The Dark Side Of Early Retirement

Darth Vader MaskIf you look carefully around the web, you’ll read scores of articles about the desire to retire early. Yours truly wishes to finish up no later than 45, as I believe working for 20 or so years is a long enough time.I’ve done the math with various living and return scenarios and it can be done. But the question is whether it’s a good idea? Perhaps not.

Now that the economy is in recovery mode, it’ll be interesting to see how attitudes change towards early retirement. Will those who’ve short circuited their careers feel the pull to return to full time work and maximize their earnings potential again? I believe so. What about all our “lifestyle design” and “digital nomad” friends who had a rough time landing something stable they truly love? Possibly they’ll come back too.

Those who are able to retire early are often cherished. I certainly admire those who are able to cut down their desires to the bare bones and live a very frugal lifestyle. I also admire those who’ve been able to strike it rich very early! That said, perhaps early retirement isn’t a good idea for the large majority of people. Let’s explore several reasons why people want to retire early, why they exist, as well as understand why we should all think twice about pulling the rip chord too early. Someone has to argue the other side, so it might as well be me.


1) Haven’t found the right job. The number one reason why people want to retire early is because people haven’t found a job that gives them enough fulfillment to do for the rest of their lives. Nobody quits a job they like. If there was a job paying $80,000 a year to hike in the mornings and get massages in the afternoon, I’d do that forever!

2) Easier way out. If you are a sub-optimal performer, you tend to experience a sub-optimal lifestyle. It’s easier to just give up as a result. Let’s say you are a research scientist who after 10 years never produces any relevant research and finds no cures. Instead of going on with failure, you decide to give up and get out of the game. Early retirement is like the cowards way of not having to be the best any more. Some even liken it to suicide.

3) People are lazy and want things now. Society has shifted our ideals from hard work and thinking long term to instant gratification. Nobody has the patience to work for decades before being eligible for a pension. We all think we know more than we do and deserve to be the rich boss now. When we don’t get our way, we quit, rather than letting people know we couldn’t reach our potential.

4) A feeling of hopelessness. During the downturn a tremendous amount of people began writing about location independent lifestyles that allow one to break free from the 9-5 and “really doing what you want.” In actuality, we all know that what they really wanted was to have a good job and be accepted by society. It’s because of the downturn of 2008-2010 that so many were displaced with nowhere to go. If they did, perhaps they’d think differently. In an economy where everybody is losing money left and right, what’s the point of working some think. Well, the economy has roared back with a vengeance and if you aren’t working, you are falling farther and farther behind.

5) Realization that time is precious. With the median lifespan hovering around 80 years old, you only have 15 years of retirement to enjoy your life if you retire at 65. People in this camp have a heightened awareness of time and therefore do everything possible to make sure they are financially stable sooner, rather than later. I’m a strong believer in this thought process, but at the same time, I don’t want to cut short my potential. The worst is running out of money and being too old to do anything about it.


1) Oops, you change your mind. Imagine retiring at 37 after 15 years of work after undergrad. You spend the next 3 years traveling the world, living a leisure lifestyle and experiencing new things. At age 40, you realize the reason why travel and play is so fun is because of work! You have the urge to get back into the game, but who’s going to risk hiring a 40 year old with a 3 year employment gap? The employer will suspect you are rusty, and that you may just bolt after a year. As a result, the employer simply chooses to hire someone with no gap in their employment, or someone else from another firm.

2) You run out of money. No matter how conservative we are in our retirement money needs, something unforeseen may happen. Maybe you have a medical disaster, or your house blows down. Maybe your investments tank due to a massive economic downturn. Who knows what the future holds. But if you partake in “normal” early retirement, without the mega-millions windfall, you may find yourself needing more one day. Again, a large employment gap is perceived as riskier by the employer and you may be un-hireable. Here’s a savings guideline by age you should consider.

3) You lose touch with friends and family. It’s nice to have all the time in the world to do whatever you want.  But, if your friends and loved ones are busy working all day, they can’t join you on your midday hike or adventure to Bora Bora. They may also have a family to tend to during the evenings and on weekends. If you’ve ever taken a staycation by yourself, you’ll soon realize how lonely it is when others are busy leading their own lives.

