Don’t Retire Early?

During my usual tour of blog posts last night I came across a post by Saving Journey entitled “Don’t retire early!” Of coarse the title got me so I had to read on. Here is a taste of the post:

Personally, I find that my work is enthralling and rewarding. I am very passionate about what I do and I keep very abreast in my industry. I participate in conferences, and I basically look forward to the work that I do nearly each and every day. I’ve always enjoyed my work for the 10 or so years that I’ve been doing it. So why the heck would I want to retire early? Consider this:

  • Early retirement is a risk to your future earnings – what if you retire at 45 then decide 5 years into your retirement hiatus that you want to work? Will you be happy with that Wal-Mart greeter job? 😉 You greatly risk your future earnings potential
  • Early retirement likely means a decrease in your disposable income both in retirement and today

Overall it is not a bad argument. If you love what you do why stop working. My counter argument is simple. Most people don’t love their jobs. If you want to find out if you love your job here is a simple test: If you were not paid to do you job, would you still go to work tomorrow? If you can truly answer yes, congratulations you do love your job and you are part of the 5% of the population that does love their job. For the rest of us, it’s a bit different.

Don’t get me wrong I do like my job. Some days I would even say I love it, but I find my life so limiting being stuck in that job for 40 hours a week. Also I don’t buy into the idea I will want to go back to ‘work’ after I retire, because who said anything about me not doing something that earns money in retirement. I just don’t have to be worried about working a set schedule and I do the jobs I want to rather than needing to.

So I do find happiness in most of my life, most of the time. I don’t expect early retirement to be a silver bullet, but rather the freedom to purse anything I want for as long as I want without being tied to the wage that goes with it. That is what I’m buying in my mind with that ‘decrease of disposable income.’

4 thoughts on “Don’t Retire Early?”

  1. Lol thought I’d get you to read that one 😉 Thanks for the link.

    You have good points. Perhaps some people are wired to never truly love anything they “do” when they “have to” do it. You may simply love what you’re doing today more after retiring early because you’ll be deciding when you do it to an extent.

    I say to an extent because you’ll still be obligating yourself to finishing tasks possibly for compensation and therefore still binding yourself to work contracts. That then opens up another can of worms – just what does it mean to be “retired early”? It would be interesting to hear first hand experiences from those that have retired early as their definitions and experiences will significantly vary.

    I know this is all terribly philosophical stuff but the more thought out our early retirement plans are, and purpose of being / living, the better our end decisions will be and (hopefully) the happier our retirement lives!

  2. SJ,

    Early retirement can be just about anything now a days. Perhaps the only thing that is common to all the options is the freedom to do what you want.


  3. I retired retire early — at 55 — and I’m happy to report it was the best thing I ever did, and I just wish I could have done it earlier. You don’t have to buy into any particular vision of how it will be (whether you will or won’t work etc., who knows about the future, those who are still working have no idea what tomorrow will bring either, it’s a knee-jerk fear reaction to hearing about those who choose a different path, at least in my experience).
    I sorted out some financial issues first: new car, paid down debt to manageable on pension, dental work, a few major purchases.
    I retired with debt — a small flexible mortgage (less than rent for similar condo) and a line of credit that I pay only interest on for now . I do a bit of contract work, by choice. It found me, I didn’t chase it! That helps cover extravagant spending.
    Like every early-retired I’ve talked to, I’m busier than I ever was. Just that the focus isn’t on getting up at 6 a.m. to hump in to work for 10 – 12 hours a day, and be an email/cellphone slave on weekends and after-hours. My time is my own, more or less, and I do what I want every day. I do a lot of non-profit community service work, which is jsut as interesting and engaging as paid work. Being bored is not a concern!
    SJ makes a good point: it’s important to have a well-thought-out plan for early retirement. Just like having a plan for every major decision is wise. But even that doesn’t prevent unexpected things from happening, like illness, an aging family member, whatever. But those still working full-time have to deal with stuff like that too. Working full-time way into your 60s doesn’t prevent Life from happening. So it goes in early retirement too.
    Freedom to “do what I want” doesn’t mean that everything is perfect; far from it. It just was a conscious choice not to give up my waking hours to my boss (the provincial government) any more. Everything else is gravy!

    Don’t be afraid to do what you really want to do. What the heck — in today’s job market, you can go back to work if you really want to! Most people are just afraid to let go and make the leap. But if you really love your job and don’t mind trading off all that time and energy, don’t apologize for sticking with it either. Different strokes for different folks….

    My 0.02 cents 🙂

  4. I have been planning and investing for 22 years to retire early. For much of that time, I have been focusing my energy on advancing my career. And as the date approaches, I wonder how I will ever be able to leave when I have invested so much of myself in building this career and am now enjoying my peak earning years?

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