Victory lap Lifestyle Profile #2

My mentor Ernie Zelinski put me onto Joe Udo’s website retireby40.org a couple of years ago and I’ve been a faithful follower ever since.

Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay at home dad/blogger at the age of 38. His reasons for leaving the corporate world were similar to mine, job stress was negatively affecting his health, but he found a way to escape from the corp. 20 years earlier than I did. I would have launched my own Victory Lap a lot sooner if his blog was around when I joined the working world.

Working for a corp. may have been easier if we did not accept the traditional view of a career, which is work for the same company until you retire, get your pension and wait for your final sunset. Both Joe and I feel that we’d rather not work for someone else, but rather chart our own course.  Working for yourself is often a harder path to take but the rewards are much more satisfying.

Joe is both smart and careful. During his sixteen years with a major high tech firm, Joe saved aggressively. Joe, I would say did everything right in preparing for his Victory Lap. He started writing his blog prior to leaving, and he made sure his wife was onside with the plan. Joe’s family did a two-year test run during which they lived on one salary while meticulously tracking their spending.  What they found – the new lifestyle worked.

Today the family has diversified their income with a combination of blog income, dividends, rental income and his wife’s earnings. What great flexibility and if there is ever a bump in the road, Joe is highly capable and could easily find another job.

Joe’s journey is also a great example of setting a goal and then going out and proving to the world that he and his family could do it.  Joe shares his progress on a monthly basis providing income and expense statements as well as details on his investment portfolio so we can follow along. The message that he is sending us- if he can do it, we all can do it.

Many retirement experts and bloggers paint the picture that they are retired, even though they are blogging and making money at it. That does not make sense and I was pleased to hear Joe admit that he is not really retired, but semi-retired working at something that he enjoys. Joe exemplifies Victory Lap Retirement concept by putting himself in a position where he works because he wants to and that is a game changer.  At the end of the day it’s all about freedom and quality of life.

The family is planning to take a year off in 2021 and travel around the world. Joe’s wife will be retired and they will “road school” their son. Personally I think if done right their son will learn more from this trip than he would in school.

Hopefully Joe gives you hope and inspiration by showing you in real time that it is possible to achieve financial independence if you are disciplined and willing to do the work. The financial services industry, as I have said before, is not helping matters by continuing to sell the traditional version of retirement. Joe’s focus on financial independence is a great lesson for all of us and one we should share with our children as it is not being taught in school. We are lucky to have people like Joe who are willing to share their stories and prove there is a better way.

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