Ever wonder: What does early retirement feel like? I retired early in 2012 at age 34 and want to share you all the ups and downs of not working a traditional day job any more.
What's interesting is that my feelings towards early retirement are very different from the initial couple of years.
Today, I no longer consider myself an early retiree, but a stay at home dad and a blogger. In fact, I've been working hard during the lockdown to boost our wealth so we can re-retire again! I figured, if I'm going to get locked down, I might as well try and make money online to take care of my family.
Financial independence and retirement are used interchangeably. However, there are some subtle differences. Financial independence is usually applicable to people across their entire lifespan.
Those who cashed out $5 million dollars worth of Facebook stock at the age of 30 are financially independent just like those who saved $5 million in their retirement funds by the age of 65.
Retirement, on the other hand, is a term often used to describe someone in the last quarter of their lives e.g. ages 65 and up. This is why some folks get so hot and bothered if you aren't in the upper ages but say you are retired.
They don't think you deserve retirement because you're not old enough! If you don't want unwanted attention as an early retiree, just say you are unemployed, on sabbatical, or an entrepreneur.
Early Retirement And Financial Independence
The reality is all of us would rather be financially independent earlier so we have more time to enjoy our wealth.
When the director of admissions at UC Berkeley asked why I was applying so early (25), I told her it was because I knew what I wanted to do and felt it best to leverage an MBA degree sooner, for a longer period of time. Little did I know I'd be done 10 years later.
Although I'm no longer considered a retiree due to the endless hours it takes being a full-time dad and maintaining this website, I did have at least one year of true early retirement life after 2012 where I was completely carefree.
For those curious about what early retirement feels like, I'm going to highlight all the positives and negatives I can think of since leaving the workforce in 2012.
What Does Early Retirement Feel Like?
Please note I've been writing about the FIRE movement since 2009 when I started Financial Samurai. I practice what I write about to help others on their financial independence journey as well.
Instead of always telling you how awesome FIRE and early retirement is, I like to share the good and the bad.
The Positives Of Early Retirement
To understand what early retirement feels like, let's first go through the positives. Then I'll go through the negatives to keep things balanced.
As soon as we get back to normal life, these positives and negatives will be even more pronounced.
No longer having to commute in traffic feels like heaven.
It's funny that not riding the bus was the first positive that came to mind as opposed to workplace politics, stress, or more common answers. I used to leave the house around 7:20am every morning to catch the 7:23am bus around the corner. Despite my punctuality, the bus would either not arrive on time or be so full of people I'd have to walk another 5 blocks just to get on. Now when I see folks crammed in buses I can't help but smile.
With the pandemic raging on in 2020/2021, I'm now considering whether it might be good to go back to work because I no longer have to commute. I'm not super serious about the idea since I now have two young children. However, commuting was a consistent top-3 dislike about my job.
Running errands is easy.
I do all my errands around 10:45am or 2:30pm, because that is when most people are still at work. There's no traffic or lines at the store during these hours and I'm much more efficient in getting things done. I continue to wonder why everybody wants to come to work at 8am and leave at 5pm.
It took me 1.5 hours to drive 20 miles to pick up my parents at Oakland Airport due to traffic the other month. It only takes 35 minutes during off peak hours. Come into work earlier and leave a little earlier. Your stress level will go way down.
In the day of COVID-19, I've noticed neighborhood streets are more crowded during the weekdays. However, there still aren't as many people roaming the streets on the weekdays as there are on the weekend.
Lots of free entertainment.
There is an incredible amount of free entertainment during the week. Part of it is because organizations want to show their community support and free access on weekdays provides the lowest amount of damage to their bottom lines.
Museums that cost $15-$20 to enter are usually free at least once a month. There are also free cooking classes by Williams Sonoma, free interior design parties by AirBnb, free rock climbing lessons by REI, and so on. There are always free music festivals at various public parks as well here in SF.
You learn to become more self-sufficient.
When I was busy working, I didn't have time to figure out how to fix the leaky toilet. I would call the plumber and pay him $150-$250 at a time. Nowadays, I simply search on YouTube for a home maintenance tutorial and voila! Call me handyman Sam.
If I can't fix something I'll chat up the local hardware store attendee and see if he can tell me what's wrong. Having a smartphone to videotape the issues helps tremendously. Learning how to do things myself has also saved me a lot of time and money on rental property maintenance.
Because I used to start work by 7:30am every morning for the past 10 years, I was tired by 10pm. I just wanted to stay in and watch some TV after work. Now I'm always down to go out for dinner or drinks with friends during the weekdays. I've attended multiple events that last until 11pm and am ecstatic to not have to go to work the next day.
Of course, night life is now barely existent during the time of COVID-19, however, things will eventually get back to normal. I'm not exactly jockeying to go out late at night anymore given I have a family. I'm tired by 10 pm!
I spend more time cultivating my offline relationships now that I don't work. Those thin relationships one has on Facebook become stronger as you actually send them personal messages to see what's up and hang out. The more you go out, the more friends you'll meet. This is especially helpful for single folks. Social integration is vital for happiness.
Better family relationships.
I spend much more time speaking to and visiting my family now that I have more time. Spending more time with family is probably the most rewarding part about retirement. The younger you are, the more you appreciate it because you likely have more family still around. While I was working, literally months would go by where I didn't interact with my parents because I was too busy.
More comprehensive blog posts.
Good posts can take a long time to write. But with so much more time now, I can afford to write meatier content that can help more folks. Meatier content also tends to do better in the search engines, bringing in more traffic, and more revenue. In the past, I'd write 750 word posts. Now I'm able to spend more time researching to produce posts that are double in length on average.
What's interesting is that longer blog posts also rank better in Google. As a result of me writing longer blog posts, Financial Samurai has grown tremendously since 2009. With tremendous growth comes more online income.
The amount of online income I generate is a complete surprise. I highly recommend you start your own site as well in early retirement. Connecting with others and keeping mentally stimulated is fun!
More purpose in life.
Most people I know don't believe their purpose in life is to do whatever they do at their jobs. Plenty of folks start getting depressed when they talk about spending all their time at a job that doesn't really make a positive impact. They see a job as a stepping stone for something greater and can't wait to get out. Once you no longer have to work for a living, you hone in on exactly what you want to do that provides meaning.
I got this one thank you card from a reader in 2016. In 2020, I continue to get thank you e-mails from readers too. It's very gratifying to help strangers in the world get their finances in order. Since 2009, many of us have grown up and grown financially stronger together.
In better shape.
Without having to sit in a chair for hours at a time, you'll naturally burn more calories being more active. At 5'10”, I used to struggle maintaining a weight of ~165 lbs. Now it requires less effort because I now play tennis, bike, walk, or hike at least three times a week compared to just once or twice a week while working. Being in better shape feels great. It might even extend your life, who knows!
Even during the pandemic, I have been playing tennis and going for walks 5X a week. Exercise and sleep are so important for mental health.
Your aging slows down.
I found my first gray hair at 33 in 2011. Several more gray hairs sprouted out in early 2012 and I thought the dam had broke.
At 44 years old in 2021, I no longer have any gray hair. It's as if a new dam was built behind the old damn. I also still have a full head of hair despite showing some recession in 2011 as well. When you're in the thick of work, you don't realize how much stress you're under each day until you walk away.
You can always keep busy.
One of the biggest fears working people have before retirement is figuring out what they are going to do with all their free time. I worried how I was going to go from working 70 hours a week to just writing for 20 hours a week and playing sports in the afternoon.
If you have a hobby you are passionate about, you don't have to worry about not being able to fill the void in retirement. There is an endless amount of things to do.
No fear of getting laid off.
No employee is ever safe in this hyper competitive world. You could be a star performer, but if your new boss hates you for whatever reason, you're done.
I used to worry about whether I'd be called into the HR's office due to a recession, underperformance, complaint, error on my expense report, etc. Now there is no worry.
Related: How To Be A Rockstar Freelancer And Make More Than Your Day Job
A more positive disposition.
Do you know that smile you get after carving down a black diamond or riding a jet ski over some waves? You will catch yourself smiling without even knowing because people will randomly smile back at you because you're smiling at them. Smiling when you don't even know it is probably the #1 outward signal for true happiness.
The ability to be present with your kids.
Our boy and baby girl are the most precious things in the world to us. They have crystalized the value of early retirement. Before our son was born, it was nice to travel, sleep in, play sports, and write. But now, I'm excited each morning to give my son a hug and play with him for hours.
Every day we thank our lucky stars that we get to spend the critical first five years of his life raising him before kindergarten. They grow up so fast!
The Negatives Of Early Retirement
Become more impatient with delays and waste.
Traffic and long lunch lines used to annoy me, but now they really annoy me because I hardly ever experience them anymore. I get annoyed with myself for going anywhere during peak rush hour. Anytime someone wants to meet, I schedule for non-rush hour times.
When I'm in traffic, I have to remind myself I no longer have to regularly deal with such jams on a regular basis.
Gets lonely sometimes.
While your friends and acquaintances are busy working, you're sometimes busy doing nothing. If you don't have a partner or family, then you might end up having breakfast, lunch, and dinner alone. I've built a small network of work-from-home, unemployed, or work at night friends to play tennis and hang out with.
I'm trying to meet more people through a softball meetup that I've joined. After a couple years, I've made two nw friends. One even got me into Tesla stock at the end of 2018! It's easy to feel disconnected if you're always working from home.
Easy to get lazy.
Before my son was born, I found myself taking hour long naps after lunch, watching too much sports on TV, and chilling in the hot tub for hours. It takes a lot more discipline once you've retired to push yourself to do something meaningful because nobody is telling you what to do.
Potentially less money.
This one is obvious, but maybe not. You only voluntarily retire and stay retired if you have enough money to support your desired lifestyle. It's a different situation if you are forced into retirement. It did sting a little bit to no longer have a healthy W2 income the first six months.
However, just like how we adapt quickly to a nice bonus or raise, we also adapt quickly to a loss of income. The fear of running out of money in retirement is overblown.
The truth of the matter is, Financial Samurai now makes more money than I did as an Executive Director at a major investment bank. Even better, I spend 80% less time working and have 200% more fun.
Vacations aren't as exciting anymore.
If every day can be considered a vacation, vacations no longer carry the same amount of excitement. I used to love taking five to six weeks of vacation every year.
If my old job could grant 10 weeks of vacation a year, I would have stayed on for at least another five years. Now that we can go on vacation 365 days a year, it's just not that exciting anymore. We did travel for 6-8 weeks between 2012 – 2016. However, by the end of 2016 we were completely traveled out. All the churches in Europe started looking the same.
Now that we're stuck at home or at least stuck within driving distance of San Francisco, we are thankful that we traveled so much!
Related: The Negatives Of Early Retirement Nobody Likes To Talk About
Other Observations After Early Retirement
Spend less time on social media.
I spend probably 50% less time on Twitter than when I was working. Perhaps it's because Twitter was a great way to pass the time during commutes or in between meetings. I also continue to spend very little time on Facebook except for my tennis team group page.
Spending too much time following the news is unhealthy. There is so much fear mongering and pitting sides against each other to gain clicks and views. I encourage everyone to spend less time on social media and the news to be happier.
Know a lot of unemployed people.
No matter what time during the day I go out between Monday and Friday, there are tons of people out on the street or hanging out at the tennis courts. When you're working, you think everybody is holed up in an office building and only comes out during lunch or when the clock strikes 5pm. In reality, plenty of people have flexible work schedules.
