Early Retirement Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Stop Working
Early retirement doesn’t mean you don’t work. Early retirement means you don’t need to work. And that, my friends, is a big difference.
“Everybody’s working for the weekend.” – Loverboy
According to a recent Gallup poll, 70% of Americans hate their jobs. Not dislike. Not strongly dislike. But hate.
I get it.
Most of us start our careers giddy with enthusiasm. We have great hopes and dreams that through our work we can make a difference. And we’ll get paid while we’re at it. Win, win.
We can make the world a better place in which to live – whether we’re in military service, medical care, arts, entertainment, business, construction, technology, home services, legal assistance, you name it. Maybe we started our career in a trade straight out of high school or we obtained an associate, bachelor or advanced degree.
For the first few years everything is going great. But then reality sets in. We realize that we are going to be on this hamster wheel for the next 40 years.
Forty years is a long time to dedicate to anything. And it’s especially long if you’re like 70% of the population and you HATE your job. Just like those hamsters spinning on the wheel, we want to get off. As soon as possible.
While some people do find their careers to be completely rewarding and fulfilling for four or more decades, most of us desire something else.
“At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.” – Barbara Bush
We long for the day when time is our own. When we report to no one. No boss, no customers, no patients, no shareholders, no subscribers, no well, you get the idea.
Welcome to the world of early retirement.
“Early retirement is a remarkable feeling of control, each and every day.” – Steve via @ThinkSaveRetire on Twitter
And this ain’t your grandpa’s retirement, people. Gone are the days when retirement meant biding time sitting on the porch in a rocking chair.
We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We tend to tie our self worth to success in our careers. When we retire, our purpose must be defined by more than just our old job.
Early retirement allows you to dedicate your attention to what really matters in life.
1) Spend more time with your family.
2) Care for ailing or aging family members.
3) If you have small children, spend QUANTITY time with them, not just QUALITY time.
4) If you have school-age children, volunteer at school, chaperone field trips, assist in the office or substitute teach (if your district allows).
Early retirement allows you to find your passion. And not your work passion. Your real passion. Maybe it’s your Second Act.
5) Work part-time.
6) Work full-time. But just for fun. Not because you need the money.
7) Start a business.
8) Take a class.
9) Teach a class.
10) Run for office.
11) Start blogging. Start gardening. Start dancing.
12) Turn your hobby into a business.
Early retirement allows you to eradicate the stuff that causes you stress.
17) Morning and evening commute.
Early retirement allows you to decide how you spend your time. And not be dictated by a work schedule.
18) Go to the gym when it’s not crowded.
19) Enjoy a matinee.
20) Travel anytime you want. Not just when work allows.
21) Go on a mission trip. Or immerse yourself in a language you’ve always wanted to learn.
22) Give back to your community through volunteering.
23) Find out who else shops in the middle of the day when the stores aren’t packed with stressed-out workers.
Early retirement allows you to cut expenses.
24) Prepare a nutritious lunch at home to avoid the grab-n-go lunch.
25) Cut out dry cleaning clothes.
26) Stop buying “work” clothes, because everyday is Casual Friday.
Early retirement allows you to lead the life you’ve always dreamed of.
27) [Fill in the blank] I can’t wait to _________________.
“There is no time like the PRESENT to retire and START enjoying life.” – Paul Merriman
Of course, Merriman makes a caveat to his quote – “If you have saved enough.”
How much is enough? It’s different for everyone. Some people choose to live on a small fraction of their income to speed the process of becoming financially independent (having the income to support your lifestyle without relying on a full-time job).
How can anyone save enough? Most people can, regardless of income. It starts with living well below what your income allows. It requires planning, patience and perseverance. But the sacrifices are worth it.
Retirement is not the end. Retirement is the beginning of the life you’ve always dreamed of. Where YOU decide how to spend your time, your money and your talents.
This article was originally written for a series of “Money Debates” sponsored by Rockstar Finance.