I read something last night that has stuck in my brain “A little success is even harder to deal with.” Then the author went on to explain how he felt the imposter syndrome for years. He expected a man with a clip board to show up and declare “You sir are a fraud!” who would then haul the author away and force him to get a job that wasn’t fun. I understand this feeling extremely well…why? Because I have the same feeling a lot of the time.
I understand on an intellectual level that I know a lot about retirement. After reading, writing and talking to retirees for years now I likely have a better understand of how retirement works or doesn’t work than a lot of people. Yet at the same time I constantly doubt myself because I have never been retired. I keep expecting the Internet Retirement Police to haul me away to jail and shut down this blog for being a fraud. Yet after all these years I still wrote a book on the topic that did fairly damn well for sales, got some very nice book reviews, people still read this blog and somehow people still want to talk to me about the retirement plans. Obviously I’m doing something useful, but often I don’t know what.
So while I don’t entirely know what I do for people that is so helpful, I’ll take a guess at it: I remind you all that you are not crazy. Early retirement for a lot of people is largely pure fantasy, their current situation makes it impossible. Yet if you are willing to adjust a few parameters on their lives, the impossible suddenly becomes a potential. Yet that potential is a fragile dream that you think if you even breathe too hard might break. So when you come across some guy from Regina, SK who is doing something vaguely similar, there is a sense of relief…you are not crazy for wanting to retire early.
Your plan might not be perfect, you may need to adjust things as you go, but listen to me when I say: you are not a fraud either. There are just too many cases of people making early retirement work for it to be a fluke. It will be hard to do. You will feel like giving up, but if you can hang on life will get better. In the end, a little success on a retirement plan is also hard to deal with, but remember to hang on to your dream.