What's interesting is that I also met a lot of unemployed husbands who figured out a way to convince their wives to continue working! They weren't ashamed at not being the breadwinner. They were proud! Here are some of their stories.
Discover so many different ways to live.
When I was working I just figured most people just had a normal 8am – 5pm day job. But during my time away from work I've met dog walkers, nannies, professional athletes, teachers during summer vacations, government employees who retired early with great pensions, bartenders, strippers, bouncers, tennis teachers, coffee shop owners, small business owners, and plenty of online entrepreneurs who enjoy a lot of freedom during the day.
Related: Abolish Welfare Mentality: A Janitor Makes $271,000 A Year
No desire to play golf.
The cliché is that once guys retire we end up playing golf all day. I thought I would love to play at least once a week with all my free time. Instead, I found the game to be absolutely boring when I had to play it alone or with strangers. Further, the game takes way too long.
Feel inspired by older workers.
Every time I go grocery shopping, I bump into cashiers and baggers who are over 60 years old. They probably only make around $13 an hour. Their hard work inspires me to not take things for granted and keep this site going. Everybody starts off with different opportunities in life. We've got to make the most of what we've got.
Just Want To Feel Like I'm Contributing
So much of your identity is wrapped up in your occupation while still working. But once you're out, you lose a support network you've grown so accustom to. It's a disconcerting feeling to no longer be relevant to perhaps hundreds of people.
If I don't feel useful to someone, I feel like a loser. Hence, I try and stay busy writing online, volunteering as a foster kid mentor, doing work around the house, and coaching high school tennis while I'm not taking care of my baby boy. Retirement takes away that good feeling of having someone depending on you for guidance.
Since 2009, Financial Samurai has given me something fun and purposeful to do.
Sometimes wonder what else is there in life.
When I was busy working, I didn't have much time left to think about philosophy. With so much more free time I sometimes think, is this all there is to life? Starting Financial Samurai has given me a strong sense of purpose. I recommend all retirees start their own site as well to find their tribe online.
It gets harder to stay retired over time.
The first six months of retirement were full of excitement, fear, and joy. As time went on, I adapted to my newfound freedom by creating a routine that best suited my desires.
Once I mastered my routine life got incredibly easy. When life gets easy, life also begins to get boring. With such a strong economy since 2012, I couldn't help do some consulting with several fintech companies and see if I could build Financial Samurai into something larger.
See: Staying Retired Is Impossible Once You Retire Early
You need much less money than you think to be happy.
My biggest surprise since leaving my day job is realizing how much less I need to be happy by about 30% – 50%. One of the reasons is that once you retire, you no longer have to save for retirement.
It feels foreign to spend 100% of your retirement income or passive income, but that's what you get to do if you truly have enough. Further, you are so much happier in retirement that you don't need to spend a lot of money to make you happy.
Early Retirement Is Worth It
I hope you are no longer wondering what does early retirement feel like after reading this post. Overall, early retirement is great, but there are also some negatives of early retirement people don't like talking about as well.
Early retirement isn't a magic bullet to happiness. Like a marriage, you still have to wok at early retirement. Otherwise, you might end up like some early retirees who get divorced, despite having children at home.
There are studies that show death comes quicker after retirement due to a lack of purpose. With the internet and so much good we can do once we have our free time back, I can't see how anybody would ever feel permanently lost in retirement.
If you don't like early retirement, you can always go back to work!
Things To Keep Busy In Early Retirement
Try volunteering at a charity or mentoring a child if you start feeling aimless. Everybody could use a helping hand.
Retiring early is a blessing because our bodies still allow us to climb the steepest Mayan steps and start the most daunting businesses when we still have the energy.
Although I no longer consider myself an early retiree due to two kids and the growth of Financial Samurai, I still recommend everyone try to retire early. You will surprise yourself on the upside because you will naturally start doing things you enjoy.
Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration to get up a little earlier, save more money, and take calculated risks to retire early as well. The feeling of being able to do whatever you want is priceless.
With a wife and two young children now, I've come out of early retirement to make supplement retirement income. However, once there is herd immunity, I plan to re-retire over the next couple years. In the meantime, my goal is to consistently generate $300,000 a year in passive income to live a comfortable retirement lifestyle.
Reach Early Retirement Sooner
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There's no rewind button. Your retirement is too important not to get right. Are you in good shape?
Generating Passive Income With Real Estate
Real estate is a core asset class that has proven to build long-term wealth for Americans. Real estate is a tangible asset that provides utility and a steady stream of income if you own rental properties. If you're someone who wants to retire, real estate is a fantastic asset class.
Given interest rates have come way down, the value of rental income has gone way up. The reason is because it now takes a lot more capital to generate the same amount of risk-adjusted income. Yet, real estate prices have not reflected this reality yet, hence the opportunity.
My favorite two real estate crowdfunding platforms are:
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.
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.
Both platforms are free to sign up and explore. I've personally invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding across 18 projects to take advantage of lower valuations in the heartland of America. There is a strong demographic shift towards lower cost areas of the country thanks to technology and the pandemic.
Updated for 2022 and beyond.
226 thoughts on “What Does Early Retirement Feel Like? The Positives And Negatives Of Not Working For A Living”
I have just recently retired, it’s been about 3 months. It is def one of the oddest feelings I have had trying to cope with it all. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of my life but I am having a hard time adjusting. Thank you for posting this, this article I read talks about how to deal with these feelings and it was helpful, https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-negatives-of-early-retirement-life-nobody-likes-to-talks-about/ Thoughts on it?
It’s one of the classic FS articles that has gone viral several times thanks to CNBC and MSN among other outlets. Best of luck in your retirement!
I thought I wanted to retire in 2015, but I was miserable. i was only 59. After 3 years of feeling lost and depressed, I went back to work. This is harder when you are older. Ageism is out there. I like working. The money is not really a big reason. I guess I’m one of the strange ones. Maybe I’ll get it right next time :). Seriously, its not for everyone. I think many people retire too early.
I liked that you said that one reason to consider retiring early is that you will be able to acquire a better social life. I have been trying to determine when I should retire but I have been worried that I would end up being bored since I would be home all day every day. I will be sure to consider retiring and moving to a social community since I now understand that this opportunity will allow you the chance to make new friends and spend a lot of time enjoying your social life.
This may sound obvious, but travel. That doesn’t have to mean a trail of Amex hits around the globe. It can mean join a hiking club (at any level). National parks have volunteer programs that allow you to stay free++ if you help for a month or two. Staff on charter yachts etc.
Back to hiking. The average cost to thru-hike the AT is $1,000 per month (all aspects included). It takes 4-6 months to thru-hike. I know people who have done this over 10 years or times now, or the PCT. Live half a year on $5,000. You become family in the Hiker world. You get in the best shape of your life while enjoying nature on a level most people can not imagine.
Hope this sparks ideas!
Thanks for the great post. Do you know where I can read more posts by other bloggers on what they’ve chosen to do with their time after retirement? I’m getting closer and am starting to wonder how it works out for people.
Thank you so much for sharing! You really highlighted some issues of early retirement that I have been experiencing and offered me some opportunities to capitalize with my time and energy.
What a great article and comments! However, what surprises me is that there are almost no comments on how to deal with healthcare costs / insurance for people who retire early. I am planning to retire at age 50 and, although I have a solid financial situation, I worry about the escalating costs of healthcare and what might lie ahead. Any word of advice? What are the viable choices for health insurance for early retirees in the U.S.?
Sure. We pay $1,600/month for a family of three for health insurance. Platinum plan. You can use a agent or an exchange.
Thanks, Sam! I will look into it. However, with the uncertainties around the ACA, I wonder if there will be such choices when I am ready to retire in 2 years (June 2020). It is a gamble. I can always move to another country, I guess!
This is right on the money. Unless you plan to travel a lot, you don’t need nearly the money the ‘experts’ say. I am always looking for fulfillment. Yes, when I was working I didn’t have time to think about it. Now, I challenge myself to do things that are meaningful.
100% of people who work sleep their way to the top, so a positive of early retirement is that you are forced to increase your dating skills.
A negative of early retirement is that you don’t have a company monitoring everything you do online anymore, so you’ll get really depressed when you are finally free to explore how depraved your interests are. When big brother is away you can bring out the toys.
Great article! Having a purpose is an essential. I know quite a few people who could easily retire in a high cost of living area and still live their lifestyle but keep working because that’s their purpose/drive. I’ve found that this is especially the case for business owners, as opposed to highly compensated employees.
Keep up the great writing Sam.
Yes being retired is wonderful and the pros greatly outnumber and outweigh the cons. Financial independence also made working more pleasurable and less stressful, knowing that one of my two ‘buckets’ was already full – I could check out whenever the time was right for me.
One thing to add to your list- I no longer look forward to weekends nor do the same things as before on weekends due to all those crazy working stiffs trying to cram their freetime into those same two days. (same goes for holidays). Friday? What’s a Friday? That one tends to rinse off my working friends ;)
Definitely. I try to not go out during the weekends due to the crazy amount of traffic at public venues like the park. I like to reverse the ratio of two days of work inn sat/sun and 5 days of doing whatever.
Traffic and congestion really bummed me out nowadays. It’s amazing how so many people do so many things at the same time. Like going to lunch at 12 noon and waiting in line.
AGREE! I do that now, even though I’m not retired. At my job you get paid more to do the same work on the weekends, but people hate it. I sign up for those shifts so I can get weekdays off!
Point! I have been self employed for 32 years and virtually my entire adult life. Married for 26 years. The Mrs stopped teaching to raise our girls. We always planned as much as possible during the weeks while the rest of the local society was doing the 9-5 M-F.
The more urban the environment, the bigger the need to zig when the herd zags!
Great Article!! Thanks for sharing! We have a lot in common! I was just laid off and I’ve considered calling it quits in my early 40’s. I may work for another few years so that we can pick up a few more rentals to fully secure a decent life post corporate Silicon Valley life!! I’m wondering though, why aren’t you in Thailand for 6 months? Sure beats our beaches in Cali! @buyrentsell
“If you don’t want unwanted attention as an early retiree, just say you are unemployed, on sabbatical, or an entrepreneur.”
This is why we like to just say we’re “digital nomads” or “freelance writers/coders” when we travel otherwise it takes forever to explain and people get freaked out. Retires in their 30s are purple unicorns.
Great list of pros and cons in retirement! I’ve actually become more patient in traffic because whenever I get stuck, I’m like “oh well, where do I have to be”, whereas when I was working, I’d be livid because I’d missing a meeting.
Retirement is awesome! Can’t imagine I ever thought I’d be bored and directionless. You’re only like that if you choose to be like that. So many opportunities out there! And being FI makes you much more confident (exactly as you said, ‘the longer you are retired, the more confident you become’) so you’re willing to try new projects that I never would’ve while working.
Hi Sam, great to see you returning to this perspective and updating your thoughts as your journey continues. These things don’t have a clear cut answer, and I often find myself mulling over the pro’s of having structure and motivation in my days through my work, versus having more freedom to explore my potential in other areas.
