There is a dark side of early retirement I want to tell you about.
I originally wrote this post in 2011 when I was strongly considering retiring early from banking after 12 years. I was burned out and stopped caring about climbing the corporate ladder or making a lot of money. I felt similar to the way quiet quitters are feeling today.
I ultimately did retire a year later in 2012 and have stayed “retired” ever since. After 11 years of early retirement, or fake retirement as I fondly call it, I've updated this post with lot more perspective. The pandemic also gave me a gut-check regarding whether I'm spending time in a meaningful way each day.
Early retirement is generally great. You can do what you want when you want. But there is a dark side of early retirement that people need to be aware about. Let me share the negatives with you today.
The Dark Side Of Early Retirement
If you look carefully around the web, you'll read scores of articles about the desire to retire early or how fabulous the early retirement lifestyle is. The FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early) has grown rapidly since I first began writing about retiring early in 2009.
The reality is, there is a lot of downsides to retiring early nobody talks about. Take it from me, someone who left their corporate job for good in 2012 at the age of 34. I'm now 45 years old with a lot more perspective.
I agonized with the early retirement decision before I left. I also experienced some negative surprises that I did not anticipate until after I had already left Corporate America.
Leaving a stable job, especially during times of uncertainty is tough. As a result, many employees end up suffering from the “one more year syndrome” for far too long. If you decide to retire early and realize six months later you want to come back to work, there may not be a job to come back to!
Let me be clear. I love early retirement. I'm happier because I retired early. However, there are some things I would have done differently if I could rewind time.
Namely, I would have retired closer to 40 years old and had children while working, to take advantage of parental leave! But other than these two things, I have no regrets.
Let us 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 ripcord too early.
Why People Want To Retire Early
You would think the reason why people want to retire early would be obvious: the desire for freedom. However, life is much more complicated than wanting to do what you want, whenever you want.
The below reasons why people want to retire early might sting, but thy are the truth. It is the dark side to early retirement.
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) Some people want shortcuts in life.
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.
Look at our pathetic <6% saving rate before the pandemic began in 2020. 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 number 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 2008-2009 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. I suspect the same thing may happen in 2020 as well.
5) Realization that time is precious.
With the median lifespan hovering around 80 years old, you only have 20 years of retirement to enjoy your life if you retire after 60, when most people do. 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.
The Dangers Of Early Retirement
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, which is why the proper safe withdrawal rate is dynamic.
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 unhireable if you need to return.
If you want to retire early, the most you should be out of the workforce is three years, but preferably two years. After two years, you should have enough taste of the early retirement lifestyle to figure out if never working a normal day job is right for you.
Here's a savings guideline by age you should consider before retiring early.
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.
There's a loneliness epidemic that is spreading across the world, partially accelerated by the pandemic. Work from home is nice, but it is also causing people to lose vital connections for a better life. If you retire early, you will feel more alone if you don't have any hobbies or friends outside of work.
4) You may find it difficult to start your own family.
Unless you retire with a tremendous amount of money, having a child and raising a child may be too expensive an endeavor to undertake as early retirees. In big cities like New York City and San Francisco, you might have to spend around $1 million to raise your child from birth through college.
Even if your household has a $5 million net worth, it's not easy to sustain an early retirement lifestyle with two kids in a big city like Los Angeles. Interest rates are close to all-time lows, which means the relative income generated by your retirement investments are also likely at all-time lows.
Finally, your focus on saving and investing enough money to retire early might make it more difficult for you to have kids if you wait too long.
I know so many couples who were so focused on keeping expenses down in order to retire early, that by the time they started trying after 35, it was too late. They had to go through IUI, IVF, and all sorts of expensive and arduous procedures, many to no luck.
5) You may lose your own self-respect, and the respect of others.
Unless you're out there helping the poor, fighting racism, or trying to make a positive difference in people's lives, you might start getting depressed you are contributing very little to society. You need purpose in retirement, otherwise, it's hard to stay retired.
Others may stop respecting you because you aren't doing anything productive either. Traveling the world and writing about how great your life is, is a very unproductive endeavor.
A great many rich early retiree friends from the first dotcom bubble in 2000 have mentioned they wish they didn't get rich so quickly. Instead, they wish they worked a little harder for their money.
During the first year of early retirement, I was bored out of my mind. I would wake up automatically at 6 am every morning and just twiddle my thumbs until my wife woke up at 8 am or later. It was when I committed to writing on Financial Samurai every day where I found my purpose in early retirement.
Related: Once You Retire Early, It's Hard To Stay Retired
Careful Who You Listen To About Early Retirement
The dark side of early retirement is real.
Early retirees will croon about how great their lifestyles are. 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. It might not even be their decision to retire early as they may have gotten laid off.
The louder you have to brag about how great your early retirement lifestyle is, the less great it probably is. Just like how confident people don't brag about their achievements, people who are busy living great lives aren't telling the world about how great their lives really are.
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?
Perhaps 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 reached their full potential. Perhaps this is the real dark side of early retirement.
Related: If I Could Retire Again Here Are The Things I'd Do Differently
Early Retirement Can Be Selfish
I think back upon my childhood years and remember how much effort my parents put into raising me. My mother would spend hours explaining mathematical equations after dinner every day. My father would read all my essays and fix all the punctuations and grammatical mistakes.
As a parent now, I appreciate how much time and effort it takes to raise children. To work less years than you went to school doesn't feel right. It feels like I wasted some of my studies and my parent's efforts.
To not want to be a productive member of society when I know I can is selfish and lazy. Again, this is one of the main reasons why I've committed to writing 3X a week on Financial Samurai for the past 10 years. If I'm not going to be a laborer, then I want to at least help more people reach financial independence sooner.
By stopping work early, you are also depriving the government and society of your valuable tax dollars. Taxes are used to help fund schools, roads, libraries, Social Security, Medicare, defense, and more. I was paying over $100,000 a year in taxes for 10 years before I retired in 2012. Then I stopped paying as much for the first several years to help society.
Look Beyond The Smoke And Mirrors
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.
But what are early retirees really running away from? What is the dark side of early retirement they can't face? Once you recognize the truth, your career path and your life will be much clearer.
The best thing you can do is work at a job you'd do for free. Sometimes, it takes doing your own thing to truly find what makes you happy.
So long as you have purpose, whether you are working or in early retirement, everything will turn out OK. It often just takes finding what that purpose really is in life.
Personally, I'm sick of writing so much and trying to earn supplemental retirement income online. After a long and arduous pandemic, I'm happy to re-retire again.
I plan to spend my days writing books and spending as much time with my children as possible. More than 80% of the time we will ever spend with our children is during their first 18 years of life. I don't want to waste a moment.
Retire Earlier With Real Estate
Real estate is my favorite way to build wealth and increase your chances of retiring earlier. Real estate is less volatile than stocks, provides utility, and generates higher income.
The combination of rising rents and rising capital values is a very powerful combination over time. By the time I was 30, I had bought two properties in San Francisco and one property in Lake Tahoe. The income from these properties helped give me the confidence to leave work in 2012 at age 34.
In 2016, I started diversifying into heartland real estate to take advantage of lower valuations and higher cap rates. I did so by investing $810,000 with real estate crowdfunding platforms. With interest rates down, the value of cash flow is up. Further, the pandemic has made working from home more common.
Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms. Both are free to sign up and explore.
Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the easiest way to gain low-volatility exposure.
CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends. If you have a lot more capital, you can build you own diversified realestate portfolio.
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The Dark Side Of Early Retirement is a Financial Samurai original post. As one of the founders of the modern-day FIRE movement, I'm always trying to share with readers as much real-life perspective as possible.
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448 thoughts on “The Dark Side Of Early Retirement: The Downsides Of Not Working”
I am 35 and on the brink of early retirement, but absolutely terrified of the prospect of plunging into the unknown. Really appreciated this thoughtful unpacking of all the fears I’ve been grappling with.
You’re welcome Cory. You may enjoy this post as well. It was written after I retired and updated every year since 2012.
Also, if you can negotiate a severance, it will put you over the edge to finally leave work behind. Getting a severance package was my number one catalyst for leaving banking at age 34.
I had years of living expenses paid for by my severance package. And if I got bored or things didn’t work out, I could always just go back to work.
I updated How To Engineer Your Layoff in 2023. It’s now on its 6th edition and has helped thousands negotiate a severance to break free.
Hello Sam, I am a 67 year old man that has been retired for about 5 years. My wife retired 2.5 years ago. Finances are not a problem for us and we have no debt. I retired from a job that was demanding with a lot of pressure. I enjoyed my job up until about 6 months before I retired as I got tired trying to find employees who wanted a career more that a check. I never had any hobbies, cabin, fishing boat as most people do so being retired, I find retirement to be a real downer. My wife does not want me to get a job of any kind so I just sit here and exist here every day sound small tasks. Any suggestions ?
You and I are are same age and I retired 5 years ago and moved to a new city to be near the grandkids, so I am now a professional grandfather, so to speak.
However, I too have a lot of free time that is spent inside my own head, thinking my own thoughts and realizing how hard it is to just sit with my own thoughts and emotions without giving in to the urge to find some distraction to pull me away. I tend to gravitate toward snacking, drinking, or mindlessly web surfing and indulging in the recreational outrage and negativity so pervasive online. I came to realize how ultimately destructive to my own contentment and happiness this is.
I don’t give advice, so please don’t take what I’m about to say as any sort of prescription or correct way to live your life in retirement. This is simply what I have done that I enjoy and that has been of benefit. I was compelled to respond to your post as a way to clarify my own thinking as much as by the hope that it might be of some help to you. I am certainly no expert in these matters beyond what seems to work for me personally.
What I’ve been doing that has helped me enormously is to engage in a brief but consistent 20-30 minute daily practice of yoga, not only the postures and stretches, but breathing exercises and allowing whatever comes to my mind to pass through without getting wrapped up in it. Mindfulness, some people call it. There are a ton of online resources that can help point you in the right direction.
I find sitting and meditating a bit of a challenge so I walk instead, pretty rapidly, and listen to podcasts devoted to all sorts of self help and health related issues. I quit consuming more that 5-10 minutes of news daily, just enough to keep up with current events, started eating a healthier diet, gave up the booze, found things in my daily life to be grateful for and I also keep a journal that I fill with whatever random thoughts I want to record. I’ve also started learning to read music and attempt to play the mandolin. I’m pretty unaccomplished, but it’s getting better. I try to connect with nature, going outside, gardening, digging in the dirt, hiking or just walking down the street to chat with whomever I happen to meet. Being in a new city I’ve had to make the effort to make new friends, an ongoing challenge.
If I don’t feel like doing any of this, I may skip a day or two, without guilt of self-judgement for doing so, but I do find the daily routine and consistent engagement in them to have allowed me to just relax and be grateful for this time in my life where I have to freedom to disengage from the pervasive cultural momentum of productivity and achievement. I’m learning to allow the day to unfold, without any particular need to plan and control, but to be open and positive toward whatever comes my way. I must add that this takes effort, as for many years I was a busy, over-working, anxious professional and that is my underlying personality, conditioned by my upbringing and education.
I realize that much of what I’ve said is internally directed and meant to change the way I experience the moments in life. It is a skill to be developed, no doubt, like any other skill, and that gives me meaning and purpose.
I wish you the best!
Yes! Explore hobbies. Try art, woodworking, writing a book.
Take classes.try on line classes. In person University classes. Local mom and pop shops’ classes (like a pottery place, a cooking class at a William Sonoma). Teach a class for fun by getting a booth at the farmers market, etc., and doing impromptu classes right there.
Volunteer. Work for the scouts, a hospital. Proof read a resume for college kids. The small business association needs people to help others get started with a business plan.
Join a local club like for hiking, canoeing, toastmasters, gardening.
Be mindful about getting into shape.
Learn how to eat right. What we were taught as kids re nutrition has changed in 60 years.
Read Happy Money (a book on why some people are successful retirees and others aren’t.) Learn about Blue zones which has entire communities living well into their 120s. And happily and healthily living that long.
Was your work your calling? If so how can you still participate in that field without having long term commitments( meaning promising someone you will be at a place for X amount of hours every. Single. Morning/day.)
What about you “going back to work” has your wife aflutter? Address her needs.
If your career wasn’t your calling which aspect had you loving it? Was it helping others? Organizing info? Starting from scratch and seeing the building process through to completion? How can this desire translate into something else?
What did you wish you could do when you were working but you never had the time/money? How did you spend your time as a kid that you couldn’t wait to get out of school to go do?
Treat your locale as if you’ve never been there. Go exploring. I bet you don’t realize half the new businesses that have popped up around you. I’ve lived here all my life and never knew about the pig races 25 mins away (I’m in Houston) nor there was such a thing as goat yoga. Lol.
Research a place you want to travel to. Go. Can’t go? (War torn, societal collapse) there are online “tours” that let you explore at least parts of the town.
If you’re bored with reading for example, try to spice it up. Get a kindle. Read on your phone. Listen to audible. Don’t just read at home. Make your lunch and go read at the park. Waterproof kindles are great at the pool.
Try new tech. Get an oculus or a Tesla. Buy a curved 49” monitor, smart appliances.
Or go the reverse. Try off-gridding your daily activities. Like hand grind your coffee beans. Buy wheat berries and grind them, make bread from scratch. I bought old fashioned sponge rollers and the overhead hairdryers my grandmother had and now I sit with my morning drink for 30 minutes instead of standing and blowing my hair straight for the same amount of time.
Power and water outages are more and more frequent. How can you make your house so that you’re less inconvenienced if you can’t get water from the city or you start having rolling brownouts for hours a day.
What is your love language. Your wife’s? Kids? Grandkids? Best friend. How can you be a better friend to the people in your life knowing this info?
I could go on and on. Lol. You’ve got this. You have a whole new world of experiences I
Open to you now.
Surely you have some hobbies that are shared by others? I fill my time playing pickleball nowadays where I meet dozens of people with the same passion.
You must find connections in common interests.
See: Solutions to the loneliness epidemic
I feel like Mr. Financial Samurai may be expressing some slight buyer’s remorse. Even after reading this article and it has some good reminders, I still feel the need to FIRE. I am turning 46 this year, worked, saved and invested all my life. I’m married but no kids yet, though we are trying. I am at a point where I don’t find any joy doing what I am doing anymore. Thought about changing to something I am more passionate about but then I might have to deal with new office politics, as currently I love my team, just not what I am doing. I feel like I have been running a long long marathon, and I just want a break, a long long break. I enjoy playing table tennis, traveling and would love to go stay in Asia for a few years. Take it easy and maybe when I am rejuvenated and will come back on my own time and pace. The only thing preventing me from saying I quite is I just sold my house and we are in rental right now and wife always wanted a house so she could feel a little secure but I am ok renting, much less headache compared to when I was a homeowner. By the way, I live in LA, so houses are no pocket change here. Financially I can FIRE, but caveat is I will be renting.
I don’t think I have buyers remorse. I left in 2012 at age 34 and really appreciate the freedom and journey since then.
It is definitely scary to retire early. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote this post in the first place, to reveal any things I hadn’t thought about as I planned towards leaving work.
It’s been a fun journey! And, I’m excited to share my new book out this summer with you. It’s called Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom.
I hope you order it and enjoy!
I have found this to be a very helpful and enlightening read about early retirement. I have to confess I come from a different perspective. Early retirement actually does not appeal to me. I have spent substantial periods of my life unemployed, so I already know about the feelings of boredom and lack of direction. I am now in my 50s, and whilst I am in a good state financially, I currently do not feel any desire to retire whatsoever. My current job is not my dream job, but it is satisfactory. It keeps me active both mentally and physically. But it is a physical job, so I cannot do it forever.
But it is interesting that your article has focused on the psychological side of it, rather than the financial side, and to hear your first hand perspective.
Thanks. Boredom is a big issue that I experienced for a while. It takes time to get in a different groove. After about one year of early retirement, I decided to “go back to work” by writing more on Financial Samurai.
It is important to do work that provides meaning.
ER can be a way to tap out for burnt-out individuals. However, I do not see ER as selfish; instead, I see it as a poor reflection on our society. What does it say about the traditional 40 hour work week that so many people are disenfranchised enough to quit and walk away from it? I would love to see a societal transformation of the labor system in the US, and I am hopeful the pandemic will provide this to a certain extent. Allowing workers to remain remote and live where they want is a powerful way to keep employees satisfied, plus it adds back hours to their life to spend with those around them since commuting is no longer necessary.
I’m reaching out to say how much I liked your article.
I’m in a bit of a similar situation, where I was able to stop working at 35 and move down to South America with the goal of learning Spanish and experiencing a different culture.
I think you really hit the nail on the head with the article and I totally resonate with the downsides you’ve mentioned. It’s been the best decision of my life, but when people ask I tell them you still have good and bad days and your problems don’t all go away once you take work out of the equation and change locations. It was really interesting to see someone write an article talking about the same thing!
I count myself as really lucky to have been hit with those realizations at 35, though. I think they’re bound to come at some point in life, so better to learn these things about yourself and about life at this age than to work your whole life at something you hate and then be hit with that feeling of purposelessness and regret at 65.
Anyway, great piece! I’ve sent it to a number of friends who are in the same boat and who I’ve had similar discussions with.
All the best,
I would say this Sam hasn’t actually retired…he’s just switched jobs. Yes, he doesn’t work for corporate America anymore, but it says in his bio that he earns 250, 000 from passive income. To me that’s still work…and therefore not retirement. You’re still working…even if you work for yourself.
I think that there is no “one size fits all” to retirement, and there shouldn’t be. You stop working when you are ready to slow down, and your financials are (hopefully) taken care of. I have been working since I was 14 and now, at 45, I am looking forward to that next phase of my life. I have 10 years left in the rat race…but I am counting down each day! I know that I am lucky…I have a great pension waiting for me and in 5 years I will be debt free, except for my mortgage. It took a lot of work to get here…but I am grateful that I am…not everyone is as lucky as me, I know.
Good luck to all who decide to go “early.” Just make sure you are setting yourself up for success, and don’t worry about what the cranky pants people say.
Very interesting feedback that you think earning enough passive income to pay for my family’s living expenses is considered work.
To me, financial freedom and early retirement is all about generating enough passive income to live your desired lifestyle.
Can you expand on why do you think my passive income is switching careers? I do have to spend some time occasionally managing my rental properties. Generally they are pretty automatic because I screen well.
Retiring after only 12 years in the workforce, I have to wonder if you were born with money or given a lot of money by your parents or something . I’ve been working since I’ve been 14 years old and plan to retire at 60 years of age. I don’t know what kind of profession would allow a person to retire after only 12 years of work. Presumably you had to pay for your education unless that was paid for by someone else? this post sounds like it’s coming from a person with a whole lot of privilege and wealth early in life. Not realistic for my world.
To be fair to the author, it is totally possible if you work your butt-off in financial services. I grew up in a trailer park, was the first in my family to go to college and left with more than $100K of total college/post grad debt. I got a job at a big bank in 2000 and after working 70+hrs/week for 18 years, I retired early with more than $3M in the bank and several passive income sources. I am not married and don’t have kids, which certainly helps bolster savings. Not a life for everyone for sure, but it is possible to have financial success and not come from wealth.
Thanks Michelle for sharing your story. Hope you are enjoying early retirement! Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for getting out. It’s been fun to write on FS and travel.
It would have been nice to make and save more money, and in retrospect, I probably should have worked a couple more years. But that’s life! Onward!
13 years actually post college, and did odd jobs here and there before graduating.
I went to William & Mary for $2,800 a year in tuition. I paid my parents back within five years after college.
Here’s a relevant post you may be interested in: The First Million Might Be The Easiest
But you are absolutely right about privilege and luck in getting ahead. I was privileged to come to America for college and work and have two parents.
Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working Minimum Wage Jobs As An Adult
You certainly made some good points. Having been in the advice business for 30 years it is certainly the goal of 99.9% of people to stop working as soon as possible. All of my clients had to wait until their 60’s to achieve it but I can certainly attest to the fact that they would have immediately pulled the pin on employment if they had suddenly won the lottery or inherited a large sum of money!
Now in saying that, retirement didn’t seem to represent to them a move to a state of perpetual nirvana where freedom of choice and an escape from the mundane was the goal. Rather it would seem, it was to end the drudgery of their employment and all the machinations it entailed. The continuous corporate intrigue, the weird assortment of personalities amongst work colleagues, poor management and leadership, a lack of feeling truly needed and respected for their efforts (even though that was the constant message being pumped to the masses). Right down to the never-ending repetition of a 3-hour daily commute come rain or shine.
Retirement, for them it seemed, was really an escape from a career choice made at a very early stage in life that they obviously felt condemned to continue. And in order to live a ‘normal’ life and raise a family remained committed through thick and thin. Lifes major role model and followed by the majority it would seem favours the attributes of conforming to a world of 9-5 with all that entails.
I strongly suspect a complete change of occupation into a far more satisfying and stimulating role suited to the individual’s needs, would have changed the whole ball game so to speak and would have had people remaining happily occupied in economic activity well past their normal retirement ages. But fear, lack of confidence and no doubt, the norms society projects onto people kept them shackled and dreaming of a better time to come.
Yes, yes and yes. If a career choice is made early in life, like you say, and one has a solid work ethic and deep commitment to the family that they have chosen, then you will probably go ahead and work those 30 or 40 years. And it’s true, fear of striking out on your own, and the carrot that keeps being dangled in front of your paycheck, will keep you working too long for someone else’s dreams.
