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December 19, 2016


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Good to see your posts again Sydney. Some strong reactions from people regarding NYC - I'm visiting for the first time next September from the UK, so the excitement is mounting! I lived in London during my 20s and loved the buzz, the bars, restaurants, theatres, museums and an exciting job near to Fleet St. Over time the crowds and the congestion got to me and I moved to Sydney, which I enjoyed for several years. I'm now back in my home town and I love it. So, take the best from whatever situation you're in, and once it begins to pall, make some changes. I live in a house that I love in the outer suburbs. Craved something closer to the action for some time, but so glad I didn't take on extra mortgage to achieve this or I would still be slaving away at my old job. We all have to cut our cloth accordingly.


Yes, JP's guest post definitely 'spurred' conversation in the comment section. Thought-provocation is what great blogging is all about! Thanks for following up with a few of these points in this blog, Syd. The points that both you and JP made regarding "fiddling with a trinity of factors' is sound advice. The details that you gave in this post helped to bring further clarity to this issue.
PS Happy Birthday, Syd!


I like your post and JP's with their clear reminders that the "trinity" of work, assets, and lifestyle drive retirement. However, it seems to me two additional points made are equally important. One is that retirement is a phase of life and within that phase people change, grow, develop, move, make new or different choices. I hope JP lives a long life and if she does, chances are her life will look different over time as she develops and grows. The other point is the simple idea that people are different. You live in 4000 square feet, JP lives in 325 square feet, I live in 1600 square feet in a mountain town. These are simply differences that probably reflect personal preferences and not what is right or wrong. In my experience, some may be less comfortable with choices that fall outside what they consider normative.
I enjoyed the posts and the martinis look tempting.

Retired Syd

CMW: I have always loved visiting Manhattan. I know a lot of people hate it, and I don't disagree with their criticisms of NYC. But I still love it and enjoy every minute I'm there. I'm sure you'll have a great time. There's still no other city I love as much even with its faults. (Although I could never live with the winters. Loud, dirty, smelly, crowded? Yeah, I could live with all that, but not the cold! Guess I'm a California sissy.)

Donna: I'm with you, love a blog post that gets me thinking.

Gail: Yep, city vs. country, big vs. small, retire early or later? Everyone is different.

Peace of Mind

"You live in 4000 square feet, JP lives in 325 square feet, I live in 1600 square feet in a mountain town. These are simply differences that probably reflect personal preferences and not what is right or wrong. In my experience, some may be less comfortable with choices that fall outside what they consider normative."

So true! I've lived in a studio apt. at 18 years old. A 3,300 SF home on a lake in my 20's only to leave that to buy a 1,300 SF condo to a house currently with just under 2,200 SF. My favorite? That 1,300 SF condo and the house we have now at 2,200 SF. I still dream about that condo though - I loved it so much. So for our 2nd place for our weekends and vacations we are going to build a tiny house (288 SF) on our lake property we also have. The best of both worlds in moderation - for us. I think...

If only we could see into the future think of the brilliant decisions we'd make and the money we'd save! Maybe JP has that ability. Or she's just smarter than some of us. ;)

Tom Sightings

I remember taking a job -- coincidentally, when I was 28 -- where the office was closed on Fridays in May (for a reason too obscure to explain here). At first I thought -- Great! Extra days off! But after the second or third Friday, I realized my wife and all my friends were working, so there was really not much for me to do, and no one to do it with. I was glad when I moved on to another jobs a few years later, where we got the time off when everyone else was off. All by way of saying . . . what do you do if you're 28 and retired, even in NY? Go to restaurants and musuems and the theater by yourself? Hang out with the 70-year-olds?

Retired Syd

Peace of Mind: Or when you're really ready you just make it work.

Tom: Well I imagine you do the same things you do at 53, like take piano lessons or something. I'm taking jazz piano class three days a week at the community college. One of my new friends from class is 92 years old. She probably has as many friends her age to hang out with as JP does at 28. In any case, some of my favorite retirement days are the ones where I have the house all to myself.


I read the earlier post and found the discussion interesting. As for me, I live in about 625 square feet in a studio apartment just outside NYC. I have lived here for nearly 28 years (I am 53 now). I worked in NYC (or nearby Jersey City, New Jersey) for 23 years (19 of the ~28 years I have lived here) but the barely tolerable commute became intolerable. I retired 8 years ago at age 45.

There are times I wish I had moved to a slightly bigger place in my co-op complex but real estate prices were high in 1989 and I hadn't saved up enough to buy a one-bedroom with a bigger kitchen. I can see myself one day moving to a bigger place, maybe even a small house, just to have some more room. I'd have to make sure it fit into my budget (it probably would once I turn 60) ; around here, the property taxes would be huge!


Happy New Year Syd. Your tree looks lovely.

Financial Samurai

One about money is that I always believe everything is actually UNDERSTATED rather than overstated due to Stealth Wealth.

There's more money out there than one knows.

I'm sure the $2M net worth is described in detail on her sight somewhere.

All good!



Great post, and I heartily agree about the trinity. I retired at 53 almost two years ago. I own my 1,100 sqft home in a low COLA. I live very comfortably on my defined benefit pension. My daughter and her family just moved two and a half hours away to a higher COLA for her husband's work. If I choose to move to be closer to my grandchildren I would have to move into a smaller home. My decision to retire (and whether I could afford to) was based on living in my current home. I have made lots of renovations and love my home. It is the perfect size for me and my myriad of hobbies. I have decided to stay put as it isn't too far to drive to visit, but that doesn't mean I won't want to downsize when I am older. We will see what the future brings.


Hi Syd, interesting article. How were your holidays? Miss reading your blog. Will you be writing soon or have you officially retired?


Good article, looking forward to the next one.


"Work, assets, and lifestyle. If you want to retire young, actually at any age really, you fiddle with the give-and-take between this trinity of factors."

Very true statement.

Living in Australia, there is an expectation from people that you must accumulate real estate assets. However, with prices in some parts of the country 12 x the average income, to do so you risk sacrificing lifestyle.

As someone who thinks lifestyle should be prioritised, I took great pleasure reading your article.

Cheryl Coleman

Greetings! Great post as always - really enjoy reading up on your financial advice and how you made retiring early work so well for you. I definitely agree with your points about JP here - everyone has different lifestyle and spending preferences. I'm glad to see that you can see where she's coming from.

I was wondering if you ever considered Housesitting as a means for travel and income. It is a low-maintenance job and has the benefit of free accommodation. Housesitters have the chance to experience a different lifestyle in a new location. I recommend visiting a website like Housesitter.com to view opportunities for you!

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