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Tanja Hester: The Pandemic Will Stoke Interest in Early Retirement

A leading voice in the 'financial independence, retire early' movement reflects on the path she’s taken to achieving a 'work optional' life.

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Our guest this week is Tanja Hester, whom The New York Times referred to as the matriarch of the FIRE movement. For the uninitiated, FIRE stands for financial independence/retire early. Tanja is the author of the Our Next Life blog, and she is also author of the book Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. Tanja and her husband Mark retired in 2017 at the ages of 38 and 41. Her blog is devoted to chronicling their journey and sharing guidance for others who might be considering an early retirement.


Tanja Hester’s blog “Our Next Life”

Tanja Hester’s bio and backstory

Tanja Hester’s twitter handle @ournextlife

Tanja Hester’s author/speaker page

Tanja Hester’s book, “Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way”

“For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White” by Charlotte Cowles; The New York Times; June 7, 2019  

Early Retirement/Sequence-of-Return Risk

Tanja Hester’s writings on sequence-of-return risk

Karsten Jaske’s “Early Retirement Now” blog

Tanja Hester’s multi-phase retirement financial plan

Savings and Withdrawal Rates

“You’ve been diligently investing for retirement all these years. Why now is the time to hang onto cash” by Tanja Hester; MarketWatch; March 7, 2020

Tanja Hester’s writings on savings rates

Tanja Hester’s writings on mortgage pay-off

Tanja Hester’s writings on 4% safe-withdrawal rule

“The 4% Rule is Not Your Friend” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; June 10, 2019

Karsten Jaske’s “Safe Withdrawal Rate” series

“How We Calculated Our ‘Enough’ Number for Early Retirement” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Aug. 23, 2017

“The Best Retirement Withdrawal Strategies” by Darrow Kirkpatrick; Can I Retire Yet blog; March 9, 2016


Healthcare Planning

Tanja Hester’s writings on health insurance

“The Roth strategy we wish we’d built for early retirement” by Tanja Hester; MarketWatch; Jan. 29, 2020

Home Ownership and Rental Properties

Tanja Hester’s tweet on peace of mind from owning a home mortgage-free

“Choosing People Over Money: The Story of Our Rental Property” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Aug. 29, 2016

Motivation for Retiring Early

“Why the Urgency?” by Tanja Hestery; Our Next Life Blog; April 8, 2015

“The Privilege of Retiring When We Want, How We Want” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Nov. 7, 2016

“My Other Motivation for Retiring Early” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; July 23, 2018

“New Life Rhythms, A Delayed Reckoning and Being Okay with Blogging Less” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Sept. 16, 2019

Budgeting and Travel-Planning

Tanja Hester’s writings on budgeting

Tanja Hester’s writings on travel planning

Lessons Learned

“What Everyone Should Know About Early Retirement” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Sept. 12, 2018

Social Security, Medicare, and Later-Life Needs

“Why We Aren’t Banking on Social Security for Our Retirement--But Why You Might” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life Blog; Oct. 9, 2017

Tanja Hester’s writings on medicare

“Don’t Forget About Your Later Years” by Tanja Hester; Our Next Life blog; Aug. 16, 2017