Retire Early! I’ve seen so many articles and podcasts popping up lately all being over sensitive toward the “not Retire Early” web trolls. I guess it’s pretentious (?) enough to say you are “Financially Independent,” but you seem to cross the line when you say “Retire Early.”
I know that I wasn’t working for a MegaCorp because my job changed the course of humanity or bettered the huge rock we’re floating around the universe on. I worked because it was a great job that I enjoyed, that I was technically good at, and I was able to help other employees complete their assigned tasks so they could go home and enjoy their lives.
I know MegaCorp didn’t care about my family or that much about me. I know my employee ID number was listed as a cost center (“head count”) and as long as I performed enough tasks to get results that delivered enough value that it was worth keeping me over other employees. I know this because I went through at least 5 or 6 rounds of RIFs over my 18 years. It’s a shitty feeling knowing someone (or more than one) in a cube of 4 will not be there next Monday…or worse, 2-3 Mondays from now…the waiting sucked.
So, why isn’t it culturally acceptable to take my educated, skilled self and remove my presence from the working machine? Or even a more enlightened position, why is it socially frowned upon that I take my limited time on the planet and not dedicate that time to myself? What if I am working on mastering some out-of-body, positive energy for the universe? Wouldn’t that be more socially acceptable than 9 to 5 to 65 at a laptop?
Hmm, this now makes me wonder if I should consider using more of my 168 hours per week for tasks other than “it would be cool if I XYZ today.” That would at least give me an honest retort to “what do you do all day?”
When asked what I do, if you must know (my wife was right), I say “I’m a consultant” or “I teach technical courses.” Those two answers help explain the flexible time/location schedule I maintain. They are also technically true, but the hours required per month/semester are minuscule. Yet, both of those activities are 100% helping others.
Today I saw a posting for an article where the author (is he even 30 yet, or spent 5-10 years in the labor market?) proudly states he’s not focusing on ‘retirement’ because ” I love my job. It motivates, inspires, and challenges me.” That’s fantastic…for now. How long have you been grinding in the corp machine? Those attributes he loves can come from so many places, not just a job.
I think it comes down to: don’t knock RE until you’ve tried it. It’s extremely possible that someone who’d driven enough to save/spend wisely and put themselves into FI status, that they will do something more exciting and gratifying outside of their previous “job.”
The author is wise and spot on with his personal logic of wanting Financial Independence to allow control and flexibility in his situation. Yes, absolutely perfect.
Recently I spent some time with a physician who was a conscious saver and planner. They worked long hours for probably 20+ years and were planning on leaving the medical field in the summer of 2020. Well, their plan got thrown aside when it was all-hands-on-deck to treat thousands of people over the next year, year-in-a-half.
To make things worse, as they were looking to leave the pressure of the medical field, the pressure instead multiplied, and even worse, the patient deaths grew enormously. It just gutted the physician, and as I’m told so many of their colleagues. Most of the colleagues are not in a position to take control of their lives related to lack of Financial Independence.
The other consideration is that physicians often have their overall being wrapped up in being a physician and giving that up is very, very hard. It’s 1) unimaginable to many that they could retire in their early 50s, and 2) that leaving the field is fair to society somehow. I don’t think any of us non-physicians could ever understand the feeling of that pressure. I know the ex-physician will find a great path forward and make a difference in the way that works for them.
So, in closing, I say “REally?” Is anyone out there REally going to question why I or anyone leaves a career and what we chose to do with ourselves, our savings, our families, and our self-sufficiency. Shouldn’t people spend more time worrying about those who are not preparing for their financial future?
The number of people who leave a career in their 40s, or 30s to “retire” is minuscule. But it’s intriguing, and it gets clicks and downloads. Fewer clicks or downloads from me because I’m way too busy to sit and read/listen too much. It’s like learning the rules to a game you’ve won, or at least a few rounds that you’ve won.
Just Better Yourself
I choose to challenge myself to learn, help, and prepare for my future more now than I ever did when I was working. To me, that is what makes life important.
*** 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.