A Financial Independence Case Study: How to Achieve Early Retirement and Happiness With Jordan Grumet

Today we have a case study of someone that was able to pull off an early retirement (we get to learn how he did it, and apply those lessons to our own life). He also wrote a book that I personally consider life-changing, in particular when it comes to financial independence, early retirement, and achieving happiness. 

His name is Jordan Grumet, and his book is called Taking Stock, A Hospice Doctor’s Advice on Financial Independence, Building Wealth, and Living a Regret-Free Life.

I highly recommend you check out the book. I wish I had it when I first set out on my financial independence journey, and I’ve also found it helpful in designing the lifestyle that we want, in this semi-retired life stage that we’re in right now. 

In addition to the book, in this interview, we also cover:

  • How Jordan was able to achieve financial independence at such an early age
  • How he figured out whether he had enough to retire
  • How he ensures that he’s withdrawing a sustainable amount from his investment portfolio and not depleting it prematurely
  • Tips on how you can reach your financial independence number quicker, and much more.

Resources Mentioned:

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Questions Covered:

  1. For anybody that is hearing you speak for the first time, can you take us through your financial independence story, the path you took to get there, how things actually changed for you once you hit your financial independence number, and what you’re doing now?

  2. When you were on your way to financial Independence, what is the process that you did to figure out whether you had enough to retire?

  3. Now that you have hit your financial independence number, what is the process that you do or the calculations that you do to ensure that you are withdrawing a sustainable amount from your portfolio every year?
    (ex. variable percentage withdrawal, 4% rule, spending floor and ceiling, etc.)

  4. Are there any online tools or calculators that you like to use or that you found helpful when it comes to figuring out your financial independence number and your sustainable withdrawal rate from your portfolio?

  5. For those that are still working towards reaching their financial independence number, are there any specific tips that you can give them that had a substantial impact on your own life, that helped you get to your financial independence number quicker?

  6. Once you hit your financial independence number, what were some of the mistakes you made that you think could have been avoided knowing what you know now?

  7. One of the fascinating things that I recall hearing from you when you were being interviewed by Paula Pant, is that you actually went through depression once you hit financial independence. I think this sounds very surprising to most as the underlying assumption that I think most people have of financial independence is that once you reach it, you quit your job, and you have all the time and money you need to focus on being consistently happy. What triggered that depression in your case, and what can we all learn from that experience so that we don’t fall into that same trap?

  8. For me, as somebody that is not in the medical profession, being a doctor seems like one of the most meaningful and fulfilling careers that one could have as you are literally saving lives, or at the very least, vastly improving the lives of others in a significant way when conducting your craft. Yet, you decided to move from that to the field of communication via your book, podcasting, speaking and writing about matters relating to personal finance.

    Did you ever feel like you were helping less, or not achieving your maximum amount of positive contribution to society by focusing on personal finance instead of saving lives and healing others as a doctor? (i.e. If we achieve fulfilment and happiness by serving others, wouldn’t the medical field be the way where we can have the biggest positive societal impact?)

  9. In your book, you talk about focusing on enjoying the journey instead of the destination by focusing on “the climb” (striving toward our own unique purpose, identity, and connection). Can you explain what “the climb” is, and how can it be applied by those on their way towards financial independence, and those that are already there?

  10. Speaking of your book, can you tell us more about it, and what listeners can expect to get out of it?

  11. After achieving financial independence, we have all this time to do what we want and on the one hand, we want to enjoy what we worked so hard to achieve. However, if we just live a life of pure relaxation and hedonism, that ends up being very unfulfilling, and it’s easy to start to feel anxiety and potentially depression because we are not achieving our potential, and not living a life where we are working towards something that we find meaningful and fulfilling.

    Have you figured out a way to achieve balance in this regard where you still get to enjoy the fruits of your labour from achieving financial independence (pure fun and relaxation), while also filling your time with challenging activities that bring you joy, fulfilment, and meaning?

  12. How do you deal with any anxiety that comes from opportunity cost while financially independent? For example, the internal dialogue of: “I deserve to relax as I just finished doing meaningful thing X and I should strive for work/life balance, but that means that I’m not working on Y which is a great opportunity, which could be lucrative and would help a lot of people.”

    (i.e. If you take on too much, you end up getting burnt out. At least that’s what happened with me post-FI).

  13. In terms of maximizing happiness and fulfilment, is there a routine that you follow during any part of your day that works well for you? Or, do you take a more fluid, go-with-the-flow approach, where things are more spontaneous? (i.e. Morning routine, and how structured to you keep the rest of your day?)

  14. What have you found to give you the most fulfilment, whether it’s pre-financial independence or post financial independence?

  15. As someone that used to be a full-time doctor, I imagine you have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to maximizing one’s longevity. Can you give us some advice on that?

  16. Tell us again where we can find your book, as well as all the other educational content that you produce.

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