So this year I left my 40s.
I left the decade of being “not really that old yet.” Of course, being 40-something is NOTHING like being 30-something. Yet, being 40-something still gives you a little sense that much of the world lies ahead. After completing your 50th year, you realize in every way you are on the downhill slide to “poof.” There’s no way you can truly avoid the truth of the “downhill.” It’s very clear you are in the second half of a century.
Am I leaving 40s or entering 50s? For me personally, I’m entering my 50s. I’ve finally “grown into the man suit,” especially related to my thinking. Funny thing, I don’t—nor have I ever—wear suits…especially in FIRE. I mean, I barely wear socks now thanks to Sanucks.
I’ve always been older than my age. I’ve always had older friends, I was a college professor when I was 21, I worked as an umpire for Little League Baseball when I was 12 and my classmates we on the field, and lived a mentally older thought driven (cautious?) lifestyle. This age/decade is going to fit me fantastically.
I also like the fact that I have enough decades (as an adult) to be a little wiser and have many, many experiences to base my thoughts around. I also love that none of those experiences can ever be taken away from me.
At this point in life, some may realize they care less about what everyone thinks. Wait, maybe that’s only me? Yet, I believe the odds of pleasing everyone are lower than the odds of winning the lottery, especially in this age of Twits. It’s important to be true to yourself and hopefully, you are a good, caring, helpful, productive person. Doesn’t that seem like a good way to live your upcoming half-century?
Normalness is different for everyone
For normal folk, retirement is 62, 67, 70?, etc. Early retirement is 60. Really early retirement is 58, 55. Super early retirement may be 50…an entire decade+ earlier than normal.
There is an AMAZING feeling of having so much time to tackle activities and passions. Anything…everything, is available for you, if you only go for it and grasp the adventure ahead. I know this is the case based on my 6 years of activities in FIRE already. Note: I may learn a different perspective in the future, but for now I operate with amazement, each and every day.
I would like to say thanks to Joe at Retire by 40. I saw his blog when I was 40 and ready to leave work. I thought “wow, other people have this same plan, position, and passion.” I could have left work at 40 but I loved my job and stayed 3 more years. No need to rehash those posts here.
So, for some, their 40s are a significant time to optimize the growth phase. They can grow in life, income, spending, but hopefully saving as well. The 50’s are often considered your highest earning years. That’s an important consideration to deal with when considering turning off the direct deposit spigot. However, if you’ve “lived like no one else, so you can live like no one else-Ramsey” then you can let “your army of dollar bills march off to work each morning so you don’t have to-TheMoneyGuy(s) or Mr Money Mustache.”
I’ve noticed changes in myself
Before, I absolutely enjoyed meeting and discussing personal finance with everyone. People in their 30s or even 20s had interesting ideas. You could see the fire in their eyes when they realized the opportunities ahead (yeah, I saw the pun). The lesson of living your smart lifestyle and not living your income-to-the-max is so empowering. It was great to see others grasping hold of this concept.
Once you’re past the big 5-0, you’ve become an old dude (on the outside…well, maybe inside too?)
You care more for your specific life/time. You don’t want to waste 30 min, or an hour+, doing something that is not in your core interest. (see how I shortened my typing a little there, without using U R 4, etc)
You get the sense that you’re moving on, or have moved on from some interests, tasks, actions, even discussions. Sometimes you realize the discussions are similar to one’s you’ve heard many times before and chose not to participate in (Twits)—maybe because they seem to never lead to a resolution, or even progress.
I wonder if that is “aging out” or “aging up” or “giving (something) up” or something entirely different. Maybe it’s refocusing onto new matters or more perceived important (to you)-matters. Maybe it’s a Rewire of yourself. It’s a very interesting time of introspection.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.