There are many, many blogs out there catering to people who want to retire early. And why not? There are tons of people out there who dream of getting out of the rat race and retiring young enough so they do whatever they dream of. Because there’s so many like minded individuals, these blogs have no problem attracting readers. And while I have absolutely zero problem with people who want to retire early, I wonder why early retirement is such an ideal.
I think I understand the premise of these blogs. While the goal is early retirement, the process to get there is the same as anyone who wants to accumulate wealth. Whether you want to retire early or just grow your net worth, it’s a long process of saving money and investing that capital smartly. We both want financial independence.
Where I scratch my head is the emphasis on retirement. Perhaps I’m abnormal, but I like going to work everyday. For the most part, I enjoy running my business. I enjoy my customers, I enjoy the people I work with and my partners and I enjoy the actual work. In fact, I can just about guarantee that if I retired early, I’d spend either all my time managing my investments or starting some sort of new project. Retirement for me equals boredom.
If you’re someone who works their tail off to get ahead and are able to retire early, then I’d argue you’re the exact kind of person who shouldn’t retire early. Get out there and create some more wealth! Sell your knowledge, either as a consultant or entering a new career. Business experience is always in demand, plus the freedom to pick your next project can’t be beat.
I’m more of a fan of a concept I read about in the Four Hour Workweek, mini-retirements. Rather than working hard and then being faced with nothing for 30 or 40 years, take a few months or a year off every few years. Find a project or job that is enjoyable, work on it until the enjoyment is gone, then take a break. Do whatever tickles your fancy at the time, whether it’s travel, volunteering or whatever.
The prospect of having a very long period of time filled with absolutely nothing scares the heck out of me. And while I have many things that I would love to do if I had the time and money, I don’t want to wait until retirement to do them. And if you’re one of those early retirement guys, we’re really quite similar. We want the same thing, we’re just looking to do different things with it.