4) You may find it difficult to start your own family. Unless you have a tremendous amount of money, raising a child may be too expensive an endeavor to undertake as early retirees. If you never wanted to start a family, chances are you haven’t been saving for a family. Let’s say you’re a woman who turns 35 and suddenly realizes the safety window for having a baby is closing rapidly. It may be tough to even get pregnant, let alone support a new born without the right support network.

5) You lose your own self-respect, and the respect of others. Unless you’re out there saving the world,  you might start getting depressed you are contributing very little to society.  Others will stop respecting you because you aren’t doing anything productive either. Traveling the world and writing about how great your life is a very unproductive endeavor. You better be learning a new language and volunteering in the local community, or else you’re just a travel bum. A great many rich early retiree friends from the Dotcom bubble have mentioned they wish they didn’t get rich so quickly.  Instead, they wish they worked a little harder for their money.


Early retirees will croon about how great their lifestyles are. I’m sure, in some ways they are spot on. But notice how they seldom write about the hardships they face. They can’t, because it’s important they continue highlighting how awesome everything is, to justify their decision to no longer work. Can you imagine spending 16 years going to school (grade school + four years of college) only to work for 10 years? Some would surely say that’s a waste, would they not?

The worst that could happen is some aspiring scientist, musician, lawyer, or teacher decides to give up their careers because they believe traveling around the world on a shoe-string budget is so glamorous. Years later, they realize their fingers don’t remember the notes anymore and the chemical formulas are one big haze. Maybe they would have made it as a concert pianist, or helped discover the cure for seasonal allergies, ACHOO! What a shame they never reach their full potential.


As I strive to fulfill my goal of retiring by 45, I’ve come to the realization there’s an unhealthy focus on self.  “What do I need to amass to be comfortable?” should be replaced with “How much do I need to be comfortable while helping others?

It’s absolutely selfish for me to even consider working less than the number of years I went to school. I think back upon my childhood years and how much effort my parents put into raising me. My mother would spend hours a week sitting down with me after dinner to explain mathematical equations My father would read all my essays and fix all the punctuations and grammatical mistakes. I would feel like a disgrace not to at least try and do great things.

45 is just an age goal. If I haven’t achieved my potential by then, I don’t plan on retiring even if I have the money to do so. The point of having an earlier-than-normal retirement goal is to help keep someone focused. Like an exam that’s 3 months away, we don’t study until the week before. Hence, better to believe the exam is only a week away so that we are better prepared.


Early retirees sometimes like to pity those who have to work. Yet perhaps we should empathize with those who are lost and haven’t found something they truly love to do (point #1). It’s impossible to all be great humanitarians working tirelessly until the age of 65. It’s easier just to give up and tell the world how fabulous your life is, and how you’ve retired on your “own” terms.

As the economy recovers, perhaps we’ll be able to bring back our lifestyle design friends to their home countries to work again. Our early retiree friends will stop fearing failure as employers open their arms wide open and allow them to succeed. Entrepreneurial ideas flourish once again due to an abundance of capital. The more the wealth gap widens, the more the early retiree crowd will want to get back to work, and realize their full potential.

There comes a point when working isn’t about money anymore since we have enough.If we all reach this point, we’ll no longer be focusing just on ourselves, but on helping others as well. We’ll be doing something we love, that provides a sense of purpose. Here’s hoping we all get there!

Recommended Actions For Retiring Earlier Than Normal


Shop Around For A Mortgage: LendingTree Mortgage offers some of the lowest refinance rates today because they have a huge network of lenders to pull from. If you’re looking to buy a new home, get a HELOC, or refinance your existing mortgage, consider using LendingTree to get multiple offer comparisons in a matter of minutes. The Fed is signaling interest rate hikes due to inflationary pressures now. When banks compete, you win.

Manage Your Money In One Place: Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. You can use Personal Capital to help monitor illegal use of your credit cards and other accounts with their tracking software. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.

After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.

Want to make extra money quickly and easily? I’ve recently tried out driving for Uber in 2015 because they are giving up to a $300 bonus after you make your 20th ride. After 25 hours, my gross pay is $32/hour, which is not too bad! I can see how people can easily make an extra $2,000 a month after commission and expenses with Uber or any ridesourcing company. I’d definitely sign up and drive until at least the bonus . Every time I plan to drive somewhere, like my main contracting gig down in San Mateo, I’ll just turn on the Uber app to try and catch a fare towards the direction I’m going. Why not make extra money?