Wow dude. You really didn’t make any friends with this post. What I don’t get is how you can call early retirement “selfish,” but you yourself has retired at 34? Hmmmm… interesting perspective.
I don’t buy into the whole workaholic rat race my job is my life mentality. As for contributing to society? What makes you think that every company anyone works for is beneficial for society or for the planet? Do you know what I do for society and the planet? I don’t eat meat, and I chose not to have children.
I wrote the post a year before I decided to retire early to make sure I could gain as many different perspectives as possible.
I got a lot of insight. But did miss some.
I came over here from the Harvard article but found this confusing.
#3 for example; “You lose touch with Friends and Family” because their lives are spent slaving away and yours aren’t, I guess? While I can kind of relate from the time I left the hamster wheel/stopped caring, I wasn’t talking to them much before, either. What are you missing out on exactly? People who won’t socialize with you because you’re not stuck like they are? May be a matter of financial class?
Or the self-respect point of#5? May be a generational gap but I never really got an ounce of self-respect from where I reported for a paycheck. Sure, I’ve tried to aim for the options that do the clear public good, but in general, I view it all as a bs construct designed to force me to waste the time I’d rather be spending on other things just so I don’t have to sleep on the street. I’m guessing your Gen X or a Boomer.
Online, early retirees are everywhere. I get beat down and chastised for “still working in my 40’s like a dumb ass” whenever I comment on an article about retirement online. Yet in real life, I have never met one person who retired at younger than mid-50’s. Where are all these young retirees in actual, everyday life? I’m asking because they seem to be a dime a dozen online, yet nowhere to be found in real life. I’m close to a half a century old. That is a long time, and if early retirement were so prolific, then I would think that I would have met at least one early retiree by now. This has always made me wonder…I’ll just say that.
I’m 63 and don’t make enough to even retire, not early and not ever. My wife wants to retire at 65 (in five years) but that will not help our bottom line. In order to put food on the table and pay our bills, I will have to keep working until I’m physically incapable of doing so. I find it extremely selfish of my wife to be insisting on retiring… because she refuses to sit down and look at the numbers with me. She is hell-bent on retiring… she has likely told her friends of her early retirement plan, and having told them this as if to brag, now she has painted herself into a corner from which in her stubbornness, we will not be able to escape. When she realizes that I am serious about not retiring, she is going to be so angry at me as to make life unbearable, then I’ll have to get a divorce and that will make things even worse for me.
Divorce won’t make things worse for you. Might make them better. Read about “Conscious Uncoupling”
That might work if she really wanted anything from him, however since it entails regarding the other as “teacher”, and a drastic change to the unilateral nature of the relationship, meaning even in the best of times it was fundamentally estranged. Not saying he can get out of it even if he should. A lot of us are stuck in a hurtful daily grind from which there is no escape, through our own lack of decency or honesty when it counted, this conscious uncoupling sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo. Get a hobby, a cheap one, buy a second-hand guitar off craigslist. Divorce will undoubtedly make it worse. Then sit back and watch the end-times unfold as the melt-water covers up the island paradises inhabited by the early retirees.
Your wife wants to retire “early” at 65 and you are not happy? I do not know your circumstances- but could you sell your house and downsize? Retiring at 65 isn’t so far fetched unless you’ve only been married just a few years? If you’ve been married for at least 20 years, your wife should be able to retire at 65 or at least let her dream of it. So much could happen in 5 years. Unfortunately, your wife probably would not mind a divorce if this is the way you feel towards her. Again, I do not know your entire situation. At 55, women are considered “old” in the workplace. (men too, but they do not realize) I do not agree with this, but it is sadly true, I have lived it. Yes, I have the haircut, clothes, thin, the whole trying to hold on thing going on. Your wife may be feeling the same things. Die or retire?
Sorry you didn’t marry well . . .
Became financially independent and cut work to 5 hours/week for 36 weeks/year at age 52. Not because I’m lazy, or didn’t like my job, like this condescending piece of crap “article” states, but b/c my life isn’t defined by work. Working less gives one more control over ones life; what one does with that additional freedom depends on ones values. Why all the judgement?
Right there with you on this article! And the guy who wrote this retired in his 30s! Go figure.
Retiring is selfish? What a stupid ass comment! Since when does a retiree have to give a shit about what the rest of the world thinks about that?
Just wanting to live as opposed to dying for a noble cause could be and is selfish.
Not wanting to get married and have a family can be selfish too.
And I’m guilty of both in addition to retiring early.
The world doesn’t owe me anything and I don’t owe the rest of the world anything either.
While I’m at it I want to say that just as there are those who didn’t plant too well for thier early retirement there are those who I’m sure have done so.
I’ve read about some of them already.
I agree with you….I’m retiring in 20 working days at 56, not sure if that is early, but I’m doing it!!! Who cares about going back to work for someone else? Reinvent yourself and work for yourself, we are all talented in some way…Cheers!
“The world doesn’t owe me anything and I don’t owe the rest of the world anything either.”
Maybe you could explain this to me. I don’t know what country you live in, but if you live in America I would beg to differ. I am a US history teacher. You are young. You have lived in an unprecedented time of peace and individual freedoms – a peace bought by veterans of foreign wars (75 million deaths in World War II worldwide.) There were 600,000 in the American Civil War alone which eventually ended slavery.
Democracy is everybody’s responsibility or it will be gone. Without fair and safe elections we will be no better than the dozens of countries under fascist regimes. What are you doing to prevent that? I am teaching high schoolers history. I have done it for 33 years old because without an educated populace we will have no democracy.
I am not saying retirees young or old have to teach, reform or become politically active. I am saying that it might be enough to be grateful to not have been forced to make a choice so many young men and women had to make that has allowed me to enjoy an incredible life of individual rights, freedom to live with the most advanced medical technology ever, and to enjoy a world unimaginable 100 years ago.
The definition of parasite: A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. Parasites can cause disease in humans.
“I have done it for 33 years old because without an educated populace we will have no democracy.”
Well said and well done!
I am a housewife and love every minute of it, but don’t get me wrong…. I work waaay harder than I ever did when I was in the working world. I not only do more, I also work around the clock. I know it sounds cliche but housework is never ending. I keep up the laundry, clean the house, mow the lawn, shop for groceries, cook all meals. I don’t get a paycheck, but my husband makes more money in one day than I did in one week. Please be assured I am still contributing tax dollars for roads, schools etc through my husband.
I totally understand how you feel about it because I’m in the same boat. That 24/7 household work never ends.
I left my work as a doctor simply because I couldn’t tolerate all of the stress it caused me. That was driving me mad. My job was stressful and loaded by nature, but add to that tons of internal stress to remain successful, and tons of family related responsibilities. I decided to quit, but then early retirement came up as an option.
My brother had a stressful job as well which caused him uncontrolled hypertension & eventually he died with renal failure. Having the same perfectionist personality & the same genetic predisposition, I just learnt a lesson. My workload was greater than I could tolerate, but that never meant I was weak..
At the moment my only challenge is the decision about having a part time job where the load is tolerable, yet sufficient to polish my experience.
I really appreciate the amazing work women staying home do. My wife decided to do that 15 years ago in spite of being an Architect by profession.
My only concern is that such decisions when taken by the male counterpart who is the only earning member is seen in a different light and not allowed.
A lot of hostility in the comments section. Mainly from those that retired early. Early retirees need to understand, not everyone is in the same boat. It’s awesome that you got to hang it up early and head home and your life is all yours. I understand that to you, working is a waste of life. But, you have options. You either have a ton of money, or you are getting paid without having to work. Good for you. That is not the case for most people. I am on the fence about retirement. I may do it and I may not. Working is not that bad for me. I like my job ok. Do I love it? Well…I wouldn’t go THAT far. But, I like it. Right now, I am NOT sold on the idea of retirement. Well, not until I get to be a much older age, anyway. It’s like Bobby Bowden, longtime head football coach at Florida State said just a few years before he retired. “There is only one big event left after retirement”. That statement applies to everyone. Early retirees can be dead within a few years just as quickly as someone who didn’t retire until they were 70 plus. I would probably die within a year if I retired now. And I don’t want that. Here is something else that I don’t get. Why am I even considered to be retirement age? I am not even 50 for crying out loud!! Yet, I have people looking at me like “when are you going to hang it up?” Is it because I am not 20? And yet, two of the people that I work with are 66 and 72. And yet…nobody ever asks them when they are going to hang it up. They both have GREAT grandchildren and they are still in the workforce and I am considered the dinosaur in my mid-40’s? What gives? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not of the mindset of “they are old and they need to get out of the way so that young, vibrant people can have those jobs”. I don’t think that way. I’m just curious why I am looked at as the old man who needs to have an exit strategy in place soon. Like I said, maybe I retire one day, and maybe I don’t. But at any rate, it is NOT happening in my 40’s. And if it did happen now or within the next 2-3 years, I would sink into a horrible depression. And before anyone shouts “it’s because you don’t have a life”, I do other things besides work, believe me. But, for one, it would not be enough to cover me all the time and fill the void left by no longer working. And two, I have seen people retire and run out of things to do very quickly. There is only so much travelling, gardening, stamp collecting, gabbing with the neighbors, porch swing sitting, etc that one can do.
Not me. I love not “doing” anything. Why can’t people just be? Why do we always have to be ” doing”?
I love this topic especially because I am in the same situation. I have decided to do the same, retire at an early age. Not by choice though but because of ill health, a result of prolonged high stress high pressure and getting in out of hospitals. I need a break. I would rather retire early than die early and leave my children and grandchildren that love me and are still enjoying being with me, than holding on to a job where I feel, I have reached a point where I cannot wake up in the morning without having those dreaded feelings, thinking about the environment of where I am going to. Forcing yourself to do this even when you know you have had enough result in negative implications, to the company and to your yourself, specifically your health and performance suffers. Rather leave, especially if you are over 55 or you are working for a company that does not have ideal benefits that encourage you to stay or correct employee support structures.
Yes, people do die after retirement. Simply because they have never thought of another life outside their jobs. They have no social structure except the one they had at work. At work the relationships that you build, are for work purposes only. Yes, you might end up with one or two real friends but ideally you need to have a social life outside your work. You also must have thought of what options do you have once you are out there. Without these you feel lost when you get out. Even those few friends that you may have made at work are busy and do not have time to baby sit you. Boredom kicks in, depression builds up because you do not know what to do with yourself. Problem is you never thought about what you will do if you ever leave, so you become idle and without adrenalin pump things turn bad for you, especially if your loved ones are gone too. I believe before leaving you must have thought about some ideas, what else you can do with the skills you have acquired.
I read that one or two people are saying taking early retirement is being selfish and/or lazy. I do not think that is a fair statement especially when you never walked in these people’s shoes. Somebody said “different strokes for different folks” and I agree with him/her. We all have choices. Early retirement can have the dark side I agree, inadequate financial payouts that does not take into consideration the fact that cost of living is very high (as a friend of mine would say, “there is so much month after the money” loosely translating to the length of the month from one pay day to the next). Unless supplemented “there is so much life after the payout” The retirement payout shrinks day by day. You cannot live on it forever, but if there is a thought out plan I believe it does not have to intimidate.
I am 57 and contemplating early retirement. I agree that it is unfair to call someone selfish for wanting to retire early. We get so hung up on work and advancing in our careers that we forget to live. Then when you find yourself at retirement age, you are too old to finally enjoy the LIFE you have worked to achieve.
I was reading your article to see a devil’s advocate view. While digging around the web, I found an article that was all rose colored glasses from 2016: https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurabegleybloom/2016/06/29/how-to-retire-early-and-travel-20-insider-tips-from-a-33-year-old-retiree/#39bff0517642
Then in 2018 the same person who was the subject in the first article was interviewed, and she talks about the negatives, that she did not expect. fourpillarfreedom.com/money-buys-freedom-but-freedom-doesnt-guarantee-happiness/
My company’s CEO is against early retirement, sees it as selfish for the same reasons you listed above, but he also feels it is a danger to yourself. For him, he worries about disengaging your intellectual brain from the daily trials that are required to run a business. Without that stimulation, he feels it will atrophy.
I am new to your site, do you have any other favorite negative articles about early retirement?
Yes. This one went viral:
Live and let live. What people do is none of my business. I am 69 and work. My wife, who loves me, says I can’t stay home with her. I would drive her crazy. She is right.
At 69 the world doesn’t want me or need me. Because I am self employed, I have the privilege of having a job.
If I retire, I am just an old man. Period. Trust me when I tell you when you get old, you will wish you had a job.
My sentiments well put!
i’m 45 and recently got married and became a full-time housewife and i love it!! love not having to follow someone else’s schedule, wake up at the crack of dawn for someone else, etc…my husband makes more then enough for both of us to live and eventually retire on. i have no friends and i don’t travel, yet i’m never bored or lonely. this authors “excuses” are just pathetic attempts at scare tactics.
I agree! I’m 62 and retiring In 5 months. I get up at 4:30 am M-F and don’t see my husband until 4:15 and probably only spend about 5 hours a day with each other. Sometimes less if I take a cat nap because I’m tired and sleepy. I want to spend at least 20 years hopefully more, with my husband who is retired. Life is to short, especially these days.
I am 78 and happily still working . No debts ,several million in assets . Why work ? It gives me purpose . Allows me and my wife of 53 years to provide tens of thousands of scholarships each year to deserving students . Mentoring them keeps us young .
Good work is a blessing .
I am afraid for our country that millions of these selfish lazy people retiring at 55 will cry to the government eventually that they have run out of money and are too old to work . They will b a horrible drag on our grandkids future .
People who retire early don’t usually just sit around. They do it so they can do things they love. And be happy and have freedom. What a bogus article and everyone here agreeing are folks who will never retire early.
I’ve been retired since 2012 and have traveled to 25 new countries, wrote a severance negotiation book, grew Financial Samurai to a large personal finance site with 1.5 million pageviews a month and featured on all the big media outlets, and have been a stay at home father for 23 months and counting.
Why do you think it’s bad to think about the dark side of early retirement before retiring? What is the downside of careful planning before taking a big leap of faith?
Because you are not just here sharing objective things and actual experiences people have had. You are here being a moralistic prick and making value judgments.
Telling people about increased risk of depression, loneliness, suicide etc. is great. But when you call it “selfish” it’s a fundamental moral judgment. You don’t owe society anything. None of us actually ask to be born, but since we are here, the least we can hope to do is try to live a life on our own terms without assholes thinking we owe society an unpayable debt to society. A debt that they think will only be quenched by working till our knees are weak. God forbid someone manage to get out with some semblance of youth still left. BuT yOu OwE soCieTy YoUr lAbOuR cOmRadE!
I’m assuming you’re mostly talking to the FIRE and personal finance crowd, 99.9% of whom aren’t born with an inheritance that they can retire on and actually work/save/invest to get there). If someone has enough resources to retire early and manage a lifestyle they want, then they HAVE done their part. Most of them made little sacrifices EVERY DAY. Stuff that doesn’t seem as big in the moment to an outsider, but would bleed most people dry by a thousand cuts. EVERY DAY people who want to retire early wage war with their very human desires and temptations. The temptation to not eat out. The temptation to not buy the latest iPhone. Or to get a new car. Or a luxurious house. A lot.
And they do it, simply because they have a vision for their lives. Instead of spending their money little by little, they are saving to cash out at once and finally live a life on their own terms, doing whatever they want. Absolutely whatever, without judgmental assholes interfering with their lives. You like writing books? You like managing a personal finance website? Fucking GOOD for you. Your website probably helps people, but if you were to shut down tomorrow, pack up, and go chill in the Bahamas, no one has a right to say anything to you. You don’t owe your labor to anyone. And neither does anyone else owe it to anyone else. If you can up and leave today, and live the life you want, that’s great. Hell, you are already doing that, so easy to preach, right minister?
Moreover, climbing a mountain, or learning a language isn’t “not” selfish. Just because it takes effort doesn’t mean it’s as selfish. If a retiree is doing it for fulfilment, for their own self-interest, it’s ethically equivalent to them watching TV all day, or chilling on the beach for their fulfilment. Seriously, what IS it with you and expecting people “owe” you something? And if someone does not want to reach their “potential”, it’s absolutely none of your damn business. You don’t have the “right” to watch someone who’s gifted with the piano, become the next Mozart, even if she could. You just are not that important. No one is. If you have something that may convince them, good for you. But you don’t get to act like pissant because someone doesn’t want to live their life by your definition of productive, or useful.
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you are pretty fired up about the topic.
Can you share something about yourself and why you care so much? I’m trying to understand where your fire is coming from.
I agree, nobody owes anybody anything. We’re free to do what we want. We just have to be happy with whatever we choose. Everything is rational.
Life has been really great for me since retiring early in 2012. I just encourage people to think things through before making big changes in their lives.
Im retiring at 65 in a month. I’m not rich ( whatever that looks like because it certainly is subjective) but I’m not poor either. Don’t view Life liberty and the persuit of happiness as a selfish, unproductive course of action unless, of course you are seethingly envious of other’s abilities to exercise their freedoms. If you have done the numbers and they work and you choose to exit something that is weighing you down year after exhausting year then my advice is to not tell anyone because you will certainly be met with many a gloomy and discouraging response and very few congratulations. I know because I have been experiencing it mainly from my own age group. Do them and yourself a favor and secretly transition into retirement and reinvent yourself.
I have worked for the same company for 28/29 years (I’m 47), will work for another 10 and I’m walking….at 57. Yep have a degree, but really they’re over rated! lol. I do like some aspects of my job but in general at this point hate it, even more so starting this past year. Just a roughly painted picture, I have worked every Christmas and new year the last 6 years and not by choice. The ONLY reason I do not transfer to another agency or go to a different sector is I’m within 10 years of shedding this job. I hear folks all the time who do talk of staying as long as they can. Witnessed folks with 50+ years service retire and die 6 months later. For me, when I hear folks talking about continuing working past SS minimum age, I think what a sad existence to not have dreams of spending as much time as possible with their families or enjoying “everyday is Saturday” or just so darn greedy that after 50 years they cant pass up OT! Really?. Very SAD! Nope, retiring early is not “selfish”. Working into your mid to late 60’s even 70’s is selfish. Really, what are you doing for ANY company productively in your late 60’s? Lets exclude business owners, I’m just talking about the majority of us who work for someone else. Gratefully I have had a retirement plan to invest in this whole time, however financially ready or not at 57, done. If 38-40 years of service/work and saving doesn’t give me enough to live on at 57…..I’ll go on the dole with the other 49%! So for the next 10 years, I’ll continue to tell myself each day that I’ll be riding into the sunset and 90% of the folks I work with, can kiss my arse! I’ll do it all with a smile on my face and nobody but you, my family and I will be the wiser. If, and that’s a BIG IF, I get “bored”….guaranteed I’ll find something to take my mind off of my boredom.
Wow. I could have written your post 10 years ago as I will be 57 this year and have 35 years in at a company as an engineer. My work is interesting but stressful at times. Sooo many things are out of my control nowadays with regards to work. Too many projects, too little funding, not enough time to do the job properly. People who are in charge have never created product, tested product, or done anything tangible. They have “managed” programs which means they provide status on hours spent. I have saved my entire life. House paid for. Ready to throw in the towel, but am worried about will savings last…….. then I look at how hard the mid 50s to mid 60s are on people and how much they age over this period and I think I would be “nuts” for staying longer. I still haven’t pulle the trigger, but I agree with eveything you say in your post. Getting bored in retirement is not an option. Too many things to see in the USA, too many causes to volunteer for, spend quality time with wife, family, and friends…………..
Wow! You sound like you are talking about me concerning how people want things much faster these days, but don’t care about the quality. They want things done right now, and not done right!
I started working professionally right out of high school at the age of 17. My first job paid for my school. I worked hard, saved, and retiring at 50 years old in November. My work is no longer enjoyable. I am in IT and these days everything is getting offshored to India, or to Indian consulting firms. Innovation is not their specialty. They are better used for repetitive task like support, but companies these days only see $. Believe me, they will eventually see they are losing their edge and losing creative employees in time. This is one of the contributing factors to the recent issues with Boeing. In any event, I am going to retire, but will not be touching my retirement savings until I reach retirement age, but instead use other savings account I called my bridge money. I love to travel, as well as doing volunteer work. My father and grandfather died before 60 years old from heart attacks. My job was stressful until I turned my 5 month notice in. I am very active and will not be sitting around. I will probably do some consulting work, and volunteer work. The key to being able to do this is save, save, and then save. I have not had a car payment since 2002. I am frugal with my spending, and value experiences more than things. Less is more in my book, except when it comes to saving.
wow, you sound like me. I’m reading about people retiring in their 40s; can’t believe I’ve been debating if I’m retiring too early at 58!. I’ve worked almost 30 years in the same stressful “billable model” type of consulting companies, where everything is a hot deadline. I’ll be 58 in December. I’m retiring in November. If I get bored after a few months staying home, I’ll get a part-time job doing anything but what I’ve been doing the last 30 years. I won’t have a mortgage payment, as I’m selling my house soon to buy another house that will allow me to be mortgage free. I’m not working til I’m 65 at my current company….I’d prob have a stroke at my computer!
Yes indeed! To hell with the rat race!
Sam, what is it you do with all of your free time besides Financial Samurai? I have “retired” on disability income and am having difficulty figuring out something productive and interesting to do. I am only 34 years old.
I like to write. I publish 3X a week on Financial Samurai to keep my mind active. I also started the Financial Samurai Forum as well to build community. It feels great to stay involved. You should check out the forum at least!
Thanks for getting back to me! I should put together a website on something as well. I will check out your forums! It sounds like I should get an investment strategy underway anyway.
