Perhaps you’ve noticed, but this blog’s entire purpose centers around early retirement.
Specifically, at the age of 40.
Because of that, I’m sure that some people think we’re crazy, some think we’ll never make it, and others are jealous, but regardless of your own opinions about early retirement, I’m here to tell you that:
They’re probably wrong.
Early retirement actually has nothing to do with stopping work, and everyone’s reasons for desiring early retirement are different —>>> But that doesn’t make them less valid. In order to understand just what motivates us to work towards early retirement goals, I’d like to give you a peek into our lives :-)
What Motivates Us?
Health – The biggest, most motivating factor in our wish to retire early is health problems, specifically, my husband’s. He’s really tall, and as a result has quite a few knee problems. He’s 24 now, and and has already had 2 knee surgeries, tons of physical therapy, arthritis is already starting to set in, and he was told he’ll need a knee replacement by the time he’s 35…that’s how bad his knees are. He has worked in jobs requiring physical labor – honestly, that’s what he enjoys – his whole life, but as his wife, I selfishly want to be able to spend time traveling, living, and just doing things on our own schedule before he’s so decrepit he can’t enjoy doing all those things. Selfish, yes, but together there is so much we want to do while our health allows, and with my husband’s knee situation, if we want to enjoy our retirement, we need to retire earlier than your average couple.
Freedom – In the 3 years since graduating college, and even during college, I’ve had my fair share of horrible bosses, bad work environments, and stress (remember the time I only took a 2-week maternity leave?). In each and every one of those work environments, having too much debt, too many bills, and little to no money saved prevented me from finding better employment. The same has gone for my husband in many situations. I can’t help but think how much happier or further along is my desired career we would be if we had the financial freedom to walk away from those horrible jobs. And that’s why we want to retire early: so we can walk away from anything that is stressful, not beneficial, or just doesn’t suit us.
Living Life – There’s a huge, amazing world out there, haven’t you heard? And I want to see as much of it as I can before I die. Unfortunately, seeing the world takes money, time, and energy, all of which a traditional office job sucks out of people. We want to see the world on our terms, while we’re still able.
What Does Early Retirement Actually Mean?
Working – Quite A Bit, Actually – I have no intention of stopping work. I already made one step towards living life on my own terms by leaving my day job, so I’m already experiencing working on things that make me happy, productive, and successful, rather than tasks dictated by someone else – and I love it! I believe that everyone has something within them that they can be awesome at given the chance. This could be gardening, writing, marketing, DIY – but whatever it is, it makes you feel happy and accomplished. By reaching financial independence (early retirement) we will still be working quite a bit, but it will be doing things like building our own kitchen table, cultivating a huge garden, and most importantly – we’ll be able to work at whatever we want, whenever we want.
When I was working a traditional office job, I found that often inspiration struck at around 9am – prime office work time. So, I would jot the idea down on a sticky note and stuff it into my purse, hoping and praying that after I got home from work, cooked dinner, and spent time with my daughter & husband I would have the time and energy to purse that project I was so excited about at 9am that morning. Needless to say, many of those ideas I never was able to work on. I actually think that once we reach financial independence we’ll be busier than ever, actually. I know that I’ve been busier than ever since leaving my office job!
Exploration – While we’ll certainly be busy working on projects of our choosing, we will be able to pick up at any time and leave. We plan to travel in the off-season, saving tons of money on airfare, lodging, and even activities. We will have no one but ourselves (and an internet connection!) to answer to, and we really cannot wait!
Making a Difference – One of the things that has been on my heart lately is taking more time to better the lives of others. Our church operates primarily through volunteers, and I really wish that I was able to do more. By the same token, after seeing my husband’s National Guard unit after they came back from deployment, I would love to be able to make a difference in struggling Veteran’s lives. Right now, I just don’t have the time, and retiring early will give us the opportunity to spend our time helping others, which is something that is not only important to us as a couple but important to instill in our daughter.
So that’s is, our reasons for working out butts off now to pay off debt and develop passive income streams. This journey certainly isn’t easy, but doing things like writing this post, or staying motivated by remembering how much it’s going to be worth it.
Regardless of whether you are working towards your financial goals to get out of debt, live happier & healthier, or to save for a regular retirement, why do you do it?
Let me know in the comments!
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My husband just retired at age 42 and people keep asking him what are you going to do now? start a new career? The answer is NOTHING! We saved and are completely debt free. I have a good job I love and he now is Mr. Mom and it is working fabulous! If he wants to get another job he can but he does not need to.
Great post! Thanks!
Dividend Beginner says
This is a neat post, and practically everything you said resonates with me as well. Having the time & resources to run your life the way you want to must be beyond words.
Saving Sanely says
It’s definitely a dream of mine to retire early, but you don’t really think of all that will entail. I don’t want to just surf the couch, but having a limited income means that you have to come up with things to do that don’t cost a lot of money. So this post is perfect, some great points and ideas for why we want this and what it will take to make it work!
I agree – becoming a couch potato doesn’t sound like fun at all!
Harmony @ CreatingMyKaleidoscope says
Our reasons for striving towards early retirement are very similar to yours – except the part about your husband’s knees, so sorry to read about that. We also intend to do some work after leaving regular employment so we labeled our goal “financial semi-independence.” But whatever you call it, the goal is really about one thing, freedom. Best of luck!