$32/hour is a huge pay cut for me and it’s a humbling experience as well. But discovering the whole ridesourcing experience first hand is fascinating! I’ve got so many stories to share in the future about my experiences picking up random people.

Updated on 6/25/2015. I experienced two years of early retirement from 1/2012 to 12/2013 and I stand behind everything I’ve written in this post. Early retirement is somewhat selfish and nobody retires early from an activity they love to do. Although I tried hard to stay retired, I was given an offer to join Personal Capital, a financial tech startup as a consultant for 25 hours a week. My follow up post is, “Once You Retire Early It’s Impossible To Stay Retired.”


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter


  1. says

    I think what most people want is not the early retirement but a financially independent lifestyle. What I mean is that being able to work on his/her terms. That’s is how my wife & I felt and did.

    • Nemu says

      Yes, indeed. Most of us need to save more, much more for retirement. Including myself. (although I’m still 20+ years away)

      Here is what I’m doing:

      1. I now put away the maximum amount in my 401K (5% for me) that my employer will pay into the plan as a match. It is free money and dumb not to do it. It was basically a raise I gave myself.

      2. After calculating my expenses, I found that driving was my biggest expense. I fixed that by buying a fuel efficient car thats durable (Honda Civic), finding an affordable insurance policy for it ($25/month from 4AutoInsuranceQuote, yay!), and using apps like Gasbudy/Waze to save money at the tank. I cut my transportation costs in half!

      3.I cut way back on eating out. I am having a year of putting away money hard, and food was a huge portion of my budget. I save about an extra $100 a week now, and eat healthier and better. Ditto for others if you spend a lot of money in bars.

      4. I need life insurance to protect my 2 daughters, but I ditched a $275 a month whole life policy for a term policy and now I only spend $25 a month. I save the difference to my Roth IRA. If you are unfamiliar with this and want to learn more watch shows or read articles from Suzey Orman or Dave Ramsey sometime. They are huge proponents.

      There really were no two ways about it. If I plan on having a full savings account (getting there) and a comfortable retirement (I will) I have to make good decisions with my money.


  2. No Debt says

    I am soon to be with the same company 35 years, and am 54. We have no debt, 280K in accessible cash and 785K in 401K, which I believe can be drawn upon beginning at age 55 without penalty. Obviously we would not have to do this for some time. Advice and scenarios would be much appreciated, Mr. Samurai !

    • says

      Wow, 35 years is INCREDIBLE! Congrats!

      My advice to you is to not quit, but figure out a way to get laid off, or volunteer your separation. Hint, I wrote a book about it.

      Other than that, you are sitting pretty!

  3. JW says

    Since I was 20 years old I’ve dreamed of retiring at the age of 45. My career choices and job changes have all been directed at helping me to achieve that goal. I will be 45 at the end of the year and because of 25 years of planning, saving and investing I will be able to achieve my goal.

    The decision to retire is still a difficult one because of some of the what ifs posed in the post above. It is a personal decision and everyone is going to have their own aspirations and goals. There is no one size fits all plan. My wife and I were not able to have kids. A benefit to that is no need to save for college or weddings and no need to leave an inheritance either.

    Despite being financially secure and having achieved great success in my career I can understand that not everyone will agree with my choice because it might contradict their choices.

    At this point I’m not looking for validation from society or anyone else. Many will be jealous. Some will question the decision. You only live once. Live the way you want to and try not to judge others’ choices. You can squeeze a toothpaste tube from the bottom or the top. It still comes out the end. But, I’ve known husbands and wives who’ve fought over it and ended up having to get separate tubes for each. Accepting each others differences is part of life.

    I’ve been exceedingly fortunate to have had a wonderful family and great opportunities. It is with gratitude that I am able to have this choice. We are lucky to live in a country where we do not have to live in fear and that the rule of law generally prevails.