It’s best to retire prior to dying. Extra credit to those who’s retirement is > not
Retired at 55 to care for dementia parent.
God and the stock market were kind enough to make it where I dont have to go back
I was never in the clique
I was the guy always doing the work while the others made the money and glory
My back never ever stops bleeding from people i helped
Do you stop hearing from old friends ?
Half are jealous
The other half backstabbed you anyway and you dont really need them
I send them postcards now from when I travel the world
28 countries in three years
When I retired 3 years ago at the age of 53, I was scared to death. It took a lot of work (outside of my employment) to get to the point of retirement. I stayed in my job to get my last child through college because her paid college tuition was directly linked to my employer. Frankly, I felt like an overworked machine part in my job. When I first began working in my position, I enjoyed its challenges, but the last 3 years of the 13 years I worked were a stress-filled hell without relief.–Eight five “bosses” and no help along with constantly changing dynamics (two physical location changes, increased responsibilities while riding a wild out-of-control roller coaster). Retirement was an escape.
How do I feel now? It took some adjustment…I’d made no concrete plans other than to move to an area with cheaper housing. I am now volunteering for a thrift store that supports a food bank. I became a Master Gardener and volunteer in the Master Gardener program. I also devote a large amount of time to my own garden. I volunteer for the local humane society and am on their board. I am far more active in church. I exercise more. I’ve written an unpublished novel. I have all the time in the world to devote to creative endeavors. I also have more time to listen to and “be there” for my adult children. All of these activities give my life meaning and purpose. Frankly, I am more relaxed, caring, and a better human being than the person I was prior to retirement. Yes, I’m careful with my money, but I also enjoy my life now.
Wow…way to toe the corporate line! There is ONE thing that money buys you: time. If you don’t recognize this, they you (too) have bought into what they (those who get/stay rich off of us working for them) want you to believe…retiring when YOU want is bad? Hogwash. Retiring on some “established” time scale is bad. Retiring early is a “waste” of potential? Hogwash. Working an artificial time frame (40 hr++++… week) for 40 years wastes your potential to raise your own kids, to enjoy what little time you have on this planet (sorry, rock ribbed Calvinists: it’s not 1830; not all of us believe in a “better hereafter”), and worse of all from this, you are “taking advantage” of those who continue slaving away? Nonsense. It takes nothing from others and may encourage them to WAKE UP!
I totally agree with you. I’ve paid my dues to society and the community and who’s to say that I won’t continue to do so after retirement? Just because I don’t let my job define me doesn’t mean I will be a non-person without one. I am retiring at the end of the month and am deliriously happy.
Exactly right. A job for MOST of us just pays for expenses of living, and pursuits that give us joy. If you can retire early and still afford to do the above, yet have an extra 9 hours a day in which to do it- wouldn’t you be mad not to do it?? Yes, daily human interaction is necessary, so do volunteer work which provides this but also gives back to the community (truly fulfilling). If you have identity, structure and purpose- you will enjoy the decades of not having to answer to anyone. I’ve yet to see an unhappy retiree.
Check out my latest post: These Are The Things I’d Do Differently If I Could Retire Again
I retired in 2012 at 34. It’s been a good ride so far.
I retired early because I stunk at my job and I knew it. It was so not me. I am now pursuing a new career and enjoying three day weekends.
LOL the downside. 5 years ago my wife and I both retired at 55 with two pensions totaling about 150k per year with 2% cola’s and my free Blue Shield PPO health insurance which saves us 25k a year. We have several hundred thousand in the bank and money in investments. Our home and two vehicles are paid off and we have no outstanding debt. My credit score is 847 and my wife’s is 846. Life is good and best of all we have our health!
I just read your article, “The Downside Of Retiring Early”, and since I couldn’t comment there, I would like to follow up here. My personal experience in early retirement has been very different than yours. This may be because I am an introvert. I was making $200K a year at the time I decided to retire, and I don’t miss that income one bit when compared to the benefits of my new life. Unlike you, I am an extreme introvert, and I found the work environment both inflexible and uncomfortable. I have never felt bad about “not paying taxes”, because I paid more in taxes by the time I retired that probably 60% of the population will pay over their lifetime. Furthermore, I still pay the same property taxes now, and that is no small amount for my state and local community. I never had an identity crisis, because I am still an expert at what I did — that will never go away. I just choose to spend my time on other things now and have completely left that old world behind. I would have kept working if I was still enjoying myself, and since I was not, it makes much more sense to move on. I don’t feel I’ve been “stuck in my head”. I feel like I’m enjoying the life I’ve always wanted, but could not pursue while being constrained by work. While you were not much happier after retirement, I have been extremely happy, perhaps for the first time in my life, and much more relaxed. My spouse is happier since she now has someone to spend time with and cuddle with where before she often found herself stuck at home alone. I’m not imagining this situation, and that description actually came out of her mouth! In summary, retirement is going to be a much happier place for most introverts, and the sooner they can grab that brass ring, the better.
Thank you for sharing this!
I consider myself an introvert as well… Although I can be “on” at work (I’m in a role where I work a lot with others), I’m drained by the end of the day. I like my actual work, but some of the people side is tiring for me.
I very much look forward to retiring early and managing life on my own terms. I hope to retire by 50, and have arranged my financial planning accordingly.
Great article! Not because I agreed with most of the devil’s advocate posturing, but because the comments were so great I spent a few hours reading them! It forced me to clearly define what early retirement means to me:
1. Financial Independence: generating X amount of passive income to indefinitely support a comfortable lifestyle.
2. AUTONOMY. The freedom to have control over my time which has nothing to do with not working or not being productive.
3. NO forced corporate work. Work a 9 to 5 only if I so choose!
My goals is to build multiple passive income streams in Multifamily real estate, cryptocurrency and dividend stock so I can “retire” by 49. I have no interest in retiring in a traditional sense. I just want the freedom to travel, pursue interests, focus on wellness (health & fitness), contribute to my community and develop as an entrepreneur. It’s really about freedom
The notion that 55 is regular retirement is not the case in 2018. Lol The average retirement age is 62, and ALOT of Americans work from 67 and beyond.
What a load of horsecrap!
Retiring early, to have more time for ourselves, and live our lives, and be free from “work” is not selfish and lazy….
Also why would I lose respect? Cause I’m not a wage slave anymore? There are many ways someone can contribute to society other than being in a rat race….Heck if someone doesn’t want to contribute to society, live his life, and be free to do whatever he the fuck he wants, then so be it!!
after all, we all do selfish things for ourselves everyday.
Although this article was written in 2010, the topic will always be relevant. If anyone believes that there is a downside to retiring early, then they either have nothing else to do but work, or don’t have the sufficient net worth or cash flow to pull it off. I retired in 2014 at age 55, with very decent net worth, and I have not looked back sense. I travel, sail, scuba dive and volunteer around the world. I can pursue creative endeavors like writing and musical composition. The possibilities are endless. And if I want to make some extra cash I can flip a house or two. Financial freedom is not about being lazy. Financial freedom is about total freedom.
this has to be a paid for conspiracy. I plan on retiring early for better or for worse, and my only real goal is to make sure I am dead broke and let society deal with the mess they created.
Pensions are gone, taxes up, couples having to work 2+ jobs while putting away 20% of their income till their 70. they’re constantly moving the goal posts and now there is plethora of advice saying everyone should work till their health fails then go and enjoy retirement..
Its insanity… I have plenty of things to keep me busy going to work actually presents me from being ale to do most of them.
I hope the majority are not swallowing this BS..
Welcome to early retirement. It’s hard to overcome the “One More Year Syndrome,” but I believe you can do it!
I left my day job at age 34 in 2012 and haven’t looked back.
Related: What Does It Feel Like To Retire Early? The Pros and Cons
what a crock of shit… WORKING TO HELP OUT SOCIETY WITH MY TAXES!? Are you shitting me? Damn we are taxed to death! Even at retirement I will STILL be paying taxes. More than helping society we are feeding this every growing fat laden government. Unlike the author I do all I can to NOT pay as much taxes. Well maybe that’s because he pays more in taxes than I make in income in a year easy. So good for him.
Over reading multiple accounts of peoples’ quest for “Early Retirement” I believe everyone defines it to their convenience. Personally, the term retirement strikes fear in my heart because I like the feeling of earning money. To me retirement essentially means giving up on all avenues of earning money.
I would rather strive for financial independence to give me the freedom to pursue whatever means of value creation I find more fulfilling without the pressure of earning a specific salary per se. Before I landed on this post, I wrote a full-length list of reasons why I do not choose to board this bandwagon of early retirees elementummoney.com/5-reasons-why-early-retirement-is-not-for-me/
Depressing is reading this post…gosh…what’s wrong with not wanting to do anything? Life is mine and mine alone.
Not contributing enough to society? BS !!!
About 11 years ago I had negative results from an 8-month break from work. I’m glad I did tho. I’ve since read several books on happiness, habits, retirement, and being productive. Now I know what I did wrong. There is a right and a wrong way to go about retirement.
I no longer work again and I don’t have any negative things to report this time around! I’m doing it rt this time. It is possible to be work-free and truly have no negative things to report.
Sure bad things have happened like my MIL creating drama, getting sick, and the car breaking down while I have my elderly aunts with me in a city an hour and a half from home; but those things would have happened anyway. I’m glad I had free time to decompress. Being work-free is awesome.
And as far as meeting up with people during the day that’s easy. Lots of people do shift work like nurses, cops, etc. Lots of people work from home now and would love to get out during the day when there’s no traffic and the weather’s better. Mr Money Mustache had an article on finding friends in your own neighborhood. Just volunteer at local events and church, walk your dog, take your kid to the playground. It takes time but
You did touch on this a bit in your article, and I haven’t seen it discussed much elsewhere. When folks retire early, who will they hang out with? Spouses are great, but not many can spend 24/7 with a single person and no others.
After the initial work detox, it seems like many look around and find that not all of our friends, family, or neighbors are in the same phase. And we found that we don’t always have a lot in common with many (sometimes older) long-retired folks, especially if they are set in deeply traditional roles and habits. Where do you find others like you? Interested to hear from others.
I did search FaceBook for that sort of “tribe” of younger retirees – didn’t find a current group so I created one for early retirees. (not linking it here in case that’s considered spam)
Any other suggestions are welcome!
Older retirees, freelance workers, unemployed people, and stay at home parents mostly.
I agree with Sam. I figured this out when i was 40. I already was FI, enginered a buy out and moved to a troplical island. After 3 months i got bored and enrolled in rigorous language program after 1 year i decided to move back to usa. I found perfect carrer in SF. Low stress 100k salary (which is low) with benefits but i only work 9 month’s of year and no I’m not teaching. My investments pay well too. Whille testing out retierment i found my japanese girl who works in city as a designer plus another 100k salary. Thanks corporate world but I’m done with you. I found my balance of something interesting to do but time off. Yea i drive a ford fusion i paid 16k new keeps ambulance chasers away and gold diggers.
I was at my office today (a Saturday) helping a young man who could not afford my services. He was accompanied by two retired people who served as advocates and translators for him. They made sure all possible avenues were examined. I think we all had a good use of our time. When I’m financially independent, I want to continue using my skills and time to help folks. I think that will be enough purpose.
Different personalities have different ideas about their profession and how long they want to work. I have a buddy that sold a small portion of his business to a large company for $50M when he was 33 years old. He is the type that loves his work and plans on working until he dies. My dad worked until he was 77 and loved every minute of it.
I’m quite the opposite. I am passionate about several hobbies that could easily fill up 8+ hours of my day. I love boating and fishing both ocean and lakes/streams. I want to become better at fly fishing but haven’t had the time. I love to cycle 3+ hours a day. I love to play golf 200 days a year. I love paddle sports and going on long walks with my wife. I want to complete my training and get my pilots license. We recently put 31 hours of engine time on our boat in a week when we were on a family vacation. Our entire family loved the watersports each day and going to lunch/dinner by boat. I snow ski about 35 days a year but could easily bump that up to 100 in retirement. My wife and I love to take 2-6 week trips to places like New Zealand. We have dozens of countries we would like to spend at least 3 weeks discovering.
My wife and I had the financial means to retire in our 40’s but with 2 kids in school, our daily lives often revolved around their sports and school schedules. I coached for 7 years, some years multiple sports. Now that my youngest is graduating in May, we have the option of retiring and not being bound by our children’s schedules. Because we worked longer, we have 8 figures saved in our nest egg and 3 homes paid for. We won’t have financial restrictions on what we do or how long we decide to stay on vacation.
Some, like my buddy above would choose to keep working. He and his wife actually just adopted a couple girls at the age of 46 so there love is having more kids. My wife and I will choose to retire and pursue all our hobbies and passions. Continuing to help the companies we work for be more successful is not anywhere near the top of our list.
I will never retire but I did quit my career at age 57 after 35 years as a Physical Therapist. Helping people is very rewarding and I will continue to do so. I could imagine retiring early if you have a computer desk job. I now work 10-15 hours a week still helping people with their injuries and recovery, I also coach local high school kids to improve strength and conditioning. I am very active with fast hiking and cycling but stopped running ultra marathons in order to preserve my joints and avoid replacements at age 70.
I just read your most recent post about taking the night shift with your new born. My wife and I raised 3 children and home schooled them all while on one income. By putting the babies on a schedule you can manage their sleep patterns so you only have to get up once a night to feed them and within 4-6 weeks they can be sleeping 6-7 hours straight. We did it will all 3 of ours many years ago. No reason my wife had to stay up and I wasn’t going to stay up and then have to go to work.
Retired at 49. Way too early for me. Went back to a completely different line of work and feel totally re-energized. Will stay as long as I want and feel 10 times better because I don’t have to be there.
I believe one has to feel they have a purpose in this world whatever that maybe. Mine is just contributing to the success of another organization.
In a free society nobody owes anybody else in anything and you are free to pursue whatever makes you happy. To call prudent and aggressive accumulation of wealth in order to be financially independent has an authoritarian implications of forced work in order to feed others who are less disciplined. If anything, this is the government’s problem to adjust to this, especially for the ponzi scheme-like welfare programs like SS.
Great post. Makes complete sense..
Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life… Best advice my father ever gave me.
Figuring out how to get paid for what you love is the challenge:-)
This was a truly thoughtful article. As someone who hit financial independence at 41, I think you are spot on in much of what you say here. I never had the goal of “retiring” early, but of having the autonomy and control of working for myself and producing what and when I want to. This is why I think people who do hit FI early should try to negotiate a leave of absence rather than just quit. That way, if they change their mind, they didn’t burn any and all bridges.
Your point that obsessing about accumulating enough assets to retire is all about oneself is really true. I think it’s a false idol. If that’s someone’s number one goal, they will find an existential vacuum on the other side once they quit. That’s why my mantra is: Financial Independence, Yes – Early Retirement, No No No!
So, define Financial Independence and how you know you are there? I define “retiring early” as no longer working and living off a lifetime of savings. I am not interested in a new career. I want to enjoy retirement and do the things I like to do. We do not plan on any further estate settlement money so the only income generation I will have will come from my investments.
I realize my question was kind of unanswerable. No one but me (with the help of a FA) can decide what my next steps are. Wanted to see if others in the same boat would do or have done and learn from experience. This site appears to be targeting high-income earners and those who have the resources to get out of the work force at an uncommon early age. Maybe I should post elsewhere.
I’m a lot younger than you, have a lot less money than you and yet I’m on my 12 month countdown to retire. I cant wait I have some projects to do around the property etc and your sports sound a lot more interesting. My wife wants to get an rv and travel. It all seems too good be true and that’s the problem. We are conditioned to work no matter what so it seems not to work is wrong as no job means no house money etc cant support family, our world comes crashing down. The difference is now that’s not the case but our brain cant accept it. The fear of freedom and the fact that our life will no longer be regimented in what we do and when, no one to answer to, no fear of getting it wrong, its like at last we have grown up. No longer being treated like a child with someone being able to discipline us or query our expenses when you are busting a gut all they care about is the fact you cant find a taxi receipt. I can’t wait….yes ill miss the money and the posh car but not everything else. I might even eat better and excercise more and start to enjoy things again. I might do something good in the community. No longer the feeling I have to have this job or this status or I’ve failed. I can work for nothing because I can .No longer competitive at dinner parties, about my projects , my travel. People say oh won’t you be bored. I have a garage full of indestructible type projects to start on. I want a summerhouse. I might buy a classic car. If in a few years I yearn for work, I could work again this time doing something I like rather than a career forced move. Its a ll about freedom to choose. Go for it, send us a link to your blog, lets see how you get on
Ha its me again, looking at the above reply, nothing has changed apart from I have now actually retired in 2020, not in the 2018 it looks like I was thinking of. I have fixed things in the house and garden that have been staring me for years. There is a huge feeling of relief in that I will never have to think about work again. Do I miss it? no not one bit, people didnt quite realise when I told them on my last day, this is it, I will never turn on the work phone or laptop again. I really dont give a monkey about the projects I worked on and are still on progress, I dont care if you win the contracts I worked on. I am free and you know my blood pressure has come down by 10 points, I am active, relaxed, the thing I didnt realise is how much I get done, having time to do so. I’m not thinking I dont want to start this as I am back to work tomorrow and dont want to spend my rest days doing projects, so even simple 1 hour jobs get done. There can be jealousy mind, I didnt realise the fact people with another 10 years think you are cheating the system, but its their problem. Now we have the virus situation, I think people will change, consumerism will go down, as will spending and the taking out of loans to buy things. Having so much tied up in cars that never move, will change also as people realise that status means nothing when you are trying to get food in for the week as the main challenge. I have enough cash for the next 30 years at least, so I’m going to start a new life, cant wait.
Congrats on retiring! I’m not sure if consumerism will go down as thre is this phenomenon called “Revenge Spending” where people are mad that they got locked down and will rvenge spend to make up for their lost time.
Check out: FIRE Confessionals: How A Bear Market Has Impact The Financial Independence Movement
I am coming up on 62 and find that recent changes have caused me to lose interest in my career. I am in IT and out-sourcing has shipped most design and development positions off-shore. I am still paid well but find I am doing less than I might otherwise have done. My new responsibilities include business travel to client sites and resolution of customer issues I am not too keen on having that much responsibility in my job at this point in my life. I am considering retirement to do some things I like to do while still in good health (hiking, fishing, skiing, etc.).
I have several family members and friends who have retired and they seem to be very happy. From what I can guess they have varied levels of savings, from living month to month on a tight budget to travelling and conspicuous spending. All are satisfied with the money they have and none are interested in any form of paid employment.
I have spent my life frugally. No extravagant house, never a flashy vehicle, never keeping up with the Joneses, put two kids through college. Through limited spending and regular saving, even during some very tough times recently, I have been able to put away money for retirement and am currently debt free. Retirement looks to me like golf and skiing, hiking and kayaking, motorcycle trips and travel. Waking up when I want to, not when I have to. No decisions required for a company that doesn’t really care about me for issues that don’t really matter to me.
I have run the calculations on a number of site calculators and believe I am financially prepared. At 62 I will be eligible for SS. My biggest concern is health care. That’s really the unknown since I can easily predict my other expenses. My financial guy can show me the spreadsheets that predict what I will make in retirement and believe that would suffice so event those are predictable. Savings, SS, investments and assets show me around $2M. So, I think I’m ready. I just need a push.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
Productivity is the basis of Morale. That is really what life is about–having a purpose. We need to produce, we need to have a passion in life. I asked my BFF 78 year old mother what advice would you give someone my age (at the time I was 55) and she said to find something that is your passion. Find something you love to do and that really helps to stop the aging process. I am an RVer and I have met many many other RVers and they are older, some younger, but yet active and I believe that the reason is because they are always having to think about where they are going, does their rig need any work, they are always meeting different people (young and old), going to different places and learning different things. I met a couple at an Air Stream Rally, in South Dakota, and she mentioned for her birthday they were going to Alaska. I asked her how old she was and she told me she was 95, you could have fooled me I thought about 65 maybe 70 and he was 94.
Produce!! Stay in touch with life!! Get out of the front of your TV!!! Do not believe what research and other people say!! Get moving! But most of all Do not get in the Doctor Loop!! Yes, get a physical every year, a mamogram, a PSA test, etc., but eat healthy 9doesn’t necessarily mean organic) but stop all the processed foods. Cheat every now and then! I don’t want to be 80 years old and I cannot eat or drink anything I like. Go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Productivity is the basis of Morale. That is really what life is about–having a purpose. We need to produce, we need to have a passion in life. I asked my BFF 78 year old mother what advice would you give someone my age (at the time I was 55) and she said to find something that is your passion. Find something you love to do and that really helps to stop the aging process. I am an RVer and I have met many many other RVers and they are older, some younger, but yet active and I believe that the reason is because they are always having to think about where they are going, does their rig need any work, they are always meeting different people (young and old), going to different places and learning different things. I met a couple at an Air Stream Rally, in South Dakota, and she mentioned for her birthday they were going to Alaska. I asked her how old she was and she told me she was 95, you could have fooled me I thought about 65 maybe 70 and he was 94.
Produce!! Stay in touch with life!! Get out of the front of your TV!!! Do not believe what research and other people say!! Get moving! But most of all Do not get in the Doctor Loop!! Yes, get a physical every year, a mamogram, a PSA test, etc., but eat healthy 9doesn’t necessarily mean organic) but stop all the processed foods. Cheat every now and then! I don’t want to be 80 years old and I cannot eat or drink anything I like. Go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I highly disagree with most of this article. Just because you retire early doesn’t mean you’re sitting on the couch doing nothing and not contributing to society. It just means now you have time to do more with your life than just the same boring routine you’ve done your whole life.
