Posted by Dave on June 7, 2011
This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
Last week, @postsecret linked to an article written by a palliative care worker who shared “regrets of the dying“. It was a very moving article where one of the 5 regrets that people had (I think) link to the early retirement crowd, “I wish I didn’t work so hard”. To me, this is the main reason why my goal is to get out of the workforce sooner rather than later.
Although somewhat morbid, I think in general people tend not to think about their own mortality. I don’t dwell on the fact that I won’t live forever, but I recognize that I only have around 50 years (hopefully) left to do what I want to do. I would prefer at the end of my life to not regret the fact that I continued to work unnecessarily rather than doing things that I want to do.
The risk of leaving the workforce too early to live off of savings is that I may run out of money before I die, or late in my life when I couldn’t make more (too old, or having unneeded skills). To me, this is kind of a trade off – if you have a plan that has a reasonable (greater than 95% on FIRECalc) based on the amount of spending you’ve planned on with a decent emergency fund, I am more than willing to roll the dice on early retirement.
I would prefer to live an overly frugal lifestyle (compared to most people) where I am in charge of all 24 hours of my day rather than give up 1/3 of that time at work. Through work, or trying to get to some “magic” number, or full pension or some other goal based more on the fear of running out of money than looking at the significant positives that can be had by not working (namely more time to look after yourself and your own interests rather than other people’s).
So, rather than sticking around working until I achieve one of the goals above, I will probably end up taking a bit of a gamble around my retirement date. Maybe I will have to cut my annual expenses significantly in retirement because my investments have crashed, but I would rather sit at home and read library books and get in better shape than sit at my desk an extra 5 or 10 years because I thinking I need an extra $250,000 in capital for safety.
How safe do you need to feel before you’d leave the workforce? Are you willing to gamble in order to “get out” as early as possible, or do you have a goal that you are not willing to venture away from?