    My career has allowed me to travel extensively throughout the world and the lesson learned is that we take much for granted. How much is enough? We live in a culture of insatiability. Why should someone be made to feel bad for achieving their life’s ambition? Retirement is a transition, not a destination. What It means to me is doing what I want, when I want with who I want. That type of freedom is very desirable to me.

    In my career I have been responsible for the livelihoods of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of revenue. I have hired, had to fire and have helped hundreds as a mentor, coach or leader.

    I intend to maintain my friendships and ignore those that I don’t care to associate with. My focus will be on living a principled life and meeting the needs of those closest to me. That is selfish and it is intentional. I will continue to give back to my community, church and society. Because my time will be less constrained my hope is that I will be able to do more, not less.

    It is with great optimism that I look forward to a future of endless opportunity and not be confined any longer by commitments that work demands.

    Best wishes to all of you for success in whatever you choose to do.

  4. dan c. says

    I retired 14 months ago from the nyc fire department after 20 years. No one retires on my job at 20. Nobody. Its the greatest job on earth. I loved it and i voluntarily left and i sit here and wonder about my mental state as i approached the decision. There is alot behind a choice to retire. On the surface and to an outsider it seems like the right decision but there are hours and hours of talking to oneself weighing the pros and cons.
    The fire department was a lifestyle to me. It was an extension of who i was. It wasnt a career even though the accumuated years and experience might add up to one. Since i wasnt a test taker and promotion wasnt in my sights so i created a 2nd career in horticulture which has always been my love. I had a smalll 100 to 150k business which by my 19th year of working 2 careers, i was exhausted. I was also a bit financially strapped since working in nyc for 60 to 70 hrs a week led me to ignore certain money managing and labor decisions. I needed to address business issues that needed my undivided attention and to sto being career torn. I needed to focus on 1 thing. I picked my business since the financial rewRds can be greater and i can collect a very good pension at the same time. But, to be quite honest, i wish i was back in the firehouse. I was part of something big that now im on the outside. Operating a business full time is a pain in the ass…lol. i should have sold it and focused on the fdny and slowing down a bit…..not making my life more hectic. I retired cause of money. I git some retirement money, re did the house, paid some bills. After 12 months you start to ,ook back and think maybe i should have got better advice, softened my ego and maybe not being so impulsive. Bottom line…you dont realize in this economy how good you had it when you went to work.

  5. Jerome says

    I think it is the opposite of being selfish: by retiring early I freed up a good job for somebody else. That person was happy with the new chance, and I was happy not working anymore. A true win-win!

  6. Jean says

    Retired from education, with pension, this summer at 58. My husband works full time and will continue to work for about 4 years. He likes his job and we have financial goals. He retired at age 52, with pension after 29 years, from another firm. We’re the same age. I appreciate your article. I do miss some things about working, mainly the daily contact and laughs with cohorts and time with students, but I’m reconnecting with friends and joined a few hobby groups. I volunteer 1-1/2 days a week and have more time for my grandchild and grown children. Ii exercise more. I have more energy and our family weekends are more enjoyable. Have done some traveling with and without husband. Just accepted a holiday sales position at Macy’s. This will pay for family Christmas and help pay for our February sunbelt trip. It’s all good, but I wasn’t initially prepared for the emotional aspects of retirement. The emotional transition is important to highlight.

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts Jean. Congrats on the retirement! Retiring at 52 and 58 is a nice age to retire, but I don’t consider it early retirement. After 30+ years of work, I think we deserve it!

      Early retirement in my book is under 50 or 45 in my book. Please share more about the emotional aspect if you can!

  7. Jake says

    I disagree with the idea that retiring early is a selfish endavor. Here’s why:

    You can’t help the fact that you daydream of retirement. You work for 20 years, until you have established a nice little crib to come back to when you are traveling the world, and an amount of capital big enough to sustain you for the rest of your life. You quit your job and retire. The next 3 years of your life are filled with sightseeing, adventure, and travel. You travel all throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. You finish that bucket list of yours, and you cross the last item of the list of places to visit before you die. Now what?