You just need to have something you’re passionate about outside of work. I think that’s the key. Retiring early just because you hate your job and not having anything else to fill that time with might run you into some of the situations mentioned in this article.
But even if you don’t have something you’re passionate about, if you have the means of retiring early isn’t that a perfect opportunity to use your newfound time to find something you love doing that you didn’t even know you loved because you never had the time to explore what else was out there?
So here I am right on the cusp of retiring – not early at 63 – but getting ready to leave a well paying job that I have l loved doing for 35 years. The pension is great – the 401k is well stocked – so why am I having second thoughts? I have some to realize there is no one formula is life for everyone. Different things make people happy – and my job has made me happy since the start. I do feel it getting old though – and would love to go on a vacation that doesn’t require extensive prep work before I leave and just as much catch up work when I get back. I think I feel better about it now – and the Appalachian Trail does have a certain charm. Thanks for the food for thought.
The Appalachian Trail does have a certain charm, but the corporate world just does not realize it. When I was hired out of college for my first job, I negotiated a late start so I could thru-hike the AT before starting the working stiff life… Ended up not doing it. Decided to try my luck as a professional cyclist first, but still plan on it. After only 5 years of work, I love the thought and idea of more freedom and time to do what we want. Work constrains the young and vibrant to work for others instead of working to improve themselves by giving us 2, maybe 3, weeks of vacation.
Not everybody has to work for others to find fulfillment in life. What matters most are experiences, family, friends, and the time to devote to all of them.
I have seen this website once before but glanced over it (about 15 months ago). I became financially independent (better than saying retired) because of a public pension that gives my family enough to continue our standard of living. This reality occurred in August 2016 (at the age of 56) and I have been very busy. I choose to make breakfast and dinner for my wife almost daily and have found pleasure in doing so. She has a job she loves and does not know exactly when she wants to stop working. Also, my being involved in volunteer work in the local community has filled a big amount of time. Thus, I continue to receive a check (remember, a public pension) and have fun helping others. Last, the ability to spend quality time with friends, family and religion is great.
One reason that the article seems to be missing is travel. I’d be happy with a normal retirement age if I could travel travel more. However, I’m working towards early retirement simply because I want to travel far more extensively that can be accomplished while working 9-5. When quit my day job I will probably try to make some money while traveling, but I think it’s unrealistic to rely on that side income.
Great articale and great topic.
I think that is why you are seeing a lot more people call in “Financial Independence” instead of retirement. Many folks want to be able to support themselves, no matter what. Then they go pursue work/hobbies that they enjoy – often for some reimbursement.
My plan is to work another 3 years (till I’m 56) and become financially independent. I’ll take a “sabatical” to hike the Appalachian Trail, work on a few hobbies, and in a year, probably come back and do some work. It might be volunteer work, or paid work, but it won’t be stressful or crazy work. Something to keep my mind occupied and my social skills up.
Everybody needs to keep in mind that there is far more to life than a 9 – 5 job(s). You may love your work and think of it as “my job,” and should be yours forever even when you get old and not up to speed any more. We’ve got to keep in my that there is far more to your life than “my job.” If benefits are in place and you can recognize an alternative by all means go for it. Keep in mind there is a shortage of jobs in the United States. When you have enough saved or have earned a pension its time for you to move on and let others who also need a job to have their chance! I did just that at age 56 and have no regret whatsoever. Moved on to more freedom and have had a chance to carry out other stuff in life than just “my job.” Do it as soon as you can. Don’t be one of those who dies 6 months after leaving work! I’ve seen that happen several times. How sad.
Agreed. See this post: Shoot To Retire By A Certain AGE, Not By A Certain Financial Figure
I am a 73 year guy that sold my business, and totally able to retire but I just love to continue working. I still work 4- 5 days a week, and with great energy. The guy or gal that said that they would want to travel the world etc before they could do it because of bad health or age is full of bull. That person just did not take care of themselves in their work life. I can still run five miles and work out daily. I totally do not understand the generation of people that think they will be happy retiring in their 40s, 50s or even 60s. I have worked long and hard and been very blessed with
family, business, and “money” from my efforts. I am not genius but just a hard working business person. I had no breaks along the way, i.e. no family money or the help, just lots of long days of work with clients, employees etc. It helped to have a great wife.
My recommendation is to keep up what you love as long as your health allows it (your work), and along the way do what you want with family and friends.
Everyone should stay at work because its great. At 58, and 3 years into retirement, I’ll take one for the team and stay home tomorrow.
Have a great day working with folks who’s doctors told then to keep working to keep their dementia at bay (explains a lot about folks at work having no idea what we talked about last week).
I still have beer money so I guess I’m good for another week of fun…I mean regret.d
LOVE IT…I will suffer too, lol.
Traveling the world and writing about how great your life is a very unproductive endeavor
Come on…really? I’m assuming you just wrote this article as click bate which yea…worked…
Ya know what’s unproductive? getting up, driving an hour in traffic, working for a jackass for 9 hours,dealing with unreasonable customers …driving back home sitting in an hour in traffic again…preparing lunch for tommarow, doing laundry and chores, going to bed and doing it all over again
I actually wrote this article a year before I actually retired early to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
See the latest: Early Retirement Five Years Later: Reflections On Life After Work
I retired early and after almost 2 years haven’t seen a downside yet. I loved my job, but I love my grandchildren more!!! Two of them live with us (my daughter is a single mom) and I can’t imagine ever being bored!!!! I volunteer at the elementary school and that, along with gardening and sewing and reading and the usual chores that come with a family keep me loving this time of my life. I couldn’t afford to stay home with my children when they were young (or we all would have starved!), but we saved… and saved … and saved – and now I can watch my grandchildren grow (literally!). My mom lives 3-1/2 hours away from us and I can see her anytime I want. This winter I was able to spend 3 weeks with my mother-in-law while she went through chemo and radiation – without worrying about being behind at work or if I had enough vacation time. I can go for a walk anytime I want …. or just sit on the patio and think about how very blessed I am to be able to have this time with my family (I had stage 2B cancer at 46 years old) Life is so precious. And retirement is WONDERFUL!
I retired at 36, that was 20 years ago. I have never regretted it for a second. Yes, I was a lawyer who loved my job. But doing the same thing everyday is torture for me. Even if I was paid to lay on the beach everyday it would not be worth it. In my 20 years of Freedom, my health is better, fitness level is better. I have more friends and adventures to keep me happy 24/7. I may run out of money someday, but there could be a global default and everyone could run out of money someday too, so oh well. I do feel a tiny bit guilty for having the best 20 years…shhh don’t tell anyone, it is SO GREAT….and maybe I will regret it at 100, but I think a lot more of my friends who have worked the last 20 years at a desk have a lot more regrets…and they aren’t even 100 yet, lol. BTW the book “your money or your life” was my touchstone moment to retire fwiw.
This is very thought provoking, I liked your article and can related to many points. I didn’t read the entire article in total detail but skimmed though the most of it. I left the corporate world in NYC and Toronto, Canada almost 10 years ago because I wasn’t happy facing a cubicle 9 hours a day and coming home with constant headaches.
Mind you honestly I wasn’t the best of workers either. I did get laid off a couple of times and it was quite stressful. I then went back to school to do a Master’s degree but graduated right at 2009, jobs were hard to come by so I went to teach English in Asia for 20 hours a week. I loved the extra time and freedom it gave me. However I wasn’t happy with departing my career for such a low skilled and low paying job so I looked for other white collar jobs in Asia, low and behold my previous employer from NYC saw my resume and hired me from Asia in 2011!
Well the gig only lasted 1.5 years and I went back to looking for other teaching jobs. Meanwhile at the same time I looked into stock investing and dividend growth investing and started pouring all my money in 2011 and 2012 into dividend stocks. Long story short, I am now at 500K USD (all dividend growth common stocks) with only 260K in seed money. I am still teaching in Asia, not English anymore, but a subject in my field! I have 2 kids now, to raise and married to a local.
However I just want to say your site is very useful because there are many interesting ideas and information on how to start blogging, which I will look into further. Currently all my dividend income goes to growing my portfolio.
Sounds like a wonderful journey you’ve had! If you are interested in the blogging world, especially if you’re living abroad and saving money, check out the following posts:
How To Start A Profitable Blog
Why Blogging Is The Best Business In The World
How Much Can You Really Make Blogging?
So – I have never before asked for advice over the web. I think this is a really good forum to pop the proverbial cherry.
I am 36 years old, and through a combination of hard work from a young age + a fair bit of good-ol’-fashioned luck (stable family upbringing, etc.), I have found my way into a very lucrative job that I genuinely enjoy (mutual fund manager), and have socked away several million dollars.
The salient points are as follows:
– I really like my job, because it is intellectually stimulating and extremely financially rewarding
– However, there are a lot of other things that I’d like to experience in my life before I’m old and gray (learn more languages, live in other countries, generically help others / help to make the world a better place)
– The idea of a 1-3 year sabbatical sounds awesome, because it would help me to “scratch the itch” in a serious way, without giving up my career for good (the idea of permanent retirement at such a young age makes me nervous)
– The problem is that if I get off of the treadmill now, I can’t get back on. Once you stop being a fund manager, you can’t just raise you hand and go back to being a fund manager. Tons of (potentially) qualified people, very few openings… with few exceptions, once you get out of the game, you’re out of the game for good.
So, the real question is… how do I balance everything? And get what I want out of life, without giving up a great career?
My current thinking is that trying to get off the treadmill anytime soon is too risky. As much as I want to cut loose and have more fun in my 30’s (with my wife and son), the most prudent course of action is to just put my head down + keep working until at least age 45. Hopefully at that point, I’ll be more mentally and emotionally “ready” to truly retire. And it would be an understatement to say that I’d be financially secure (>$25mm nest egg by then). 45 years old doesn’t sound that young to me, but, maybe my perspective as a 36-year old is biased.
Perhaps the best thing that could happen to me is a stretch of really poor fund performance, leading to my getting fired. Losing my job in a couple years (age 38), with $10mm or so in the bank, might be the best thing that ever happened to me. But on the other hand, it would be emotionally devastating to fail like that in a professional setting.
Please help me think outside of the box! What possibilities am I not considering, that I should be considering ? Am I setting up artificial barriers and constraints that don’t actually exist?
I hope this post doesn’t come across as obnoxious. We all have been dealt different hands. I have a seemingly good hand at the moment, but am genuinely struggling to figure out the best way to play mine. I wish I could live two lives in parallel, but that’s not in the cards.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
Congrats on the wonderful success. I too am a Wall Streeter, except I’m on the sell-side, which really sucks from a work/life balance perspective. By far you’ve got the better gig – if I were better informed back in the day when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life I would definitely rather be on the buy-side. I’m sure you’re an exceptional individual, but you clearly won the money lottery. Sometimes good fortune has a way of making us nervous, especially because when you feel so much more fortunate than others, it can really feel pretty weird and create some uncomfortable family dynamics.
If you are going to hit $10mm in a couple years and you’re not happy, then I see no reason to stick it out. I do believe you are setting some artificial constraints. I do understand that Wall Street is very unforgiving in that yes, if you jump off, there is probably no coming back to the level you’re at now. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some time off and maybe come back to something smaller in scale and possibly more gratifying – perhaps managing an endowment for an organization you really care about.
Or maybe you’d prefer to teach… you’ve clearly got a lot of knowledge you could pass along. I guess the point is that you’ve achieved financial independence… so its kind of a “now what” situation. Unless you’re the type of person that receives great joy from managing money or seeing your bank account inflate ever year, you need to find something else in your life.
This of course, has to be a joint decision with your better half. She probably knows you better than you know yourself. I’ve got a few years on you, and my wife has been encouraging me to get off the treadmill for years now. She thinks the stress is shaving years off my life and that the game just isn’t worth it anymore. She is wise, and I am finally listening to her.
My suggestion to you, is that together with your wife, you set a timeframe or a financial goal… let’s call it 2 years or $10mm, at which point you will take your sabbatical. Start planning it now… a year abroad, sail around the world, whatever. Start making it real and do it.
Thanks much for the thoughts
Thanks for the good read and great site – been enjoying it. Outside of early retirees, there is yet another inconspicuous class of young non-workers, of which my own life is an example. I’m the anomalous “pre-career retiree”, or perhaps the “comfortable unemployed”, at least thus far. Sad but true. I wonder how many others there are? I spent altogether 20 years in school too, to “prepare” for a field I came to thoroughly dislike – though I’ll admit I had my suspicions even from the start. But because I never truly had a NEED to work, I never really did, and never really tried, and so never really believed I could make it. My family has a decent amount of money – we’re not beach house and Ferarri rich, but plenty secure and with zero debt. Even imagining a corporate 8-5 job in the field I studied, well just shoot me now please. But, graduating right into the last recession made jobs unavailable anyway, so, win-win?
Despite avoiding a career with lazy impunity, the intangible dangers of non-working you mention are very real, if I look deep inside. While I’m never bored and keep busy with art and learning, I face resentment from my old career-driven friends, find minimal self or social respect, little prospect in dating or starting a family (what can I offer?), plus a healthy allotment of loneliness, all while having no confidence and no sense of how I could support myself independently. At least an early-retiree can draw on the confidence and respect of having done it before, of having been successful. Not-working can sound enticing, but it can equally wreak havoc on the soul.
“What a shame they never reach their full potential.” Indeed. Failure without having failed.
I think the point of financial independence is that you can choose how you spend your time after you don’t need a paycheck. For example, you could volunteer at a charity, or turn a hobby like art into a full-time job. I doubt many people that retire early would just want to sit around all day and watch tv. Also, not everyone requires respect/validation from society. Many do, but not all.
During NBA season, watching a single 2 1/2 hour game on NBA League Pass 3-4 times per week– in the morning, because I live in Thailand– and then having a nice lunch with my wife, spending my afternoon trying to catch up on the over 1000 books I’ve bought on Kindle that I haven’t yet had time to read, and then having a nice dinner with my wife, already takes up a bunch of my day. And then when you add in the time I spend writing book reviews for academic journals that still contact me even though I’ve retired, and the time I spend researching stocks (because I still trade options, so that I can juice the returns of my core portfolio)… well, the day tends to go very quickly. And whenever that gets boring, well, it’s amazing how easy it is to find meaningful “work” if you aren’t asking for someone to pay you for it.
“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!”
It exists! It’s called the “vice squad.” Granted you do have to street walk instead of hike, and arrest the masseuse during the massage, but it does exist!
I’m a new reader, and I just want to tell you how much I love your blog, and that I especially appreciate how much effort you put into your posts (I know they must take hours to research and write!). I’m a 42 year old tenured professor who loves my “job” (one key to that is having no real “boss!), and it is very hard for me to imagine retirement. However, the concept of financial independence really resonates with me, because who knows if I’ll still love what I do, or at least love it as I’m currently doing it, into my 60s? Personally, I find thinking about financial independence to be much easier psychologically than thinking about “early retirement”. As your journey so beautifully shows, they don’t have to be the same thing at all. Here is my favorite quote from your post: “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.” That is a point that surely deserves some thought. I could do the having a boss thing, nor the cubicle thing, nor the 9-5 thing. I do none of those things as an academic (nor in my consulting/professional speaking business, which I run on the side and which allows me to share my research with the world in an accessible and beneficial way). I try to get every student I mentor to think about what he/she would really love doing, rather than what would make him or her the most money. Anyway, thank you for a really great blog. I’m so glad I found it! It must be hard on you to put up with the angry/negative comments you sometimes receive, but I hope you can see that the vast majority of your readers love and support you!
Alway nice to have new readers visit Financial Samurai. After writing for the past seven years, I’ve grown a thick skin so don’t worry about me and dealing with criticism. It actually fires me up to write even more!
I have to imagine being a tenured professor at age 42 is wonderful. Teaching and mentoring is something so rewarding. PLUS, being able to consult on the side is wonderful b/c it allows you to be entrepreneurial.
The key for everyone is to build multiple income streams BEFORE they get sick of what they want to do. After 16 years, I’ve finally reached my goal of building a healthy enough passive income stream to take care of a family of four in San Francisco. It’s all about having OPTIONS. I want to option to choose. Isn’t that all any of us really want?
How did you stumble across this post btw? Search?
Oh btw, since you have a PhD in sleep and stress, I’ve been sleeping like a baby every night since I left Corporate America in 2012. Also, all my chronic pains have gone away! BUT, I do snore. :)
Check out: The Health Benefits Of Early Retirement Are Priceless
I retired the first time at age 41 and it was one of the worse times in my life even though I had enough money. Got a full time job teaching physics and even at 67 I will never retire…learned my lesson the first time.
What were the reasons why retirement was so bad?
Related posts: It’s Impossible To Stay Retired Once You Retire Early
I retired at 46, I worked as a teen up until. With only a high school education most of the work was construction that I really had a passion for in my twenties, however I was able to earn a position in as a construction manager at thirty years old. This is when I really focused on saving for an opportunity to build passive income and be able to leave the workforce one day. I worked very hard with little family time and missed family events (Very Driven to meet my goals) which I do not recommend. With that said I was able to educate myself though great mentors and supervisors and work my way up the company ladder completing my career running a 200M operation for a large company.
I currently own over 60 rental properties that has allowed me to leave the corporate world and live life on my own terms. I feel much better than I have in 20 years at 50 yrs old.
– Have a dream
– Do not let education dictate your success
– Use your hard earned cash as a tool to work for you
– Must have long term plan (if not rich) and stick to the plan
– Very important, Only purchase what makes good financial sense. (Do not open a business, buy stock, purchase property or other unless it makes great returns on your investment)
– There is no reason to go in debt if the business is not a money maker, do not own a business just for the reason of owning a business.
– Study your investment inside and out, understand the numbers before you go forward.
– it is not rocket science, anyone can retire early with a solid plan forward to make the dream a reality.
That’s not quite the same. With 60 properties you have a sizeable business bringing in what must be 30,000 plus per month, so you are hardly living off a small dwindling capital on say a tenth of that. It’s more of a job change for you working for yourself rather than someone else.
That isn’t necessarily true. The vast majority of the work can be outsourced. He would need to do a little work just to monitor everything and make sure it is running smoothly. That is like a few hours a month. Not even part time job hours.
I am 23 now and with the help of my parents I got a nice bank lone and was able to start my own business my goal is to retire by 45-50 with 60-80k a year to live on
I am 52 years old and been working for 28+ years now. During many of these years, I have gone through phases of retiring on what I have, though I plodded on until about a year ago, I turned financially independent (my expenses were less than my passive income) and realized suddenly that I enjoyed my job since I no longer had the financial pressures of life. This has allowed me to be more truthful to myself in the work-place in terms of telling my employer – no that target cannot be met, no that deliverable is not right – instead of saying ‘of course it can be done, sure we can meet that deadline, etc.’. Nowadays I speak more freely, say and do the right things and therefore I am more productive and happier. I definitely intend continuing for another 8 years at least till I am 60, as I finally found out the elixir of enjoying work – become financially independent as early as you can so that your family is taken care of, thereby allowing you to do the right things at work or doing the right work (these days both mean the same to me)
I totally agree with you, your reply is what is my perspective about early retorement.As you said Early retirement is not getting retired from the job, it is retirement from Financial pressure of life.Your passive income should be more than your expenses for your entire life.After that you work or dont work or work part time entirely depends on your wish.
Yup. Studies have shown that we can accept a lot more pain if we have our hand on an escape button.
Just want to follow up. Retired at 55, six months into not working and loving it! Have extended periods of time to study my art form, life is unhurried, I’m never bored, my health is beginning to improve. Don’t miss working at all. Doubt I will in the future.
Eh. To me early retirement = working MORE, just making less. It’s freedom to study and do what I want. That may be something different every year. I may be horrible at it. I may decide to be a wedding photographer for a year or two and then write a book. Who knows. It’s being able to stay home with kids when I want to and attend their school events… but it’s not stopping all income. I would be so bored and sad if I stopped earning money. Maybe I could volunteer to keep myself busy but mostly I like having jobs. I just don’t want to have to work full time. I think it would be horrible to just quit and be actually retired for many years.
Exactly! People that use the word “selfish” have no idea what early retirement really is. It means total freedom, and this could mean you can give back to society even more than staying in your cubicle till 65, and yes, it means exploring your other capabilities than the narrow path of a salary-job (with all the stress that takes time away from other things in life). And who is there to tell that this is “selfish”, you can be a better parent, a better neighbor, a better person for your community, etc… because you have time and freedom to do good.
Not all retirements from jobs we love are made for monetary reasons. There are shifts in the working environment that make it increasingly difficult if not impossible to do the job we feel is responsible.
Thank you creating this wonderful blog.
My questions as below:
Can the bank allow individual customer to self-declare “Accredited Investor” without collecting supporting document to certify “AI” eligibility for an individual, and proceed to market a restricted investment to AI who does not meet AI definition?
What’s the implication/charges will be imposed (or under lawful eyes) to bank when banker sold a restricted investment to an individual not AI, but rely on AI self-declared?
How much can the individual seek compensation (restitution) from the bank if he/she able to show the court that he is not eligible to be AI during the time of declaration, while bank rely on individual AI self-declaration to market a restricted investment?
Can individual overstate the net asset amount to qualify for AI eligibility, what is the implication if bank can accept without collecting any supporting document to verify? Whose fault will it be? Bank or individual? *P/S => I feel bank is the product issuer, and bank needs to rely on AI exemption since AI has lesser regulatory protection, so bank must examine each individual AI eligibility.
