Tag Archives: amemoryjog

Are there Lessons to be Learned after 3 Years of Early Retirement?

Time flies. It’s been 3 years since I said goodbye to the corporate life and a twice monthly paycheck. My wife and I had a dream. We wanted to retire by the time our kids went off to college so that we could travel and enjoy life while we were still young and energized.

So how did we do it? We built a software business with personal savings of $10,000 and sold it 10 years later. It wasn’t easy. It had its ups and downs. Months when we didn’t know how we would make payroll and flying high after landing a large account that could sustain us for months in the future.

In the end, we exceeded our own expectations. 3 years prior to our kids graduating high school, we got the call from a larger company that saw value in acquiring our product line. Shortly after, I said sayonara to the daily grind.

After 3 years of retirement, it’s time to reflect and share with you lessons I’ve learned.

1. Early Retirement Conjures Up Unexpected Emotions

Literally the month after we retired, we saw our boys off to college and began traveling. Starting in Canada, we visited the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island.

Prince Edwards Island

Prince Edwards Island (Canada)

We then made our way to the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and the Bahamas. We saw extraordinary things. We watched a tortoise painstakingly dig a hole for her eggs.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

We saw the handiwork of the Incas, appreciating the architecture and incredible surroundings of a civilization that’s now long gone.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (Peru)

And we watched professional divers descend into Dean’s Blue Hole not to come up again for 5 minutes.

Dean's Blue Hole (Bahamas)

Dean’s Blue Hole (Bahamas)

After returning from this incredible 3 month trip, something weird happened. We started settling into our retired life and I began to feel sad. Before I retired, my employees and peers needed me. They were constantly asking for advice, calling and texting for help and now the phone was silent.

I began to mope around and waste my days fretting about what was next in life. Had I made a huge mistake by retiring early?

2. Boredom is Self-Inflicted

After a few weeks of licking my wounds, I read about this phenomenon known as “retirement depression“. It is common for new retirees to go through this because they are left with lots of time to reminisce about the days when their schedules were full and others depended on them.

After a bit of self-reflection, I came to realize that these feelings were driven by boredom. After working really hard all those years to retire early, I needed to get out and enjoy hobbies that I never had time for before.

I found all kinds of new hobbies. I began golfing, working on photography, cycling, hiking, boating, fishing, and blogging. A few weeks later, I couldn’t figure out how I ever worked because my days were so full with things I enjoyed. Depression was fleeting, I was now enjoying life more than ever.

Challenged myself to cycle 50 miles

Challenged myself to cycle 50 miles

3. Traveling provides a World of Amazement

Since retiring, we’ve enjoyed some incredible travels. After our first 3 month trip, we spent an entire summer traveling the western United States. We started in the Grand Tetons and went on to visit California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. We capped that summer trip off with an Alaskan cruise.

Grand Tetons

Practicing Photography in the Grand Tetons (Wyoming)

Hot Springs in Yellowstone

Hot Springs in Yellowstone (Wyoming)

Bigger than life Sequoias in California

Bigger than life Sequoias (California)

Majestic Crater Lake (Oregon)

Majestic Crater Lake (Oregon)

Glaciers (Alaska)

Glaciers (Alaska)

Last Summer, we took our youngest (college aged) son to Europe. We built our itinerary around the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain and capped off the trip in the Italian Riviera. We also visited Paris and Portugal.

Running with the bulls (Pamplona, Spain)

Running with the bulls (Pamplona, Spain)

Italian Riviera

Italian Riviera

As much as we’ve traveled, you would think we had seen it all. Not true, every new place we visit amazes us with something we’ve never encountered before.

4. You can still Fuel your Entrepreneurial Spirit after Retirement

Even though I retired early, I truly loved building my last company. It never really felt like work — it was fun, intellectually stimulating and invigorating. You don’t have to give up that feeling when you retire. You can choose to challenge yourself by starting a new business, a blog or working on pet projects.

I’ve recently done just that. I wanted to learn more about mobile app development so I started a project to develop an iPhone app. Since I love to travel, I built an app to provide peace of mind when traveling. It tracks things that are easy to forget (passwords, passport numbers, banking information, software licenses, etc.). I called the app aMemoryJog because it does just that – it securely tracks things that are easy to forget.
Learn More: http://www.aMemoryJog.com

Developing this app was not about making money. It was about doing something that stimulates me intellectually and provides an outlet for my entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m working on my next app. It will be called Count Us Down and will allow you to count down the days to your next big event (like a vacation or even retirement).
Learn More: http://www.CountUsDown.com.

iPhone Apps for Travel

5. Volunteering yields a Great Sense of Satisfaction

My wife motivated me to begin volunteering. She has volunteered for many years and genuinely enjoys helping others. Based on her example, I started volunteering last year with Habitat for Humanity (HFH). HFH builds homes for low income families and each family must contribute a significant number of hours helping to build their home or help build one for another family.