Was very surprised to hear your lack of desire for golf though! That’s one thing I thought I’d never get sick of, but can understand how it might become boring playing with random people, and the time it takes versus other things you could be doing. When you try to improve too much at it pass the sweet spot of a ‘teens’ handicap it also becomes too serious and the fun can go out of it…
Really like these genuine reflections Sam, hope you keep coming back to this and sharing how your views change over the course of your life.
I’m not retired or financially independent yet, but I work from home (and currently not very many hours) so I can still relate to a lot of them. ESPECIALLY the impatience with delays, traffic and long lines. I time all my trips and errands so I never have to leave the house during either rush hour, but when I do get stuck in long lines at the grocery store, rush hour traffic, etc, it just seems to make me even more fed up then before.
When I did a temp job for a bit a few months ago, I was so fed up with meetings, inefficient workplaces, etc. Such time-wasting – it’s so much more obvious when you work from home and can just sit down and get stuff done.
Also, it’s way easier to be lazy now…
Hi, Sam: I think financial independence is already its own end goal, as for what to do afterward, FI should open up more options, not fewer, and retiring early (before age 50, or even 60) is probably not one of the best ones.
Even though I have enough to retire at 51 ($~7M liquid net worth, not including home), I’m still working because my work is interesting and it keeps me engaged. All my coworkers who retired in their 30s or 40s end up still working in some capacity. I happened to attend a 2nd rate college and basically drank beer and did nothing for 4 years, I can tell you that was really the closest thing to going to prison. I tested the water again a few years ago by taking 3 months off, all I did was going to coursera and learned a new set of skills that are interesting and challenging, and guess what, they are work related!
A lot of people say they’ll start volunteering when they retire, well, it’s simply not for me. Try volunteer a few weekends in your local charity to learn what exactly it feels like. I still volunteer once a month but I’d rather keep working during the weekdays and donate the money to charities than volunteering full-time. It also helps our kid is still in school, so until he goes to college, we’re practically home-bound and can’t go anywhere. An uncle who retired early and travel extensively around the world stopped after a few years told me: after a few years he feel traveling was like a chore, and going from places to places he sees the same problem everywhere. He still travels but only once or twice a year for short duration, but no longer spending months like a vagabond in foreign places where he barely knows anyone and has no connections.
I think financial Independence is already a great goal to achieve, it’s a million times better than the spend-drift, to-hell-with-my-retirement-let-government-and-my-kids-take-care-of-me generational altitude. As for what happens after financial independence, we should really encourage people to live up to their full potential, like start a business, or find more interesting line of work, or contribute to society in a different way, etc… and I suspect keep working is still one of the better options than not working.
Enjoyed reading this, thanks.
Excellent post! … I don’t believe I will have any issues finding time to be busy and I have a bucket list of things to do and see. My issue will be transitioning from accumulation to spending that I believe I will struggle with as I have been doing so for 33+ years :-) not sure I know how to spend :-) … my goal since my dad & mom passed away from cancer at the young ages of 60 and 64 respectively was to retire from the grind of corporate America by the age of 55. I will be 55 in October…and have accumulated aggressively well enough to hang it up and start enjoying the fruits of our labor with no debt … however I have 1 more year to be eligible for a small pension and 100% vested in company contributions to my 401K … so my date is 1/1/2020 … then I’m done … however … the hard part will be staying engaged for 21 more months as I see light at the end of the tunnel. Any suggestions for those that have experienced what I’m going through … accumulation to spending and engagement when the end of the tunnel is so near ?
Going from saving to spending is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Six years after leaving my day job, I still cannot help us save over 50% of my after-tax income. It is Pretty irrational since I already achieved my number, but I just can’t help it. And then when the new administration raise the estate tax to 22 million, I just decided to keep on going.
Just start small and work your way up. I started with better food and beverages, and then I did some nice landscaping, and then I bought a hot tub, and then I returned the Honda fit and bought a range rover sport with cash.
But of course I downsized My house by $1 million in 2014, and 2017 I sold my old house for 2.74 million. So I’m for sure going with cash flow and cash. So I’m donating my time, my money, and trying to spend more on my parents to enjoy the remaining years of their life. But they don’t seem to want to except my money because they are also financially independent.
It’s a weird transition for sure!
Great post and a nice perspective if I get there some day. I think you need to be ready and ensure you have planned your retirement well. Guarding against becoming lazy is very important.
“Social integration is vital for happiness.”
I sometimes feel that my maternity leave is like a glimpse of early retirement except it’s a lot busier feeding and taking care of our baby than a traditional retirement, I suppose!
I try not to go out or meet people/friends during peak time traffic hours too.
I like to be able to spend more time with family as well- it’s nice when your quality time to spend with loved ones is more spread out throughout the week as compared to two days on the weekend :)
Great post as you brought up some things I never considered about early retirement. Here’s a few things I’m looking forward to immensely:
1) NEVER wearing a necktie again. In fact, other than a couple of sport coats I plan to give away all my dress clothes, ties and suits to charity.
2) Never having to appease co-workers or clients ever again. This is important as I feel that with clients, I sometimes have to suck their arse and I hate myself for doing it.
3) One word that will no longer exist in my vocabulary; the word Mandatory. I’ve always despised hearing that word and there won’t be room in my life for that word any longer after I retire by 2023!
I think people only “retire” from things that they don’t like doing. Anyone would be glad to retire from working down a coal mine. If I’d been doing some tough physical labour for years, then I would feel I justified in relaxing for however long I wanted.
My feeling is that the type of people seeking financial independence, rather than early retirement, want to be free of the constraints that working for an income puts on them.
I’m in that category. I want to be able to make my own choices each and everyday, about where I go and what I do.
Having nothing to do, getting bored, is not an issue for me. As you say there are always things to do around the home etc.
As for pondering the philosophical side of it… is there more to life? Well, I try not to think about that too much!
My biggest issue is definitely wondering what my place is In the world. I’m working on that though.
I have also found that I’m way more social than I ever was at work now. I have time at night to actually get out and do things, and pursue hobbies and interests.
Great post. My wife keeps saying “Can I quit yet?” We would be fine if she did, but I say one more year just until we get to the 18 month cobra window until Medicare, or maybe we need to get that book of yours on negotiating a severance packag. Then she says, “ Do I have to work after I retire?” I said “No that’s why we saved. Only if you want to.”
Beware of the one more year syndrome!
Wow. Uh oh you nailed it. That is exactly where I am.
I’m not retired, but these two resonate with me:
“No fear of getting fired”
“Sometimes wonder what else is there in life”
186 comments and growing! You have one nice site, Sam.
I stopped working in the middle of last year, and I can add that it is great. One of the great things is that i addition to no longer commuting, is I no longer need an alarm clock! What a joy to wake up when my body wants to. I don’t sleep late, I wake up early because I do, and I like it. But not because of some irritating buzzing machine.
More time with the spouse… it’s great but sometimes it’s a double edged-sword.
I do agree about finding a purpose outside of work, it’s so important. Fortunately, I was long into seeking and working on this way before I stopped working. There is a big wide world out there beyond the office. Finding is it the greatest journey!
This is a very comprehensive post, nice work. My early retirement experience is narrower because I’m a lot less outgoing. Mrs. RB40 still works too so that put some limit on my early retirement experience.
I agree 100% with the traffic jam problem. It’s ridiculously annoying now. Luckily, I rarely have to deal with it. Travel is still fun for us because we didn’t splurge that much due to school and job constraint. A few weeks per yer is not bad. Ideally, I think 4-6 weeks per year would be fun. Anymore and travel would be come tedious.
I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and you are definitely an inspiration.
Last week, I decided to take the plunge and walked away from the financial industry. After nearly a 20 year career in Corporate America, I’ve decided to do something vastly different with less pay/stress. Fortunately, my net worth allows me to take that risk and I want to thank you for making me realize what’s most important in life … which is family and being there when my kids are growing up.
While it’s not a full retirement, I’m fine with that as it will allow me to find balance, mindfulness, meaning and ultimately happiness in life.
Who knows … I might start a blog myself per your recommendation
I’m in early retirement too. One thing I always get from friends is how do did you do it! My answer is I married the right women:) it takes both people to have have the same mind set to do it!
There is someone out here like me! I’m 40, retired 5 years ago. I have been looking for someone else, a group, something! like me. I have searched for a “mentor”… a person, not a scheme. Where are you? I consulted a famous investment company for advice – they just took my money and I didn’t learn anything. I tried going to a life coach for new ideas – his job is to coach people to be where I am already! That didn’t help. It’s hard to be social, because I don’t know how to explain my non-job! If I speak the truth, there is this awkward silence and the snotty side-talk begins. Life is good, but let’s get together and mingle! Samurai, can you please suggest a way for us to keep in contact?
Yes. You sum up a lot of what I also feel. Life is good since selling my business and retiring at 54, but ever more young retirees are a new phenomenon in society. We are yet to establish a meaningful life to take us on ’til our old age. There doesn’t seem to be a suitable alternative meaningful lifestyle. Like minded contemporaries with similar circumstances need a place to meet!
I’ve enjoyed the article and the comments but I have a little different take on retirement than some. I retired at 59 1/2 after 40 yrs of service with same company. Between my pension, my dividend income & 401k withdrawals (interest only), my income is the same as last yr salary and I’m not drawing down on assets. I see no good reason to keep working as I would be trading valuable days of my life just to earn a little more $. I am happily retired for the past year and traveling the world. No one should work to feel like they have a purpose in life. My purpose fir woeking was to provide for my family and my future and i have done that. Now my purpose is to enjoy my remaining days not working. I have a friend/coworker who could have retired 5 yrs ago at 60 with 100% of his income and now could retire with 150% but he won’t because he wants to work until 70 just to get his max SS. To each his own, but he’s trading days of his life and counting his $ and one day he will realize he can’t take it with him. So, try to enjoy life in retirement doing whatever makes you happy.
I am 59 and plan to work until I am 62 only because I enjoy the work more than traveling ect.
To each their own.
I’m 19 turning 20 this year and I’m planning to retire before turning 30. I’m doing network marketing and my mentor is retiring his wife this year at age 26. And that’s very crazy! And he’s planning to retire when their business will pay them more than 100k because it’s residual cash flow income. But their mentors retired at 24 and 26, now 37 and 39. And they’re just helping people become financially successful and I’m glad I found this opportunity. My mentors are being coached with finances and how to create a debt free asset. And retiring doesn’t have to come with age, who said we have to retire at 65? It’s just the norm and I don’t want to work for 40 years for 40 hours + of my life just to trade time for money. What I learned about money is that we want to make sure that money isn’t what we keep thinking about. It’s the number 1 cause of divorce because of all financial issues. Being wealthy, we can put money on the side to have freedom to do what we want & love. Pursue something that can give you the lifestyle you want, not get a job that your like to give you mediocre results.
I have recently been approached about, what seems like, the same network marketing opportunity. I was told very little about how it works during the first meeting I had with a guy that I had met randomly at an outlet mall. During our first meeting, him and his wife repeatedly referred to their “mentors” and one of them retired at 26. They briefly mentioned a debt free asset and it’s ability to generate passive income. I met the conversation with obvious skepticism, since retiring at 26 sounds too good to be true. I am 24 and couldn’t tell if this was a legitimate opportunity, or if they were trying to take advantage of someone ypung and eager. What have you found so far? Is this legit? How far in are you?
Careful, my once a month became once a week, then twice a week as I was often called to fill in for absent volunteers. I was back to thinking of it as, no not again. I felt really bad when I pulled the plug on them, but at 66 now I do want more free time than this was allowing me. I looking for another place to help, once or twice a month.