Thank you, hope to receive your reply in posting.
Thanks for this posting Samurai.
This blog’s statement that early retirement is selfish resonated with me. I’d clarify by saying early retirement has a high potential to enable a selfish lifestyle.
I take the word ‘selfish’ seriously. Wise spiritual teachings have a common thread: the problem is self, and the solution is getting out of self, through self-sacrifice and working for others’ happiness. I’ve found that when I indulge in activities that benefit only myself — for prolonged periods of time — misery and depression are often close behind. And when I work for others’ well-being, happiness follows. I certainly don’t do it as often as I should, but I’ve had glimpses of it.
I am 47 years old and have been planning for financial independence and early retirement for the last 15 years. I achieved my ‘magic number’ about 2 years ago and just last week I was let go from my corporate job of 14 years. So this is my first week of early retirement.
The last seven days have been busy working out all the transition errands. But there has been plenty of time to do other things like sleeping in later, reading good books, extra time with family and friends, going for long hikes, etc. And I’m here to say that if this kind of extra time keeps up, I’m in trouble ;)
Therefore, once all the urgent transition errands are complete, my first order of business is creating a service plan. This will be an evolving definition of how I would like to be of service to the world, given that I now have 40 hours extra each week. Actually, I’d say the biggest mistake I made in planning for retirement was not defining and preparing for this service plan earlier.
There will still be plenty of time for the aforementioned activities, including a good bit of travel — trust me, I can chill with the best of them. But without a service plan at the center of my life, I can see how retirement would eventually become destructive to both myself and the people around me.
So thanks for this reminder.
I think personally different strokes for different folks.CASE CLOSED….
I’m amazed here how much people expect to retire on. I’m looking to retire in about 20k$. A year. I reckon my living is about half that, bills food etc. The rest is just spending money. I have a nice house paid for, cars including Porsche paid for. I don’t waste money in fancy restaurants. I do my own DIY., lawns, cars etc. My wife will have the same, so between about 40k. This seems more than enough. For us to have a comfortable life. Here in the UK health is free for example. I know it will be a fraction of what I’m used to, but I’m already trying to live on this to see what’s possible. The biggest hits for me are holidays, so our private villas will have to go, so maybe ill come to to earth a bit.
I think your only point that makes some sense is that a lot of people haven’t found the right job that is fulfilling. But a lot of early retirees retired early specifically so that they can do a job that is more fulfilling but maybe doesn’t pay very much or anything at all. You mention concert pianists. Do you know how many people become highly skilled pianists and can’t make a living at it? I’m sure it is in the thousands. I went to my local piano competition and it was a sad affair. Dozens of absolutely brilliant pianists came in from all over the world and only 3 will get any kind of prize. And even the first prize winner has only a very small chance of earning a living long term as a concert pianist. I am a pianist myself and part of the reason I want to retire early is so I can spend more time practicing. I’m already beyond the age where a concert career is even a remote possibility, but I look forward to collaborating with musicians in my own hometown and having the time and mental focus to practice and play at a high level.
The rest of your points are absurd. People leave work because they are failures at their jobs? If they were so crappy at their jobs then how did they get paid enough to save up to retire early? You can’t afford to have kids? Umm yes you can. Lots of early retirees have kids. You just have to save up a little bit more than you would if you didn’t have kids. No one will ever hire you again if you want to work or need to work? Since you have savings you can afford to be picky and find the employers who aren’t morons and will hire you based on your skills and not just throw out your resume based on some arbitrary criteria like having to long of an employment gap on your resume.
Why would you leave a job you love?
I retired early at 34 because I no longer loved my job, despite the pay and focused on being a full time blogger instead, which I do love. I’ve been retired for almost 5 years now.
What’s your story? Did you retire for different reasons? Or are you still working and thinking about it’s like in the future? I’m always interested in new perspectives. I’m just providing the perspective of someone who worked for 13 years, retired early due to his passive income streams, and then focused on entrepreneurship because things got boring and I had too much time on my hands.
I think you’ll enjoy this post: Blogging For A Living: How Much Can You Really Make Online?
Personally even something I love I would not want to do for 8 hours a day or more. I think I would like teaching piano lessons but doing it 8 hours a day sounds like torture. For me I think about 12 hours a week would allow me to give my full attention to my students and not burn out.
I am not retired but hope to leave full time employment in about 10 years. I agree that not doing any kind of work would get boring. I figure I will do something but I’m not sure what yet. I’ll definitely check out your article on blogging.
Late Comment Sorry, but I’m ‘retired’ but started my own teach business in China. I thought, like you said, 10 to 12 hours a week is enough, but last year I taught 44 hours a week. Why? ’cause I love teaching’… Well, it lasted about six months and I’m a little burnt out, but after 6 weeks of summer vacation, I’m back to about 32 hours (classroom) and uncounted hours making up new classes or responding to student PMs… I probably need a brain adjustment, but if you love doing it, it’s hard to say no…
Great article… really got me thinking.
I’m been working in finance for 15 years. I’ve hated every job I’ve had up to the one I’m in presently (last 5 years). I ‘live with’ this one; it doesnt’ make the world better, inspire me each day, or anything like that, but it has flexibility, a good work life balance, decent pay, and a free workout room in the same building.
My wife is a CPA for a big university. She’s hated her job for years.
So that’s our different perspective. Neither of us can imagine a job that we’d want to do forever. Maybe things would be different if we were pediatricians.
So I don’t see us changing our mind, running out of money, or having issues starting a family (since we have one now). If anything, spending more time with our family is our #1 motivator. Even if we have to go back to work for awhile in 15 years after the kids are grown, we’d call it a win. But since I work in finance I doubt that will happen.
So the real risk is losing the respect of others. But in my opinion funny, intelligent, curious, honest, physically fit people tend to have friends and respect regardless of thier employment status. THat’s my hope anyway.
Work till 65 die 15 years later or sooner then what ? Retire at 50 live life have fun ( while your still young not 65 old and can’t walk anymore like I see when I’m on vacation )think about it if you could retire early why not.golf,fish,wine tasting ect… during the day that’s my 9-5 or work in office ,desk headaches, peoples problems,traffic..then go to bed and do the same thing again and again. 8 days a month to just relax or 30 days?as far as society who cares I’ve done my part working 43 years since I was a kid working.selfish who cares its me not you or society .what,I’m I going to get some ribbon,metal,certificate or something, no one cares who I am or what I do.also if you can retire early and watch your money $$ why not!! Everyone is different that’s your opinion and this is mine.you make it seem your selfish if you do retire early which is wrong who are you to say that? You just made me make up my mind because I was thinking of retirement or not,but after reading your blog Im making the right choice to retire and live life before I turn 65 and can’t do anything anymore because I’ll be to OLD to enjoy life.thanks :)
65 is not that old. I’m 62, in the best shape of my life; some of my friends are in their early 70’s and are active and fit. If you are 65 and don’t have a physical impairment from an accident or disease, but you are just not conditioned to do anything… that’s on you, you are old because you’re too lazy to maintain a healthy life style. A good diet and regular exercise will keep you healthy far beyond 65.
Actually, research shows that retiring early is much more likely to send you to an early grave than doing difficult work is. Seems counter intuitive, but it’s been pretty thoroughly researched.
I too have read the research but I haven’t seen an explanation. Maybe its because many of early retirees are forced to retire due to lack of health. Maybe it’s due to layoffs? These cases are very different than people that retire to something as opposed to leaving a job and running from something. I suspect and would love to see studies related to longevity to those that retire to travel (with a proper budget relative to their needs), or to sail… again with their own proper budget.
My uncle retired at 55 years old due to lack of health (heart attacks), and I’m going to retire early to save my health. 62 is old in my opinion, and I’m 44. My mom retired at 62 (she was in good health and a PE teacher), and got dementia soon after. That’s not a fun retirement. Before my mother got dementia, I thought 62 was young too. I planned on retiring at that age, but now this has changed my plans, thoughts about age, and the time we have left. I have good health now, but who is to say what’s going to happen tomorrow or twenty years from now. I want to enjoy my time with my husband, kids, and future grandkids, and have the time, energy, and mind to do it. Now they say working at middle age (35-58) for 40 hours or more a week causes cognitive decline. However, working 25 hours a week does not negatively affect your cognition. Maybe it is selfish to retire early, but I’d rather be selfish now and enjoy my life and family while I can. My husband and I plan on retiring at 55. Then, I might work a part time job or not:)
Retiring is widely believed to worsen dementia. Most doctors tell people with dementia to work for as long as they can.
It entirely depends on what kind of activity you are doing during your retirement. To me it is more selfish to keep working. I would rather to retire early so I can use my time wisely to help others during my retirement. I plan to volunteer, go on mission trip, help out abandoned children, etc.
“Retiring”, really, only means not working for money. There’s no causal link between earning money and staving off dementia.
Until or unless someone specifies what exactly, they’ll be doing after they stop working for money, there’s no reason to assume that what they’re doing makes them either more or less likely to develop dementia.
Interesting. Perhaps it is because people need a “raison d’etre” a purpose in life.
of course. ‘retiring’ does nothing to your brain and body. doing nothing with your brain and body destroys both of them. doing something hard, mentally or physically will cause you to strengthen in order to endure. simple science. it has nothing to do to with continuing to go in to a shitty day job or not and to think so is a ridiculous linkage.
Uh no, the correlation is with folks who don’t want to retire but have to because they are not healthy; I guarantee that folks who are as healthy as folks who continue to work live longer. STRESS KILLS!
See: The Health Benefits Of Early Retirement Are PRICELESS
Where is the link to that research?
I’m fully retired at age 42 after spending 22 years in the Army. I live on retirement check and va disability check. My husband did 25 years and is also fully retired. I love it. We have only a house payment. We are starting to travel and love it. But I do realize we are in a unique position and value it greatly. Also, we have a good amount of investments and will increase our income in our 60’s.
Thank a US Taxpayer!!!!!I wouldn’t brag about this
So people who retire young are selfish, unproductive bums who contribute nothing to society? So they should work their lives away to fit society’s image of what “productive” means? I’m 35 and I’m leaving to travel the world in a few months. I really don’t care that other people are working 60 hours a week and driving themselves into early graves in order to fit what society expects of them. And as far as earning a living after years out of work—there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Many people are starting their own businesses or working in location independent jobs. Not everyone needs an employer to hire them.
Many people secretly like the deadlines and hassles of work. It gives them a sense of purpose and importance as well as a built in social group. But really, it’s about balance and everybody’s different. Some people are happiest never working and others need the structure and constant pressure of work. Most people are somewhere in the middle.
Sam, I wouldn’t call you retired by any means. You just don’t work a traditional job any more.
Like many others, I disagree with large swaths of this article, but since I believe you wrote this well before you retired early, it might be moot. Also, just so we’re all aware, people, Sam isn’t saying “Early retirement is BAD”. He’s simply stating that there are negative aspects of it that should be considered, something that all of us working daily for a living don’t realize.
While I disagree that early retirement, considering early retirement, or anything else revolving around the concept could be considered NEGATIVELY selfish (I mean, sure you’re thinking about yourself, but so what? You think I show up at my place of employment due to a sense of altruism? No, I’m there for the money and benefits. Ayn Rand would be proud), it should be noted that early retirement does have to be approached the right way. Simply quitting and having no plan for the rest of your life might make you more miserable than you would be if you just worked.
My dad’s about to retire from working for the city government in the next few months. He manages a housing project. He’s stoked. He’s told me about the stuff that goes on, and honestly, I don’t think he’d give a shit if the buildings all burned down just as long he wasn’t around or had to deal with it. Frankly, from what he’s told me, it would likely be a blessing (I’ve worked at a bank across the street from his current project, so I can attest to some of what he says). And he just regards his job as a source of stress and misery. He just wants to relax by the beach/pool with a drink in one hand and that’s it. And I don’t blame him. But he’s also talked about working part time at local hardware stores (not Lowes or Home Depot, but small businesses where the employees aren’t minimum wage earning teens and have more expertise) to pass his time and earn a few bucks on the side. So he’s not planning on becoming inert. Just on breaking free from the shackles of full time employment.
It also has to be understood that your definition of “retirement” and other people’s may not necessarily be the same (not saying who’s right and who’s wrong, but just that different people seem to be defining the word differently). Correct me if I’m wrong here, but you seem to be defining the word as “not working anymore at all”. I would define it as “not working at a full time primary job anymore out of necessity, or any sort of equivalent”. So a retiree that decides to work a part time job might not be retired under your definition, but would be under mine. Just another thing for everyone to keep in mind while reading this. I saw that people in the comments are accusing you of demanding that we all be corporate slaves until we’re too old to enjoy our lives anymore, but all this article is about is the dangers of quitting your job and spending the rest of your life in front of the TV.
I would have disagreed with your other points, Sam, had we both had the same definition of the word “retirement”. Achieving early retirement via financial freedom can’t be anything short of wonderful. In your article about what you would do if you received $10 million tomorrow, I commented on SOME of the things I would do with my time if I were to have that sort of money, but I definitely would retire (using my definition, not yours). But I would not go completely inert, as some do when they retire with no plan for the rest of their lives. It’s about having something to do to replace the gap left behind by not going into work everyday. If you have something that you can do for the rest of your life, you’re golden.
Though I do disagree with this:
“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.”
Actually, I think ANYONE would take early retirement over a good job any day of the week. I don’t care what the economic situation was.
ARB–Angry Retail Banker
I am 40 (spouse 35) and trying to semi – retire (work part time or 6 mths a year) at 50.
Don’t have a house yet, plan to buy first home soon in northern CA area. Always been a renter. Don’t know how much house I can afford given I want to conserve my savings for early retirement? Open to idea of some rental income opportunity from investment property.
Debt free. Cash: 250k, 401K: 120K, Stocks: 150K. Household income from jobs: 320K (even split between spouse and myself). Annual savings: around 100K.
Thank you for your amazing blog! Best regards, Chet.
What a silly posting. I’m shocked (and find it sad) that someone would have such a dull life that they couldn’t fill their early retirement time.
Where did you get this notion that it’s “selfish” to retire early? Do you feel it’s somehow noble to work in corporate servitude for an extra 30 years? An early retiree has significantly more time to give to charities and volunteer efforts if they’re so inclined.
And this argument that you “need” to spend more time working than you spent in school is totally begging the question. If someone can use their smarts to work smarter rather than harder, good on them.
Lastly, regarding the appeal to your parents, I’d hope your parents would rather you live a happy life, rather than a life crippled by false notions of what “should be”.
In short: article fail due to myopic viewpoint. Honestly, you’ve completely misunderstood early retirement and all the opportunities it creates.
Don’t be shocked. And don’t worry if you’re not a fan. I wrote this post as a way to get my mind right before I retired early in 2012.
Since then, I’ve penned a number of early retirement posts that you might be interested in.
Shoot To Retire By A Certain Age, Not By A Certain Financial Figure
What Does Early Retirement Feel Like? The Positives And Negatives
It’s Impossible To Stay Retired Once You Retire Early
I’d love to hear YOUR story on how you retired early, your age, and the thoughts that went through your head while retired.
Im young, 28 and was halfway through a aspiring Biomedical degree when I was given an offer to invest in a friends company. Stupid decision. I’m now trying to rebuild my personal wealth and have been in the process of taking over a once prime franchise store in a CBD location that went bankrupt after its owners hit some turmoil.
Truth is, I’ve lost most of what little wealth I had when younger and only have my bmw z4 owned outright to show for it :( I’m finding im about 20k short of opening this store and ive throw everything behind this. I’m regretting even giving it a chance in case I lose everything but I have an amazing deal in front of me that’s just out of my reach & I have tried everything… My youth has just bitten me in the ass with bad credit from silly things like power bills when i was 20.
A friend once told me about “opportunity cost” and I’ve been wondering how I could have been that scientist. I attempted to go back to uni 2 years ago, got into Oz no.1 & only private uni Bond, transferred my credits etc but the formulas and so on had gotten beyond me. I need to go redo my advance mathematics to catch up to the 3rd year level.
Trying to get this business off the ground is hard and I know If I can just tie it up I will be absolutely fine, yet in the stress of it all I find myself reading articles like this and looking up the price of small houses I could possibly renovate while blogging gaming and paramotoring around baja california. I really wish I had someone to just talk to about all this. You’re article really hit some notes with me, I don’t normally get involved in forums except for on popsci or CIG. Thankyou for writing this.
Interesting perspectives. You addressed some unpleasant angles about early retirement which made me squirm :)
My wife and me are 48 and our goal is to retire at 50. We had our only child early in life and he graduated with a Bachelors in Electrical Engg this past summer from UIC and started his first job yesterday. His fees for the 4 years is completely paid off So we are kind of set from that end. I have stashed away about 25k towards his wedding etc. and we are now actively planning our retirement.
We live in Chicago and are fed up of the cold winters, but reluctant to move to Florida or somewhere warm and start fresh making new friends etc. We have a great friends and family circle in Chicago.
I came as an immigrant from India working in the IT field and started late on my 401k. As a result my 401k sucks- by 50 I’ll probably have just 100k in it. I make about 160k and like my job. But it’s just a job- no passion really. So that could be one reason I want to retire early.
Anyway, my 401k is not going to bail me out for my early retirement so I created other options. I have two town homes in Chicago which will be paid off soon and will provide about 24k net per year in rents. In India I have an ancestral house and about 24k of annual income from CD’s and commercial rents (thanks to a rich dad :). CD’s in India pay an amazing 8+% return per annum and 100% safe (except for the vagaries of currency conversions with USD).
We now have dual citizenships between US and India so we can live in either country as long or short without hassle.
Here is our retirement plan: To live off the combined $48k annual income from both countries. Obviously living in the US fulltime will cramp our lifestyles on that budget, so we have come up with a combination of living in India and US. We plan to set up residence in India where the cost of living is very low and visit US every year for 3 or 4 months in summers. We have friends and family in India whom we keep in touch regularly. While in the US- between spending time with our son, my sister in St Louis and my wife’s sister in San Diego and other friends/cousins we should be able to pass 3/4 months easily (with free stay :).
During the time we spend in India each year we plan to visit places within India and different south east Asian countries for month long visits. SE Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Phillipines etc) is very affordable to live for a month as long as you avoid the commercial hotels and look for local Bnb’s.
While in theory the above may look interesting I am not sure how we will pass the time when we are not travelling. How will this nomadic lifestyle affect the meaning of our lives?! I feel I have to find a purpose when I am unemployed or I might get frustrated. There is also this other issue of inflation which will make the 48k seem smaller after a few years.
What about material possessions? For example my Audi A7 has to be replaced in India with a cheaper car. I am not sure how I will handle all these changes…But we are excited and looking forward to putting this plan in motion in 2017 :)
Any thoughts welcome!
Hi Mr Naresh
I have gone through your post and really impressed the way you think for your retirement. Being an Indian we always think that beyond money there is more to acquire i.e. (spiritual path). It can only liberate you from all the sufferings or entertainments. It is the ultimate goal of every human who born on this planet. I really appreciate your decision and go ahead.
I am encouraging you with my post voluntary retirement experience i.e.(retired from banking profession 30th april 2015) after working for more than 31 years. Now I am 54 and started pursuing life which is giving me satisfaction.
All the best
I’m still looking for the right job. My ideal job is one where I don’t have to show up at any particular time. No commuting, no telecommunicating. It would have no responsibilities. I wouldn’t have to talk to managers or anybody in HR. There would be no customers to satisfy or projects to be completed. It would come with unlimited paid vacation and a hefty paycheck.
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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.
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.
I RETIRED at 36. Best thing i did.
Awesome! How much did you accumulate before retiring, and what is your income stream now?
What are you doing during your retirement time?
Check out: It’s Impossible To Stay Retired Once You Retire Early
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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.
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. :)
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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.
there are have to’s and want to’s big diff
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.
I hear you on others not wanting to hear it. Please read my post, The Rise Of Stealth Wealth, that addresses and helps solve this problem.
Good comment and point. I believe it has to do with them not having the willpower, drive, or knowledge on how to also be retired early. So its basically reminding them of their own ‘failures’ which nobody wants to hear lol.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Best comment, you hit the nail on the head I’m 53 and hoping I will get laid off, I have enough to retire on and can’t wait . Tried being useless but they don’t get the message, they keep giving me new projects.
I just want to downsize and work on my terms. I have the good job, the company Mercedes, all I want now is to stop and do something I enjoy. I want to take 6 months off then do something part time I want to do, it can be anything. Best thing is , if it fails then it doesn’t matter. I could do ten jobs and lose them all who cares, I won’t feel I’m have to be the best, be judged anymore.
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.
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.
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.
I agree, which is why I spend about 3-4 hours a day on this site and on social media. Keeps me busy, but I still have too much time and wrote this post to fill the void of early retirement with part-time work. I’m starting a new 3 month gig on 1/13 for 21 hours a week! Should be fun.
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”?
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.
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!
$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.
An I not allowed to do other things or make money in retirement to help my finances and have fun?
I love this website and this article. You are extremely helpful to write about the risks. I cannot thank you enough!
Your welcome Megan! It’s always good to look before you leap and try and understand the other side of the equation.
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!
Thanks for your thoughts Roger. I wrote an updated post on how it feels like to be an early retiree this March, 2013 now that I am retired. I think you’ll enjoy it: https://www.financialsamurai.com/2013/03/19/what-does-early-retirement-feel-like-the-positives-and-negatives/
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
Hence the title, “The Darkside….” :)
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.
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.
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!
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!
Out with the old, in with the new. Sounds good to me!