    You get nostalgic. Not for the working world, but for your childhood, when everything was simple and carefree. So you move back to your hometown, meet some old friends, maybe rekindle some old flames. You move into a friendly little neighborhood where everybody knows everybody. All of your neighbors love you. You take a walk around town, past your old high school, the ball park you used to play at with your friends, the resturant that you went to on your first date. You watch the football team in their practice, remembering all the blood, sweat and tears it took. You see the paper boy, remembering how hard you worked to save up for that new toy that you just had to have. You pull into the gas station, where you witness a man teaching his son how to change a tire, the same way your dad taught you, all those years ago.

    You’re much more relaxed now, having settled down. Every week, you do yard work for the elderly woman in a wheelchair down the street, free of charge. To have a little extra cash coming in, you become the assistant coach for the high school football team, your favorite sport in the whole wide world. All the kids look up to you, and ask you for advice in things totally unrelated to football. You’re not just a coach to them, you’re a mentor. Your Sunday afternoons are spent at your parent’s house, or at the coffee shop with your childhood friend, who you lost contact with for all those years, talking old times. You laugh and laugh until the store manager informs you it’s closing time. You sell all your old toys and donate the money to charity. To pass the time, you serve soup at the homeless shelter, go Christmas caroling with your church to the sick and elderly, and read to the blind.

    You see, early retirement isn’t selfish at all. In fact, it can be more beneficial to society than if you were to continue working. It’s all up to you.

  8. Mark says

    Interesting article albeit a tad on the negative side. I personally feel the word retirement is really the wrong word for what myself and many others have done or want to do. The goal is not to simply stop working, that’s easy. The goal is to have the resources and most importantly the time to truly enjoy life and follow your passions without being constrained by the requirements of a paycheck. Everyone will have a different objective depending on what they feel is important to them. To me it is being able to be with my family and explore the world with my wife. Being present to watch my children grow and help them learn to ride a bike or learn to swim if invaluable. But does that mean I stop doing anything? No. My wife and I enjoy starting little projects here and there (including donating to and starting charities). It keeps life interesting. But we only do so as long as we are enjoying them. My wife was able to retire at 31 and myself at 37 and life has become busier and more interesting than ever. “Retirement” for us is much more about following our dreams and challenging ourselves with new adventures than about sitting on a beach somewhere doing nothing.

  9. says


    Hi, great article. With lifestyle design being the current Buzz word. people need to look past the immediate pleasure, and look at 20 year down the track…… Financial Security in old age, will be smacking a lot of people in the face.

  10. says

    Great post! I just realized myself a few years ago while i was studying that its possible to “retire” early. Now as i got my first job am working on that goal again. On the other hand i have learned that early retirement is only one goal, but its not what life is about. For me, it is only the foundation to do all the things in life that i would love to do. I wish you good luck on your journey! I will keep on following your posts :)

  11. Larry Raph says

    A very wonderful and interesting write-up on retirement, a laudable eye opener on how to retire without any blemish or regret of any kind.

  12. says

    Retiring early is not that bad. But as always, you got to look at your current situation. If you indeed retire at 37, after 15 years of work and you are an undergrad, of course you need to pause for a while first and consider things. Do you have enough retirement fund to last you a lifetime? What were you plans before you retired? It’s something that should be taken into account meticulously. You may travel the world 2-3 years after you retire but what’s next after that? you could be broke and you have no back-up plan. That would be game over for you. In the end, it’s all about financial security.

  13. Roger says

    The original article and subsequent rebuttals and comments made for a very insightful and interesting 30 minute read. I, like a few of the responders, have thoughts of early retirement (40). To those that believe a decision like this is not a selfish one …think again. There are very few people that will walk away from a rewarding career without really thinking about the lifestyle they will lead afterwards.

    If you are not doing it with selfish reasons then what are you doing it for? For a majority of our lives we work with such dedication and commitment to doing the best that we can for a corporation or individual, why not have the same approaches to retirement and you. Not all of us will have the financial resources to leave a “well” paying job at 45, but to those that do…good for you. Life is very short, and unless you are in a career that is your life’s passion, which I am guessing is a very small percentage of the population, why not get some enjoyment out of the years you have left.

    I am 44 years old (as you can see I had to reset my goals…darn kids) and don’t see myself retiring before the age of 55. I don’t believe there are too many people that retire with regrets of walking away from a job that was just that…a job. The thoughts are more centered on flexibility and the freedom to do what you really want and love to do, which undoubtedly includes friends and family time. If your finance are all in order… DO IT!

