ha.) 😆

      Yes, there was a bathtub in the suite, but it wasn’t big and the bathroom had floor to ceiling windows! We had to lower the shades to use the bathroom (which was a shame, since the night view was so pretty)!

      Aaahhh! I’m so thrilled for you and your wife that she’s quit her job. You’re one step closer to retirement—such exciting news! Congrats to both of you! 👏

  • Reply
    April 6, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the fun update! I’ve also enjoyed Turning Red and will be visiting the Paradox this weekend! Happy to hear that you’ve gained a personal gourmet chef and have more time to pursue your personal projects. Looking forward to hearing more about it!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Jules—no way, you’re also staying in the Paradox? I heard there was a deal on Travelzoo, and know of other friends who will also be staying there. It’s a beautiful hotel (but the interiors are surprisingly dark and moody). I hope you enjoy your stay!

      LOL, yes, I did indeed gain a personal gourmet chef! It’s been lovely. As for personal projects, my podcast editor Max asked me what my next big thing is, and I’m honestly not sure yet. I’m considering volunteering, but need to get through some home maintenance projects first! Maybe by this time next year, I’ll have found my next big thing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mr. Dreamer
    April 6, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Hi Chrissy! Thanks for the not too mini update! It is great to read you and family are doing well and you are getting more help with the kids and home stuff.

    You always have some surprises and keep us waiting impatiently! That is so unfair. Haha

    Also, loved the foods photo. It is Ramadan and I am fasting so you are guilty of making me so hungry now! LOL

    Stay Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Mr. Dreamer—ha ha, I guess my version of a mini update is still pretty long. I just felt like there was a lot more to say, but I didn’t have time to share it. I hope to, in time!

      I’m sorry to keep you waiting, but I hope you’ll be happy when you find out what it is!

      Oh gosh, fasting for Ramadan must be so difficult. I think I would shrivel up and collapse if I had to refrain from eating all day! (However, I’m sure it’s very good for the mind and body. I should try it at least once just to experience it.)

      Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend. It’s always nice to hear from you.

  • Reply
    Christopher Mercanti
    April 6, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    Great update, Chrissy! I’m glad things are going well and M is enjoying life as a new retiree. Mine starts in just three months!

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Christopher—thanks for the kind words. I am so excited for you. Three months will fly by in no time!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Long overdue update, Chrissy. Happy to read that you guys are not bored and are actually as busy as ever doing stuff you want to do.

    • Reply
      April 6, 2022 at 8:18 pm

      Hi C—I’m more than happy to shatter the myth that early retirees will suffer from boredom and have nothing to do!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Handful of Thoughts
    April 7, 2022 at 5:47 am

    Sounds like FI suits your whole family – this is no surprise. And like others in the comments, I’m so intrigued by your surprise – you really know how to keep people waiting – ha ha.

    Here’s to many more years of enjoyment in FI:)

    • Reply
      April 7, 2022 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Maria—to be honest, I think FI suits pretty much everyone! Seriously, who doesn’t want more time to do what they choose? It’s the ultimate luxury. 🙂

      I hope I’ll be able to share more about the surprise soon. 🤞

  • Reply
    Family Money Saver
    April 7, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Great update, sounds like you guys are doing amazing!

    • Reply
      April 7, 2022 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Family Money Saver—thanks for reading and commenting, my friend! I hope you and your family are doing well.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2022 at 10:26 pm

    Great stuff, Chrissy. I’m very glad to hear that things are going well and M is enjoying his well earned retirement! I always wondered what those first few months of retirement look for people, and it’s interesting to hear about all of the “we’ll get to it eventually” type projects being worked on now that he has the time. Looking forward to hearing about your next project as well! Cheers.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2022 at 10:40 pm

      Hi AL—I’m happy to hear that my update gave you a peek into the early days of retirement! If my in-laws and other retired relatives are any indication, it seems there is never enough time to get to all the things one wants to do in retirement. The projects and want-to-dos (along with the must-dos) are numerous and easily fill the days, months and years! I will keep you all posted about the surprise. 😉

  • Reply
    Lazy Man and Money
    April 8, 2022 at 8:08 am

    Of course I’m super curious about the new gig, but I’m so happy that retirement is going well for you. It feels like we’re the reverse gender of the situation with my wife being the one who loves to cook, but is still holding on to the 9-to-5 job for one more year. I’m looking forward to splitting more the of the household stuff – LOL.

    • Reply
      April 10, 2022 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Lazy Man—ha ha, no, there’s no new gig for me. It’s something I’m helping with (though it’s looking like it’ll take longer to come to fruition than expected).

      My husband’s always been very hands-on with chores and kid-related stuff, but it’s sure nice to have even more of his help now. I’m excited for your wife to finally pull the plug—not much longer!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2022 at 11:06 am

    This is so awesome, and thanks so much for the inspiring post! Like you said, spending time exactly how you want is what FIRE’s all about (and to an extent, I feel like that’s what life’s all about and everyone should have the opportunity to do that and truly spend our limited time here exactly how they want).

    • Reply
      April 10, 2022 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Angie—you’re right that life, and not just FIRE, should be about spending your time how you want. This is why I’ve always loved The Fioneers’ Slow FI approach. It puts the emphasis on living your best life all throughout your journey. That’s so important. Waiting for FIRE to be fulfilled and happy is neither healthy nor sustainable.

