When I was in university and came to a point that I needed to decide where I wanted to work. I had planned to apply with the Canadian foreign service. From talking with people in government, I found it’s very difficult to get in. After taking the exam, I wasn’t selected and I decided to work as a financial advisor with my father. I studied financial planning and investing and I will never regret my decision, because I have learned a lot and I have profited from that decision.
At this point, though, I feel that I’ve gone as far as I can. I am happy with the skills and knowledge I have, and I’m not the type of person to become a portfolio manager or to chase multi-million dollar accounts. While working with the stock market is never dull, there seems little chance that I would experience anything other than “more of the same” in future. If that’s the case, I’d rather stop working as soon as possible.
I could change careers. But with the exception of a summer between university semesters, I’ve never worked in a large corporation. I have no experience or ability with office politics, so I don’t think that finding a job with a big company would suit me. Further, I’m not an entrepreneur, so I wouldn’t consider starting my own business. Some people thrive on working longer hours and building up an empire, but that doesn’t suit me. I want to have the greatest positive impact possible and for that reason I decided to become an elementary school teacher.
While I want to change careers, I don’t want to take risks. My wife and I will be going back to university, and retiring early means that we will be able to live on income from our investments while we’re not working. After finding work at a school, I don’t want school politics or other pressures to cause me to worry about my paycheque before thinking of what’s best for the students; being financially independent will free me of any pressure from my employer. Ideally, I would like to work in an international school in Hong Kong. My wife and I know from experience that being overseas means we can’t rely on the help of family and friends. If we’re going it alone, I want to know that we’ll be okay financially.
One of the ways I really enjoy spending my time is with my family. I’ve realized that my kids are growing very quickly. I know that when they’re teenagers, they’re going to exert their independence and have much less interest in being with family. I want to be a good influence on my kids, but I need to spend time with them now, so that later we will have the type of relationship where they can trust me and where I can trust them. Further, I have seen a couple grow apart as the kids grow up, then get divorced as soon as the kids move out. I won’t let that happen to my wife and me. That means spending time together, not spending every waking hour at work or with the kids.
Early retirement will allow me to more easily change jobs. Instead of worrying about unemployment or starting at a lower pay scale, I can make my decision based not on money, but on my values. Further, because I won’t depend on anyone else, I can focus on doing the best job possible, without trying to please supervisors or trying to climb a corporate ladder. Being financially independent means that we aren’t likely to need to rely on family or friends for help, while we’re living overseas and I can have the flexibility to spend as much time with my family as I need. Even though I won’t stop working, I still expect many benefits from being financially independent.
How about you? Why do you want to retire?