You said… “I’ve discovered that we overestimate how much money we need to be happy…”
Funny thing you mentioning that. I’m sure that the company I am herein, sees “need” as just a little more than I do. I went from a little over 13 grand a month to 3,500 a month, (savings less than 10 grand) and have been living that way for 10 years. I’m 62, been married to the same lady for 42 years, and never have I been happier. Miss the big travel trips a little, and a few of the toys but other than that, we are as happy, and content as ever.
Just turned 50 this year, and want to see if early retirement is possible. I’ve been saving for many years. Wife was laid off 2 years ago from, and we’ve both been “under employed” since then. With a combined Net worth of under 1M, I’m looking for income supplement ideas and decent growth in investments. I’ve been overly cautious since the financial crisis of 2009, which has really stunted the growth of those assets. The job market in NYC has been brutal, with difficulty in shifting careers. It’s like starting over again. Absolutely, the commute is one of the biggest downsides of FT employment. So many articles and books tout remote workers, but few actually offer it. Overall, I’m optimistic, but might need a few more years of full time employment to have one last infusion of cash. I’m excited to hear others’ stories and tips.
Congrats for turning 50! I recommend reading this post and following some of the action items:
The Fear Of Running Out Of Early Retirement Is OVERBLOWN
Retired a little over 2 years ago now and I’m BORED!!! Occasionally suicidal even. My friends have a further 35 years of work. Better sort something soon! (Laughs) I would never want to work for an employer again, that’s pure slavery but too much if the good life is no longer good and like anything: it just ‘is’
I still like travelling, but that’s hard to do with two inside dogs you love, so.. need a reliable house sitter
Now just 50 years or so till death. Looking forward to it!
I know exactly how you feel . I feel the same way for moments everyday. Retirement is hard. Just reading and walking and TV, housework. No interest in travel. And I have 50 more years of this lol. The few retirees in my area I know feel the same way. They say they are just waiting to die. I hardly feel hungry most of the day either…
Reading through posts I learned early retirement has different dimensions. Some people worked long years, some worked hard for a number of years…Overall everyone seem to be people who new what they wanted in life and the worked to obtain it.
You all are great examples for the rest of us still working to reach that early retirement. I am only researching as of now to learn what other people do and hope soon I will tell you an inspiring story.
Until than, you all enjoy it, be blessed and stay healthy.
If you want to brighten your days a little bit on days when you feel alone, have a session with an escort every day or every other day if you’re able to budget for it. My motivation for making money was freedom, time, and sex. These are huge drivers for me.
I’ve had sex with hundreds of escorts and it’s been a blessing and a dream. Paying thousands of dollars to fly to another country to take selfies in front of ancient monuments has never done anything for me, but the touch, taste, smell of a beautiful woman? Give it a try. Just be careful – it is addicting.
It takes guts to post that. Sometimes I think I’m the only man reading personal finance who is no longer married. A few readers probably spit their coffee when they read this. :)
It was quite interesting going through everything that has been written here. I am from a big metro city in India and was forced into retirement at the age of 50. Thankfully by the Grace of Almighty God and my Father & Mother’s prudent upbringing, I had surpassed my Financial safety goals by then. Seen the world, travelled 5 continents…Been there, Done that!
Whilst I could’nt help but compare the similarities between retiring in the West with the not so comparable infrastructure (can’t imagine a nature walk nearby to where I stay – it’s a concrete forest) that a metro in India offers with all its population density pressures, one thing is for sure…the pressures of commuting and spending those long hours in office is surely a function of age. One is glad to have crossed that stage.
One must remember that whatever be your lifestyle, it’s all going to end in the end! So why not keep it simple and stress free especially when the machine keeps working for long! Can’t keep from comparing the body to machine as am a Mechanical Engineer.
The other thing I must appreciate what my Father taught me ‘Early Savings and the Power of Compounding’ My MBA in Finance was good for companies I led as a CEO. But personally what worked for me was my Parent’s upbringing and the joy of simple living. Their teaching has undoubtedly been like God’s own.
I think the other important factor to remember regardless of whichever phase of life you are in, SAVING is a golden habbit one must just have from an inherent perspective. This is what gives you freedom from unnecessary and completely avoidable pressures that the society imposes.
Remember however rich you maybe there’s always someone who is richer and getting bogged by such pressures will never ever get you out of the day race till you die. It’s better to die peacefully than like a rat!
So —>Cheers to Retirement and Happy, Peaceful, Blissful existence!
Beautful. Wish my kids would listen to me like you did to your. Like the refs to God. In the end its his plans.
If God willing, I will be 40 after 2 years. I’m well settled in my home country with a luxury house and I have two girls 12 and 6. My husband also working aged 45 currently. In 2 years I will complete 20 years of work in middle East. I have a very good job and fully secured but I’m planning for a voluntary retirement after two years and my husband too. in my opinion money doesn’t bring happiness. As per my lifestyle I’m financially secured. Im a person who can adapt with given situation and self contended. and in my opinion and belief God has planned a carrier for my girls. whether I have money or not He will execute His plan for them. I need to enjoy my beautiful home when still young and have a quality time with my family. the only second thought I have is should i leave a well secured job voluntarily? But my happiness lies in settling back home.
Hi, I am in the same situation as you. My children are 14 and 11. I will be 42 with early retirement option. My job is good and laid back. My kids are very involved in sports and activities. It’s an 8-4:30 job. The kids are needing me more and more to bring them to the events. Financial planning was done 10 years ago and we are all set. I enjoy exercising and decorating for all the holidays. Hubby has an awesome job as well. I am a frugal shopper and use coupons. I fear I will be bored and disconnected from the working world. But realize my time spent on my health and spending with my children can never be replaced.
I retired at age 48 from the Silicon Valley ratrace. I’m having a great time as a full-time RV’er traveling the western states and camping on public lands but find myself becoming less social. When I was working/traveling for work I was subject to what I call ‘forced socialization.’ Now that socializing is a choice I find myself wanting less and less of it.
Thanks for the article.
Me too man. It’s kinda a blessing and curse
Scott has the right idea. Save responsibly, plan carefully, then be confident that you can and will enjoy your retirement. I “retired” last year at 60. My encore includes a part time consulting job in my professional field, running an ecommerce website, and volunteering at the Humane Society and church. It suits my type A personality nicely. The only drawback is that many of my friends are still working and they don’t have the time to socialize during the day. I’ve started to widen my circle of friends, which is always a good thing.
Thanks for this post Sam!
I enjoy your writing. I just sent you an email and learned you are in Hawaii. ALOHA, I hope you’re having fun.
I am a Transformational Coach based in San Francisco. I am passionate about supporting early retired men through the transition from work to retirement.
It sounds like you had a pretty smooth transition and were able to find many meaningful ways to channel your productivity. AWESOME!
I will be sharing your insights and words of wisdom with my clients for sure. I hope I get to connect with you in some way in the near future.
If there is anyone on this website who wants to go back to work, I’ll take your retirement money and retire for you.
What will you give up in return?
Cool article. I semi retired 9 months ago now just before an extended overseas trip. It was great and I just never went back to traditional work because I really don’t like it. I bummed around for a while and slowly started a small business that makes a little money. I worked very hard for 14 years straight before this though. No kids, a Wife and a few pets.
I chuckled through a few of the ‘cons’ listed because it’s true for me too. I uses to be fit and muscly but now am just too lazy to work out. I get bored sometimes, etc etc and I could never see myself going back to traditional work. Even moreso than before. Spoiled is the word. It’s so nice that you become a bit like a spoiled kid
We still have a mortgage of 50% of the property value, some would fret about that but at 34, I still have many years to pay down debt. An investment property that will one day pay it outright and give surplus funds, ability to build additional accommodation to rent out on our land, and we can simply rent out the house as-is and live overseas on the income. I’m not worried. worst case we have half a million dollars in equity, probably triple that at age 67. Boo hoo
I’m enjoying life now. We go overseas many times per year which is real living to us. I live simply with no other debt and don’t spend much on junk. Only necessities because we have everything else already. My only concern is possible medical care as we age
I am five weeks away from retirement. I will take four weeks off and then go PT for at least a year with full benefits. I have read numerous blogs about retirement. I fully understand the pros and cons of early retirement (I’m just turning 60). One thing I take huge exception to is those people that think we have to work to have purpose. That is such a load of crap. What you are is on the treadmill of the rat race. Just like all the “A” type people I have worked at something since I was 12. Did college and right to a job. Been out of work for 7 months during the early 80’s recession. I have sacrificed and saved for this day. I have been successful and blessed.
Yes I’ll question retirement. I’ll have those boring days. However I’ve already started looking into volunteer jobs. There are thousands. Many things don’t get done unless they’re done by people and funded by charities. I want to give of myself to help 50% of the people that are struggling. Is that “satisfying’? I hope so because that’s what we were meant to do. Not accumulate money and count it. It’s to give of yourself to make someone else’s life better.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a counter and I’ve done every retirement calculator in the world. But, at some point you have to trust that it will all work out and not put your faith in numbers in a bank account. That’s my take. Appreciate your blog and it gave all sides to a subject that obviously has more than one viewpoint.
I turned 61 in October 2015 and am planning to retire in the next two years. I’ve worked for local government for almost 30 years, so by the time I retire I’ll have a good pension. I enjoy my job and have, for the most part, enjoyed public service, but, like most, look forward to recreating my life. I likely would have retired sooner had I not gone through a divorce ten years ago. However, establishing my independence has been rewarding, and I don’t know if I would trade that sense of accomplishment and personal growth for an earlier retirement. During this time I bought a condo and recently sold that to buy a retirement home in a lovely California mountain community…yep I like the outdoors. In the meantime, I’m enduring a long commute, which is making retirement look even more attractive! Looking toward retirement, my concern is living in a rural community that offers fewer social opportunities. That being said, I tend to be introverted but also need to feel as if I’m a part of something larger than myself…giving back to the community. Like Scott, I’m planning to volunteer in some capacity to make that connection to the human race. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time or the energy. I’m also determined to make the most of my retirement years, because so few people in my generation have the means to do so.
I turned 60 in November. I left my last job in August 2015. I wasn’t planning on retiring. I just couldn’t see the sense in working. The house is paid off. The kids are through college. We have no debt. I retired from a state job in 2012 with a decent pension, not great. From 2012 to 2015 I worked and put a fair amount of money away. I guess we could retire now, but fairly modestly. No trips to Italy or buying the big boat. Here is the funny part. I am pretty sure I want to go back to work until I’m 65. I will have to move to find meaningful employment. Am I crazy? I feel crazy out of boredom. Dilemma.
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Love the post. This is a post to generate thoughts – but I love the objections from those who ‘will never retire’.
This is about financial independence – freedom from the mandatory job most of us have.
I leave work in 3 years time. Venice, Sistine Chapel, Rome, trip through the Amazon, kilmijaro, cost trip down the west coast of US, riding horses in Texas, watch a heavy weight world title, a World Cup, a Grand Prix, see the rolling fields in Yorkshire England, see Ireland, Australia’s Gold Coast, Sydney Opera House, Empire State, Taj Mahal, the great Pyramids and Valley of the Kings, Japan, Great Wall if China…..the Alps.
Okay so lots to do and I think this is 1% of what is in my mind.
