I met Donovan on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon. He wore black wraparound sunglasses and had an intense sounding job at a bank. He could have come across as an intimidating guy (particularly if he chose to wear his love of firearms on his sleeve). But he was one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met.
Donovan seemed pretty excited whenever I asked him about personal finance, and it turned out he was more than happy to pass along a bunch of helpful tips. I was pretty stoked to find out he had a blog and YouTube channel dedicated to escaping monetary shackles and getting out into the outdoors.
The more we chatted the more I learned how deep his passion for helping people achieve financial freedom went. I mean, I was just some guy in a coffee shop and yet he couldn’t help himself from really impressing on me some of the key elements to not just staying afloat but thriving financially.
Late into the conversation he revealed there had been a few life situations that had rocked his world and made him think about money differently. Here’s one, from a 2014 blog post on his site Luv4Nature, which Donovan gave me permission to publish here on the Frequency Horizon blog.
We lost a dear friend to brain cancer on April 26th of this year. He was 35 years old.
As I look around our home and reflect, I can’t help but think about what would be important to me on my own deathbed. With that in mind, take a look around your home at all the things that you have accumulated thus far. If you knew you were going to die in a year, a month, or next week, would any of it mean anything to you anymore? You can’t take it with you.
Take another look around, but now envision your items as dollar amounts instead. Think about how much you earn in terms of an hourly rate and compare the hours of your life that have been traded in exchange for the things you have surrounding you now. How many of us continually purchase thinking the next thing will fulfill us. If only I have _____, then I would be happy.
I have realized that things will not bring joy in my life. The time spent earning to acquire what we already have is gone and there is nothing we can do to get it back. What we can do is remember the feeling we have right now and next time we get the urge to purchase, think about how much it will truly cost. Time is one of our most precious resources and none of us know how much we have left. We need to be careful how we spend it.
This has been a year with deep retrospect and soul searching which has changed both our outlook on life and the goals we have been chasing for years. I have always been very motivated to reach early retirement. Together my wife and I have lived far below our means. I thought we “needed” much more than we actually do in order to be free to pursue our true passions in life. I am 33 and my wife is 38.
Originally, we were planning on retiring in the spring of 2025, still early by most standards. Rather than spend the next 11 years trying to increase our net worth to fund a more luxurious lifestyle, we have re-evaluated our priorities.
We managed to significantly reduce our wants and needs (so to speak), which in turn will allow us to retire much earlier. We want to focus on experiences rather than things and have decided to take our early retirement in the spring of 2016. That gives us just over a year to prepare and make such a radical change!
Many more details to come and we hope you will follow along as we share our progress and journey to early retirement.