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.
Thx for your perspective Dan.
Don’t firemen get great pensions after 20 years? I think 20 years is a very honorable amount of time to work and you should feel very proud of your achievement!
become a volunteer at FDNY.
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.
Thanks for your thoughts. How old are you now?
I took the leap of faith and retired on my own terms at 35 in 2012.
I am 44 now. Looking forward to the future with the Emersonian attitude of not walking on the path but instead going where there is no path and leaving a trail.
Duh, I did not even see that above. Will read ! Thanks !
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 !
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!
You can take money from your 401K before 59 1/2 tax free. My calculation allowed for a withdrawal of 2.25% per year. This will help us achieve a greater degree of financial independence while I do something more rewarding. Our portfolio will continue to build with a moderate risk investment strategy. Currently age 54.
Here is the info:
This is the classic Section 72(t) method for withdrawing funds without penalty. Essentially you agree to continue taking the same amount from your plan for the greater of five years or until you reach age 59½. There are three methods of SOSEPP:
Required Minimum Distribution method – uses the IRS RMD table to determine your Equal Payments.
Fixed Annuitization method – this method uses an annuitization factor published by the IRS
Fixed Amortization method – in this method, you calculate your Equal Payment based on one of three life expectancy tables published by the IRS.
to determine your Equal Payments.
Section 72(t) provides additional methods for taking distribution from your 401k which can occur before leaving employment (if the plan allows):
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.
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.
Very interesting post.
I started a little blog in downshifting and the like some weeks ago.
and I share the view here, that early retirement is maybe not the silver bullet. I think working can be interesting and even some fun, *if* you don’t have to work too much.
So I think a kind of middle-way is the best you can do: Reduce your working time here and now, reduce stress and maximize free time, but don’t aim to retire at 40.
When we have multiple income streams, we are allowed the freedom to spend our time as we see fit (to the extents that our streams allow us). I make the decision to stop working at my regular day job, because it truly does interfere with something I really want to do. Would I feel regret about doing this later on? Of course. Just as you may or may not feel regret about many other things in life (kids, marriage, not doing study abroad etc.). But it is not something to fear. The whole point is that multiple income streams allow you the chance to try this without any serious ramifications (other than regret). Just pick up hobby, or start volunteering. There are plenty of avenues to find fulfillment. Most people will never have the luxury to explore this, so be grateful.
I think you’ll enjoy this latest Post: https://www.financialsamurai.com/2012/04/16/achieve-financial-freedom-slice/
There’s really no such thing as retirement. You stop working, but you will always be relying on income streams (passive or otherwise). When you “retire” from your job, all you are doing is cutting off one income stream, and relying more heavily on others. The more you have, the more selective you can be. That’s how I view things. At some point, I hope to have enough streams that I can cut one off and rely on others, allowing me to adjust how I spend my time without affecting my material/personal well being. I would never say that I’m “retired”. That just sounds like being bed-ridden in a nursing home.
Is the purpose of education solely to support a work effort/career? Maybe I’m the oddball, but I enjoyed learning a great deal, and a majority of my education applies to life in general more than my work.
As for “full potential”, we all have potential in different areas, work being only one. Less time at the office might allow me to achieve my full potential as a citizen, giving back or providing value for my community/world.
Why not do both, provide value to your community and to your work? What’s the point of spending all that time and money to go to college to only stop working shortly thereafter? If that’s the case, best to just work from 18, or go to cheaper alternatives that provide just as good opportunities no?
you really do have a very narrow vision of the value of education!!
I’m saying this as a Teacher. You need to read Aristotle, Plato, and Sophocles
You need to read Locke, and Rousseau!!
and as this is NOT a class and there will be no grade, I doubt you’ll do it, but it really is a disgrace, that you are so ignorant that you think education is only for work!!!
ALso, The issue of selfishness is about as relevant to whether or not to retire early as it is to be indignant that the sun does not ask our permission to rise every morning!!! It’s ridiculous quite frankly, and TOTALLY irrelevant!!
One simply retires when one can!! One only works because one must to begin with!!
The rich of old looked down on peasants who worked!!
Have you never watched Downton Abbey!??? The true aristocracy doesn’t work!! They are SERVED!! They are the MASTERS!!!
Perhaps a little time spent with history books would do you some good!!
Jimmy, I read most of them. :) Living in 7 different countries for 14 years and speaking three languages has really helped me appreciate education. How about you?
I’m all about kicking back now and not working. We got Obama, the Federal REserve, and a bull market, so why work? We are on the same side. Let’s let other people pay taxes and support our economy!
Glad you enjoyed the post John. Never heard of “feel like I’m being used as a large social experiment” before as a reason to get out!
So long as I like my colleagues and bosses, I’m happy to work. Once you start working due to the work, and not for the money, it is very liberating.
I have been thinking about retireing for a couple years now. My husband who is 9 years my senior retired four years ago. I have worked with the federal government for 32 years (2% pension for each year worked 64%) and would have a 15% penalty in my pension (5% for each year age is less than 55) should I retire now at age 52. The age for retirement with no penalty for me would be 55. I have been struggling with whether or not it is worth the 15% loss.
My 17 year old daughter recently gave birth to our adorable granddaughter who are both financially dependant on us. My 91 year old soon to be 92 year old father-in-law has come to live with us. He is financially independant.
I do not have any interest in my job any more and find it physically sickening everyday I have to be there. It is a time of cutbacks and reductions for the current government and the stress for all employees is noticeable in the office. Our mandate is no longer the same and everyone is feeling the stress of the unknown.
I do have alot that would keep me busy if I did retire even if they are not the things I would like to choose to do. I would like to care for children who cannot care for themselves and I would like to be able to help make a day brighter for someone even if that only means reading the daily paper to someone who can no longer do that.
I have to say that life is very short, It goes by very fast, you may not have your health physically or emotionally if you wait. All of these things keep me thinking everyday. Yet, I have not retired. Hopefully for me, it will happpen soon!
Thanks for listening, I feel better having vented.
Hi Shelley, first off I think it is VERY admirable that you’ve stuck with your job for 32 years! I know I could not do that.
Secondly, you’ve got a pension, that is better than most people. The average life expectancy is around 80 for women. What will you do for the rest of your life?
I’d take the leap of faith.
The question of selfishness is dependent on your reason for retiring. There are many good reasons and many selfish reasons to retire.
Two points that I want to highlight. I agree with you about the fact that an early retirement plan is a great way to keep you focused. Secondly, most of the time, early retirement is selfish, but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t just want to sit around my entire life. Instead I want to use my time to make a difference. My early retirement plan isn’t the traditional plan as well, since i will still be working 3 days per week; but I’ll be working for myself too.
I believe that all the previous comments have been harsh to the writer as I understand his objective in writing this article. Of course the people that are retired and live a great life are going to get insulted but what you haven’t realized is that this article is not intended for you or to insult you. This article is for people like myself, I am 19 years old and analyzing my financial options to endure a great lifestyle. As I was thinking, yes you can retire early if you definitely hate working or you just feel that you have given it all you have and are tired of it and have no need to continue working because you have made enough money in the years you have worked. Now, for those like myself that are starting out, all you read about in other websites is how amazing it is to retire early and live an extremely frugal life. Honestly who wants to live so frugal? What’s the point of retiring early if you can not enjoy a luxurious vacation if you wanted to or buy yourself a condo by the beach, or even if you can…. You have nothing coming in, the consumerism guilt is in the back of your mind, the subtraction to your savings for retirement. Not the.. “Its ok, I can purchase it because there’s still money flowing in.” Every one likes nice things, and like the writer said, what if you have a sudden inconvenience that you never expected. As in my short years I have realized, as I am a very honest individual. No one likes the truth, they like to be told that every thing will be ok, that every thing will go as planned and if it does not there will be a way. That is true there is always a way but I am a realist there is a big difference between being realistic and being a pessimist. I think as adults we all know that, like an old friend taught me ” You need to be able to have a professional conversation with out showing emotion even when the topic is about emotions.” If it is going fabulous for you, amazing…. But no need to insult the writer who is a realistic individual trying to warn those young ones of a promised land. As a dollar today does not equal the same as a dollar in the 1800’s don’t we all agree? Who knows how inflation may be 15 years from now……. Good luck, love, and respect to the now retired readers. :)
If you are really 19 then good for you. Getting the gist of the OP’s intent is beyond what most of the early retierees seem to have been able to do. And the biggest obvious oversight on their part is thinking that their “well laid plans” will remain stable. Yep; the dollar of the 1880s is worth about 1/60th of what it is today.Heck; its one tenth of what it was worth when I was in high school, and Im not all that old… Low inflation never lasts, and when inflation does hit it takes down the vast majority of those who placed all confidence in “the system”. The Tulip Bubble of the 1600s, the post civil war inflation decade, the panic of 1893, the post WW1 inflation, the fun times of the 30’s, the post WW2 inflation and the post Viet Nam inflation. These cycles are inevitable even in the best and most stable economies. It’s normal. And the results decimate peoples savings, and their lives. The current gen’s experience of the go-go years of wealth creation resulting from new businesses such as dot.com, cell-phone, internet and all its spinoffs, the personal computer and all its spinoffs, and then came along the ill-fated home price run-up decade and it’s unbelievable shock to the county and world. Well, it all added up to a very long growth period that is only recently came to its inevitable end. I’m afraid this 19 year old seems to better understand the inevitable problems that many of todays early retierees will face once thier safe and secure “investments” begin to pay far less each month than they ever imagined. It’s going to be a big shock. Over time this dimished income will be inevitable for 3/4ths of them. And only with careful and prudent planning will a handful of retierees be prepared for the inevitable etching away at what they were so sure was going to be a hefty monthly income.
When in college I thought id never be able to buy a decent hoe. Then I was worried that we would ever get our home paid off, now we get rent from that house, and a couple more, every month and we’ve never had an empty month in 18 years. The freedom that paidoff rentals gives, what with rising rents (over time) in homes in desireable areas of cities that have been able to retain low unemployment levels. All my friends with paper investments brag about their ROIs, but when the stockmarket drops they stop bragging and my modest rents still keep chugging away. And guess who has a smile on his face at that point? Good luck to all of us, over time who knows who will really be safe. And whoever is 100% sure in his or her decisions, is invariably wrong anyway. But its sure fun to sit back and watch, isn’t it?
I think this is an excellent article with many well made points. I appreciate that you were willing to take an opposing view and provide a different perspective. Satisfaction and identity is often derived from doing productive, fulfilling work, and I concur that early retirement is oftentimes not the right solution towards achieving personal fulfillment. Having given up a career to raise children, I often crave and desire defining myself outside of the home. Being able to do intellectually stimulating work and meaningfully contribute to society is now what I want. A sense of self respect and identity I believe comes from doing work that benefits others beyond oneself. Many people who don’t have this do suffer from a lack of purpose or hopelessness. I also think one of the contributing problems is that many are stuck in dead-end jobs. However, those who quit early may never find their potential or fulfill their true calling in life. Thank you for a well written article and presenting many excellent points.
These days with so many people not getting enough hours or advancement, I wonder whether not retiring early when you can afford to may be the more selfish option? So while I believe most people do look out for number one, I don’t believe that early retirement is intrinsically selfish. Folks who keep themselves out of the applicant pool in order to give others a chance to earn a decent living may be the heroes.
I don’t think there’s an ideal age for retirement from a particular job, but I do believe there is a right time for it to happen, and that’s when one loses interest in doing it well. Simply marking time I think is a mistake for both you and for your employer. I would agree that when the job market heats back up that early retirement will become less appealing– mainly because more job openings means a greater likelihood of finding that perfect fit in work/life balance. Many of today’s early retirees don’t want to settle for a poor fit, and when the market recovers they won’t have to.
Sounds like you’re jealous. I retired at 34 and am 39 now. I do not live on a shoestring budget. In fact I bought my dream car, a Lamborghini LP560, this year. It was my present for driving crap cars most of my life. I don’t “justify” to others why early retirement is great — I don’t need to. I don’t tell everyone how great my life is, either, because I don’t try to make people feel bad. I find it’s the other way around: people who have a 9-5 job they don’t like are the ones who tell me how they don’t want to retire because they’d be bored, and how they prefer their life over mine. Give me a break. Their jealousy is too obvious.
I tried to cut through the early retirement mystery last week.It’s about thinking through the non-financial aspect of retirement, selfish or not..
Early retirement or financial independence means more choices! Not being tied to a paycheck is a nice feeling. If you are running away from a crummy career or job, it will always be a bad decision. If your focus is truly on yourself, it is selfish. Goals should be formed in everyone involved because it affects everyone.
The ideal age for retirement is around forty because you are young enough to still enjoy that freedom. Who wants to wait until a more standard retirement age when you are in your late sixties.
The bull market may make more people financially independent because it raises wealth and encourages IPOs.
Nope, sorry. You seem to be defining early retirement as lounging in a hammock. Early retirement for me and my spouse meant financial independence and financial freedom. Free to do whatever we wanted without worrying about money. Our desire for freedom and options didn’t make your list. Time is precious though, so I’d cosign #5.
Regarding the dangers of early retirement, re: “oops, you change your mind”, we were self-employed so that doesn’t affect us. If we change our mind, we can simply rehire ourselves and go back into business. The great thing about being self-employed, besides being the easiest way to amass wealth: Your boss loves you.
“Lose touch with friends and family”? Seriously? Because they’re busy living their own lives no matter what *you* are up to. And if you’re retired, you have the time to make plans, cook meals, make a home where friends and family love to gather. It enhances your social life, no doubt about it. There is *more* time to be with the ones you love.
Raising children too expensive as early retirees? Nope. We have two children and we retired in our 40s.
“You’ll lose your self-respect and the respect of others”? Ha ha. Nope. Here’s a nugget of wisdom for you: Doing so well with your finances that you can retire early is actually a boost to your self-esteem. Being able to then turn your mind toward tackling the things that really, truly matter to you? Boost. Having time to learn? Boost. Having time to contribute to society? Boost. As far as the respect of others, again I think you must be imagining a guy in a hammock with a scruff of beard who just swills beer all day, but as far as *myself*, I lead a life that is respected by my children and my loved ones, and those are the only opinions that matter to me. As far as the guy who thinks I should be sweating it in a 9-to-5 job instead of following my dreams, I don’t respect him, so the feeling is mutual.
As far as early retirement being selfish, that’s ridiculous. If you work because you want to work, are you selfish? Are the only unselfish people the ones who are forced onto a path that they don’t want to be on? I retired early because I succeeded — at my business and at managing my personal finances. I now invest my time in my family, in learning, in doing, in creating, and in contributing to society. Is that selfish?
Feeling a bit pessimistic these days? Ready to go back to working a 60 hour week and feeling you need to justify it to yourself?
I am retired and enjoying it. We chose to retire–although not that early 53 and 60. We find ways to continue to add to the world- like taking care of our family while everyone else is too busy working. See- we don’t believe in nursing homes.
Since my mother never worked outside the house and is still kicking at 81 and his father and grandfather both retired at 60 and 58 and lived well into their 90’s….I think it will be ok. You can check on us around 2030. We will still, probably, be eating homegrown tomatoes and fishing on the lake!
My position was eliminated two years ago (must have been a sub-optimal performer). Spent about a week looking over my financial situation and decided that at 55 I didn’t need to work anymore (divorced, no kids). I’ve looked for work, but I haven’t found anything I’m really excited about. The thing I’ve found is that people don’t really care what you do or don’t do for a living. Get over yourself. I’ve had a wonderful time. I eat healthier, get more exercise, more rest, feel much better and more relaxed. I’ve spent real quality time with my family, friends and hobbies. I’ve met a wonderful woman and fallen in love. I wouldn’t go back to my old job (stress, two hour commute) for anything and am thankful that I was given this opportunity. Maybe I’ll go back to some kind of work some day. It would have to be something really interesting though. I just don’t need the money – and that is a very nice feeling.
Montrose, I’m glad getting eliminated 2 years ago helped you see the light! Congrats on your retirement. If you’ve got the money, you’re 55, and the average life expectancy is 79, then by all means, stop working and doing something else.
What an amazingly negative article. Full of extreme of the old Protestant ethic” system of shoulds and shouldn’ts. And so wrong on all of the over-generalized points.
I’m in my third year of retirement after 40 years of teaching. Gave it all I had – left because I could and was burned out from “realizing my potential”. Have enough (diversified) savings that i can live off of interest if need be (haven’t started collecting SS yet).
Most friends (of which I still have a rich network) are impressed with how much younger my stress-diminished Me is.
And this family issue? Who is likely (maybe a few rare ones) to retire so early as to make child-bearing an issue? Me? My wife and I are totally savoring the extra time we have with grandchildren.
It sounds like the writer is just a cynical, over-opiniated young’un who is glad to knock something before trying it. What a sad approach to life, whether you are retired or not.
I think the writer is just pointing out that not everybody can be successful and achieve their full potential, so it’s OK to give up early. I wouldnt worry about it so much.
I found your list of “dangers” to be a lot of bunk. I retired in 2008 at age 45 and it was the BEST thing to happen to me in my life. I hated the commute, even 2 or 3 days a week, so I had to make that zero days a week. I will never change my mind.
I won’t run out of money. All I have to do is make it to age 60 intact (12 more years now) when I can tap into the first of my “reinforcements” (Social Security, unfettered access to my IRA, company’sfrozen pension). I have health insurance and upped my car insurance limits last year.
I have not lost touch with local friends and family. In fact, being retired has made it easier to get together with them with my added availability.
Starting a family? I am childfree so I never wanted to have kids of my own. Your “What if you change your mind?” is an insult (“bingo”) to us childfree. Wold you ever ask a similar question to someone who wants to start a family? (“What if you change your mind and regret having thrown away your chance of an early retirement?)
I have my volunteer work to keep me busy, activities I began when I was working part-time for 7 years and can now do more of it and do it more easily without that work “nuisance” getting in the way all the time.
I’m happy to hear there’s no truth to my arguments and therefore greatly looking forward to hanging up my boots at 45!
So Sammy Samurai, you keep saying that you’re dying to retire at 45 but you’ve not said how old you are now??
I’m curious, how old are you?
I’m 47, work for a public school district, but I am not teaching, currently I am an Instructional Specialist so I get a tease every year of what it’s like to be retired, at least for the summer, anyway.
I’ll admit that I get bored during August, and I want to go back and do something, but not go back work full time!! I’m blessed NOT to have the 2 most expensive personal items in the world: a wife, or children. Both are an incredible albatross around one’s neck and massive consumers of personal energy and resources!! instead I have boyfriend who has an executive position!!
It really sucks when I’m driving along Kelly Drive to one of the schools I monitor, and I see some Hot guy having the luxury of logging serious miles cycling along the esplanade on the drive.
It just seems do deliciously luxurious!!!
One thing I have to mention, is why did you not include in your warning about early retirement to have one’s house paid off, or consider selling, and buying a duplex or triplex, to have passive income with no mortgage payment? Also selling car!! No insurance and No gas$$$ to pay!!
I intend to retire around 51- 52. (basically 4 years) I’m willing to take a penalty in my State pension. My father got his first heart attack at 51 and totally bit the dust at 58, his father before him died at 43, and so on.
So I figure I might last til about 66- maybe 68 if I am lucky. SO the sooner I can finish my Sentence, (Yes I consider working a Sentence like one would get for murder or something) the BEtter!!!
As for giving back to the community or doing something great: guess what, it’s NOT all that great!!!
My life with the School District has been working with the Poor!!! Poor people suck!!! I hate them!! They’re demanding and obnoxious!! I come from the working classes but I rose to achieve a master’s degree so I would consider myself part of the Intelligencia, now.
Working class people at least know their place and know how to behave!! The poor should be forced to work to do something for their money!!
I’m much more interested in dogs!! THEY are my charity!! They are at least appreciative of getting things for free!!
Thanks for stopping by. I’m 36 this year and decided to take a leap of faith and retire last Spring 2012! Pretty gutsy eh? Have a read of this post: https://www.financialsamurai.com/2012/07/08/taking-a-leap-of-faith-retiring-on-own-terms/
I thought I would work until 40, but found the love of the internet as an X Factor which allowed me to accelerate my early retirement by 6 years. This post on the Dark Side of Early Retirement is my post to make sure I’m not missing anything BEFORE I made my decision.
Here is a 1 year old passive income report which shows what I live off. I’ll be updating the post shortly. Take a look: https://www.financialsamurai.com/2012/04/16/achieve-financial-freedom-slice/
Spend time reading my archives. All your answers will be found!
Way late here, but nobody else has said it. Women aren’t all bad! Poor people aren’t all bad! Turns out both are just people! I know a lot of rich, male jerks myself.
My wife is awesome and at least as thrifty as me. We are achieving FI together (right about now actually) and both enjoy our careers and plan to keep working in some reduced capacity. We’re both early 30s.
Don’t forget a middle ground – working less… I just negotiated my own pay cut in exchange for more increase of vacation time from 5 to 7 weeks and ability to work from home or exotic locales. When I deduct the tax, it will only have about 7-8% impact on my take home pay, yet I get to enjoy the life and my job (which I love) even more.
I will work to my grave and would come to work even if I won lottery (which I do not play), but I would not judge those who do retire early. If it makes them happy, and they are not living off social assistance, they should go for it. And, by the way, most of the mortals can make much bigger impact through unpaid work then their job. Take for example stay-at-home moms (and dads) or those volunteering to feed the hungry and heal the sick. They can make more difference in one year than I can managing my company for 30 years.