I will never stop working and earning – I am lucky because I love property and it earns me a great second income. And I can do that and ‘feel useful’ whilst retired but do other things too.
I get the point about work – and I actually like what u do as my job. If I could leave and then go back 3 days a month I would – but that’s not the deal in finance jobs. They need me 50 hours a week. And when i get to 50 years old that’s time I just can’t afford.
No rights and wrongs – we are all so different. But i am not defined by my paid job. Your post is a great one and generates thoughts and ideas which are all useful.
Those 3 years can’t come fast enough! Remember to eat well and stay healthy so that when the time comes, you can do all those things. Health is truly the most precious thing we’ve got!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you stick around.
I have done several of the things on my list. Florence was stunning, Sydney and Byron Bay in Australia were superb, New York is amazing…fancy SF this year and a drive in a VW Camper down to San Diego – I may look you up :)
But you are so right re health. I play sport twice a week but my weight fluctuates and although I have lost it again…that’s a bad habit I need to get out of because health is everything.
I am lucky because property is my hobby and I love it. So my little hobby will continue and will generate wealth – whilst a modest pension and my rentals will support me.
My secret, similar to yours, was to save. I have spent money on things I really want (holidays) but never really on ‘stuff’. Also all big purchases eg furniture – have been bargains. I don’t go without….I just don’t want a watch that takes 6 months if my life saving for.
Tomorrow is not a promise though….so I still enjoy my today’s but dream for tomorrow.
Happy days from beautiful England.
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I sold my business and retired at 54. Now, I am 63 and am able to tell you that not be in work is a fantastic release.
However, there are times when I feel lost, and bored. I experience guilt that I have been granted good health, and reasonable wealth, but cannot find, nor have I found a direction. I still feel young, am married to a working wife and have three great kids who have flown the best and are self sufficient.
My fantasy of singing like Buble and touring clubs and bars ain’t never goin’ to happen!
My only advice is to keep your diary open wide to anything that comes along. I have found that each new experience opens a new window of interesting opportunities.
I am hopeful that the “next big thing” is about to happen. Sadly, after 10 years of searching, that hasn’t happened.
I hear you man, same here. Good health, nothing to complain about, nice house etc. Complains.. (you gotta laugh I guess)
Officially retire in a week (Mar 1, 2015), after 25-yr career as police officer. My wife is still working as I.T. Mgr. but wants to retire as soon as possible.
Interested in Pros/Cons of being retired with spouse?
And, is it better to retire at/near the same time, or wait a few (months/years) between? Why?
Same boat as Ron H. 25 years Police Officer. Last Day Mar. 31st. Wife a nurse with probably 5 years left. May look into some part time security work after few months of honeydo work around house. All my brothers and sisters in public safety be careful.
I’m aiming to retire in the summer aged 52, quite young you may think. I’ve worked for 35 years and simply cannot wait to bail out. My mind races with excitement when I think about it. This page is a good read. Life is for enjoying not commuting 3 hours per day in a packed train, putting up with difficult work colleagues and arrogant bosses. I really cannot wait!!
I retired the day I turned 55! I could have retired at 50 but by working 5 more years allowed me to retire with 80 percent of my salary. People do react in different ways towards me as I am told I look younger than 55. But I worked hard and long for 35 years and retired in the exact position I wanted to reach in my career. I am still transitioning 8 months in but getting easier.
Just curious, where did you work with an 80% pension?
Most likely the federal prison system. Only place I know that offers such a rich pension.
You’ve been working far too long if you ask me. Just because every other dousche can’t manage money and have to work until 65 doesn’t mean you do. Life’s too short and there are no guarantees
I retired 2 1/2 years ago, at age 54. Since I live in the Midwest, a huge advantage to retirement is not having to drive to work in a blizzard. I well remember that gut-wrenching feeling of the car fishtailing while I was driving in a whiteout during a dark ride home. Now, I can see the beauty of a snowfall out the window, as I relax, drink my hot chocolate and read a book. The weather forecast causes me no anguish.
I always dreamed of a day when all my children would be off on their own, happy and self sufficient, and I could surround myself with books, and learn everything my mind could dream of. Now I’m living the dream and I’m thrilled with it.
The most difficult part of early retirement is trying to explain to others what I do with my days. I don’t want people to view me as lazy, even though I know they may envy my freedom. I’m thinking of going back to college for another degree just so I have a socially acceptable label to put on my lifestyle. I know I shouldn’t cave like that, and I should wear my early retirement with pride and/or comfort, but some things are easier said than done.
It would be best if your post retirement plan over laps with your current job.The career that you can’t wait to leave may be the fuel that keeps you going.I volunteer three days a week.Assist former co-workers occasionally anI am looking for a real part time job.LOL.I like how it feels to be a working man
So sad. Make a life. Get a life.
Oh I’m sorry you hate your work.It must have been just awful to drag out of bed every morning and go to a job where your boss and co-workers hate you because you are so miserable.I’m sooo glad I’m not you.
It seems people react to retirement differently. Myself, Im not necessarily retired as I’m in between jobs and have been out of work 4 months and am starting to restart my job search. BUT, I can afford to retire now if I choose to and may be forced to due to my health problems that may force me to file for social security disabilty. For me, every time I’ve had extended time off via being between jobs like now, it’s been extremely difficult filling my free time. I am finding that I actually PREFER working a grind it out job I really don’t like than the burden of boredom. I’m literally climbing the walls. I exercise , do a few errands, hang out at Starbucks, but that’s all I’ve been able to do to fill all my time. I am constantly asking my friend (who is also i between jobs like me) to give me a detailed accounting of what he does each day in the hopes I can get ideas. He says he stays busy every single day and has no problems with boredom. I still don’t get it. This blog has given me a few ideas though. Maybe visiting a few museums or volunteering wil help fill the hours. The only thing that I can think I can do to prevent me from climbing the walls in sheer boredom terror is either go back to work or travel on cruises (I especially love the food on cruises), or travel to 3rd world countries a few months at a time . I never run out of dates with the ladies when I’m abroad in third world counties like the philippines or South America, whereas here in the states, I’m dateless and feel I lack purpose. Life is a bit more interesting in poor 3rd world countries, people seem much more sociable and you feel you can offer the people more help than at home and they seem so much more appreciative , and they find you more interesting and intriguing. I kind of got of track but I guess what I’m saying is that travel is probably the only thing that will keep me from losing my mind if I enter into retiremet early.
I am feeling the same way. I left my last job to escape the rat race for a bit, I am spending lots of time trying to figure out the meaning of life and fill my day. We moved out to the country, but there are few good jobs here. I am almost honking of moving back to the rat race. People say give yourself time, but I am going buggy!
I just wanted to say that I read this post some time ago and it really stuck with me. I was working at the time, reading Early Retirement Extreme and Mr Moustache at work and fantasising about doing similar. I was made redundant at the end of December and was ecstatic (I landed a nice package from work and had saved hard over the years) and was in the position to live the dream! I remembered this post however – as a golfer, especially the bit about golf! – and have searched hard to find it because it struck me at the time as a really thoughtful summary of the ups and downs of early retirement. Finally found it tonight, clipped it to Evernote, and wanted to say thanks for writing it!
This couldn’t come at a better time as I may be forced to retire early this very week. As far as I can tell I can afford it and my job is being eliminated so I’m feeling worthless these days and something needs to change. I want to make the world better for me so 1/3rd of my retirement I plan on volunteering. Since I don’t have my own family I can literally do what I want. It’s on the one hand scary and on the other hopefully the beginning of the best part of my life as it was for my father who retired at 59 but accomplished more in the next 38 years than most of us ever do, so it’s good to see the pros and con’s. In my case, being at a job you hate because there is little to do while you watch yourself just getting another day older, closer to death doesn’t seem like a lot to give up for a world that awaits me while I’m still young enough to enjoy it. (Personal note to self)
I got on the fire department early, and I am eligible to retire now at 45 after 24 years of service. What I did recently (I am still employed), was take six weeks vacation to test the waters. I had that much time banked up. Now, I realize that six weeks is not a “retirement,” but it was enough to let me know that I enjoyed my time off and freedom. Further, what needs to be clarified for each person is what “work” means to them. For example, if I identify as being a firefighter, then when I leave it’s going to be hard. If, however, I see myself as a helper, someone who cares and likes to make a difference for others, then I can move to other areas of “work” and be content. Work does not necessarily equal paid employment. The stay at home mother who manages her family and home- schools her children is surely working, but she is not drawing a traditional paycheck. Work is your labor of love and I do think it is important to maintain it throughout life, whether paid or not. Anyway, as I am thinking of pulling the plug and working in a variety of areas that interest me, I enjoyed your blog post.
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How about having your own business so you are always retired and you are never retired ? Yes, study very well and have professional business .
Originally I m also from Baroda.
It’s a great concept, and one that I’m currently employing now. Nothing feels as good as being your own boss!
This information has been invaluable to me because of all the human pros and cons! It was exactly what I was looking for. I’m on the brink of pulling the ripcord from the job…and it’s thrilling yet scary after working for 30 plus years. Thanks!
I retired two years ago at age 59. My biggest retirement adjustment was leaving my office “family.” I don’t miss the work or the commute at all, but I do miss the people I was around for nearly 25 years (yes, a gov’t job).
I recently went to a 90th birthday party for a former co-worker. He is still “with it,” but has some severe medical issues. Lots of family and friends were there. Yet I hope to not end up in his condition!
Moral of my story is even with a financially comfortable retirement picture, there are some big life changes after retirement! I actually feel sorry for people of retirement age who can’t enjoy the freedom that I have, so I guess my retirement so far is successful/satisfying! —
I retired last year.My wife has two years till she retires.For me it would have been best to retire at the same time.Money is not a factor but I missed my co workers terribly for the first year.When you walk away from your job.You will be walking away from some of your best friends.That is the worse part.
I am finally adjusting quite well ,but still considering a part time fun job ,just for laughs and camaraderie.
Few things can equal the structure and purpose that work can provide. I started a business that was successful, so I don’t need to work anymore. I’m in my 30s and I’m considering a part time job.
I’ve traveled plenty, I volunteer, I have tons of hobbies. Yet, work can provide camaraderie with people working towards a shared mission.
Volunteer positions aren’t the same, since there’s not the same commitment by both the volunteers and the volunteer programs. Most people who volunteer during working hours are 30 years older than me.
I think the key to work is balance. Too much and you feel stressed. Too little and you get bored. Everybody has a different balance.
I think a mans work is a great gift from God,right up there, real close to the gift of love.You need both work and love for a meaningful life
My job was eliminated 5 years ago at 55. After examining my finances, I decided I was able retire early. I mostly agree with all of the points made in the article. In my case, there is no way in the world I would go back to work. I only wish I could have retired even earlier. Don’t kill yourself working for the bigger house, new car or the corner office. The biggest perk of all is freedom. Get out as soon as you can.
40 years working in health care. Quit my job 6 months ago at age 57. Husband works 11 hour days (with Parkinson’s Disease) and gets paid 3 times my highest salary. Health care industry never offered me raises, promotions, better hours, less hours. Worked thru lunch, worked thru illness, worked thru Christmas day. Never off on school holidays. Couldn’t get paid overtime – always threatened work status if you worked overtime. Doctors collecting more and more pay. Staff has “hiring freeze”. More work, less staff, and no hope for change.
