The Year Ahead….

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Retirement planning requires making our best effort to project far into the future. That is hard, if not impossible.

Mountain view

The reality is that we are constantly changing as is the world around us. We need to plan, but understand that our plans need to be adaptable.

My own needs, desires, and interests continue to evolve. As such, I’ve been contemplating where writing this blog fits into my plans.

Today, I want to share some exciting news for me personally and what my plans are for the blog this year….

A New Job

Last year at this time, I shared that I was beginning a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) education program. I completed the program and passed the CFP® certification exam last November. That left me pondering what comes next.

A decade ago, I started writing after having a horrible experience with a financial advisor. I wanted to become a consumer advocate, educating ordinary people about the massive conflicts of interest inherent in financial advice and teaching them how to do things themselves. 

The more I interacted with readers online and spoke with people about personal finance in the “real world,” the more obvious it became that many people need help navigating our complex financial world.

It is easy to be a critic standing on the sidelines. I want to enter the fray and improve things. So I am joining the team at Abundo Wealth.

This is an exciting opportunity for me. I’ll gain mentorship and the experience required to complete the CFP® certification process. The company is completely remote and I’ll work part-time. I’m confident this project will allow me to maintain the lifestyle I’ve worked so hard to create while providing the opportunity for professional growth and an outlet to serve others.

At the same time, I will add value to their team in multiple ways. My unique experience, ideas, and insights will help them serve more clients in better ways. I will also use my platforms and ability to create content to shine a light on this company that is trying to revolutionize the way financial advice is delivered, with transparency and low costs.

The one downside of this new project is it will leave me with less time to write this blog. This brings me to the second piece of news….

A Familiar Face Returns

I was contemplating what my new opportunity meant for the blog. I considered hiring (and managing 🤮) writers to create new content, writing sporadically and letting the blog die a slow death, selling it, or just shutting it down completely. 

None of these options were appealing. This blog means a lot to me. It is my home on the web and it has changed my life in a number of ways.

Reading it was instrumental in designing my own path to financial independence and early retirement. Since coming on as a writer and then taking the site over, it’s given me a platform to pay that forward.

Writing also provides a way for me to clarify my thinking and get feedback on my ideas. I’m consistently amazed by the knowledge of readers of this blog and honored that you would spend your valuable time and attention here. I appreciate reader feedback, whether confirming my ideas or respectfully disagreeing and sharing different perspectives.

I’ve missed sharing the duties with site founder, Darrow Kirkpatrick, since he decided to step away from the blog to focus on other creative projects. I wanted to invite him back, but also wanted to respect his wishes to pursue other paths in his own retirement.

So I was pleasantly surprised when he recently approached me about starting to write for the blog again this year. It took me about two seconds to say yes, and about two minutes for us to work out the details.

What to Expect

I honestly don’t know what the long-term future holds for the blog, Darrow, or me. The beautiful thing about financial independence is that you have many paths open to you, and you’re not bound to any by the need to make money. 

The hard part is that ultimately you do have to make choices. The paradox of choice and the challenges that accompany it are real.

I continue to have a passion for increasing financial literacy, helping people learn to use their money to empower themselves, and build the lives they desire. Exactly how and how much I want to do that remains to be seen.

I have made the following commitments for the next year. I will:

  • Work 10 hours/week with Abundo, where I will focus on working one-on-one with clients as soon as I can get up and running. 
  • Publish weekly content on Can I Retire Yet? for the remainder of the year.

The weekly Monday publishing schedule will include:

  • Two new original articles per month. Darrow and I will each write one.
  • A “round-up” article every other week. With my new projects, I’ve found I have been reading more than ever, but having less time to synthesize information and write detailed long-form content. Increasing the frequency of the “Best of” posts that I traditionally have posted monthly will enable me to share more of what I’m learning, with less time commitment from me to write and edit.
  • Finally, that leaves a few months where there will be a 5th Monday to fill. This is where I am reaching out to you….

Share Your Ideas

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with readers to turn what started out as private email exchanges that I found interesting into blog posts to share publicly with other readers.

In 2021, a reader, J.C., shared his experience of retiring just before the 2008 stock market crash.

In 2022, another reader who wished to write anonymously shared why he doesn’t think you should ever retire.

They were among the most read, shared, and commented on posts on the site those respective years.

If readers are willing, this year I would love to share more of your stories. 

  • How have you applied ideas shared on the blog to improve your life?
  • What are you doing or have you done differently or better than us that others can learn from?
  • What are we getting wrong? What have you read on the blog that you (respectufully 😉) disagree with and how can we learn from your perspective?

If you are interested in sharing your story, leave a comment or send me a private message.

I am excited to go down these new paths in 2023, and I’m honored to have you go down them with me.

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. Now he draws on his experience to write about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. You can reach him at chris@caniretireyet.com.]

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42 Comments

    1. Thank you Dave. Like you, I’ve decided it is time to shift gears a little. We’ll see where things go from here.

      Cheers!
      Chris

  1. I think you should crowd source at least 1 article a month.
    Get someone to write an article and as long as it is a quality product, then publish it.