My retirement goal is different – I want to save enough so that i do not have to work when I am 50 if I chose not to (for example if I get sick, or can’t find work I like etc).
Good points! I know someone who retired early in his 40’s, but became extremely bored within a couple of years. All of his friends still worked, so he really had no one to do anything with except for much older retirees.
I agree with the saying – find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.
This is such a thoughtful and interesting blog/thread. I found it by googling “early retirement good idea” because I have reason to hope I will be offered early retirement in about 4 months at age 55 (which is early by my standards though I know you are thinking of doing it much earlier), and I am looking for encouragement. In my organization I have been successful, promoted, etc. but do not learn much substantively any more, and when I am not learning I am not fulfilled – even though I am stressed by a ton of work, I feel bored. With many employers trying to get by with fewer people, I am sure many have reached a point when leaving is an act of self-preservation. I cannot wait to use my energy and intellect for things that interest me, like college courses and volunteer work (probably as a tutor). I would like to encourage you and others to make changes in your work life sooner rather than later if you are not happy. While it was necessary for me to work these years to amass what I need to retire, I wish I had done it somewhere else – by the time I hit 50, it would have made zero sense financially to leave because of a very good pension plan, so I stuck it out. But whether it is retirement or just a job switch at age 45, I’d say that’s a very good age to make a change if you can. As to whether it is selfish to retire young – I agree with those who say you are doing a good thing by creating an opportunity for someone else to work. Indeed, I think many twenty- and thirty-somethings probably wish we boomers would get out of the way. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Hi Jennifer, welcome to Financial Samurai! Glad the search engine brought you here. I wouldn’t leave my job at 50, if I knew at 55 I had a juicy pension waiting for me either! I would just take all my vacations and then some every year until then.
I think you will enjoy your retirement in 4 months. 55 is a great age to go explore and do whatever it is you want to do!
All the best! Sam
Not selfish at at, there are a lot of good things that can be done in retirement. Non-profit work, spending more time with the family, pursuing a dream, etc.
I think people should retire before someone else tell them they have to. Do it on your own terms.
Well said .. from top to bottom.
Is early retirement selfish?
I used to want to do just that. In June 2002 I did just that, but went into business (co-owner w/father). Despite that working very well, and even not-so-well … I realized that I wanted to do something more. I probably would have needed to get back to work anyway. Money doesn’t grow in/on trees, unless you have the right fertilizer. Either way, it’s still work. My caste is not blue (as in blood).
I agree with the “wishes” of early retirement you mentioned. But then … as I sat around for a year or 3 … spending money, not making it … I started wondering and asking myself questions. “Why?” “Why me?” Almost self pity when I look back. Looking at others who “did the dream” and it not working out so rosily (?) (rose-e-lee?), I saw people who lost self respect. Those who’ve never been there, can’t see it coming. Depression, self doubts, even worse (for some).
I think everyone will work until they die. The key is to find/DO something that you love. Something that makes you want to do it everyday. Learn it inside and out. Be all you can be … only push yourself to be better. I found life to be a lot like the markets (financial markets) … utter chaos. But there are repeating patterns. meaning, you can make something out of nothing. You can change your mind. you can still retire from the RAT Race. Just stop racing around with rats. (Maybe you are in the wrong profession? .. is what comes to mind). One might reinvent themselves many times over the course of their life, including those years when others are saying, “I want to be retired, and not working at my job when I’m [that] age.” If this were the 1940’s – 1960’s and we were near that “early retirement age” as touted by so many … then yes, maybe you would collect a pension, have a second home in Venice Florida (or wherever). In the early 60’s I was still in elementary skool. :)
If a person loves their work, why would they retire? (unless some health issue said, enjoy what you got left kiddo … or your parents left you a huge amount of money — $10million+ and you are 40+ now). Even then, you’ll still want to work, or find a way to get that money working .. which means you’ll be working. With or without that windfall, you’ll want to keep working … and (imo of course), they (anyone wishing early retire) just doesn’t know it yet.
Boredom. I remember boredom. Sitting out around a pool, reading books from my favorite authors. Sleeping later. That got old quick, and my authors don’t write as fast as I read.
Someone mentioned “forced retirement.” Maybe that was doing that person a favor? They can still go back to work, if they like. they can change the type of work they were doing. They can open up a taco stand and only work breakfast and lunch crowds. They can use their mind to keep “thinking” instead of going brain dead along with their health from stagnation. Retiring without money coming in … is just that. The balance sheet gets smaller, not larger.
But, what if (a scenario), you started buying real estate or had enough dividends coming in to live off of? Anything that generated income, right? Or a business was generating money (you owned 2/burger kings making YOU $$80K?Yr. after everything else is paid? You see, you might be retired, but you are still working … and better yet, your money is working for you … even tho’ you are still managing it in whatever ways/means necessary. IMO (again), no one (in the normal so-called middle class range) will ever retire and just graze the golf course, like the uber-wealthy do. But … even they still work, managing their money. They just do it with aggressive abandon. They love to do it. There’s a payoff to it. And I’ll bet they don’t sleep until noon. Instead, they’re up early, reading the latest news, getting involved. Learning more. Some might call that “Work!” LOL. There’s always time to golf, or bowl, or sail, or surf the net, and even … do nothing at all. These people still work, just not for the same reasons most of the population does.
I wish I had the formula for “make it easy for me .. ‘cause I want to be lazy from here on out!” Retiring early is not that easy. J Especially if one does something they really like to do. Go ahead, force me to retire …. I won’t stop trying to find “the next thing.” (sorry for the long post – maybe I could’ve condensed this some? The abridged version? Ha! Passionate topic for me as I’ve tried to retire early, but life, or God, or whatever it is, has a way of saying “not yet!”)
Thanks for sharing your incredibly thorough thoughts! Always good to hear different perspectives. At what age have you “started to retire” and how did you know this was the right time?
I was 44 when I started to retire … from working for someone else. A distinct difference compared to just “stop working.”
The industry I work in (O&G) is just “giving away” too much money right now to NOT be working and making premium $’s at this time. I can still manage trading (part time vs. fulltime). And despite the downturn in 2008, there is always money to make (alittle OT with that but …) and here’s something people can do their research into … and don’t wait too long … anything regarding natural resources, or comes out of the ground, is going to be the next bubble. And it’s got a way to go. Depite what Gold is doing, SIlver is has been the best bang for the buck. WHether it’s futures, miners, or you buy bars & rounds (I have #2 and #3, and for some time now). Selling portions at highs, buying back at lows (highs lows are based purely on technical data, NOT financials). Even tho’ I am now working, my money works for me, and I also do something I love and it pays quite well (at the job I;m working at now).
Find a way to get your money working for you. Learn the markets, or learn everything there is to know about real estate, or what it takes to run a specialty business (restaurant, etc, etc.) … and once learned, yo have an edge-up on everyone else who just “works for money to pay their bills.” Married, Single, with or w/o kids … you can do it if it’s a burning enough desire. DOn’t expect miracles or overnight success’ … but expect changes in the way you see “things.” Especially in yourself and the way you view possibilities/probabilities. Everyone wants to retire early … but if the opportunities are there … don’t stop working. Instead, leverage what you know, have learned from past mistakes and success’ and make it work for you. If I knew what I knew now back in my 20’s? I would probably not know what to do with it. HA!
Sam, your thoughts about why people want to retire early are very true. All of those and probably more… related to the same theme. As mentioned in post below, retire on your own terms. Just be wise and think ahead. Retire at 45, but living until 72+ yrs. old? Hopefully that person is a trust fund baby, otherwise it’s slim pickings. I do know some much older folks who work in grocery stores, WalMarts, etc… they are well set for retirement, but they just want to “be around people” and still have the health to be able to keep mobile.
Sam, you asked, “How did I know it was the right time?” Truthfully, I didn’t. But took a chance (went into business w/Father @ 75/25% .. I do all the work, he spends all the money, and why that didn’t work out as planned, but another learning experience). What I learned was that despite wanting to retire and do something I loved, it’s still work to keep the money growing, and keeping a sane head doing it. I’m still not where I want to be from a retirement standpoint. Not like the unreal visions I originally had. I know I want to keep working, but doing something I enjoy doing (like now). P/T Trading (Swing, Core) and working fulltime is almost like having ones cake and eating it too. With great health benefits at that! I am not medicare age – not for awhile – but retiring early isn’t a good plan if you aren’t using (literally) someone elses benefit plan.
It’s hard to understand the want to keep working … until one has been there, done that. One day … many will understand that in full detail. By then, hopefully it won’t be too late for them to change “their plan.” Happy Friday! Keep up the great work! >:
“If a person loves their work, why would they retire?”
I completely agree with this! That said, for the “average” worker, there is a natural progression for job satisfaction: high interest, low abiity -> high interest, high ability -> low interest, high ability -> low interest, low ability. There are a minority of workers that stay in the “high interest, high ability” box for their entire multi-decade career. I think it is actually healthy for both the employee and their company to have the employee change jobs or retire within a few years once the “low interest, high ability”. Many young people are not aware of this natural progression, which is one reason why it is important to save for an early retirement even if it never happens.
Hello again, Sam.
Personally, I’m intending to retire by 55, i.e, in the next few years (enough info there.)
I am not counting on Social Security doing much for me by age 65 and I have saved carefully during my 30+ year career. Fortunately, there will be something available in 2014 for acquiring health care should I have trouble obtaining it through other channels.
I think people must be prepared to be forced into retirement, or into the ‘part time/low paid/no continuity’ phase of their careers once they hit fifty. As I always harp on the fact that there are too many people competing for too many resources, including jobs, this should not come as a surprise. Older employees are edged out through many means, and companies know when you hit 50 your needs for medical care go up.
So, my message is: “Early retirement is likely to not be a choice. Once you’re in your fifties, be prepared to lose your job and not be able to get one that provides as well for you going forward.” It’s what we’ve planned on for the last few decades.
Also, I came across this really neat article that clearly expresses what’s going on in the USA in terms of income inequality. Basically, the current state of things is awful, D.C. is bought and paid, and most importantly, the trends are dreadful.
take care, save your money.
55 sounds like a great time to retire, but I have no idea really since I’m not there yet. Very good insight on “forced retirement” at 50. I believe that what you say probably does occur, even though it might to be overt. That really sounds like good advice. What is your age currently?
I’m pretty sure there will still be Social Security, just not 100% benefits that those are getting today. I think so long as people ate being productive in their early retirement, they have a chance of doing whatever they want.
Good point. I think the retirement age will get earlier, b/c people have less to look out for. And, life gets better ironically, as do people’s finances!
I’m glad you brought this back out, Sam. So here I am, off from work for two weeks now as I transition from my old city to another due to my job; I’m still getting paid and will still continue to get paid for the next two weeks that I will be off–a hefty amount if I may add.
I have no other responsibilities other than the daily house chores and driving my son off to school every morning, and putting up with my annoying cat. But do you know what I do in between the time that my son is at school and then comes home? Things that I would much rather do than work, whether I enjoyed my job or not.
What’s that? I need to purchase something from Wally world? I’ll just get it a 1pm when no one else is around. Oh what’s that, a tune up for my vehicle? No long weekend rush to get behind. etc. etc. Retirement is not about being bored. It’s about freedom of choice. Hell, traveling the world is only a bonus. When I eventually retire, with hopefully no children in the house, I’m going to sleep my ass off, wake up, watch Dr. Oz, blog, read, work-out, and blog some more.
Retirement is what one makes it, it’s not necessarily about being “stupid rich.”
I hope retirement will be everything you want it to be. KrantCents wrote an interesting post where he talked about not being emotionally ready the first go around. I thought that was quite insightful.
I also run my own company and because of this, retiring early is not as big of a wish as it was when I worked for someone else.
While I hope to not have to put in the same amount of hours as I do now, I think I will continue to contribute past my 40’s. Both my father and grandfathers worked way into their late 60’s, early 70’s, but this was because they enjoyed what they did.
This is why I think your first point on not finding the right job is so important.
Retiring early may have its flaws but it has its privileges as well. It is a personal choice which should come with proper consideration of so many things. Be it financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically. What ever people may say, an article like this could only let you see what options and choices you have. You cannot box retirement to either good or bad.
Let me know when you find that $80K/year hiking job, I’d be in! ;) As for retiring early, it’s not an option for me right now. I’m going to have to stick it out at least until 60, thankfully I like what I do.
Nope, haven’t found that job that pays me to hike in the morning and get massages in the afternoon yet! One day though!
Can you imagine if our blogs lasted for the next 20 years? We could easily retire from our blogs by then imo!
I think it is kind of selfish, but then again, what isnt? When people go on a diet, who are they really doing it for? Sometimes they say they want to be healthy because of their family or kids or whatever, but they may just want to get healthy so they can look and feel better about themselves.
I also think that people who want to retire may not have found the right think to do yet. Like Do Not Wait, I dont know if I’ll ever “retire” in the sense that a lot of people think retirement means sitting around and playing bridge. I cant ever see myself doing that- I’d get too damn bored. Even though it may not pay well, (or pay at all) I’d still like to be doing something active. Right now, I just need to keep my health up so that I can transition to that later in life.
Yeah, I get pretty damn bored too if I’m not creating something and making the most of the day. I do believe after 10 more years working though, I’d like to do everything 50% less as I’m sure I’ll burn out.
Your last sentence is exactly what I’m talking about. I hope we all get there one day.
People wants to retire early so they will be able to enjoy life with no worries. There is nothing wrong about it. It is a normal human instinct. But you need to work for your retirement. You need enough money or even start with a good business early in your life.
Why not have a great time living while you are working?
Your question gave me an idea for a post. I realized many people prepare for the financial side of retirement, but few prepare for the changes that occur naturally in retirement. It is already published as you read this. Thank you for your question and comments.
For me, it was an achievement of a goal I set out at 31 years old. I knew I did not want to work for someone forever. At age thirty-eight, I was a full time entrepreneur. It was everything I thought it would be and more! Was it selfish? No, because my wife and I discussed it extensively before I took the leap. Our lifestyle actually improved, because I had more freedom. In many ways, late thirties is an ideal age for this kind of career change. Young enough to enjoy the opportunities that are available and energetic enough for the additional responsibilities. I thought I picked the perfect time to strike out on my own. Although I returned to the working world, I have no regrets. I was able to do what few have accomplished.
Success in the market has little to do with a desire to be financial independent. A bull market may make it easier to retire or to become financially independent. That entrepreneurial spirit is there or it is not. It is what drives people to success.
Good to hear about your entrepreneurial endeavors at 38. How long were you an entrepreneur for, and at what age did you return to the “working world”? Why did you return to the working world, and could you have retired and never work again at 45 or 50 years old?
I agree about late 30’s, early 40’s even being a good time to strike it out on your own.
Thanks for the insight.
It was seven years later (45 yrs. old) when I returned to the working world. I returned because I was bored! I was not prepared for retirement and it was not stimulating enough for me. The income from my income property was sufficient to maintain a certain level of comfort. The business became a drain emotionally and financially. I ended up selling it all off and invested the proceeds in the stock market. I have no regrets!
I am much more prepared emotionally and mentally to retire this time. I am preparing now starting this blog, starting volunteering, downsized home, children are grown and a much lower lifestyle. My income stream is fixed and guaranteed and my retirement savings will create a very comfortable standard of living. Truly passive earnings versus active earnings.
Ah, I see! One of the fears I have of retiring early is boredom too.
It’s interesting how you say you are more emotionally prepared this time. What is one or two things I should emotionally prepare for if I retire? I just wrote out a post for Yakezie.com discussing how to decide when to retire. I didn’t know the answer until the very end… I love writing b/c of these self discoveries.
At first thought, early retirement is not selfish if you have a family. I’m guessing most people want to build a big enough nest egg to take care and enjoy the world with their families. However, for those who don’t have familes, what’s wrong with seizing the day and living their lives to the fullest? On second thought, you do have a great point about parents slaving away… Two birds with one stone, retire early enough so you can treat your parents for the sacrifices they have made. Dunno if there is an ideal age. 50? Reach your potential, but still be healthy enough to enjoy your free time? When is the right time? I’m sure you’ll know… With a raging bull market, definitely less people will retire early. Most people are naturally greedy so of course they have to fully partake in the money grab! :)
I just started working in my early 40s; (due to being a Stay at Home Mom after graduating college) and I’ll be 50 in April..
I plan on working for as long as I can…and I’m not bored yet of working outside the house.
I am rereading the book Your Money Or Your LIfe… and the authors retired early; but then did volunteer work; including donating all the money from that book and other work to charity.
If you never read the book it is a KEEPER… it is by Joe Dominguez and Vickie Robins. It is about reaching Financial Independent to not have to work.. well, not have to work for MONEY.
I think perhaps the problem here lies in the definition of “retirement”. I never understand this idea that if you’re not trading your life for money you’re somehow just sitting around twittling your thumbs or watching TV all day! Is the only persuit in life selling your soul for money? I haven’t had a “job” in years and I’m busier than I’ve ever been… but it’s all stuff I LOVE, and I’m able to make a much bigger contribution to society now than when I had to work 80 hours a week and was constantly exhausted.
Perhaps it’s different in Europe where sanity prevails, but here in America, the schedule that most employers expect is just not sustainable for a normal human being. To me, no amount of money is worth the constant exhaustion that being employed required. Eventhough I really loved the organization that I worked for, it was a choice between having a job or having a life, and I chose life!
I just think that once you can get to a point of financial security, you’re able to devote your time and energy to things that matter so much more than acquiring more stuff that you “need” because you’re too exhausted to do anything for yourself.
Just my 2 cents.
Rebecca: I’m with you!
I agree with you Rebecca. I have put up with so many people that concept you stated about the only way to stay busy trading your life for money. I don’t get it I am really shaking my head at these people. There are so many things to do out there. Having the freedom to come and go and do what makes you happy is a problem???? No such thing??? unbelievable.
Kirsi, I’d like to leave this world still busy with action, too. But if I had to rethink about my retirement, I would still choose to retire early. I am glad that I am retired now because I have been able to do things meaningful and enjoyable in the last two years.
Someone has said “I feel rich because I do not need much.” I too feel rich because I do not need much, and my husband takes me on vacations once in a while. :O)
If one enjoys what one is doing and has a good work environment, one should stay as long as he/she wishes. American Civil Service does allow CS employees to work as long as they want if I remember correctly.
Glad you retired early Suzan and have done some great things over the past two years! Also good to hear your husband is treating you well and going on good vacations :) Gotta live life to the fullest!
great it has worked for you! I’ve heard many stories where the transition has not been so smooth – and then many who do love their choise.
I could imagine my mother would love to retire early. She did have a sabbatical a few years ago. She’s a gardener, and guess what she did the entire sabbatical…cultivated her own garden. She won’t have trouble to fill her days in retirement.
But there are other stories, too. My husband knows an elderly man who refereed football for years and travelled even aged 70 years about 100 days a year. Then one day FIFA announced that he should no longed do that as he’s way past the retirement age. Two years later, he does not know his own name. They literally took his life away.
In the end, it is about having that feeling that you are living up to your potential, according to your values, and have a reason to wake up each day.
Kirsi, It’s amazing that you knew what you wanted to do so early in your life. I am seeing, in my mind, someone with very clear vision, striving to live a life to its fullest! What a beautiful and encouraging scene for everyone else to see and to follow!
I am sad for the football referee though. He would have been very happy if he were allowed to do what he had the passion for until he couldn’t do it anymore.
I have never had any desire to retire at 45. In fact, I’ve always thought that I would love to to leave this world while still busy with action.
I know, I’m one of those suckers who just love their profession. And yes, there are times when whatever I’m doing starts to feel like burden. Thats a signal that I need to switch, start a new business, or get another hobby.
To be honest, all this early-retirement-stuff on the web baffles me. What on earth are you going to do with your life with nothing to do? I understand the early retirement only in the sense that you free yourself from 9-to-5 (model that so far has suited me well since otherwise I’d start slacking) and do something else, productive. Any human being needs a goal, a feeling of purpose, something to strive for. You do not need to start a new superbusiness (though for some that’s the way to go): for some, writing travel books or living off a farm or doing whatever feels right is, well, right. Without that vision, early retirement becomes the grave while you’re still alive.
I do thing we need to rethink retirement. Working part-time should be norm for older people. Starting up businesses should be easier. Having a year off should be easier, and it could replace those pitiful weeks every now and then we call vacation. (One friend just did that – and he did have to threaten to leave the company for good before getting a sabbatical.)
But whatever you do, DO. That’s the only way to be happy.
I also find this discussion about “should or should not work be the thing rocking your boat” absurd. It simply shows how narrow our definition of work has become. And I do thing many people would find jobs that feel better than whatever they do now – even if that would not be their passion – if they thought at least a little outside a box.
That said, if one can keep work as work and find fulfillment elsewhere, who am I to disagree?
Hi Kirsi – What is it that you do for a living? Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones blessed with doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do?
Well, I must admit I’m one of those suckers doing exactly what they got excited about at 11 :) My field is IT, the tech side, which may or may not come as a surprise…I still remember browsing through all the it mags in the local library, and coding evenings at home (secretly, as admitting such a passion would have been a social suicide;)
I think one reason I still love to work is the fact that there are plenty of things to choose from in my field. I started out of passion for coding: later, after finding interest in business and communication, I was able to start giving lectures and work on a business of my own.
Another reason why I still love my work is that I don’t overdo it. As an European, I’ve enjoyed full 4-5 weeks of vacation each year – in my current company, where I am a partner, hours are even more flexible. I do work hard when I need to, but at some point, one must stop to breathe.
