Once you reach Financial Independence, What do you Want to Retire Early to?

Happy Financial Literacy Month to all of my FIRE community readers!

Much like the holiday season, this is our month to celebrate, renew and refresh our goals in pursuit of financial independence!

Today (while I wait for daughter number two to decide to join the rest of us outside of my womb- 40 weeks along now!) I want to take some time to dream a little and talk about what I want to do with my time after my husband and I reach FI.  Even since I started this blog our goal has shifted to a full FI plan, where we will not need Mr. AF's income to pay the mortgage on our primary residence.  This pushes our FI date to about 3.5 years (this is a moving target, as my observed rate of savings is higher than estimated by the spreadsheet I mentioned using in an earlier post) if I keep working full time, vs the year or so if we wanted to continue to depend on his income for our month to month mortgage expense.

That is disappointing when it comes to spending lots of time with our daughters while they are tiny, but the trade-off is that we can take adventures like spend a year as a family on a sailboat as they get older, or take a year for language immersion in another country.  It will also give me more time to finish my PE license and work on establishing a consultancy for management and business systems engineering.

I have a few other dreams beyond spending more time with my family that have been percolating, both of which require runways to establish successfully.

One dream is to become a peony (and possibly rhodiola rosea as well) farmer here in Alaska.  My plan here is to first do an apprenticeship with one of the local farms.  This will enable me to learn the business, growing techniques and understand the industry supply chain. Then I would find a good parcel of land or an existing farm to purchase.  Peony farms here tend to be small scale, with many around 5 acres in size.  If I'm unable to find an existing farm for sale, I would have to start one.  Peonies take 3-5 years to mature enough to yield a commercial crop once they are planted, so this would be a labor of love for a while.  But since I'll be doing it for the joy and adventure, as long as we eventually break even on our investment it will be worth it.  

Another dream is to get my PhD in engineering.  I joined the service while I was living in Texas, so under the Hazelwood act I am eligible for 4 years of paid tuition at a Texas public university.  I would be doing this in part to engage my intellectual curiosity, and in part to be a role model for my daughters (because having a Mom who is a veteran with two engineering degrees and an MBA, an Aunt and Grandma who climbed Denali and an entrepreneur Dad evidently isn't enough!).  It would be fun to learn more about machine learning, and apply my industrial, systems and organizational change knowledge to robotics design.

One last dream I'll mention here is to become an accredited investor.  This would make me a gardener of a different sort, providing seed money in small amounts to promising businesses so that they grow and improve the economic health of our community.  Here in Alaska we have the problem of too much money chasing too few startup companies, so for a hobbyist like me that means plenty of peers in my community to socialize with and debate the merits of each prospective business investment. 

What are your dreams once you reach FI?  Do you have any targeted goals?  


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