  14. Megan says

    I love this website and this article. You are extremely helpful to write about the risks. I cannot thank you enough!

  15. Bob says

    Interesting speculation from someone who is obviously too young to know. If you think retirement at 65 will give you 15 good years guess again. While many people are still in good health at age 70 , most are not. At age 62 I went to my last high school reunion. 25% had already died, 25% had serious health issues, and the the remaining 50% varied from a few problems to very healthy and active. Another big problem at this age is caring for your own elderly parents if you are fortunate enough to have at least one left.
    I found that retiring at 55 was the perfect age for me. I had peaked in my career, raised the kids, still in good health and had saved enough to travel. The biggest unknown for most of my early retiring friends was and is the cost of health insurance.

    • says

      Sounds like a sad series of events the older I get.

      I checked health insurance. $400/month for single, $700 for couple, $1,200 for family via eHealthInsurance based right here in the Bay Area. They have the largest network of health providers online at very affordable rates.

      I decided to retire in 2012 at the age of 35 to pursue my entrepreneurial endeavors. Being able to negotiate my severance package was a huge catalyst to leave since I worked for 11 consecutive years at one place. Never quit, get laid off folks!

      • Bob says

        $400/month for health insurance is mighty cheap but then it will go up dramatically as you age. Don’t forget deductibles, co-pays, drugs, dental, and vision costs as well.

        Since you are pursuing your entrepreneurial endeavors, you aren’t REALLY retired just self employed and picking up odd jobs such as this article.

  16. Jim says

    One thing people forget is how boring retirement is unless the person has a very clear way to spend 18 hours a day.

    I’ve tried early retirement. And I’m only 41. I tried it when I was 29 and I tried it again when I was 39. It’s terribly boring. And yes, I have hobbies, friends and family.

    If a person can clearly state that they will spend 4 hours per day with their charity, 4 hours a day volunteering, 2 hours a day exercising, 4 hours a day visiting friends and family, 2 hours a day reading, and 2 hours a day doing something else, it’s going to get boring.

    Unless a person can allocate 16 hours a day, every day, every week, every month, and every year – it’s going to get very monotonous. It wasn’t surprising for me to visit my local coffee shop/library/mall/etc. when I took early retirement and find scores of retired people sitting around.

    People who want to retire early, need a very clear plan.

    • Shyam says

      Well said Jim. You are very right. I took a break from work at 35 and loved it the first couple of months with all the golfing and travelling. But from the third month onwards, it got to be boring, lonely and depressing. I had a family but somehow I felt very alone. I got back to work after six months and enjoyed my new job more than anything I had done for a long time. I think it was here that the break helped by making me realise the good things about a job other than the salary. All that was fifteen years ago. I am now 50. I continue working. Kids are in high school now. Cannot say that I love my job but neither do I hate it to quit in a huff. I have a net worth of almost a million dollars equivalent (I am not an American though I have lived in your pleasant country for a few seasons of my life and where I come from, a million dollars is not bad at all).
      The main point of my post is that this retiring thing is overrated. The one nagging thought I had every day during that six month break was running out of money. Strangely this thought persists even today and I do believe it will for any person who opted to retire unless you have a 100 million. AND that thought was as stressful as as the bad days on a job. Was it Henry Ford who said ” you can only enjoy a vacation when you know you have to return to work”?

  17. says

    I am glad to have landed on your site. The title grabbed me as I thought this guy must be nuts thinking there is a dark side to early retirement. Now that I have read this post and others on your site I like your “mind”. I live a retire early and often lifestyle. Retired first at 51 and after several months of pure leisure bliss doing everything I wanted to do and others I didn’t know I wanted to do started on of my bucket list positions that I would like to learn and do. Since then (5.5 years ago) I have gone through the list and I am retiring again next month. I plan on taking the rest of the year off to travel, relax, and explore other opportunities and passions that I may want to pursue. I have met a lot of cool people and learned a lot on this adventure. At the same time I have made awesome money and have increased my net worth. People who lived below their means, paid off all debt, and saved for early retirement do need to be fully aware of everything you have detailed on this post. The risks that might come with your early retirement freedom isn’t for everyone. But for anyone willing to take the leap, it is totally worth it.