  • Reply
    Impersonal Finances
    April 9, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    What a deal, M retires and becomes a full-time chef! Here’s hoping the big surprise is that you’re taking over All-Star Money (somebody has to, right?!)

    • Reply
      April 10, 2022 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Impersonal Finances—ha ha, what a deal indeed! I sure lucked out with that, huh? As for All-Star Money, sorry to disappoint, but that’s not what I’ll be helping with! I hope someone does take it over. What a shame that they pulled the plug. 🙁

  • Reply
    April 13, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    I have been AWOL for a long time too! Like M, retirement is full of Busy-ness even though we retired in 2018. It is so great that M has the gift of creating super dishes that put me to shame. M’s dad always calls me an army cook because I cook in volume and nothing looks nice but tastes great (someone told me that army food does not taste great so there is a difference). Grandson (Kid2) said to me one day “Grandma, it has to look deformed to be homemade”. It is also nice that Chrissy has a bit more “free” time now that M has retired. M’s dad enjoys doing projects with him so that is a bonus for dad!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2022 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Mom—you’ve been busy enjoying retirement, which is what you should be doing!

      Ha ha, you certainly do know how to cook for an army. That’s a skill in itself. I didn’t know Kid 2 said that about homemade food, but I suppose he’s right!

      It’s been nice for all of us, you and Dad included, that M has more time to spend with everyone. He tells me all the time how much he loves retirement and how happy he is. That, in turn, makes me happy too. 😊

  • Reply
    Bob Wen
    April 24, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks for the update Chrissy. It’s great to stay busy. It’s also best to be busy and continue to look on the bright side of life. For the first time in over a year of retirement I really could have done with the distraction of some non-optional work project to focus on. Following the invasion of Ukraine, I became unhealthy obsessed with watching and reading everything that I could find on what was going on, including countering what I assume are Russian trolls in various comment sections on social media. Bad stuff for sure. So, stay busy, and please don’t go into the hole I’ve been in.

    I know the above is a little out of tune with comments in FIRE blogs, but filling that time with good stuff, as you have done, can take effort, and just like having to put effort into a relationship to make it work, sometimes we have to put effort into being retired to make that work too.

    • Reply
      Bob Wen
      April 24, 2022 at 6:40 pm

      P.S. Mika looks lovely.

      • Chrissy
        April 26, 2022 at 8:24 pm

        Ha ha, thank you! Mika’s a fun walking companion for sure (and a conversation starter—so many people smile and point at her and say, “It’s Doge!” 😆)

    • Reply
      April 26, 2022 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Bob—like you, I’ve also followed the war in Ukraine a little too closely (I suspect most people are in the same boat). It’s admirable of you to take on those Russian trolls. That’s not something I’ve tackled (yet), but as you said, it’s bad stuff, so I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the stomach for that. 🙁

      You’re absolutely right that having some sort of forced activity can be an excellent distraction in challenging times. I can see that retirement could become monotonous if one doesn’t put the effort into making life meaningful. That’s an excellent and helpful observation. I always enjoy reading about your experience as a retiree and any wisdom you have to share—thank you for your candid honesty.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2022 at 12:11 am

    Gosh, you’re not wrong about the busyness, haha! M’s cooking look soooo good 🙂 It’s wonderful to read how he’s adapted to retirement 👍🏻 – I think there’s always that little voice at the back of one’s head that whispers “What if you’re wrong? What if you’re not ready to retire?”

    Keep the updates coming! I love reading about everyone’s post FIRE life – helps me to prepare for my own eventual retirement 🙂

    • Reply
      May 2, 2022 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Latstarterfire—sorry for the late reply. For some reason, WordPress doesn’t always notify me when new comments come in. 😕

      You’re right, there is always that worry that maybe it was a terrible decision and that it won’t work out. Thankfully, it definitely has for M!

      To be honest, I think it’s been a bigger adjustment for me than for him. Now that I’ve lost my big goal of FIRE, I’ll need to figure out my next big thing. 🤔

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read/comment. (I read every post you share, but need to be better at commenting!)

  • Reply
    May 4, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, very exciting — maybe I found your blog and ended up at the juicy part…but where are the numbers and steps? I mean, was FIRE inevitable for you before age 50 based on income and existing assets, or is this something unique based on focus and dedication that is achievable for the masses of all starting positions? My apologies if it’s there but I didn’t notice, please point me in the best direction, thank you!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2022 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Mike—I don’t share all of our numbers, but here are some posts that will shed some light on how much we spend and how we got here:

      My backstory
      How to Reach FI on One Income, With Kids, in a High Cost of Living Area
      How Much Does it Cost to Live the FIRE Life in Vancouver? (As a Family of Four)
      We Did It—We Reached FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)!

      And here’s a post about why I don’t share our numbers publicly: Why I’ve Never Posted Net Worth Updates

      I wish that everyone could be in a position to achieve FIRE, but that’s sadly not the case. Many are faced with societal and systemic issues that make it impossible for them to reach FIRE.

      However, my opinion is that FIRE is achievable by the vast majority of middle to upper-middle-income people. And the great news is, it can be achieved without deprivation or suffering. Yes, it takes hard work and dedication, but if you do it right, you will enjoy the journey and not feel deprived.

      If you are starting from a negative number, it will of course take longer. But many people in the FIRE community have started with large amounts of debt and still reached their goals.

      I hope my reply and the links I’ve shared shed some light on how we reached FIRE and how others may also be able to as well. Feel free to reply to this comment or contact me by email or social media if you have more questions!

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