I totally get that retiring early isn’t for everyone. Some people really do love their jobs, or at least key aspects of their jobs.
Perhaps you’re working on something ground-breaking like curing a disease, or you’re a founding member of a hot new startup, or you’re helping build new technologies and infrastructure. If so, please keep going - we need you in those jobs!
But if you’re like the majority of workers, you probably enjoy some parts of your job, but would jump at a chance to “retire early” if you could afford it.
I fell into that camp. I worked in an exciting industry - the high paced Internet & Tech space in San Francisco. But once I got into my 40s, it wasn’t as exciting and glamorous anymore. And certainly not as “meaningful” -- we weren’t really improving society or doing amazing things for the world.
So when I realized that my wife and I could successfully retire in our 40s, it was a great feeling. That said, no situation is perfect, and there are some cons to early retirement as well, which I’ll go over in a moment.
But let’s first start with the fun stuff -- the Pros. Here are just some of the many positive aspects to not having a “real job” anymore:
1- Better Sleep — I go to bed when I’m tired, and I get up when my body is done sleeping. It sounds so simple, but it’s such a wonderfully natural way to start and end your day.
2- Life is more ZEN — There’s no rushing around, hurrying to get to and from the office. Life has a slower more nuanced pace. You live in and enjoy each moment.
3- Better physical shape — I work out and do something physical everyday. I lift weights, swim, do yoga, and walk. Your muscles need to be worked and stretched, and your body needs to get the blood flowing each day.
4- More Travel — My wife and I have traveled more in the 3 years we’ve been retired than the previous 15 years. We’ve gone to Europe, Central & South America, and Southeast Asia. And we’re planning our next adventure to Australia & New Zealand.
5- Freedom — I work on projects that I enjoy and am passionate about. In my spare time, I run two websites: Retire by 45 and Experiencify.com. I can do anything with those projects I want. I don’t have to get permission to try something, I can be creative, and I can test any idea or strategy I want.
6- Moonshot projects — Kind of like how Google formed Alphabet to work on moonshot projects like driverless cars and extending life expectancy, I think it’s good for people to embrace and go after big dreams. Things like writing a novel, playing in a band, becoming an actor / artist / political activist / humanitarian, etc. It’s hard to do these things when you’re working for other people.
I could go on and on, but I think six is good number of Pros to get your juices flowing about retiring early.
Now to be fair, let’s look at some of the Cons:
1- Social connections — You have to work a bit harder to stay socially connected. You don’t have that built-in social system of the workplace. So I try to make a point to schedule time to meet up with friends, family members, and potential business connections.
2- Money — Even if you have plenty of money saved up, it’s still a little weird not having a regular paycheck. It forces you to be more diligent with your spending and more focused on your overall finances.
3- Staying focused — It would be easy to fall into a life of complacency once you no longer have to work. I try to keep a pretty regimented daily structure. The difference is that I’m the architect of that structure, not my boss or employer.
Are there more cons? Maybe, although I honestly haven’t found many more in the 2.5 years we’ve been retired.
If you have the opportunity to retire early, I say go for it! Just make sure you have the financial resources, so you’re not stressed about money.
For some tips, you can read our other blog posts, explore our Academy for online courses, and check out our FREE Guide 7 Keys to a Successful Early Retirement.