The phrase “early retirement” seems to carry a connotation of just spending your days sitting on a rocking chair on your front porch until the day you die.

I don’t think of it that way.  For me, it’s an opportunity to try new things and find out what I really enjoy.  Some endeavors may bring in some income and some won’t but the beauty is – it doesn’t matter.  It’s all about having fun!

Here are some of the side projects and businesses that have been keeping me busy:

Route to Retire – This has been my most successful undertaking.  This is a site I started in 2015 where I get to discuss everything revolving around personal finance and money.  I talk about the strategies that I learned and used to reach financial independence and early retirement.

I also use it as an outlet to discuss our move to Panama in 2019.  The country’s absolutely beautiful, the temperature’s perfect here in the mountains (75° F every day!), and the people are great.  And, of course, the cost of living if a major benefit!

Books by Jim – I’ve written and published two books over the years – that’s two more than I would have ever thought I would in my life!

The first was a book called “Just the Computer Essentials.”  It was my way of helping others figure out the important things they needed to do to master their computer.  It was a great book if I do say so myself.  But it was also 2007 so I took it out of print years ago.  Technology moves so fast that books on the subject have a way of becoming obsolete fast!

The second book I wrote is “What’s a Picture Worth?” in 2015.  With as many photos as we all take nowadays, it’s been hard to keep them all organized, searchable, and on-display for you and your family and friends to enjoy.  This one’s getting a little long in the tooth as well, especially with how far Google Photos has come, but it still holds some value.

I’m looking forward to writing at least a couple more books in the near future.  I’d love to write one on financial independence or personal finance in general.  I’ve also always wanted to write a children’s book at some point.

IROL Press – This is a publishing company I formed in 2007.  When I wrote my first book, I had to decide how I was going to publish it – find a publisher or self-publish.

I spent a lot of time digging into this because there are pros and cons to both approaches.  In the end, I decided to self-publish and formed IROL Press as part of the process.  I bought ISBN numbers, formed a partnership with a Print On Demand (POD) company, and just made it happen.

Since then, things have come so much further in self-publishing that you could easily just work with any of the self-publishing companies to easily make the magic happen.  However, having my own company allows me to keep all the rights and can actually allow me to keep a larger share of the profits as well.

I still have a handful of ISBN numbers left so I better get writing!