So, guilt, anger, amazement, and complete confusion has resulted in leaving my job.
Early retirement has translated to “I can’t take it anymore”. The hope now is having enough money to survive the inevitable future of having my spouse in a nursing home – about 5 – 10 years. His current age is 54.
Who wants to live into old age like that? Anyone? Take his place – or mine. Work for your nursing home bill now, so you won’t be on Medicaid (too soon)
This is why I quit work. Might as well smell the roses while I can. Just haven’t found any flowers in my path just yet.
I’m completely against retirement for any human being, I believe it accelerates the aging process. My thinking is based on personal experience. I have a really good job with a top fortune 25 company. An opportunity came up some time ago for this “greater job” within the organization. The job was described as a “early retirement position” among technicians in the know. Sounded great, but be very careful what you wish for. I was with the company for 6-7 years and somewhat happy with my position, but thought I would be happier with this highly talked about position, boy was I wrong.
It was a position with minimal to nonexistent supervision. Everything that needed to be done could always wait till the next day. There was no overtime, because the customers were internal and they unlike our external customers could wait. Anyway I noticed there was such a, I’m not sure how to describe it, but it was like a mopiness. People would just mope around and if I got excited and want to work hard I was looked at a bucking the trend and potentially seen as someone that could ruin a “good thing”.
So I found myself doing less and less, hiding from work, getting to things the next day, frankly becoming very lazy and feeling the negative effects. I felt like I had entered an old age home in my 20’s. I did this for 10 years and I wholeheartedly feel that it aged me 20 years. Luckily another position came up in the company where I was able to get back out and BACK TO WORK.
I now after this experience NEVER wish to retire. I have more appreciation of why people die shortly after retiring. It’s easy to say volunteer, there are all kinds of things to do. But it’s like going to the gym, sounds like a great idea, but try getting yourself there after a night out with friends. But when you have to be to work on time or potentially lose you job, guess what — people show up.
My analysis after this experience is people/humans, like the caged animals we are, need to be someplace and have a purpose at least 4 days a week (more than half). Vacations are fine for a time when we need a break, but a permanent break kicks off the aging process. I truly believe it’s a natal law to this world like the law of gravity (i.e. whomever doesn’t work hard and give to the world will not in turn be given the “juice” of life).
p.s. my plan for “retirement” is setting myself up for a second career. I’ve attend college nights and recently achieved my MBA from a prestigious Northeast college and am interested in spending my later years “giving my hard work” to some position in higher education wether it’s teaching or in administration. I know I need to mentor, get up have someplace to be and be involved and intern the earth, energy or whatever you want to call it will keep me around.
I agree. As a kid, my dad let me eat hot dogs for every meal during a camping trip. It seemed great at first, but after about 3 days I couldn’t eat any more.
This is probably the same with work. Unlimited travel, golf, beach vacations, etc. seem like a great idea. But more likely, a schedule is better served like a food pyramid; work and family as the base, with vacations and leisure activities being the cherry on top.
I agree with you Sam.If I had retirement to do all over again I would have never retired.There were other options.I could have transferred and that would have been like a new job with the same company.Why didn’t I think of that before :-) ?
Not to worry. There’s always the next life to utilize what we’ve learned in this life :)
Thanks! Made my day. Took early retirement 4 years ago when I was 53, and some times get the guilty feeling. I have done well financially and have discovered traveling as a great hobby.
Hi, I’m a new subscriber. Stumbled onto your site when trying to figure out what to do with my CDs since they earn so little interest. I agree with your pros and cons of early retirement. I took a year off work and will be returning to a new job next week. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off but it wasn’t without stress. I worked out almost everyday and also trained and completed my first marathon. I traveled and visited families and spent more time with friends. I was financially able to take the time off but not forever. I had thought about starting an online business but can’t figure out what kind of business and seemed risky. So before I become unemployable, I am going back to work and the long commutes (an hour each way). I will miss having the time to do whatever I want and being able to run at the park in the middle of the day. But I need to be practical and continue to save for my retirement. Perhaps my next step is to figure out how to generate some passive income. I have enjoyed reading your articles so far!
Welcome to my site! Not sure if this is the post you saw, but here it is: https://www.financialsamurai.com/2013/01/23/cd-investment-alternatives-why-im-no-longer-investing-in-cds/
Also take a look at a passive income post I have. I’ll be posting a new one shortly so subscribe and stay in touch.
Sounds good Shilpan. I just can’t take the weather. I was in Colaba for a couple weeks right before the terrorist attack in 2008. I can see how moving back after making your fortune here would be enticing!
Wow, great post Sam. Heckuva essay here!
“What will you do in with your time”- a common question from coworkers when I mention my upcoming early retirement.
My answer- not 100% sure, but I know what I won’t be doing, and if I can’t find something better to do with my time than this job, then I am a sad case indeed! ( I have a crappy job)
Good point! There is so many better, more fun, and more fulfilling to do with one’s time than one’s job usually.
I find a lot of fulfillment writing this site and interacting with readers such as yourself. Hope to learn more about your story one day.
Welcome back! Which part of India were you visiting? It’s so far away to visit I don’t think I can go back unless I relocate somewhere in Asia.
I don’t think I ever really want to retire – I just want to be doing the things I enjoy and making money until my last breath – it may sound crazy, but I don’t think I would enjoy sitting around and golfing and being rather aimless.
Not crazy. I found I got tired of golf quick. Making money is fun. It’s like a game sometimes.
To me, you guys are normal.
After watching competitive esports, I’ve become jaded to traditional sports. Baseball and golf are the worst when it come to boring games that take way too long. Even football is starting to get boring due to its over-regulation and repetitiveness.
On the other hand, there’s such a gigantic variety of video games and stories told through video games that I don’t think I’d ever get bored playing (or watching others play) them.
Good for you, keep working till you drop and someone else will spend your money for you.
Retiring is the worst thing I ever done.I trained my replacement and so ,there’s no going back.If I knew than what I now know I would never retire.
Okay,I have had it.I have been retired for thirteen months. I’m actively looking for a job.Not for the money, but for the fun of it.The two best gifts of God are Love and work.They are almost equal in value.I have plenty of love ,but my tank is only half full.I need a job to top it off.My advise :Plan long and hard before you retire and do not retire till you have solid plans and a,you are not going to fish every day,unless you are going to become a fisherman ,so forget it.You need a real plan.
I entered a state of retirement this past summer when my youngest finished school and I paid off the house. I can afford to stay retired if I live modestly. I just turned 60. I woke up the second morning and said “what have I done”! I actually went into a depression for several weeks and am now looking for a job. Primarily for the interaction with people and stimulation. A little extra money will be okay too. Retirement is scary without a plan.
Great post! Two more things I’d add: I can go to the gym while other people are “at work” so all the machines I like are available.
Then there’s working the laptop in a warm bed on a cold, snowy day, or taking it to a park of a lovely spring day. It’s like they say: the secret to success is location, location, location!
I’m impressed you still enjoy going to the gym William! I’ve hated the gym since day 1 and will probably continue to hate it until I die. Thank goodness for Lululemon outfits though. ha.
Funny ,when I go to the gym,every old man and lady in town are there occupying a machine ,just sitting there
William, You sound a great guy to me, wish I could share some of your happiness, Since I retired i have done voluntary caring, and forgetting my health, I just thought of the poor people, They were doing fine, and then I fainted, and had blood tests and so I then thought oh dear as the Dr said, I would have to stop doing too much. Now i am going to try that, Love to hear from you. Brenda.
Very inspiring Sam!
let me ask you a personal question: do you feel that you had to postpone the project of having a family because you were so focus on working and seeking financial freedom?
I’m asking because I almost lost my wife and “perfect family picture” at one point while I was doing my MBA at the same time that I was pursuing a great career and creating my online company. I use to work a lot and understood that it would bring me a lot of materials but I would lose my family in the process. Any thoughts on the difficulty to combine both early retirement and founding a family?
Not at all Mike. I had no desire to start a family in my 20s. I was excited to work, learn, travel and be mobile to go where the opportunities were greatest. I didn’t want to be grounded so soon.
I got my MBA partly due to the downturn then, and partially due to having a lot of spare time. I remember even in 2000 waking up by 6am on weekends, bored as the world slept. So I decided to go to school on the weekends instead. I should have started this site the ! Now that I have the time and financial means, a family is a possibility.
Wow Sam, you really hit it dead on! I have only been out of the “rat race” for a month and a half now, but so much of what you write about is what I have experienced thus far! For instance, I’ve caught myself running errands at commuter times…very annoying, and have since learned to not do so (it’s just an old habit to run errands at certain times of day!). I am spending a lot less time on social media, which is not necessarily a good thing, and have found that many things I used to do because I didn’t want to do my job. That was a hard realization (for example, checking my financial accounts once a day or so to pass the time at work). The good news is that I’ve had an incredible time expansion because of working for myself, as well as not feeling the need to do these things I used to do to pass some day time. Life has really opened up for me! Not that I was miserable before, but wow, I am just SO happy.
Anyway, that is just a month and a half in. I’ve been pretty productive and focused, though I have my days as well. The good news though is that I work on the weekends as well and wake up without an alarm at 6:00ish each morning (I have always been a morning person), so if I have an unproducctive Thursday I just make up for it when I am at my peak. In fact, having the freedom to work when I am feeling focused and into it has really helped with productivity as well.
Sounds good Amanda. The first several months is always a thrill. The thrill of being able to sleep in and set your own schedule kind of faded after 6 months as I didn’t need an alarm clock for the past 3 years anyway. I hope the thrill lasts longer for you than it did for me.
I still enjoy early retirement after one year. I’m just looking for more excitement since there’s so much more time. Good luck on your journey!
I would get bored in two or three days and do something that took up all of my time and then some. Like start a blog :)
Good thing starting a blog is so easy!
I’m sure you had tongue plated firmly in cheek when you said that :)
I can’t wait for the day when I can quit my day job. Mainly because I want to become an independent investment advisor. Working for myself, instead of a large brokerage house, is such an attractive venture. I have a specific dollar amount in mind and once it’s reached, I’ll be ready to manage portfolios on the beach…
Good thing you can get the training and take the tests while you are working for a large brokerage house!
I enjoyed this post. I don’t think I could ever retire truthfully. Not because of financial reasons, but because I get too antsy if I don’t have something to do. I know you mentioned it before, but have you thought of volunteering at a worthwhile charity to help you find more fulfillment? I think thats what I would be doing if I didn’t have to work. I could’t imagine feeling more fulfilled than when I am helping others
I have. A little bit of time here and there. I’m finding utilizing this platform and the Yakezie Network to share stories and help folks with their finances to be very fulfilling. It is so awesome to see fellow Yakezie Members quit their jobs and do what they love. I think we’ve got over 10 Members who’ve managed to do so. And then to get personal e-mails from readers who mention how so and so post helped them with their finances is also gratifying. I think the internet is the most efficient way to reach and help folks.
That does get tough when other friends who are couples have their couples retreats and family dates. Enjoy your house cleaner! I don’t know why, but I find it gratifying to clean myself and will never have a housekeeper. I like to garden and paint as well.
That would be a very interesting comparison indeed!
Every single one of the researchers who’s goal is to highlight retiring leads one closer to death are all working. There’s a bias there :)
Ahhh- a good Mythos beer on Santorini! Done that!