  18. Shasta Jones says

    There aren’t enough jobs to keep everyone working full time until they are 74. I know a lot of people who don’t plan to retire until 70. Then one day at the age of 60 or 61 I see someone escorted out the door. Where is a person going to find a job at that age? I am 58 and I am hoping I can make it until 62. I work my butt off for $12 an hour but I don’t seem to satisfy my employer. I have a BA in Communications and two more years in office technology and medical transcription. When I was in my 30s I made a lot more money than I made now but my skills have become obsolete even though I took community college classes at night. I do not want to take out a loan and go back to school when there’s not much of a guarantee that I would find something. If I find myself unemployed at 62 I can probably take part time work but I would still need social security and my meager pension to supplement it.

  19. Dan says

    I retired at 55 because I could and never looked back. Job friends were just that and I never had any thing in common with them anymore. I left work for the last time and it was just like any other day , only I was not coming back. It was a nice feeling being free to do what I wanted and no more bosses or problem co-workers to deal with anymore.

    I work part-time when it suits me and the nice part is I don’t need to work at all so when I get tired of coming in I quit, or some wingnut boss figures he can be abusive I tell him stuff it and boink his hat.

    Ahh the good life , now and for those who can retire, please do , no one cares about you at the job and you will be replaced by someone else easily. so never think your not expendable because you are.

    Life is short , so make the best of it and get out before you drop dead and experience the other side of not living on the clock and not having to deal with jerky personalities and anal bosses and all the other bull that one had to deal with to collect a paycheck.

  20. Lewis says

    It’s not what I want to do with my retirement, it’s what I don’t want to do at work. I don’t want to put up with the BS, accept people being rude or talking down to me, etc.

    Financial independence is a freedom
    Your dream job will never give you financial independence
    If you’ve achieved financial independence, you probably aren’t qualified / experienced to do your dream job, therefore retirement is the best option.

  21. Damien says

    So, I have NEVER left my actual name and email address with one of these stupid website.

    I don’t know who the hell any of you people are. That said, if you find retirement, “boring, lonely and depressing”, then you ARE “boring, lonely and depressing”.

    Good for you that you were able to find a situation (whether through raw IQ, hard work, or dumb luck) that afforded you such circumstances.

    That said, if you cannot figure out how to spend all of that free time (reading, playing music, volunteering, hiking, listening to music, cooking, etc. etc.), then that’s just plain sad.

    How many of the (rich) people reading this website can: grow their own food; bake their own bread; shoot and kill their own food; heat their home without Propane or No. 2 fuel oil; live without grid-provided electricity, etc. etc.

    I sense a certain insufferable smugness amongst the many posters of this forum.

    Could you survive 6 months in a total societal-breakdown shit-show, even with all your assets and savings? How much land you got? How much heat, electricity, and food you got, you smug F8cks?

    • says

      Why so much anger? Please share!

      I can poop in the woods with the best of them. Have you ever been to India? That’s where so much heartbreaking poverty is. Traveling the world makes you realize how much we have in the US.

  22. says

    Hahaha… I agree with most of the points that you’ve brought up. I have a friend who is fortunate enough to have made his first million dollars when he was 35. He had his source of passive income to be able to go into ‘early’ retirement. But after wandering around the world for less than 2 years, he came back and told me that he missed the challenges that work imposed on him. I guess I don’t have to go on to tell you what happens next.

    A sound and must-read advice for anyone who keep thinking of early retirement and unmotivated by their work.

  23. Preston says

    Being early retired myself (or financially independent before 50) what I experienced is very different from what you describe. I find that old coworkers just don’t want to hear about it. The are negative about the concept and would see me as delusional. How do you raise your hand when everyone is complaining they will never retire on their current salary and saw “Well, I have a million dollars socked away on the same income as you?” No one is interested in hearing that. So I just don’t say much about it — snuck out the back door without telling anyone I was retired. I think your version of the loud early-retiree is skewed because only the loud ones are on the net.

    I have plenty of goals in my private life and never had enough time for them until recently and it’s completely rewarding. I don’t have to convince someone else I am enjoying myself — it’s personal and isn’t about other people. Neither was saving about showing other people up. I had a prestigious job and won high profile awards too. But I left because there was a long list of other things I would like to do.

