Monday, 27 March 2023

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How a 44-year-old built up enough ‘f–k you money’ to retire early

Charmagne Chi is pictured on stage performing.

Charmagne Chi enjoys early retirement so much, she has to remind herself to take days off.

If that sounds counterintuitive, it’s probably because Chi’s life now, two years into retiring from her 9-to-5 banking job 42, doesn’t reflect the image conjured in some people’s minds when they picture retiring early.

Chi doesn’t spend her days lounging on the beach, traveling the world, or blogging about early retirement (though she does post updates on TikTok). Instead, she works part-time for a local theater company in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, and practices writing and other creative pursuits. Her husband, who also left his IT job two years ago, spends his time weight lifting, volunteering with the local search and rescue team, and fostering dogs.

“Now that my whole life is only stuff I want to do, taking time off is very tricky,” Chi tells Fortune. “Every day feels like, ‘well, I’m only doing fun stuff,’ but then six weeks will go by and I’m exhausted.”

“All I want to do is creative stuff all day, every day, and that’s what I’m doing,” says Charmagne Chi.

Courtesy of Charmagne Chi

And so the 44-year-old is busier than ever. But you need not feel bad for her. That was always the point of trying to save as much as possible in her 30s, Chi says: It’s not that she didn’t want to work, per se. She wanted to be able to spend her days pursuing her passions, without worrying about finances. Some people might say that doesn’t really count as early retirement, but Chi doesn’t need the money she earns from the theater. She’s free to do whatever she wants with her time.

“When you don’t have to spend 40, 50, 60 hours a week earning a paycheck, whatever you would fill that time with, that’s the reason to retire early,” she says. “All I want to do is creative stuff all day, every day, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Chi declined to say exactly how much the couple saved before they decided to leave their jobs, but she did say that so called leanFIRE—in which someone aims for $1 million in savings before retiring—”was not enough” for her and her husband to feel comfortable taking the plunge.

‘Question everything’

Chi first came across the concept of early retirement on popular blogs like Mr. Money Mustache; she and her husband adapted the often extreme austerity practices of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) crowd to fit their own needs and values.


Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Fortune | FORTUNE…