I think it’s easy to come up with the list of positives, but listing the negatives of early retirement is much more interesting as they are the day-to-day challenges we’ll be facing.
I find the laziness factor interesting as well. Of course, I’m looking forward to a good 6-month sabbatical where I just Netflix out on movies and shows before I really get in gear and figure out “what’s next”.
Thanks man. I wanted to list more negatives, but I couldn’t really think of any more. Trust me, I’m trying. I guess the “Other Observations” posts could have some negatives, but not really.
I think you will find Netflixing out to movies very boring after 3 weeks! But, do let me know when the time comes. Cheers
I recently (8 months ago) retired from a career in law enforcement. Back when I hired on, one didn’t get into that field to get rich or have plenty of money in retirement. As chance or happenstance would have it, Las Vegas remained the fastest growing city in America for the decades and years that I worked as a cop. Pay raises and opportunity for advancement were phenomenal, as were the union contracts and the pension system for police and firefighters. As a result, I retired at 51 and the pension is a nice cherry at the top of a long career. It’s comfortably generous. The deferred compensation program I participated in combined with personal savings from lbym is added insurance. I DON’T MISS WORKING. Even after 8 months I cannot see this sentiment changing. Freedom is something everyone should experience. I do have survivor guilt though. I feel like I walked away from a catastrophic event completely intact. I see people hurrying to work, stressed out, tired and self neglected. Been there, done that. The guilt ends. It’s 70 degrees in Vegas and I’m wearing a t-shirst, cargo shorts and sandals while doing a little shopping at a leisurely pace in a sparsely populated Costco a few short minutes ago. Life is indeed good. Also, you ARE retired. I read some posts arguing otherwise. You are also contributing to the lives of people in positive ways. Would your return to the rat race contribute to people in the same way? You ain’t missing out on anything, bull market or not. If I have learned anything, It is that we make our own life. For those who feel they can’t be happy in retirement because they won’t have anything to do, I feel sorry for them. They needed to unplug From the matrix and control their own destiny. Are we all lab rats pecking away a the bait for a reward of predetermined importance? It can be hard to commit to controlling your own destiny. It can be scary. Here is the challenge. Go out and do something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Make time for it and do it. Once you do, you will know what is waiting on the other side for you. You’ll learn that it is you who decides your happiness, boredom, satisfaction or elation at the business of being free.
Hey Steve! Congrats man! Your pension must definitely be a nice cherry on top.
I can relate to your “survivor’s guilt” comment as I have the same feelings as well sometimes. It’s like we played a game and won. But then I think “now what?” Life is relatively easy in America compared to the other places I’ve seen and lived in.
“Make time for it and do it.” You are right. One of my goals I’ve put on for a while is being SCUBA certified. Small goal, but a fun one so that I can start planning my vacations around the dives.
What a great honest and objective review Sam! You seem very sociable so this lifestyle suits you. But for those who aren’t, I can see loneliness a huge con that isn’t apparent at first. Funny take about waiting in lines and great point about vacations not as fun as well. Thanks for the eye opening post! Has it already been a year? Time flies when you’re having fun!
Thanks Buck. Actually, I think the less sociable a person is, the easier it is for that person to enjoy earlier retirement as there’s less of a need to spend time with others.
Hmmm. You’re right. It just seems from your stories, you get into enough adventures that the loneliness con you mention won’t be an issue. More power to ya!
My employer allows workers to reduce their weekly work schedule, with a correspondent reduction in salary. I just reduced my work schedule & salary by 10% by taking every other Friday off! I’m going to enjoy those two 3-day weekends every month!
Nice! I’d love to do that as well. Just make sure your employer knows you are still serious about work if you plan to work for a while. Flex hour employees get less love and are at more risk than full-time, balls to the wall employees as Marisa Mayer at Yahoo! has demonstrated.
I’m 28 right now. I certainly hope to be retired by 35, and if I can really make things happen with my new website, might even be able to be retired by 30. Wish me luck!
Good luck! Many people are getting very wealthy nowadays with their startups. Just got to be in the right place and keep on executing. There is way more money out there than you think!
Don’t you sleep?! Answering comments back at 5:51 your time. We did sell the other place and bought another one. Mansion no? but probably double the living space which has been nice. Still doesn’t mean I can stay home with The Wife everyday. I’ll take the high road and say she’d want to get rid of me way before me of her.
Haha, nice. I’ve been responding to comments since 4:40am this morning… which is another reason why I’m itching to do something more. I’m going to be done with all my online duties by 7am!
Doubling the size of your house is a huge move man. All is relative! Congrats on selling your old place. That must feel GREAT!
When times are good, as they are now, it’s hard not to have the itch. With one year under my belt, I will have no regrets looking back when I’m old that I gave things a go on my own. One of my biggest fears is not doing the things I’ve always hoped to do out of fear.
Congrats on completing you A-Z Savings book btw!
I just don’t think times are good for the right reasons and I can see the market falling back down again if the fundamentals don’t catch up to the euphoria.
I actually really admire how you have gone about your business and are doing what you want. You are currently living my dream by doing what you love.
The book has been a lot more effort than I thought it would be originally, but I am glad that we did it as I have learned so much from the experience.
Book producing is definitely an eye opening experience. The biggest thing I’ve found it does is help you with branding and authority on a particular topic.
It’s also very gratifying to have a product out there which can help others. You’re not likely to get rich off a book, but we don’t write to get rich in the first place!
Just being in the action really. It’s fun to work when times are good. It’s no fun to work when times are bad and friends are losing their jobs and compensation is getting compressed even if you hit it out of the park.
Oh, and a Lambo would be nice, if it had jetblack tint so nobody could see me in it!
Thanks Kevin. You’re right. If boredom and loneliness are the biggest negatives then things really aren’t so bad.
I look forward to reading your post when you’ve quit! But don’t quit, get laid.
I cope with loneliness through interaction on this site and through tennis. I’m part of a club and a tennis league that battles for 4 months a year. It’s a great time. Now I’ve got to fill out the other 6+ months of the year with other activity.
My original structure was 7:30am-12noon. But I’ve found I’m often done with 90% of what I want to do online by 9am.
Good to hear from you mate. If you don’t want the hate, best to not mention it too much or at all in real life. When you get there, saying “unemployed,” “on sabbatical,” or “entrepreneur” is a great way to deflect!
If I were to tell you all my passive income covers all my living expenses and then some, could you still consider me retired? Here’s the first post on passive income (https://www.financialsamurai.com/2012/04/16/achieve-financial-freedom-slice/). The second one is coming up probably after tax season. Stay tuned!
Gotcha. It’s OK, no need to be sorry. So if one is retired according to your definition, that means one cannot blog. Any other suggestions you have for where I can put my writing to good use and be considered retired? Are there any other retirement restrictions you would like to share? I’m always curious to know how people describe retirement. Thanks.
True. Although the $200K goal is passive income ie not working for my money. I look forward to your thoughts when that post comes up.
We definitely want to exit the rat race. What will we do then? I’m not sure, but hopefully something that will benefit others.
Thanks for the honest assessment. I don’t think many people would survive 50 years of “retirement.” But then again, I doubt they are the ones frequenting this blog.
Figure out something you love to do on the side and try and do it for at least one hour a weekday for a year. There’s a lot of different things we can do, but once we start doing it, we might not find them as fun. Good luck!
Sam, I love that you post on this subject once every few months…don’t stop doing this! It is what drew me to your site in the first place, and it is what keeps me motivated as we all move on with life.
“Retirement” to me means doing only what I want to do; and that for me is meaningful work that helps people. No dying early here! It’s pretty obvious that the positives outweigh the negatives, but I get bored easily, so that worries me a bit.
Thanks for continuing to be a huge inspiration to me!
Cool Tony. I agree with your meaningful work that helps people. The worst is working that doesn’t really help anybody!
I find writing online to be helpful to those who want to improve their finances. It is VERY gratifying to help strangers who stumble upon this site and watch them succeed.
Great post – nicely sums up issues.
I am looking forward to experiencing the positives later this year.
The greatest fears I have about early retirement are the potential for boredom and a decline in mental and physical health. Keeping myself occupied in retirement could end up being a full time job.
Can’t wait to hear! Later this year will come soon enough.
I think the greatest hurdle that most retirees would be faced up with is losing their sense of purpose, so it’s always good to see retirement in this kind of perspective weighing the good with the bad and seeing things the options still open to them.
Well, I know a lot of folks who realize their work is not their purpose, so it might not be that bad. Perhaps it’s more finding new purpose which is more worrisome. What if nobody believes in them?
I’m convinced that having ten-twelve more hours a day because of no job would open up a massive amount of new opportunities for me. I still love what I’m doing, but I can’t wait to be the architect of my day everyday. Great post!
Have a go at part-time architecture and see where it goes!
I am by no means retired or financially independent at this point, but just cutting back to 2-3 days per week in my main job has made a tremendous improvement in my overall attitude and ability to plan for the future. I think if I didn’t have to work at all, I could come up with all kinds of things to fill my time. Of course with a small child, lots of that time gets filled with their activities. Congrats on the one year mark. That’s very motivating.
I think working 2-3 days a week would be wonderful! In fact, if I could find a job that could allow me to work 2-3 days a week and get 4-5 days of vacation every week, I’d probably work until I was 70! Congrats to you on finding such a sweetspot!
I really loved this article. Although I am not retired I can definitely relate to that need to leave a mark on this world. I’ve recently realized how important that sense of community is in people’s lives. Being a catalyst to bring people together is in itself a gift you give others that is lasting and positive. People love being part of something bigger but they often don’t have the time or aptitude to be that change agent. I look forward to hearing more.
Long time no hear! Great to hear from you. Community really is important. The quest is to find that right community given there aren’t many early retirees here in SF. Everybody is busy doing something. Takes effort to connect!
I retired at 52 about 8 months ago and would say your list is fairly accurate except “It gets harder to stay retired over time.”
For me, it has gotten much easier to be retired. I really love being able to control my own time and I care less about making more money. Also, I’m really excited about the new blog I just started, taking classes, reading interesting books, etc.
Just starting your blog and growing it is one of the greatest joys I’ve found. I’m excited for you! Hope you can overcome the hump and continue on.
Retirement is getting harder for me b/c it is becoming so easy and routine. I’m always looking for a challenge, so a challenge is what I will find. I really don’t want to spend more than 4 hours online a day b/c even online stuff gets dull after a while. New post coming!
Great list. One big pro for me is to be able to listen to my body. I don’t have to eat because it is time for a lunch break, but because I am hungry. I can have a sleepy morning during the week and be productive on weekends. Like you I have lost interest in being on holiday, I am happy at home. But did two 6 months trips in 2011 and 2012 so that was a lot.
Good point on listening to your body! Drink when thirsty, eat when hungry, wake when energized. I think I do so anyway, but it’s a good reminder. Even while I was working, I haven’t had to set an alarm clock since I started FS in 2009 b/c I’m so excited to wake up everyday that my body ready to go at 6am. This morning, it was ready to go at 4:45am, but that’s b/c I passed out at 11pm last night :)
“I’m not even retired yet, but people give me tons of crap when tell them my plans to retire early. Some even get angry.”
