“You are crazy!”
“You can’t do that!”
“But you are too young!”
Those are just a small sample of some of the reactions I’ve seen to my early retirement plans, as you may have noticed they are not particularly encouraging. Actually I would save the majority of comments I see on websites that have a story on early retirement are negative. You can argue the why of that until you run out of air, but in my case I’ve actually cease to care about the negative comments directed at myself.
What I don’t like about those negative comments is I wonder how many early retirement dreams were cut short before they ever began because that sort of feedback. You have to keep in mind that those of us who are discussing our plans publicly are a tiny faction of the overall who just did it and didn’t tell anyone. After all if you are willing to insert a little lie like “I work in private wealth management,” no one will ever know.
The major problem in the beginning for most people is the isolation. With the typical person being negative towards the idea of early retirement, it is rather hard to meet someone who will talk to you as if it could happen. Or even provide some useful feedback on the crazy ideas running around your head. Oddly, I think that is why I got interested in blogging myself: I wanted to share and discuss my ideas. What I didn’t consider was how helpful it was to have someone read a post, leave a comment (good or bad) and indirectly tell me: you are not alone.
The journey to early retirement is a long one. In fact, decades is the normal time frame. So having doubts and being a bit lonely in the journey is entirely a normal feeling at some point. It can be hard at the start to be so excited by the concept, but have no one around you to talk to. So thank the heavens for the internet and personal finance bloggers! Here at last is a group of people who you can talk to in forums, on blogs and now with conferences in person. We can learn from each other and finally have someone tell you: you aren’t crazy, but have you considered this? Again it will be rarely spoken or written, but it is still there: you are not alone.
So the next time you run into someone who is new to the idea of early retirement, try to be patient with them. Not all blogs are the same, they will find one geared to their particular level eventually, just be nice to start with and remember to imply if not tell them: you are not alone. We understand and welcome to the club.