    1. Philip,

      I am absolutely open to sharing the experience of other readers or other professionals. However, it is not a simple matter of getting someone to write an article and then publishing it.

      I’ve found that I spend nearly as much time, if not more, with edits and back and forth when doing those types of things as I would writing my own original content. Also, I lose control over when things get done. That takes away from, rather than adding joy to this experience.

      I’ve thought about paying professional writers, which would potentially make the process easier and more reliable, but that adds expense. My ultimate goal is to decrease, if not eliminate monetization of this blog. However, I’m simply not willing to pay money out of my pocket to keep it running. I love doing this, but not that much! 😉

      Best,
      Chris

      1. Hey, there’s always ChatGPT to help get things done! ;]

        You made a good decision to keep learning and to keep making your life interesting. I look forward to the tag team version of the site with Darrow. I like that Darrow had a lot of interesting lifestyle things to share while you’re great drilling down on financial details. Darrow’s “Best Cities To Move To” series hooked me in, as well as his mountain biking and camping exploits.

        Best of luck. Keep exploring.

        1. Thanks for the kind words Robert. I guess I have to make sure I don’t get too predictable so I can be replaced by ChatGPT. 😉

          Best,
          Chris

      2. Are you hinting, Chris, that once you decide to shut down this blog, all the content disappear or will you just inactivate it, but the content will remain remain? If the former that’s a warning for readers to begin copying your articles that includes practical advice and might come handy to them later.

  2. Your emoji made me laugh out loud: “I considered hiring (and managing 🤮) writers…”

    The best thing about deciding to leave my corporate editorial job and work for myself was the huge increase in paycheck.

    No, that was a joke. The best thing, by far, was no longer having to hire, manage, and later downsize other people. (Second best was no more meetings. Third best was no commute.) It’s been 14 years since I left at age 48 and I still have fraught dreams about those days of managing others.

    I’m glad you decided to keep your blog going and I look forward to all the good info that you and others will continue to share. I might have a few post ideas, too.

  3. Happy to hear Darrow will return and you two will keep the blog alive. I think it can and will help, not hurt you in your financial advising career.
    I retired in 2007 at (an older) 58 and have since volunteered as a SHIP (Medicare) counselor and AARP Taxaide volunteer preparer. Both have been extremely enriching experiences. I survived and surpassed the 2008 crash so I’m just glad I made a more conservative adjustment when I did.
    I currently read a lot about investing my retirement portfolio but found at 75 (and husband 80) I am even more in a “set it and forget it” mode. It took me several retired years to switch from accumulating to conserving/spending. I’d rather spend my time reading about it than actually work/worry about tweeking it.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, wisdom and ensights. I look forward to reading many more. Best of luck in your new chapter.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience Lynda. Glad to hear you found that work so enjoyable.

      Financial services traditionally focused on the sale of products and/or serving those who already have considerable wealth by managing those investments. I hope I find it equally enjoyable and rewarding working in an advice only setting where we will be working hard on making quality financial planning accessible to anyone who desires and values it.

      Best,
      Chris

  4. Best of luck on your new adventure Chris! I always appreciate the time you give for your thought-provoking content and I’m sure you’ll keep doing great things no matter what you do.

  5. Thank you Chris and Darrow, This blog helped me immensely on the road to FIRE. I read Darrow’s books and read every article religiously. Thanks again for your advise to the FIRE community.

  6. Congrats Chris, you are going to be world class at helping people with their financial plans. In fact you’ve been great at that for years! Had I retired in my 40’s instead of at 60 I might have done that as well. I hope you keep us up with what is going on in your life, even if it is at a reduced frequency.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Steveark.

      Things are falling into place nicely, so I’m not going anywhere! 🙂

      Best,
      Chris

  7. Longtime reader here and love the fresh voice you bring while re-reading some of Darrow’s archived posts. Delighted to hear about the 50/50 Mondays postings from both of you. I would love to know more about Darrow’s creative projects since buying the house as we can learn from one another of the evolution of our early retired lives.

  8. Congrats Chris. Enjoy reading your content and it’ll be good to hear from Darrow again. You said you’re doing a lot of reading, obviously. I suggest having a look at Seechify if you have not already.

  9. Chris,

    Congrats on your new venture with Abundo. I hope they don’t pressure to sell products or to push people to buy their services, etc. once you get your feet wet.

    I’m so glad to hear that Darrow agreed to write articles again. I hope he will share his experience that he learned while being FIRE’d.

    With regards to filling in a few empty Mondays this year, I would vote for bringing personal guest posts or stories from people who are not bloggers or case studies. I really enjoyed one or two posts you had in the past but you never continued that kind of content. Of course neither did you have an obligation to do it, but since you asked for ideas I find FIRE or retirement stories very inspiring to me. Of course if those stories can also divulge some of financial details they would draw more interest from other people. Just my 2 cents.

    Good luck in your new job. I’ve recently FIRE’d and I’m sooo not looking forward to working at least for a year or so.

    1. S&M,

      Re: product sales. That is not what advice only financial planning is. If it was I wouldn’t be doing it.

      Re: Darrow. I am excited as well.

      Re: case studies. I agree. If you’d like to share your stories. Send me an email.

      Cheers!
      Chris

  10. The benefits of retirement (early or otherwise) are many, but two of the best are having the freedom to address your personal priorities and the ability to manage your time to support them. You and Darrow have successfully done that – and provided an excellent service, education and example to this community along the way. I like, admire and appreciate both of you and am excited about what’s coming up next in your lives. I do hope that your new venture will not interfere with your spring travel plans.

    Not gonna lie – I’ll miss your incredibly detailed, informative posts but, at the same time, I’m happy to see you setting a course and achieving your goals. Knowing Darrow is back in the saddle promises more good things to come, and it will be a pleasure to see the two of you working together to keep this blog vibrant and relative. Wishing you much success, always!

    1. Thanks Mary!

      Abundo is supportive and respectful of the lifestyle I’ve built and I feel confident the arrangement we have worked out will be a big win-win for all parties. And travel plans are on. I’ll be sure to fill you in, if I don’t write publicly about it.

    1. Thank you sir. Glad to have you supporting me all along my winding past, and I’ve enjoyed watching you evolve and grow as well my friend.

      Cheers!
      Chris

  11. Pleaseeeeeee, don’t leave the blog. I count on it as a location to share ideas, information and have learned a lot.

    A few suggestions, why not tell us about your experience as it develops at Abundo and what other CFP’s have seen and suggest.
    Maybe do a regular interview with your fellow CFP’s there about their experiences and recommendations.
    If you say Abundo is different tell us why and maybe interview leadership there to explain.

    1. SoCoRuss,

      First off, thank you. The blog isn’t going anywhere soon!

      Re: Abundo. I feel like I’m walking a fine line, just as when publishing the book. I don’t want the blog to feel like a big commercial for my other projects. However, they all really do tie together. As someone who has been vocally critical of financial advisors, I will definitely write a post to address what Abundo is doing so differently and why I chose to work with them. Stay tuned.

      Cheers!
      Chris

  12. Been reading the blog for at least 7 years (I remember Darrow was still in TN) and have gained so much knowledge from the posts. Hope you can keep it going and still have balance in your life.

    1. K,

      Thank you for sticking with us for all that time and I’m glad you’ve gotten so much value. I assure you that it makes both Darrow’s and my day when we read comments like that.

      Best,
      Chris

  13. Good luck with the new ad/venture. Look forward to Darrow getting back involved a bit more. This retirement blog among the best out there.

    An article idea that may resonate with some or perhaps many readers. If thinking about how you are going to spend your time in retirement leads to some anxiety and possible inaction, try this – just start doing more of the things you already like to do and that are important to you. Whatever these include, you just might find additional activities, opportunities, ideas, relationships, etc. flow from this.

  14. Hello Chris. Congrats on the CFP. I’m sure that was quite a lot of effort!

    I held a Series 7 and 24 licenses for about 17 years and been an investor for almost 40 years. If you want a perspective on the various aspects of managing other people’s money, please feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to share my thoughts.

  15. I like the idea of letting the readers fill in a bit for you. I’ve been a big fan of this site for a number of years now. I would be interested in how those that travel reconnect when they come back home. I’m almost 50 and on the verge of leaving my job. At this point it is less of a financial thing and more of concern over how others will perceive me and then filling in what will I do next with my time concern as my son will still be in HS for 3 more years which limits some of my longer term traveling plans for a bit. I took a 15 month leave of absence from my job last year to test the waters and to circumnavigate the east coast of the US by boat with our family of 4. It was a great experience but I came back to land life/job/kid activities feeling really disconnected from everything I was a part of before I left. Its been 4 months now since I’ve been back to real life and still don’t feel connected to much around me yet, making the idea of a lot of free time more intimidating then I expected.

  16. First – love this blog. I find it’s one of my top three with regard to financial independence. Congratulations on your new gig!

    I’m a worker bee, wife, mom of 2 young kids. Some possible ideas to address:
    * Funding your kids’ futures: we opted for a custodial account for the freedom it provides, but new laws are allowing 529s to fund Roths. Whaaaaaat? Didn’t see that coming. Is it worth making the switch?
    * How the heck do I balance 401k or old fashioned Fidelity accounts? Annually, following something of a Bogle method? Or just cough up the folding money and hitch up to a fee-laden retirement-20xx fund and let them drive?
    * While younger, it may make sense to spend your own time to save your money. What are some higher-return, impactful life skills that you’d recommend learning?
    * What are some fun ways to “talk money” with friends or family or neighbors or kids? Conversation starters?
    * Date Night – money edition. Draft an agenda for the *hottest* date of the year for married folks?

    1. Thanks for the feedback Penny. I already plan to write about the evolution of our planning for our daughter’s education. That started before the change to the law regarding 529, but that change only reinforces the path we started heading down. I’ll think about what I could do with the others. If you’d like to be featured, maybe we could develop a back and forth Q&A. Let me know if interested.

      Best,
      Chris