My 30% Raise

Inevitable market corrections mean that we may take pay cuts here and there over the next few years. But that’s OK. Why? Because when it comes to my remaining Free Time on Earth, I just got a 30% raise!



The one sweeping assumption I made for this free time promotion was that I’m going to live until I’m 94. When we used to work with a financial advisor, that’s the age he always chose for my demise. So I’m going with it!


Free Time in the Parallel Universe

In a parallel universe where I kept working until I was 65, here’s what my remaining free time looked like:

  • Weekend days while working 17 more years: 1,768
  • Vacation days: 510
  • Free days from age 65 to age 94: 10,585

TOTAL FREE DAYS between now and age 94: 12,863


Free Time in the FIRE Universe

In this “real” universe where I’ve reached FI (Financial Independence) and I’m RE (Retiring Early), my remaining free time looks a little different:

TOTAL FREE DAYS between age 48 and age 94: 16,790

That’s sixteen thousand, seven hundred ninety days to do whatever I want to do!

Gadzooks! For the first time in memory, my time is going to be … mine! Unstructured. Free. All outside of the confines of a cubicle. And I have 30% more of it than in that parallel universe where I kept working until I was 65.

I feel very lucky. And happy!


Free Time In the Olden Days

As far back as I can remember (about age 5) most of my time has fallen into a structure:

  • 7 years of Elementary School
  • 2 years of Middle School
  • 4 years of High School
  • 4 years of college
  • 32 years of work from age 16 to age 48

Sea Kayaking in Alaska

The largest continuous chunks of free time I remember were summer vacations before I started working, 10 weeks hitchhiking and backpacking  with friends around South America during college, and about 4 months taken to train a puppy and work on my new (old!) house after I was laid off in 2001. Mr. Grumby and I also took a couple of epic 3-week trips. In 2008 we got married in Alaska, took a sea kayak trip and then rented a car from Rent-a-Wreck . And in 2013 we rented a minivan and took an awesome road trip with our 2 dogs.

The fondest memories I have from those times:

  • Spending time in nature with my favorite people and dogs
  • Visiting family and friends
  • Riding my bike
  • Traveling
  • Challenging adventures
  • Meeting interesting people


Free Time Grumby Style

Rich and Cissy

When Mr. Grumby and I were on the road trip with our dogs, we met 2 people that planted the seeds for how we might use our free time once we retire. We were all staying at the KOA Kampground (with a K!) in Buena Vista, CO and Rich and Cissy had ridden their tandem bike from Yorktown, VA and were on their way to Astoria, OR. They were two of the happiest people we’d ever met and their trip on Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica route sounded like a blast.

We had the great fortune of getting together with Rich and Cissy a couple times after that in Portland and love hearing from them every Christmas. If all goes according to plan, we’ll see them on their turf in South Carolina while we’re in between the Southern Tier and TransAm routes. Of course, we’ll swing up to North Carolina to visit the Groovys at Groovy Ranch, too!

Free time Grumby Style will be just like the olden days. I’ll get to spend my days with my best friend, Mr. Grumby, while riding our bikes around the beautiful (and large!) USA. Along the way, we’ll spend time with some of our favorite people and we’ll have fun with the interesting people we meet along the way!


Good Question!

As we enter this vast new pool of free time, one of the questions I’d like to ask myself periodically is:

Right now, this is the only day that you have … what do you want to do with it?

For Phase I, Undaunted Porridge, the likely first part of the answer will be, “Hey! Let’s go on a bike ride!”

It will be interesting to see how the answer evolves over time.


Using Time to Stay Awake and Alive

I’d love to hear about what other people have done with large chunks of unstructured time. How much time did you have and what did you do?

If you could give yourself the gift of extra free time, what would you do with it?

Mr. Grumby and I have both referenced this video before. It’s a great reminder of the importance of using the precious resource of time to stay awake and alive:





  11 Replies to “My 30% Raise”

  1. February 20, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Sounds like a plan! I worked longer than I had to but I really did like my job for most of my career. I never felt a difference in “free” days or work ones most of the time and even though I have a ton of active hobbies, mostly outdoors, I still usually looked forward to Monday mornings and heading to work the same way I looked forward to Friday afternoons headed to the weekend. Now I’m slightly early retired, although I’m sitting in my lawyers office today working on some side gigs that I enjoy and it is still the same. I love my days off of tennis, running, hiking, fishing, skiing and volunteer work and I love my days on doing consulting and lobbying stuff. The nice thing about FI is you can choose to design your life to suit you which is handy because we sure are not a one size fits all community. Between you and me, I think you are the normal well balanced one and the other one of us is crazy.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      February 20, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Sounds like the life that you’re designing in your slightly early retired years is very fulfilling. You’re keeping your mind and body active while contributing and continuing to bring in some income doing work that you love.


      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Kathleen
    February 21, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I love this post, as it is something I think about often. I am not on a FIRE path — I’ll retire pretty much at the typical retirement age. BUT — my career has been very on-standard, with many years of it now working from home so as to escape the evils of cubicle life. I look forward to the total free time that retirement will get me in 10 years, but in the meantime I have considerable more of it than most career hamster-wheel-runners in my age group.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      February 21, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      I admire you for abandoning the Cube Farm and getting off the corporate hamster wheel. I know that self employment carries a unique set of risks and challenges, but overall I imagine it to be much more fulfilling than the standard Cube Gig. Hopefully you’ll be able to find ways to wind down over the next 10 years to make sure you have a healthy amount of time for leisure and relaxation. :o)

  3. February 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    I only have two things to say.

    First, this post is brilliant.

    Second, you better swing by Groovy Ranch when you’re in the Carolinas.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      February 21, 2018 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Mr. G! If ever there were a reason to keep pedaling east once we’re in the Southern USA, this is it! Groovy Ranch will be our Wally World! Looking forward to Spring 2019 and a visit to Groovy Ranch Headquarters (GRHQ).

      • March 1, 2018 at 5:54 am

        Haha! And the moose in front of GRHQ will never turn you away.

  4. Dee ann Forte
    March 8, 2018 at 3:00 am

    Once again, a great post – i am in awe of your tenaciousness for FIRE!! Way to go Grumbys!

    • Mrs. Grumby
      March 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Dee Ann! Can’t wait to see you in … just over 2 months (eek!) for the great Grumby Departure.

  5. Cissy Byrd
    March 9, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Wow, just went through most of your blog! Thanks for the shout out ….. it feels good to know that our chance meeting back in CO was inspiration for your grand life adventure. I will say that we did not have our plans laid out with the detail that you guys have, but retirement is retirement, and I have not found anything wrong with it yet😜 Now that you are ready to reap the benefits of your planning, you can soon start enjoying the life of self-supported bike tourists, with fewer plans, mostly living in the moment. After all, we credit serendipity for bringing our worlds together!
    I will sign off (for now) with this, a little piece of traveling wisdom that we found on a sign hanging in a hole-in-the-wall cafe, in the middle of nowhere, somewhere along our way…. “I never get lost, I just change where I want to go.”
    Can’t wait to see you in the Carolinas, or somewhere else along the way!
    Cissy and Rich

    • Mrs. Grumby
      March 10, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Cissy! Thanks for stopping by.

      Fewer plans … living in the moment … serendipity. It all sounds so lovely. And so different from the daily grind we’ve gotten used to over the last few decades.

      I love the traveling wisdom of that sign. I’m sure there will be many opportunities to respond to whatever is happening around us, and to adjust course … without getting lost. ;o)

      Can’t wait to see you 2, either in the midwest or the Carolinas or ??

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