A bit about Cubert, the author and madman behind Abandoned Cubicle: I reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the weather is rarely perfect, the people are kind (most of the time), and craft beers thrive.
To keep up my cardio (and my sanity), I ride my bike to work a few times a week, from April to October. It’s a great habit that saves me roughly $10 or more in car commuting costs every time I pedal into the office…
We enjoy the outdoors and try hard to limit our screen time. As full-time working parents, our days can be exhausting. Mrs. Cubert and I were married for seven years before having kids, and we work hard to keep our relationship strong with regular date nights.
I preach often in these pages about the importance of balance and avoiding regrets as we move from one day to the next in our increasingly hectic lives. This is not a “frugality above all else” kind of blog.
Cubicle Life Just Ain’t My Bag
Early Retirement, powered by Financial Independence, also known as “FIRE” — that’s the real premise of Abandoned Cubicle. My career in technology has had its ups and downs, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a nagging itch to take on passion projects. Effectively, I just wanna be my own boss.
2020 — That’s a pivotal target that’ll mark six years since I stumbled across the early retirement option. Six years of planning, saving, and even firing up this blog to hold myself accountable. During my time as a grown-up, I eventually got wise about the importance of purpose and relationships over money.
See, money is vital, but we create many of our problems when it comes to personal finance. Once you get the money-part figured out, the key is to remember that money is simply an enabler.
The focus has to be the daily expression of gratitude for the amazing people in your life!
My mission here is to figure out whether early retirement is all it’s cracked up to be. Some days I dream about new adventures. Even simple things like reading and taking naps have me longing to escape from these fluorescent overhead cubicle lights. Ultimately, I need to establish a routine and a new network of confidants and colleagues, should I choose to walk away from the cubicle farm.
The Cubert Five (or Six) Year Plan to Retire Early
Back in the fall of 2014, I found myself completely burned-out. Newborns demanded a lot of our attention, and the most intense work project of my career was heating up. Weekend conference calls and evenings online were the norm.
I stumbled across Mr. Money Mustache while searching Google for “early retirement”. And still, four years later, I’m not convinced that quitting is the answer to a fulfilling life…
I have had the good fortune of getting into real estate rentals, thanks to a colleague who’d built a mini-empire of duplexes. I started with a couple of single-family homes in 2013 and we now have five rentals in total.
Rentals, especially AirBNB vacation units, are a lot of work up-front. It sure helps to be handy, and, to have helpful friends and family! I’ve come to find out that by and large, well-run and well-conceived real estate rentals are lucrative cash flow investments. And the more skilled you become, the easier it gets.
We keep our investments basic, with 401K dollars fully allocated to low-cost index funds. If I retire early, we’ll rely on cash flow from our rental business, plus income from Mrs. Cubert’s part-time business. The 401K will be waiting for us when I reach 59.5 years of age.
What could go wrong??
Well, we can all agree it’s unnerving to see the market take the occasional tumble. Again, that’s why I’m a huge fan of real estate. Diversified assets are crucial.
Five Years Into This Six-Year Journey
I look back with amazement at how the “big plan” has unfolded. Since the blog fired up in the fall of 2016, my work-life has continued to thrive, the kids are doing great, and early retirement has emerged as a real possibility. 2020 is coming up fast, and I think I’m prepared!
So how did I get from Zero to FIRE in just ten years (without a money-making blog?) Check out the Million Dollar Decade post to learn the details. Perseverance, living relatively small, learning how to be a better employee, and jumping into side hustles made it happen.
Oh yeah, since starting this blog, I’ve met a handful of like-minded bloggers who’ve become friends. We share guest posts and follow each other on Twitter and Facebook. It’s QUITE an amazing community!!
I hope you’ll bookmark Abandoned Cubicle and join the email list. I would love to share my journey with more like-minded people, even those with a bit of skepticism about the concept of early retirement. It can be done!
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Disclaimer: I’m not a financial planner or certified money expert. Any recommendations or advice presented within the content of Abandoned Cubicle is based solely on my experience and opinions (of which there are many!)