I’ve also played the mom card: in my country, you can have paid leave of up to 9 months. I only used 6, and let my husband keep the rest. I used the free time (surprisingly enough, there’s free time when baby is small) to read into a new topics of interest: politics, economics, and environment. I also started blogging about those issues. If we get another, we might move abroad for the duration of the leave.
I think work is considered too narrowly. People change, and interests change. One must be ready to change what they do when that becomes a burden. (There are always times in life when something does not feel exciting – sometimes the feeling passes, and sometimes you need to change the assignment, the job, or even the entire profession.) I’ve had my share of feelings about not being in the right place, and then I’ve done something about it.
I’m not saying you could not follow your passion while no longer working. For me, it simply gives the structure in my life that I’d otherwise miss (4 weeks, and I’ve always been more than eager to get back to work). Maybe less lazy people work this dilemma better…
Kirsi – It is a different world in the US. We only have 3 months maternity leave max, and vacations are less. Europeans are lucky, and I guess Greece is changing that by making Europeans work longer and harder now.
BTW, your comments get caught in the comment/spam filter and are all there. I just need to release them. The system should learn.
Another Dark Side to early retirement is that the risk of outliving your money could increase. You’ll want to make sure your savings will allow you to enjoy those relaxing years. Daniel Solin’s article offers guidelines on retirement planning to help your money outlive you. https://bit.ly/9n0SJ3
I have to disagree with the statement of our monetary system is bad. Take away govt intrusion and all these social programs and you will see the “free market” start working at it’s best. I’m liberal capitalist and an economist at heart. The capitalist system works just fine. Look at how some people can retire, new talented individuals opening their own companies, being better educated etc. When we stop stuffing people into a dependency cacoon and let their genius and creativity flourish you will see a whole new person. Retirement isn’t in any way selfish. No one owes anyone anything. Those who are persistent are rewarded and if I had to reward the “not so persistent workers” the amount or perks, what’s the point of me working so hard? It’s true not many people work because they want to and not because they have to. It’s not that easy, then again maybe it is. It’s all a matter of perspective. Those who criticize early retirement forget that we are not retiring to our bedrooms but to the conquering of the rest of our lives, be that what may be.
Read up on Adam Smith, see what you get out of it. Russell Roberts is another good economist also.
If I hadn’t the ability to retire early, I wouldn’t have the business I have now and that business is employing several other business and their employees. So early retirement isn’t about being idle but creative. Put a man in a room with nothing but a desk and a notebook and by the end of the day the man would’ve made himself a job to do. The mind needs to be constantly challenge. That’s what retirement to me is all about.
Wow… I find it really fascinating that people see such a distinct line between being employed and being retired. Have you considered the idea that there’s a lot of grey area in between? There are plenty of ways to make money without “having a job”.
I haven’t been employed for 3.5 years, and I actually think that if you average it across the past 10 years or so my income has gone up… and I KNOW that my stress level has gone down.
I would encourage everybody to get beyond the “selling your soul to the company” model of life. Just a thought…
Yours in Frugal Green-ness,
Rebecca The Greeniac
.-= Rebecca The Greeniac´s last blog ..The Cable has been Cut! No More Comcast! =-.
Is there a chance that you didn’t make too in your day job? I ask because it is quite rare to make more online or by yourself than a typical $40-50K/yr day job. Thnx for your insights.
Well, I did work in the non-profit world so I didn’t have an enormous salary. But actually, I made nearly $100K online the first year I did it. It’s dropped off significantly, but mostly becaues I got lazy. I live on less than $20K annually, so it just wasn’t worth it to me to work so hard.
Gotcha, thanks for the insights Rebecca. Making $90-100K online is a GREAT feat that is not easy to do! To be able to live off $20k annual is also another good thing I give you props for. I think 50K/yr for the two of us would work well, provided we don’t have rent or a mortgage.
I’m 53 M, had to take an early retirement due to neck, shoulders, elbows, and low back, all surgeries, 13 in all, which left me unable to work in the very large GE factory, that I had worked hard at for 20 years, and was given the opportunity to take a disability retirement, or, be put on a job that there was no possible way I could do, and be fired, so I chose the lower paying way. Now after 1 1/2 years, during which my wife had 2 very serious surgeries, and which I would not have been able to take care of without being off, I am bored, fell worthless, and need a purpose to get up in the morning. And, going from $45000 a year to $24000 a year, and no security they they won’t suddenly say, “we believe you’re able to work now, and your Permanent Disability IS BEING CANCELLED.” Or that, the Social Security you’ve applied for, has been denied! Please if anyone could give me a hint, or a nod in the right direction to be able to make real money online, please help! I want to feel like a man again! And we truly could use the extra income we lost, when I had to take the disability retirement. Thank You, God Bless
I actually seem to manage just fine on about $20K and I still have a $500/month mortgage, but it will soon (hopefully) be paid off! Perhaps there is a fringe benefit to living most of your adult life surrounded by starving musicians!
Indeed! Since you are a self proclaimed eco-maniac, where do you live may I ask? I highlighted “loving the earth” as one of the key things about West Coast living. Love to hear your thoughts on the subject!
Selfish?!? What’s wrong with selfish? Are we only here to be slaves to society and submit to its whims? Why not work fewer years than you went to school. Did your mother and father work so hard educating you to see you grow up and be a drone, working away your life feeling shamed at thoughts of self, or did they want you to be happy?
Retirement isn’t about social status, obligations to society or standards of living. We accept certain changes to our lifestyles to avoid work. Even doing what you love if fraught with compromises when you do it for others. Ignorant management, bad bosses, corporate policy, government regulation, etc. get in the way. Retirement, especially early retirement, allows us to do what we love for it’s own sake. The freedom retirement brings can far outweigh the perceived negatives, allowing us to pursue out life on our terms.
Dan, sorry you have such anger. Don’t worry, I’m pretty happy go lucky. I just think it’s a shame people don’t recognize their full potential. What’s wrong with selfish is that it’s selfish. Others could use your helping hand. Try it out sometime, then you wouldn’t be so angry.
Sometimes people do have to stop working at something they really enjoy – if their health won’t allow for them to do so. This can happen with age, despite the best intentions and management of one’s health.
It is great for folks to have the OPTION to work as long/short as they want to. Its that type of control that having money can provide. Invest early, invest often, actively manage your assets and let compounding lead the way. Then your options open up later in life. Sound so easy, right? :)
I do like this post and topic – thought provoking.
.-= Squirrelers´s last blog ..Remember Rule #1 – Don’t Lose Money =-.
Retiring early is a good hedge against bad health. It’s part of the reason why I want to retire early. What if I get really ill at 60.. at least I’ll have 15+ years to enjoy something before my health deteriorates. One never knows.
Early retirement holds its pros and cons. But I personally was not in favor of early retirement from the beginning when this ideology came up. One of elder cousins is working with a big MNC having very good salary. He planned to retire early (around the age of 45) and in doing so he is not able to dedicate any time for his family. Also what early retirement does is that when we are completely skilled after a certain age and experience, we waste all those efforts we put to get those skills. In fact that is best time to yield all the benefits of those hard efforts put in.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit recently, especially after I was unemployed for about a month, which was horribly boring! I’m not so sure I’d like to retire early, but just have the option, which is why I like living below my means. I think you bring up a lot of good points including that the lifestyle design movement may shrink if more people are gainfully employed rather than sitting in front of their laptops.
What kind of things would you like to be doing when you hit age 45?
.-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Adding Content To Your Travel Site – Waikiki Site =-.
I think at age 45, I’d like to do a lot of charity work overseas, instead of just in the US.
What I think man cannot be retired at any age in life. He always have something to do , he can stop earning but still he will need money and it become quite difficult for him to get it from some else. Mostly what i think those people retire early those who either have some hidden mean or some earning coming easy or some one helping him in his loving.
.-= Search with in´s last blog ..3rd Time i failed to get google Adsense Ads =-.
Under a bulky amount of assumption in this article, I see an unrefined sense that retirement does not mean one quits having life purpose. Working to earn does not = purpose. Working for purpose does = contentment. Define the difference in your own life, chase the dream, work your tail off, and don’t forget to be happy and content in whatsoever situation and/or circumstance befalls you.
.-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..DFA Link Rally: I Have a Week Off =-.
I guess my point was that if a happy person can be made to be unhappy simply by removing one activity from their life, that is sad. If someone has complete dependence on one aspect of their life for making them happy, I suggest they are not very well-rounded.
As far as the paycheck, I think that is a very good reason to work. Most people need to work because of that little thing called making ends meet, which I fully understand.
.-= Retired Syd´s last blog ..Book Winners =-.
It’s a myth that every single person can find meaning in work, can do what they care about passionately for money. All that serves to do is make people feel bad for doing a normal job.
People who don’t want to retire are the people with the problems, frankly, b/c they can’t think of anything to do with their time besides work. Their only social outlet is their job (losers), they have no hobbies (losers), and the only way they can feel productive is by doing someone else’s bidding (losers).
Retiring from paid employment is simply going back to the way humans were meant to live. Taking care of business (food, clothing, and shelter) and having fun. I work in the medical field, so therefore, my work is “meaningful,” for what that’s worth. But if I had a choice to either run lab tests all day or do one of more of the following all day…play my ukulele, weave a throw rug on my loom, bake a loaf of bread, ride my scooter around town, knit a hat, hang out with people who WANT to be with me, not hang out with people who have to be with me b/c their cubical is right next to mine…well, I think I’d have a hard time choosing to run lab tests all day.
.-= veganprimate´s last blog ..Tolerance and Immorality: Part 2 1/2 – We are all sinners =-.
Are you kidding me? Why are you calling people who work at their job losers? You think there are actual people who exist who don’t have hobbies and just work? The people who don’t want to retire are so lucky!
I just read your profile. You might have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself why you are in the state you are in. Too bitter imo.
As is usual in arguments like this, it degenerates to misquoting. Nowhere did veganprimate say “people who work are losers.” Simply that if work is the only thing a person can think of to float their boat, they are a loser. I would tend to agree.
Out of the gazillions of things out there that a person can do with their time, work is just one of them. To have such a huge dependence on one activity, and one that is simply following someone else’s direction (your employer), speaks to lack of creativity and well-roundedness.
So I would have to agree with the initial sentiment, that if you can only find friends by working, if you can only find something to do with your day by working, and if you can only feel productive by doing what someone else is telling you to do, you really might be a loser.
No one is happy every minute of every day, working or retired. But the proposition that happiness can only be found within the context of a “meaningful job” is very sad indeed.
.-= Retired Syd´s last blog ..Book Winners =-.
Will have to disagree. Out of the “gazillions of things” out there a person can do with their time, if someone believes work is that thing, then more props to them! Who are we to say that someone is a loser for loving their work and making an income to boot? I suspect the person who loves their work sooner or later will think, “Wow, I would do this for FREE and yet still get paid!”
Yes, it’s a myth that every single person can find a meaningful job. Which is why those who have are some of the luckiest people on earth and don’t ever want to retire.
.-= admin´s last blog ..The White Cloud of Happiness =-.
Very intriguing post. It’s actually quite biting and truthful, and I can see why many who have retired early would object.
Unless these retirees created something great, I don’t have much respect for them at all. You’re right, it is kind of like suicide, b/c it’s the easier way out, rather than trying to achieve.
Retirement is different for everyone as many have noted. But, it’s good to hear those who experienced early retirement and come out with the truth about its difficulties.
It annoys me that early retirees show off so much and try and tell us how great their lives are when the rest of us are not retirement. It’s gloating, and unnattractive.
Thanks for keeping it real!
Harley, do you think Rob’s comment above, stand alone is an unreasonable comment? I realize his reputation, but he doesn’t spam my site.
Of course I have never spammed your site or any other site one time in my entire life, Sam.
My “reputation” is the result of the fact that I am the person who discovered the analytical errors in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies back in May 2002. The former owner of the Early Retirement Forum (Bill Sholar) was a friend of mine in our Motley Fool days. He developed the FIRECalc retirement-planning calculator, which gets all the numbers wrong (it doesn’t include a valuations adjustment and that is the single most important factor that determines retirement success or failure). When I posted the accurate numbers at his site, Bill went nuts. Hundreds of other people expressed interest in being able to have honest discussions. Bill nixed that.
Do you now understand why there is such a deep hatred of me among some of the people who congregate there? How would you feel if you not only had gotten the numbers wrong in a retirement study but had thereby caused lots of your friends to suffer failed retirements and had also banned honest posting on the topic at a retirement board? You would feel pretty darn bad about yourself. That’s how those people feel about themselves.
You could be helping them out by writing about this matter. We need to get this all in the open so that people can return to sanity. I encourage you and all other personal finance bloggers to do so. Lots of people have been hurt, lots of boards and blogs have been destroyed or seriously damaged and those of us who care about the future of these communities should be doing what we can to help out.
You’re a brave fellow, Sam. You’re perfect for this!
.-= Rob Bennett´s last blog ..Investing: The New Rules — Today’s Understanding of Stock Investing Is Primitive =-.
Rob, I don’t fully understand the rift, hence I’m not the best one to help you debate. Good luck in fighting for what you believe in!
.-= admin´s last blog ..How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Security For Life! =-.
If you have a job you love, it’s no longer a job, but a definition of what you do. When people ask me what I do for a living, I always answer that I’m retired even when I’m doing work for the military. I love, love what I do, so I do it for me and not because I have to, or because it pays the bills, trust me, money is not an issue. I can buy almost anything I want. But that’s not the point of working, just getting money to pay bills.
Actually I think the definition of early retirement varies. For some people, such as myself, early retirement is not about no longer working; rather, it’s about having enough money to quit working because you have to, and work because you want to. I’m already retired but I’m still serving my country in the military. I will probably do this for 30 years, not for the pension or benefits, but because I just love what I do and it makes me happy doing it. I get to travel a lot, spend time with my daughter, do side projects (I own a real estate company) teach, and do so many more things. Retirement is not about not working it’s about working on what makes you happy, irregardless of money.
It must be a wonderful feeling working when you know you don’t HAVE to work. I hope the military is taking care of you!
.-= admin´s last blog ..Pretend You Have Arrived So You Can Become =-.
I really liked this post. It’s nice to have someone point out that early retirement isn’t necessarily all smiles and fun. Or to put it another way, you better have some idea what you actually want to do when you retire.
I’ll take a crack at your questions too:
Do you agree or disagree that early retirement is a selfish proposition? Are we all just inherently selfish to begin with?
Nothing selfish about it. Selfish would be retiring by living in your Mom’s basement and have your parents take care of you. Being a stay-at-home-do-nothing-spouse is selfish.
Retiring by living on your own hard earned money is just another life choice. So long as you aren’t asking other people to support you, it’s all good.
What is your ideal age of retirement and how do you know when is the right time?
My ideal time is right now… maybe.
I’ve worked at a number of jobs and I can say that either the idea of standard 9-5 work isn’t for me or that I’ve been in the wrong field. I don’t really know.
I’ve worked at some jobs that I absolutely hated. Abusive bosses and 12 hour days. The pay was nice, but there is no early retirement that would have been early enough from these places. I’m not sure how people even manage to make careers out of these kinds of jobs.
I’ve also worked jobs that I’m totally indifferent to. They aren’t good or bad. They are just there. I don’t make much money and I’m certainly not living a glorious lifestyle. So the question is would I keep working if I could retire and maintain the same quality of life? The answer is probably no. If working 40 hours a week gets me a small apartment, used furniture, an ancient car and no real respect, how is retiring going to be much worse? At least if I retired I could move to some place with better weather.
Despite all this I still hold out hope that I’ll find a job I actually enjoy and where I feel as if what I do actually matters. I’ll be starting a new job in a few months and am really looking forward to it.
I am also very well aware that one day my career will hit a wall. There comes a point where doing good work isn’t enough. You’ve got to have social skills, political skills, and schmoozing skills to get ahead.
At this point there are a few options.
– Keep on going because you like what you do
– Become cranky and cynical
– Lateral move to a different job
– Try to play the game and get further ahead
And your career can get derailed other ways like through mergers and layoffs. If and when this happens I might not have any desire to go through the hassle of sending out resumes which will never be read, trying to BS my way through interviews and moving across country to get another job. That’s why I hope that I can get the option of early retirement as soon as possible.
Do you think once we’re back to a raging bull market, there will be less people who want to retire early?
No idea. Nothing about a raging bull market makes people’s jobs more enjoyable nor does it help people find their passion. The grind is still the grind. What it does do is provide more opportunities for people to advance their careers thus eliminating a certain sense of career malaise. On the other hand it also makes early retirement easier by allowing people to save up money faster.
Here are some thing would stave off any desire for early retirement (at least for me).
Stability – I don’t like knowing that I – and my whole department for that matter – could be rightsized away at a moment’s notice. As far as I’m concerned, early retirement is more stable than having a job these days.
Advancement – We all can’t be CEOs, concert pianists or Nobel lauriets. And realistically most of us know that we’ll never reach those heights no matter how hard we work. But there needs to be some way for even the lowly peons to get ahead. Even if it’s as simple as getting additional training in exchange for more money or more vacation days. Everyone needs to have things that they can realistically work towards. Nothing is more depressing than showing up every day just because you need to pay the rent.
Real breaks – If I could take a real break of 3 months to a year and still be able to return to my job it would be the perfect answer to the current deferred life plan. It doesn’t have to be paid and it doesn’t have to be spent on exotic beaches in Hawaii. It just has to be a break so that I can focus on bettering myself. Maybe I want to take a vacation and road trip across the USA or maybe I want to write a book. The point is that I want the time to do those things.
We can’t all be great, but shouldn’t we all at least try to be? Perhaps a good analogy is like quitting in a baseball game during the 4th inning while behind 1-5. There’s 5 more innings to go and anything might happen if we try!
Are you saying the folks living off the Bank of Mom and Dad aren’t being very productive either? :) Well, after yesterday’s massacre, maybe we don’t have to worry about a raging bull market anymore!!
.-= admin´s last blog ..Pretend You Have Arrived So You Can Become =-.
Personally, I’m done with trying to be great.
I’m another disillusioned PhD (actually, I have two doctorates, but now is not the time or place to expound upon my educational credentials). I’ve noticed several lurking around here and there are probably a few more that haven’t revealed themselves. I took the thing that I was best at (academics) and pushed it to its absolute limit. During the process I learned exactly where my limits are and a lot about what would be needed to surpass them.
I don’t really view it as quitting in the middle of a game. I think of it more as playing the odds. If I know that I only have a 1% chance of becoming the director of research at XYZ corp or a less than 18% chance of becoming a grant funded independent investigator, are those really worth striving for? I’m not so sure, because those require a great deal of effort and every bit of time and effort that I spend striving towards those goals is time and effort that cannot be directed towards other goals.
One very painful thing that I learned while pushing myself to the limits academically was just how much of life I missed out on. While I try not to be bitter and angry about it (I firmly believe that very little comes from such thoughts), the fact is that sometimes when I think about how much I gave up to chase a goal I get pretty sad.
While I haven’t completely given up yet and I hope that I can eventually find a very rewarding job, I think I’m done with being an overachiever. Average is fine with me. I’d rather focus on bettering myself as a person and catching up with all the things I missed out on.
I think that’s one reason why the idea of early retirement fascinates me. The idea of vast amounts of time to improve myself instead of someone else’s CV or a corporate bottom line is a very tempting proposition.
The other reason is that as I’ve looked for jobs in the middle of this grueling recession I realized just how little your actual ability has to do with finding and keeping a job. Search engines, not people, read your resume. Politics, not results, gets you a promotion. Networking, not your resume, gets you an interview. A merger wipes out your whole department. A crazy boss ruins the 40+ hours a week you spend at work. Work stress ruins your home life. You finally get a job offer, but it’s in the middle of some place you have no desire to live. The thought of being able to walk away from all that is very enticing.
The only thing keeping me from retiring early is that I don’t have the means yet. I could probably do something akin to Jacob’s ERE, but I find his lifestyle far too Spartan and far too removed from social norms for my tastes. In other words, I’d rather keep my day job. Should I ever acquire the means to retire early, it’s anybody’s guess when I walk.
Honestly, if I liked my job I would probably stay there until I finally got laid off. Like I said before, I don’t hate work, I just highly doubt that my efforts will ever get me anywhere worth mentioning, so I would rather focus on those areas where I can actually improve myself.
Some of the people living off the bank of Mom and Dad are trying to be productive, but just haven’t caught a break yet. And in this economy that can be very hard. I’ve got a lot of sympathy for these people. I was pretty close to becoming one of them a few months ago.
But there is another group of people who sponge off their parents, spouses, significant others, relatives, the government, etc simply because they are lazy. No matter how great the economy is and how easy jobs are to come by these people aren’t going to do work unless it’s forced on them.
Thanks for further clarification. My site isn’t an “early retirement” site, so perhaps benchmarking my site to sites that specifically focus on early retirement might not be appropriate.
Can you share with us your age, some semblance of what you need to require to retire, and how you are going about achieving your early retirement goals if that is what you ultimately desire?
I’ll stand by my conjecture that nobody retires from a job they love to do. Those who haven’t find that job (which is not a dirty word) are just less fortunate. Not everybody can find that amazing job, and that’s just the way it is.
.-= admin´s last blog ..How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Security For Life! =-.
I am benchmarking “your posts” with the clarity I generally associate with “your other posts”. No relation to other ER/FI sites. It takes 7 colours to make a beautiful rainbow. And variety IS the spice of life. So no comparisons ever with apples or pears.
My reply to “the genius” was in context with his accusa