I belong to the Walton County Florida chapter and last year we renovated 1 home for a family and built 2 homes from scratch. Not only is volunteering incredibly satisfying, you get to know the family you are building for and you understand the how important it is for them.

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer work

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer work

Conclusion

Retirement is just another phase of life. Don’t over analyze it. Embrace new hobbies, travel to new places, experience other cultures, stimulate your intellect and enjoy life — you’ve earned it!

About the Author

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog,subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

Steve uses Personal Capital to manage all of his finances and investments because it is free and very robust. If you would like to download a free copy of Personal Capital, you can do that here.

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Rites of Passage: Touring New Belgium Brewery with my Son

Our oldest son, Cameron, turned 21 years old in November. This was our first visit to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit him since he turned 21.

Cameron said that many years ago I promised to take him to Ireland when he turned 21 to sit at a local pub and he could share his first beer with me. I don’t remember that promise and his schedule with college was too busy to make that a reality so we decided to share our first beer together closer to home — at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado.

New Belgium Brewery with Cameron

New Belgium Brewery with Cameron

New Belgium Brewery

If you’ve ever drank a Fat Tire craft beer,  you’ve had beer by New Belgium. New Belgium brewery was started in 1991 after founder Jeff Lebesch toured breweries in Belgium on his bicycle. The first beer they produced was named “Fat Tire”, after that Belgium trip.

New Belgium is now the 8th largest brewery in the USA and has almost 500 employees. They will soon be opening a brewery in Ashville, North Carolina.

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

 

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

If you are ever in Fort Collins, Colorado, you must take a tour of New Belgium. The tour lasts about an hour where you will learn the history of New Belgium, the process of creating beer, and you get to sample lots of beer along the way.

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

Getting a job at New Belgium is difficult because so many people want to work there. Our tour guide was talking about how his interview went. He first purchased several cases of Fat Tire beer and used it as the backdrop for his video interview.

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

The employees of New Belgium all own stock in the company and are encouraged to drive energy efficient automobiles. They have electric filling stations for electric cars.

Environmentally conscious

Environmentally conscious

IMG_3179

Once the tour was over, we were invited to slide down the New Belgium slide and of course we took part.

New Belgium Slide

New Belgium Slide

Oskar Blues Brewery

A few days later, we went to a brewery in Longmont, Colorado that we had never been to. It was called Oskar Blues and the tasting room had a really cool hipsterish kinda vibe.

Oskar Blues Brewery was started in 1997 by Dale Katechis and are unique because they don’t bottle any beer. They only package cans and kegs.

You may have tried their Dale’s Pale Ale, it is a popular beer that was named “Best Pale Ale” by the New York Times in 2005.  Dale Katechis first brewed Dale’s Pale Ale in his bathtub while a student at Auburn University.

Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado

Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado

We went with a couple of friends we met last year in Fort Collins and we are now starting to get to know them better. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Doug and Julie - our new Fort Collins buddies

Doug and Julie – our new Fort Collins buddies

There was a band playing and as you can see from the pictures, dogs are welcome and shoes are optional. My kind of bar.

Band from Maine

Band from Maine

Pinner (a small joint) - it is Colorado!

Pinner (a small joint) – it is Colorado!

Shoes optional

Shoes optional

Cool funky vibe

Cool funky vibe

Brought to you by MemoryJog

This blog was brought to you by aMemoryJog, a free password management app for the iPhone. If you are looking for an app to track your passwords and other easy-to-forget information, download aMemoryJog now at http://apple.co/1BsnQ7K. Why not, it’s free!

Free Password Keeper

Exploring History in Savannah, Georgia

We’ve wanted to explore Savannah, Georgia for some time now and we finally grabbed the opportunity.

Original Capital of Georgia

Savannah was the first city to be settled by the British in the Georgia colony and later became the capital. It was settled by General James Oglethorpe to protect the Carolinas from Spanish owned Florida and French owned Louisiana. It is a port city on the eastern coast of Georgia.

Map of Savannah Georgia

The architecture of Savannah reminded us of European cities we’ve visited but the moss laden trees really give it character.

