Should I re-define Early Retirement? At least for me?

I am late to the ‘Early Retirement Game’, so what does ‘early retirement’ look like for me?

I just read this article, referenced in a post on Budgets are Sexy – Warren Buffet – The Original Early Retiree?.  

I would agree that Warren Buffet is one of the first ‘early retirees’.  Everyone probably has a slightly different opinion of what ‘early retirement’ means.  For me the definition of Early Retirement is freedom (Frugalwoods just posted about this today!  Frugalwoods referred to it as having options.).  Buffet created this freedom for himself, but he then ended up doing something he loved, so why would he stop ‘working’?  He loves what he is doing!  A common definition of ‘early retirement’ is the freedom to stop working.  Everyone has the wishful thought that it would be great to sleep in, and not have to go in to work.  What Buffet did do for ‘work’ was his own creation on his terms, and he loved it, he may slow down, but why stop?  Buffet has the freedom, but he still chooses to ‘work’.  So, maybe a better goal for ‘early retirement’ is the freedom to do what you love.

Wow, thinking like this is absolutely fascinating, especially for me.  Why?  I am late to the ‘Early Retirement Game’.  So, I have less time left than many others out there.  Time is critical, with a large family, and a shorter timeline, my best effort will get me out of the rat race only a handful of years earlier.  My current Early Retirement path, following the typical 4% rule, etc. puts my at retirement in my early 60’s (I am in my mid 40’s now).  Combine this with thoughts that have always rolled around in my head (which is a scary place to be):

  • I don’t want to retire and just lay on the couch all day.
  • I do want flexible time, some more time to spend on leisure, but also some time to spend on other things that I love to do.
  • So, is cutting ~7 years off my work time worth working someone else’s rigid schedule and sacrificing:  Time/experiences with kids, and experiences while I have the health to enjoy them?

The answer to the last one is ‘Yes’, if I had no other options.  But there are other options!  People all the time are starting ‘side hustles’.  Part of the reason this blog exists is that I hope the process of thinking through all this leads me to a ‘side hustle’ in what I love.

So, instead of waiting for a date in the future, to retire, I should really focus on doing something that I love.  That doesn’t mean that I should abandon the current course at all.  My finances are now mostly on auto-pilot, so I will press on, investing everything that I can.  But, I need to really, really start thinking about doing something that I love.   This can allow me to enjoy ALL of my next few years, not just the time outside of work, thus making the common concept of retirement obsolete!  

So, to get the ball rolling:

  • What do I love to do?
  • How can it benefit others?  This will become how it makes money for me.  I have to bring value if I am hoping for income.

A Brain Dump of what I love to do:

  • I love to play games, especially the strategy part of it.
  • I love puzzles and math
  • I love writing
  • I love creating, children’s books.
  • I love being outdoors – kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.
  • I love cooking/baking
  • I love new stuff, exploring, figuring it out, etc.

Where does all that leave me?  What about how it will benefit others?

I don’t know …… but that’s enough for today.  I will have to reflect on the benefit next time.  For me this is a shift in my thinking.  Thinking about the journey, instead of the destination.

5 Thoughts to “Should I re-define Early Retirement? At least for me?”

  1. Joe

    I think that’s a great strategy. Do your best to achieve financial independence, but try to find a good place now too. Good luck!

  2. K.P

    Macro patience and micro execution is that way I like to think about this topic. Keep grinding while having the end goal in mind.

    1. Macro patience, micro execution …. I like that.

  3. I feel like all the early retirees that I know are now busier than when they had a full time job. I don’t know how that is possible since theoretically they have more hours in the day to pursue their passions but clearly their passions take up lots of time 🙂

    I am definitely looking forward to FIRE as soon as possible!!!

    1. They are busier, and if they are following their passions, I am assuming that they are happier too?

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