There’s Nothing Like a Death to Give New Meaning to Financial Independence


Any lingering doubts we had about quitting our jobs next October disappeared when Mr. Groovy’s grandmother passed away almost two weeks ago. There’s nothing like a death to give new meaning to financial independence.

“Nanna” was 96 years old. She had 7 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. She was a sweetheart of a lady but she was also a pistol. She told each grandchild (and me) privately, that Mr. Groovy was her favorite grandchild. The other grandchildren were amused that she believed this was a well-kept secret. We’re going to miss her very much.

It’s been an emotional and stressful few weeks. We’ve traveled in one direction to be with Nanna when she died, returned home, and then boarded a plane a few days later for her funeral. In the midst of all this I couldn’t help but feel resentment about our jobs. It’s not that our employers and co-workers put any demands on us—they were great. But I just wanted to go be with our family and not have to think about a job, at all. We still had to notify the boss, fire up an out-of-office message, coordinate coverage for our duties, and worry about the hundreds of emails that would await us upon our return.

Nanna’s death came as a reality check in several ways. It brought home the fact that life can turn on a dime. She was recovering from an illness and then—bam. She’s gone. Of course she led a good, long life and was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by so many who loved her. After retiring from a government job, she lived for thirty more years. With longevity running in both our families, Mr. Groovy and I hope to have forty more years. Being realistic, we’ll have maybe twenty to twenty-five years left for travel and adventure.

But the other reality check has to do with owning our own time. I can’t wait for the day that I no longer, ever, have to set my alarm clock to get up for a job. Even though I take ten steps to get to work, it’s still a job. After October, Mr. Groovy and I claim ownership of every day.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. We’ve both been lucky. Mr. Groovy was almost downsized out of a position several times. But instead, he was promoted. I don’t even punch a time clock or fill out an attendance sheet, and I get paid like clock-work. I get so many vacation days that I’ll probably have 5 or 6 weeks of time to cash out when we say goodbye. But we provide no great skills or service to humanity, and neither do our employers. Trying to stay motivated when we know our phony-baloney jobs (as Mr. Groovy calls them) have absolutely no meaning, is extremely tiresome.

We’re not blind to the people in our lives that smile and nod in agreement when we tell them we’re quitting work in October. They’re supportive but they’re also a bit quizzical. They wonder how we could leave our cushy work-from-home jobs and our excellent benefits for the unknown. But jumping into the void is exactly what we must do.

And we’re not going into retirement totally blind. We’ve come up with a sound plan, but let’s face it—you can only plan so much. There’s always the unforeseen or the unexpected situation. You know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I’m sure we’ll come up against a few obstacles. Yet, we know we’re resourceful enough to figure things out and get back on our path.

And I know for sure Nanna would have wanted it that way.

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    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, Emily. I do look forward to the future. And I sure hope when I get to be 96 I’m as independent as Nanna was. Before breaking her hip a few months ago she was still doing most things for herself, except for cooking and driving.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, Maggie. Freedom can’t come fast enough. Wouldn’t you know, I’m coasting along at work and suddenly it looks like my duties are going to change, for the worse. More stress, more travel. I may not even make it to October.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you Maarten. She was a great lady. And I received special benefits since I’m married her favorite grandchild. I became a favorite by association.

  1. Yes – a funeral does bring everything into perspective, doesn’t it? I read recently that the average 50 year old (I’m 49 now) lives to be 80. That’s 30 years. If I retired at 62 or 65 (when most Americans do), I’d lose almost HALF of my retirement days. I was thinking of this as I was sleeping in this morning (although I did go to work at 10am, as I have a few weeks left). Sorry about your Nanna – sounds like she “used all the runway”.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks Mr. FS. We thought Nanna was going to celebrate 100 the way she had been going. Enjoy (if that’s the right word) your last few weeks of work.

  2. Miss Jaime

    I know what you mean, I felt the same way when my step-dad died a couple of years ago. Maybe you’ll find new passions in your second act?

    BTW, have you read the books of Bill and Akaisha Kaderli? They also have a website where they address these issues.

    They left their jobs at age 38, they’re much older than you are but they both had really good jobs, and left them to retire early.

    They had people questioning them why they were going to retire early. Some of their loved ones got angry at them and they lost friends. This is way before FIRE became trendy.

    BTW, can you continue your investment portfolio in retirement ?

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I haven’t read Bill and Akaisha’s books. I’ve seen their website but haven’t spent much time on it. I will now!

      Yes, we can continue with our investment portfolio. We won’t be making more contributions, but we also don’t need to make any withdrawals for a few years. We’ll roll over our employer plans to IRAs and maybe tweak our investments. Otherwise, we’ll just leave everything alone.

  3. Exactly as I predicted on Twitter. Oh the tears! This is absolutely lovely. I, too, learned so much from my nana – and continue to learn from her as I reflect on all my memories. I am so sorry for your loss, but I am so happy for you both that this reaffirmed your plans for the future. I am certain she is smiling down. I’ll continue to be inspired by you on your journey.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you Penny. I tried very hard not to be to be too sentimental about it. Interestingly, Mr. Groovy had 4 living grandparents when we married. Not many people in their 40s are that lucky. I had none, and my parents have since passed. I’m very fortunate to have my in-laws and the rest of Mr. Groovy’s family .

  4. My condolences on Nanna’s passing. None of us knows exactly how much time we will have, and it’s important to own as much of that time as you can. Sure as you mentioned, there may be obstacles, but a little flexibility and ingenuity can do wonders.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thank you, Gary. If only we had a crystal ball. I agree with you about flexibility and ingenuity. We’ve never feared taking a step back, or reworking a plan if that’s what’s necessary.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Brian. Nanna certainly did have a great life. She even got to see three of those great-grandchildren get married. And she had her marbles up until the very end.