European Style Cathedrals

European Style Cathedrals

Savannah City Hall

Savannah City Hall

Mossy trees

Mossy trees

Mossy trees

Mossy trees

Savannah has 22 squares, giving it a distinct European feel.

Square with statue of Oglethorpe

Square with statue of Oglethorpe

Savannah is a vibrant city especially during the tourist season when they attract millions of visitors. We visited several museums and took a city tour. You can also take ghost tours (it is supposedly the most haunted city in the south) and carriage rides.

Ghost Tours

Ghost Tours

Carriage Rides

Carriage Rides

Tybee Island

Referred to as “Savannah Beach”, Tybee Island is a short car ride away. The Tybee Island Light Station was the first lighthouse on the Southern Atlantic Coast.

Tybee Island Light Station

Tybee Island Light Station

Along the beach are swings where you can rest as you take in the scenery. I wish we had these in Panama City Beach!

Swings along the beach

Swings along the beach

Katie taking a brief walk

Katie taking a brief walk

Fort Pulaski

On the way to Tybee Island is Fort Pulaski, the largest fort in Savannah, designed to protect Savannah during the Civil War. The fort was no match for the rifled cannons of the Union army and it fell to Union soldiers. As you walk around the fort, you can see a cannon ball still lodged in the exterior walls of the fort.

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski

100 Year Old Home

We rented a 100 year old home during our stay. It had a 4 sided fireplace shaped like a diamond so that the 4 adjoining rooms had their own fireplace, all sharing the same chimney. Very cool.

4 sided fireplace

4 sided fireplace

Savannah Breweries

As we usually do, we sought out the local brew houses. We visited Moon River Brewing Company and enjoyed a nice amber ale.

Moon River Brewing Company

Moon River Brewing Company

Moon River Brewing Company

Moon River Brewing Company

Slide Show of Savannah

If you would like to see a slide show of pictures we took in Savannah, click the image below.

Slideshow

Brought to you by aMemoryJog

This blog was brought to you by aMemoryJog, a free password management app for the iPhone. If you are looking for an app to track your passwords and other easy-to-forget information, download aMemoryJog now at http://apple.co/1BsnQ7K. Why not, it’s free!

Free Password Keeper

Latest Escapades and my latest blog: 2 Hour Appreneur

For those of you that follow this travel blog, I wanted to let you know that I just started a new blog called the “2 Hour Appreneur“.  The new blog is the result of a new experiment I am trying out. For the last year, I have been infatuated with mobile apps and people who build them.

Since I love business and life hacking, I thought I would perform an experiment to determine if a person can start a business building iPhone/iPad/Android apps and work only about 2 hours a day doing it. During this journey, I will document everything along the way.

If you are interested in this topic and would like to get an email each time I post to it, go to http://2hourappreneur.wordpress.com, scroll to the bottom right of the page and look for something that says “Follow Blog via Email“. Enter your email there and you will receive the blog automatically when I post a new one.

I started this blog about 2 weeks ago and I already have 533+ followers!  Wow!

What Have You Missed So Far?

I started the blog about 2 weeks ago and have posted 2 blogs so far:

What’s Going On With Us?

Lynn and I are still in Fort Collins, Colorado hanging out with our boys, visiting breweries, hiking, cycling, and working out. Here are a few recent pictures from our escapades:

Hiking in Fort Collins

We found a cool hiking trail called “The Devils Backbone”.  It is a moderately easy trail, taking about 1.5 hours to complete.  It ascends up the side of a mountain with an incredible view of the valley below seen through a natural hole in the rock formations, called the “Keyhole”.

Keyhole

Keyhole

Katie enjoyed the hike but was sore the next day

Katie enjoyed the hike but was sore the next day

Singletrack trails

Singletrack trails

I also found a hike at Shields Ponds that slinks next to the Poudre River, circling back by a working farm. I took this picture of a old truck that was still being used on the farm today. Very cool.

Old truck on working farm

Old truck on working farm

Cycling

We found a really long cycling trail in Windsor, just a few miles from Fort Collins. It is snakes along the Poudre River and runs through cattle farms, neighborhoods, and nature preserves. I am not sure exactly how long the trail is but my guess is that it is around 25 to 30 miles one way. Lynn and I purchased road bikes recently and have been trying them out on these trails.

Cycling the Poudre Trail

Cycling the Poudre Trail

Scenes along the bike trail

Scenes along the bike trail

Exploring New Breweries

We have also been exploring new breweries. In my last blog post, I talked about the huge population of breweries in Fort Collins. It is true, here are a few more.

