The ideal life

Reading posts on how to live your live when early retired started a thinking process. What would I do when I am financial independent? It is not in my nature to do nothing. So, I try now to design my ideal life. This is the first iteration. I am curious to see where it takes me. I do have some constraints that I set upon myself and these have a high impact on the end result.The first part of my ideal life is to travel. I really love to travel and explore new worlds and cultures. I do not want to rush my travel. I have heard a lot on slow travel and I want to give this a try. We have 2 small kids that still have some 15 years of school ahead before they can start university. This creates a first constraint: travel is restricted to the holiday periods of the school. Why? I do not want to educate my children myself. I believe in the quality of the Belgian schools and I see a lot of added value in being in a classroom: there is interaction with others to increase social skills, there is exposure to other family rules and values. This will enrich my children. So, travel is restricted to the summer holidays and the 4 other holiday blocks we have in Belgium.


A challenge for me is a task that requires me to learn new skills, to interact with people and to motivate them to deliver the given task. For now, I see these challenges mainly in work related goals. So, in an ideal life, I still run some challenging projects and deliver the results that are required. I do not exclude work and work related stress from my ideal life. Is this because I have not yet seen the other side? maybe! Is this the nature of the beast? For now, I think yes, but I think it can change.

Elaborating on two, there is tree. Over time, I would like to get my challenges out of other projects than work related projects. I am not sure how fast this would go, but I have time… I think of community work or other volunteering jobs.

A last element is to have an intense relation with my girls. This requires me to be there for them and to have a lot of quality time. Not only during holidays, but also during the regular school periods, both in the week and in the weekends. This does not mean that I have to bring them to school and pick them up each day. Part of the education is that they know that dad and mum have their own life and priorities. I want them to be independent as well.

If I combine the above aspects, I come up with the following ideal life. Work about 9 months per year on challenging projects and deliver results. The remaining 3 months are spend traveling, if the school agenda allows it. My work should allow to have each day either the morning or the evening to be there for the kids and weekends should be for family and friends. Over time, I would go to less work. The free time could be used to work on other challenges like volunteer work or more social related challenges.

My next step now is to have this mature a little bit and talk about it a lot with Mrs Amber Tree. How does she sees her ideal life. What goals does she have. Next to that, there is another challenge: reach a state with my portfolio that allows to work only 9 months per year without impacting my FIRE goals too much.

I am curious to read more from people that have reached FIRE and how they fill their days. I have seen people that go for an approach similar as above, there are others that focus 100pct of the time on their blog and kids/family/travel. Any experience and advice is welcome.


8 thoughts on “The ideal life

  1. We aren’t retired yet, so can’t offer advice. But surely you will always be glad that you found a way to spend more time with your girls while they are young. Kids grow up so quickly, and the opportunity to watch them grow up is fleeting.


  2. We will have young children also when we retire early. We would love to travel with them, but the school breaks are a limiting factor. We were thinking we will try to do a long trip, 4-6 weeks every summer, to try and immerse them in other places and cultures. Maybe when we get to that point I’ll try to set up a house exchange program with other early retirees!


  3. Nice post and interesting plans. Working 9 months per year looks like working 75%. If you’re saving more than 25% today (and your employer agrees) you can do that without problem.

    My plans in term of ideal life have been expressed in 3 posts on my blog so far. And they can be summarized in:
    – what’s my ideal community, neighborhood and housing situation
    – which passions and challenges to pursue
    – what routines and cycles (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) I’d like to install

    Too long to be expressed all here 🙂


  4. For me, the point of FIRE is to have freedom. Freedom to travel, like you said, and freedom with my time. It’s not so much about the money for me, but about having the choice to work or not at any given time.

    Warren Buffett’s life embodies a great example of this. He spends half of his work day reading… time that can be wisely used researching companies or increasing skills or education. I don’t see myself stopping working if I reach FIRE, but instead having the freedom to work like this, on projects I enjoy.

    Anyway, I was hoping to contact you Mr. Amber Tree about something. My email should be in this comment, would be great to hear from you.


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