Since the time I have started OD-ing on personal finance blogs, one of the concepts which is clearly in vogue is FIRE – Financial Independence Retire Early. However, despite the enthusiasm and obsession showed by a lot of FIRE bloggers, I am very sure Early Retirement is not for me.
Why I like FI but not RE
I like the idea of financial independence – to not have to work solely for the purpose of money because I have made, saved and invested enough to last me a frugal/basic lifetime.
In some ways it eases the stress of a snarly boss or having to brave traffic in the peak hours when most of the city is out on the roads or just letting work or money worries weigh on your mind. It’s about not living paycheck to paycheck. I get that and am prepared to work to achieve it too.
However, when it comes to “Retire Early”, it is a concept that I don’t see myself adopting or embracing it. To me retire essentially means giving up on all forms of paid employment, including own business.
Personally, I am looking to find that tricky balance between not working at all and the other extreme of the 9 to 5 (mostly 8 to 8 taking into account the commute) rat race. Click To Tweet
What does retirement Mean to me
Even when it comes to retiring at the conventional age, I don’t see it happening. Now, you might be wondering why would she talk like this if 2 posts back she waxed eloquent about the need to plan financially for retirement. Good question. For a lot of people, retirement is very real and a couldn’t-come-soon-enough dream which requires a fair bit of financial backing.
Even when I talk about not retiring here, this does not equate to not planning for retirement financially or about having to worry about money to fend for myself or my family post a certain age.
Retirement with a plan
In short – I would like to be productively employed until I am physically able to. It will not be in something I have done all my life and would definitely involve reinvention and a different path altogether. It could mean running a small café in Goa or teaching kids at a school or college it or doing Indian food pop-ups across the world or running an NGO. I am all for retirement with a plan.
And I have my reasons for it – 7 to be precise.
1. I like having a schedule
While I am currently in the regular rat race, as a person I like the certainty of a schedule. Sure, I am running from point A to B to C always wondering where did the time fly, but give me that instead of literally watching the arms of the clock slowly tick away.
2. I like the feeling of earning money
This might sound materialistic but every month that I get my salary I feel productive. I have this warm fuzzy feeling of having earned my share. Then there’s also the feminist feeling of pulling my weight in my marriage. I know a retirement corpus is made of the money earned by the people who use it, but I still like the idea of regularly doing work to earn that money.
3. I like meeting new people and socializing
Even with just over 8 short years of working in a corporate job, it is easy to see that a lot of my friends and acquaintances have come from working. A lot of my interactions today are thanks to my work and they end up spilling into personal life and often become long-lasting friends, even though colleagues becoming friends comes with its own set of rules.
Over the years I have realized that I like meeting new people and interacting with them. I am under no illusion that most of them are talking to me for work and that they may not last beyond work, but even weak ties are something I enjoy.
4. I like to constantly learn
For the 30 years of my life, I think I have always been learning. In the first 4 years, it was about learning to just do the basic human actions of sitting, walking, potty training and the learning curve was steep. Beyond that, it was a straight 18 years of constant education along with some more fun skills on the way like theatre, volleyball etc.
To my great surprise, continuous learning does not stop even in corporate life, especially if you know where to look, and that can reap great benefits. As a person, beyond work also I have been trying to learn whatever new skill I can pick up. I do not see that changing and being able to showcase or use those skills for productive engagement is something I intend to keep at.
5. I have a tendency to be lazy
Oh yes, my self-awareness levels at least in this aspect are pretty high. If left to my own devices with nothing specific on the agenda, I can happily be roaming around in PJ’s and a shabby t-shirt maybe watching Netflix or reading all day long.
While that’s a pretty picture for a lot of people, like a hangover, any such heady day is followed by disgust for me at the colossal waste of time. If I am working at something I will always have that nudge or reason to get to doing something.
6. Me and my husband will bite each others’ heads off
It’s not like we hate each other. In fact, we have a very healthy relationship where we also respect each other’s need for private space. We are also 2 very strongly opinionated people. In our past experience, if we spend too much time together we end up becoming pretty crabby and definitely snarly at each other.
It’s also because, in the limited time that we spend with each other, for now, we have enough content to talk about which comes from being apart the rest of the day and having different experiences. For the peace in our relationship, both of us have pledged to work, even if it is part-time, till our bodies allow. As Psychology Today says, time apart is as important in a relationship as time together.
7. I like my indulgences
Yes, I know we are talking about a good sufficient retirement corpus. But, I would not want to think about spending any amount of money. If there is a source of income and a healthy retirement corpus, it would be easier about spending on indulgences which I might have resisted in my build-up to the corpus. And IF there are grandchildren in the future, I would want to spoil them crazy, even at the risk of making them brats. After all, I am not responsible for them 😛
So, there you have it. My unconventional take on not wanting an early retirement, or any retirement at all. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below
Yes! You even have different reasons as to why you would not want to retire early then I do. I think ultimately for me it comes down to recognizing that longevity in life is built around being a part of things that fill you up. Fishing or golfing every day does not sound healthy to me. For some it may be the perfect fit.
I agree. Too many reasons for a lot of people to not really want early retirement.
Well… except for 2 & somewhat 7, I believe all others are possible in early retirement. Just depends on the lifestyle you choose. The traditional idea of retirement is to kick up your feet and laze around all day! But with early retirement, the idea is to have enough time when you are ‘young’ to do things you otherwise do not get time for. It could be charity related work, travel or anything that inspires you. It will be a very personal choice and is not for everyone. That I agree. I believe early retirement is only for those who… Read more »
Thank you for your comment Mr./Mrs. FS! I agree about early retirement being a subjective call and meaning different things for different people. For people who see Monday as synonymous with dread and find no other option of earning money suitable enough, early retirement might be a necessity. And I respect that 🙂
Thank you for the note on Indian blog about personal finance. I do believe we need more of us talking about personal finance to spread the word.
Mr. FS it is :).
Yes. We Indians in general do not talk about money in general. Need a lot more of us talking about it to raise awareness at the minimum about importance of retirement planning. At the moment feels like flashy weddings are more important than retirement!
Completely agree Mr. FS. We are still in the era of pensioned parents. The realisation of the dire need to plan for retirement might take a few years to hit.
Everyone is different, I think you have given some well thought out and valid reasons, not to retire, I worry that without the schedule even if I work from home will leave me listless. Some people want to work until they are 90 and some want to retire at 50. Retiring early without a plan is a concern. In reality I think I will retire then last about a year then find something to do, mentally the thought of working as a hobby and not being stressed by work politics is the main goal.
Very true peted… To each his or her own. Around me I have seen people a little listless with the sudden deluge of time on their hands.
Working as a hobby or with a passion without stress of work politics is definitely a great aim and probably what attracts me to financial independence as well 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
“Me and the husband will bite each others’ heads off ” – I am worried about that too 🙂
Ha ha ha! That’s probably the point I am most certain about