C.B. & Potts

C.B. & Potts

Pateros Creek Brewery

Pateros Creek Brewery

Pateros Creek Brewery

Pateros Creek Brewery

Funkwerks Brewery

Funkwerks Brewery

Tour of Funkwerks

Tour of Funkwerks

Beer Menu on the Big Screen - Mayor of Old Town

Beer Menu on the Big Screen – Mayor of Old Town

The Mayor of Old Town Brewery

The Mayor of Old Town Brewery

Freedoms Edge Brewery

Freedoms Edge Brewery

Update on the App Development of aMemoryJog

As many of your know, I blogged about developing a web based product and an accompanying mobile app that allows you to track all your passwords, loyalty cards and just about anything else that is easily forgettable — putting all of that info at your fingertips.

The web version of this is done and I am getting several hundred people downloading it each month. I subcontracted out the app development and it should be selling for the iPhone in the Apple App Store in July or August. Here is what it looks like. If you haven’t done it yet, download a free trial here. The iPhone edition will have both a free and paid edition, so you could use it for free once it hits the App Store in a couple of months.

aMemoryJog - Web and iPhone versions

aMemoryJog – Web and iPhone versions

What’s Next for Us?

Lynn and I will be heading back to the Florida for May to enjoy the sun and surf before summer begins. We are planning a summer trip to Utah to visit some of their incredible state parks, a trip to Greece in the fall and a trip to Ireland for Thanksgiving. Lots of exciting days ahead!

Finding a Post-Retirement Muse

Eliminating Post-Retirement Boredom

In my March 8, 2013 blog, I talked about how I stumbled onto an idea when we stopped at a hotel and forgot my Hilton’s rewards card. As I was checking in, they asked me for my loyalty card number and I could not remember it. I thought man, if I could have that info on my phone I could easily retrieve it and not miss any loyalty points. That spawned an idea to create an app that could house all my loyalty cards, website passwords and any other personal information that is useful to have at my fingertips.

Well, I just finished the first version of this. It is called aMemoryJog because it literally jogs your memory if you forget passwords, account information (bank, credit card, loyalty, frequent flyer accounts), or anything else you have a hard time remembering. For me to be comfortable using it, I knew it had to be secure, so I implemented 256-bit AES encryption, the same level of encryption most banks use.

If you want to try it, point your browser to http://www.aMemoryJog.com and click the Free 30 Day Account button. This version works from your web browser, so you can use it from your PC, Mac, iPad or any other tablet. You can even use it from your smartphone but I will be creating a smartphone optimized version for the iPhone, Android and Windows phones in the near future — a version that will make using it on a smaller screen much easier.

If you are just curious how it works, watch the YouTube video: http://youtu.be/26flOLCj6uk.

Why Start Another Business?

You may be wondering why I would start another business after I just retired just over a year ago. In short, I wanted to stay mentally sharp, occupy my time between traveling and hobbies, and generating additional cash to further fund our retirement never hurts.

Have you ever read the book by Tim Ferriss called “The 4-Hour Workweek“? If not, you should pick it up, it is a great book. It talks about how to optimize your workload to gain maximum efficiency with the least amount of time spent doing it. He talks about creating a “muse” — a business that is so optimized that it requires minimal effort. So that is what this project is for me — my muse.

When I started thinking seriously about doing this, I jotted down the goals of my muse:

  • It must be inexpensive to start
  • It must have low overhead
  • It must be accessible anywhere in the world, because we like to travel
  • It must allow me to work and play as little or as much as I like (I have lots of hobbies and love to play)

A software business fit the bill perfectly.With a strong software architecture and programming background, I could do all the programming. With no need for a physical office, my overhead costs would be low. If it ever becomes too much work, I know I can easily outsource the programming and/or support.

Other Early Retirees With Muses

As we were working towards early retirement, we were inspired by a couple of early retirees. The first was Billy and Akaisha Kaderli (http://retireearlylifestyle.com/). They retired at the age of 38! After traveling extensively for a couple of years, they began to amass tons of travel knowledge. So they wrote a series of books to aid other early retirees and travelers. Their book The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement is a great read. So this is a labor of love for them and their muse.

Another example is Robert (Bob) and Robin Charlton. They retired at 43 years old. After a few years of retirement, they wrote a book called How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less. What a great book, and this is their muse.

What’s Next for Us?

We will spend the next few months visiting our boys at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado, spending Christmas, New Years, and most of January there. I plan to ski on some of my favorite Colorado mountains, spend lots of time with our boys, and mountain bike as much as possible. As inspiration strikes, I will begin working on the iPhone version of aMemoryJog with hopes of finishing that by early Spring.