These words, and FS’s *hot and bothered* description, really hit home. I no longer discuss it with anyone other than a very few people who share my goals or are at least supportive of mine as I am of theirs. My thought on this phenomenon of ‘anger’ towards the plans/goals of early retirement, is that they feel competitive and see themselves as “losing”. Too bad, they have made other choices and probably enjoy a fully-realized cashflow (or even greater than 100%!:-)), lots of “career” based decisions and hopefully results, etc. Their goals are just different.
I guess everyone wants validation for their choices. Anyway, one of the reasons I enjoy the Yakezie network is that there are like-minded bloggers and posters who share my goals and aspirations, so it is OK to discuss it with people who won’t get ‘angry’. Continued success to you, Mr. 1500!
Spending lots of one’s paycheck every month is fine so long as they love to work for a very long time. It’s when one spends all the paycheck and then complains about their own retirement situation which makes thins a little perplexing!
I remember when I started my site and was publishing guest posts to get noticed. You asked me in the comments how I could be “retired” and be interested in building a web based financial education business. Seeing your list of positives and negatives, it looks like you’ve answered the question for yourself. Congratulations on your independence. Now comes the fun of living up to the responsibility that comes with it.
I forgot what I wrote Todd, but I don’t doubt it. I hope I can live up to the responsibility of having a good time. Curious to know if there is a retirement code of responsibility one has to live up to you can point me to? Thx!
Awesome post Sam. Thanks for the insights, can’t believe it’s been a year!
For me, financial independence is something I will strive for. Retirement doesn’t mean I’m going to quit working, just means I am no longer *required* to work. heck, I feel like I’l live MUCH longer if I keep working in somehting that I believe in.
I’ll have to say that I don’t resemble anything you’ve described above, as my net worth is nothing, and I have a lot of working years ahead of me, unless something miraculous happens. That being said, I’m trying to make my own luck, so we’ll see :)
Thanks for the inspiration.
No problem Jacob. Your greatest attribute is time and enthusiasm. As soon as you start feeling “the fade,” do everything possible to plan for something else. My fade happened after around 10 consecutive years of work and going to school. I could have done 8 more years, but instead I figure out a way three years later. It came quicker than I thought… but everything does the older you get. Good luck!
The biggest positive is you get to look ahead because you are not tied up with the day to day struggle of earning money. The biggest negative is it is all up to you what you do with your time. Another positive yo have the time to explore anything and everything because you have the most precious of things, time!
Being able to comfortably retire at 42 yet choosing to work since I still love it, I bet I find myself lusting after those things that are your positives about as much as you spend thinking about your negatives. Instead of the traditional “retirement”, I kind of have a hybrid situation where I’ve hired more staff to take the workload off…I have enough money that I’m never going to allow some rude/idiotic customer to ruin my day or weekend. I love the thrill of closing the big deal, but still being able to skip out at 1:30 to go boating on a beautiful tuesday afternoon. It’s all about moderation…sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everybody who could have retired early would have, everything would look a lot different. Steve Jobs would not have created the iPad, JP Morgan wouldn’t have founded General Electric, Jordan wouldn’t have won 6 rings, Tiger wouldn’t have broken Jack’s record for Majors…oops on that last one, but you get the point…some people path is to keep doing what they are great at and continue with their passion in life.
Indeed. I have to imagine that is the best scenario: Not having to work, yet working in a great environment doing what you enjoy.
Love this post! There are positives and negatives for early retirement and positives and negatives for working. It all depends on who you are.
These are my favorite kinds of articles by PB’ers. I always enjoy a glimpse of life “out of the Matrix.” Good for you Sam, what a cool perspective this experience must have given you, regardless of if/when you go back to work. The coolest thing is-it’s on your terms now. I find the closer I get to FI, the more free I feel at work, the less stress I feel and the more enjoyment I feel. Go Bold and do the Foreign Service gig! I’ve been thinking lately that when I become FI, my real purpose in life will begin.
“I’ve discovered that we overestimate how much money we need to be happy.” Live simple and be fulfilled!
Thanks Chris. It really is about going out and getting back in on your own terms. It felt amazing to initiate and then negotiate an exit, especially since I was thinking about it for at least a year and a half.
I also have to imagine it to be great to work without needing to work. I really want to experience that at some point if only to be able to write a post about it.
Great post Sam! I can relate to many of these things since we run our own business. I love being able to go run errands in the middle of the day and not have lines to deal with. The easy to get lazy point is so true! Without a set structure it can be incredibly easy to find yourself just not being productive. Thankfully my wife and I are pretty driven, otherwise we’d not be able to put food on the table.
Thanks John. Does the wife work on the business with you? Ever wonder when that drive fades?
Yes she does. She is actually the one that started it about three years ago.
I don’t know when the drive fades, but I do know we have some pretty
lofty plans and goals we want to reach.
Wow, has it been a year already? Time flies when you’re retired. :) I should write a post like this too when my year is up. The biggest positive is that I spend a lot less time on the computer. Sitting in front of the computer all day and night is incredibly bad for you. I don’t really have many negatives, I’ll have to think about it more.
Time really does fly. I look forward to reading your perspective as a SAHD!
My biggest hurdle to overcome if I retired early would be getting lazy and wasting my days. I was extremely good at it in college & can still waste a weekend or vacation day doing absolutely nothing. It would be imperative for me to find a lot of things to occupy my time with each day.
I’ve seen you mention going back to work a few times now. What would it take for you to do so? Would it be a certain salary, or just a challenge that you found really exciting?
I don’t know why, but I have a hard time doing nothing. The sweet spot is when I can do two things at one e.g. go hiking and get exercise while spending some QT with my parents.
There would have to be a great cultural fit, a minimum salary, and a product or movement I really care about in order to go back. Step one is probably having someone reach out to me and pitch me why I need to join, instead of me pitching them why they need to hire me. I sometimes cringe thinking about getting back on the bus again, but work can be a lot of fun with the right product and people.
Having been employed, underemployed, and unemployed, each for long periods of time, I can say, without a doubt, that I’d rather been employed and have no interest in retirement. I feel more purpose in my life working a boring job for somebody else than I do having my days free to do as I please. Maybe I’m lazy, but I prefer to be busy and prefer somebody else come up with stuff to keep me busy.
I’ve probably said this a hundred times in comments to posts about retirement, but my grandfather was my hero when it came to work. He “retired” 5 times over 15 years. Others would convince him that it was time to slow down and enjoy life, but he would find that he just couldn’t bear not having something to do and would find a new job. When his doctor told him he just wasn’t healthy enough to work anymore, he finally retired, and passed on 11 months later.
Good to hear Edward. Not everybody wants to retire early that’s for sure. Work until you no longer enjoy work I say.
Congrats on one year Sam. I haven’t paid a visit here in a long time but I just wrote down a wonderful quote from the post. “Adaption is one of our greatest attributes”. I couldn’t agree more. Take care and don’t forget to drink your Ensure every morning.
Your old pizza delivery buddy – deliverawaydebt
Great to hear from you Jeff! I’d love to know what you are up to nowadays. A guest post perhaps? :)
We should get together and chat as I could be in your situation soon:)
Hey Steve, congratulation. :) I hope it’s your choice, but you would be doing pretty well even without a full time job right?
Well done! About time you got the itch. Still waiting for you to come up to SF for some dim sum.
I found it’s fairly easy to fall into ruts if you are self-employed. And it might be fairly easily to stay there if you are not motivated at all to make changes. But overall it is more enjoyable I found than working for someone else. It is infinitely easier to be able to live life on my own terms than someone else’s.
True. But if the someone else can pay you the big bucks for relatively fun work, then it’s not so bad at all.
Sounds like you are enjoying it for the most part! I know if I were to retire from a traditional job at this moment I would spend time building a business anyway. Also my commute is only 3 minutes so I’m just working on building my career experience right now, and working the business on the side. Maybe in 10 years I will consider early retirement!
A 3 minute commute rocks! I cannot imagine having to spend much more than 30 minutes one way, five days a week going to work.
It’s exciting to be on the rise in one’s career. Enjoy every moment of it!
Great article Sam. Although that golf thing has me puzzled. Of course, I don’t have a single digit handicap. Let’s hit the tennis court sometime though. I’m playing a couple of times a week now.
You should join a USTA league Glenn. It’s a lot of fun! Season starts in April.
There’s nothing better than hitting that perfect approach shot in golf that lands right where you want it to on the green. The problem once you get to a 10 handicap or below is that those shots are EXPECTED. So when you don’t hit them, which is frequently the case for someone who doesn’t shoot in the 70s, then it gets frustrating. It’s all an expectations game! 15 handi is the sweet spot of golfing fun.
I think a MASSIVE positive and negative for me would be the ability to see my child all day, everyday. Positive because he is awesome but negative I would never get any work done lol.
The wife works from home and she has expressed those exact same pros and cons, for her the real tough one is the loneliness she finds when everyone she knows is working.
That really is a great positive reason, at least for the first several years. I would whether you guys would be OK if both of you were always home though?
Me and The Wife? I don’t know that is A LOT of time together lol
Exactly. But, that’s why you’ve got your new mansion now! Did you ever end up selling the old house? I lost track.
Sam, curious, with how things have worked out thus far, if you had to guess – would you EVER be back in a traditional W-2 income type job for the rest of your life? Or do you think you’ll never go back? There’s financial, social, professional considerations involved; I’m just curious what odds you’d put on ever going back to the grind.
It’s a good question that I’m thinking about more and more b/c I still have so much energy and time on my hands. For example, it’s 4:48am right now and I know I’ll be done with everything online by 7am and it’s going to rain all day today, so tennis or any outdoor activity is out.
If I were a betting man, which I am, I’d say the chance is 65%. “Ever” is a long time.
Thanks for sharing all of these insights. I can imagine how the first six months were a lot more emotional because it was such a big change. Now you are finding new ways to adapt further and make your retirement more rewarding in new ways. I imagine mixing up your routine must help so every day feels different. That’s what makes some of my work weeks better than others- when I’m working on a new project or doing things on a different schedule or in a new way.
I think I’d volunteer at the zoo, the food bank, or a local school a few days a week if I retired to get myself out of the house and give back in ways that I can’t do now. I hope you enjoy your retirement for many years to come. It must be nice not to be on the bus each day! ;) Im commuting as I write this.
That’s quite a long comment to type while commuting! Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting how I’ve discovered it takes effort to make retirement more fulfilling. Reward doesn’t just keep coming because we all adapt to what we’ve got, good or bad. So in that sense, it’s great to go through the bad b/c we really won’t find the bad so miserable. Sacrifice now and reap the rewards for years to come.
True. It’s getting through bad things that make the good more enjoyable too.
I typed all of that with one hand too btw lol.
Wow, well done! I wonder if there is a texting competition for single hand typers.
I love your positives and negatives of early retirement. You make some really good points, and I don’t think many people think about the negatives.
Like Holly, I like working as well, but on my own terms. Thankfully I don’t have a 9-5 I want to escape from.
I really tried hard to think about more negatives, but this is all I could come up with. It does stink that the excitement of going somewhere new has waned. However, that may be a natural evolutionary mechanism to help keep folks grounded to raise a family perhaps?
Everything is relative when it comes to negatives.
I like working…for now. I just want to become financially independent so that I can have more choices. I don’t necessarily want to quit working completely. There are things that I like doing that happen to make money as well. I really just want to quit my 9-5 job sooner rather than later =)
Sounds good Holly. If you are able to quit sooner, then you’ll have more choices. The older we get, the more we cherish our choices and freedom. Good luck!