  24. Trevor Thomae says

    1. Suicide is NOT a “Cowards” way out. But typically from a severe debilitating illness such as mental illness and cancer, where the later is accepted by society. And the first where society doesn’t think the brain is an important organ for functioning and thus judges it.

    2. I am grateful for a mental illness actually and documented developmental disorder in my life. I was accepted for social security disability since 23 and have no job still and 35. I went to college done all the “things you were supposed to do”, but I never got my hand held by a girl or silver platter thus lost. You tell me to get a job, but why bother if no one will hire you without a work history. It;s almost as if that suggests that society WANTS you to commit suicide! Because once you fail, they treat you like you have. So how is that coward. It is society that is a coward for letting someone to even end up in that predicament. (when there intention was good to not get into that situation.)

    3. The other option is minimum wage employment. But for me, being legitimate accepted for disability due to adversity that is unimaginable to the “normal” person. Trust me, I would rather get my legs chopped off or cancer in a heartbeat compared to failing to get work due to a mental illness. But I get as much by the government as a sweatshop service job. So there is no point to working for nothing.

    4. As for the taxpayers, it is funny that they would rather pay me $100,000’s in disability benefits than to help me get a good job. In fact, this article reinforces my thinking that society works harder to make sure you DONT get a job. They call in the American Dream, No one said all dreams are good. I’ll take starving in Africa risking Ebola over the mental stresses American’s apply to others.

  25. says

    I remember reading the 4 hour work week, Mr Money Mustache, and they all seem to say the same thing about retirement — you don’t truly retire in the traditional sense. Instead, they made financial independence and still do work that humans crave — creative work, physical/fitness goals, run businesses, write books, etc. I can seem myself gaining the level of independence I want when i’m financially independent enough to handle 1/2 to 2/3 of my expenses — then I can fill the rest in with work, probably not quite full-time work, and live a lot more comfortably. I’m into semi-retirement, if you will. :)

  26. Ashley says

    I’m a 27 year old Air Traffic Controller, new to the site but no stranger to planning financial freedom and retirement. I left a great job as a pilot that I loved for this career that I’m not in love with to allow for a better lifestyle and full government pension eligible at 51. I’ve sacrificed a lot to set myself up for retirement, and am thinking about leaving my pension so early to pursue a career that I love. Advice appreciated.

  27. waynebob says

    Hello Samurai,
    I just spent a couple hours reading through your site, after stumbling across it, and I must say that I like very much what I read! I was able to “retire” ( i.e., quit…) at 49 after working 25 years for a local hospital. I religiously paid the maximum into my employer’s 403b, as well as funding an IRA during those years. However, having 3 kids either in or approaching college age made actual retiring impossible. I began working as an independent contractor for the following 10 years and funded a 401K, but due to extreme changes in my field that made continuing in that job a recipe for depression and burnout, I again “retired”…that is, I quit again! Now I work part time back at my old job and plan on doing so until they run me off, not because I personally need the money, but because my kids and grandkids) will benefit from the money I will be able to share with them. (and I do love the job…) I am fortunate because, though none of my kids are financially well off, they all support themselves and never ask for financial help. I have the freedom to offer such help, or not, as I choose. To me, that freedom is worth every cent I have ever saved or invested. And, I might add, each of them has an IRA I helped them start as soon as they began working summer jobs as teenagers. They all thought I was nuts when I started talking to them about saving for retirement when they were still in high school! Maybe they will be able to retire early, if they so choose, after 25-30 years of consistent investing, avoiding debt, and wise choices.

  28. ImNobodyWhoRU says

    Interesting post. I believe most people are *not* in love with their jobs, they work because they have to work to pay the bills and get by… Me, I’m 54 with a Masters, and at the top of my profession; have more accomplishments and accolades than I can count. But the thrill is gone, and my health is going (serious rare disease). Sure, I could easily last another 10 years doing what I’m doing, but I don’t think it’s selfish at all to make for the exit early (because I can), given the health issues I face, which are a game changer. Too, I have many other interests and demonstrated abilities the art realm, and have always given them short shrift to work in a traditional profession. Will be nice when the true priorities are finally in the right order.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *