Things are still chugging along--I felt compelled to check in today because I'm making Jacob's Rice/Lentil Pilaf. I put a bit of my own spin on it, but am committed to taking my lunch every day this week except for Tuesday, when I get a SWEET freebie at a high-end steak joint for work. I'm doing better with my semi-vegetarian lifestyle, generally, though I've backslid a bit this week. I'm really trying hard to improve my cholesterol and blood pressure numbers through diet. My goal is to have my doc tell me to quit taking the Lipitor at the next visit. Fortunately, I don't get a lot of fancy steakhouse meals.... but I enjoy them when I do!
Net worth at the moment is, oddly, an even $445,000. This is probably a little misleading; in my spreadsheet I include the current value of the house I live in as well as my rent house, as given by Zillow. I don't think Zillow is particularly accurate, but it's a starting point--I think my TX house is worth more and my TN house is worth less, if I were to sell today. I also include the cash value of my small pension, right now valued at just under $40K. I do have some debt--recently I've run up a bit of CC debt for a few things including some travel. I don't really care--it will be paid off soon, and traveling more was a goal that I set last year, and I'm happily following through on that. Heading to the beach in April, and planning a trip to Mexico in November. Plus I've got some fun business trips coming up, including a trip to Atlanta, New Orleans for a conference, and Boston for an award. But it's good to know that if I had to liquidate everything tomorrow, I would not be poor.
Thinking more and more about what retirement will look like when I finally quit. DBF is retired; he owns a lot of rental property and manages it, but not too much is involved. He lives in a small town with the advantage of having a very low cost of living, but the disadvantage of not much going on. I think more and more he's bored. He's a city guy, and a beach guy, and right now he's not in either place. He writes and reads and works out, but doesn't really have any hobbies or activities beyond that. I look at him, and I think about what my life will look like when I quit. I see myself volunteering, taking a master gardener class, making my yard look better, probably getting more involved in church activities (I'm not exactly religious, but I live in the south--Church is BIG here for social stuff....). DBF is not super interested in a ton of travel--he's traveled widely in the past, and I think he'd probably go more if he had someone to go with, but as long as I'm working, I have limited time to travel. And if I quit, i'd have limited money for travel. Quite the conundrum. But it's been interesting, though, researching travel--I'm pretty amazed at the travel deals out there if you look for them. It's good to know when I'm ready to pull the plug on work I'll have options for affordable travel.
Anyway... just rambling. More and more, though, I've been thinking about what life will be like when I don't work any more, so maybe that means I'm getting closer to being ready to quit. I used to think I'd just pull up stakes and head to the beach, but the more I think about it, there's probably a lot of wisdom in staying where I am and using my cheap house in my cheap town with one of the cheapest costs of living in the country as my base of operations. I can travel from here, it's a city so there's still a lot to do here (especially if you're not doing the 9-5 thing), and of course I have connections here.
The other odd thing, though, is that as I plan my exit more and more, my current job is getting better and better. I admit that 5 years ago I was ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE in my job and seriously contemplated the advantages of quitting and living under a bridge every day versus going to work. Now it's objectively MUCH better... but it may also be much better because I know I could quit if I wanted/had to. Now I don't want to quit so much, though I would like to have more vacation time. And I guess I appreciate my job more these days when I see friends getting laid off--a pal, age 54 got laid off shortly before Christmas. Fortunately he scored a new job right away--he's got 2 kids going to expensive colleges. Another friend, I think he's 61 or 62, got laid off and is freaking out and is worried he's going to have to sell his house, etc. Not sure why--he's got a pension and stuff, but I'm not privy to the details of his debt, etc. Anyway--right now work is OK, but if it ceases to be, or they decide they don't need me, I think I'll be OK.
I don't say this very often, but I feel optimistic and good about the future. (as long as I don't think about politics!!!) .