This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I really like countdown dates. Right now on my phone, I have a countdown app that is keeping track of 4 different topics, anything from the date that a book I’m looking forward to is coming out, to how many days until my cell phone expires, and the longest-running countdown – days to my 45th birthday, and (for now) my proposed retirement date.

For me, these kind of countdowns put a lot of my goals or interests into perspective. Last month a book I’d been waiting for was published (A Memory of Light, the 14th book in a Wheel of Time). The process was sort of like waiting for Christmas when I was younger – I could look at my phone and know that I only had to wait this many days until I could (after a decade) find out how a story ended. My cell phone countdown I employ just so I know for how long Bell owns my soul – those contracts always seem like such a good idea when you’re signing them.

When it comes to retirement, it’s not really so much the days left, it’s more the days I have available to earn enough money to meet the goal I set around 4 or 5 years ago. I can sit in front of a spreadsheet, working out various impacts of changes to income or increases and decreases in interest rates for a while, but when I can see that there’s 4,307 days left (as of today), it does give me some incentive to achieve the goal I’ve set out to do and gives me a tangible number to look at.

On days that I really don’t feel like going to work, my countdown to retirement is somewhat comforting. Thankfully, these days are few and far between, because I find the work I do rewarding and challenging. The days that I don’t feel like going to work are the days that I know I’m going to get frustrated over something out of my control.

Philosophically, the ability to count the days until a book comes out so that I can buy it, or a vacation somewhere with my wife, or any number of inane things I keep track of is more than a little weird. I like it though, I don’t really dwell on it – I just like to know this kind of information.

Am I alone in this kind of behaviour, or are there other people that like to count down to milestones in their lives or events that are coming up? Do you have a countdown on the go to retirement?

6 thoughts on “Countdown”

  1. I am struggling with the number of years I want there to be until I retire (12 years until I am 61) and whatever the real number is ( 16 years until I am 65 or 21 years until I am 70). I keep hoping for 61 but I know it is not realistic.

    I am counting down the months until me debt disappears forever. 24 months to get rid of $19,800 of HELOC debt. That is when I can start saving for retirement.

  2. I stopped counting down days when I realized that I was spending more time wishing for the future than I was spending enjoying today. I do however count up to financial goals. For example 21.9% of my house is paid for and I have 67% of what I’ll need for a new car.

  3. I will do the countdown for vacations (or at least time off work lately.

    I had an uncle that had a countdown of how many pay cheques he’d be getting before retirement. He got very excited when the number dropped below 100.

  4. When the last pieces of my ER plan came together in the summer of 2008, I then chose a resignation date and a date I would announce it (a month before, mainly because I was working only 2 days a week so that gave them 9 of my working days for mem to finish my big project and for them to plan for the transition).

    That is when I began my countdown to each key date as they approached and stopped asking myself, “Why am I still working here?” The countdowns were happier and more exciting. It was actually more nerve-wracking the day I announced it than the day I left although the latter gave me stomach butterflies (and worse), too.

  5. if you’re ok living on less, you should be able to halve that huge number of remaining days … it might be worth exploring considering the implications for the personal freedom it can bring

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