Plenty of us would love to retire early, but have you ever thought why? Should you really plan on retiring early? Early retirement might sound nice. The thought of no pressure or deadlines hanging over your head. But is an early retirement what you really want? I recon there’s a good and bad way to retire early. So let’s start with the bad.
The Bad Way To Retire Early
If early retirement itself is your goal, that’s bad retirement. There’s early retirement that’s seen as the finish line, a goal to be reached. It’s thought that once you reach this goal life will be easy. There are abundant holidays and rest and time to do all the things you’d want to do. The grass will definitely be greener and the pressure will be off. But what exactly will you be doing? It takes my kids all of about 2 days into school holidays to be bored. How do you think you’ll go with years of nothing stretching before you. There’s only so many holidays you can go on. The fact is what most retirees do is watch TV; mediocre, boring, lifeless TV. Hours and hours of the stuff to pass the time. Is that what you’re looking forward to? Retirement to nothing is a road to disappointment. If that’s the early retirement you’ve got in mind, let me suggest a better way.
The Good Way to Retire Early
Here’s a definition of good early retirement. Early retirement is a time in life where you have sufficient financial freedom to be able to pursue your passions and purpose without the necessity of earning money. Notice that early retirement is not itself the goal. Stopping work is not the goal. Pursuing your passions and purpose is. Now this may mean that you continue to work, even if you don’t need the cash. It may look like voluntary work or hours poured into a business or personal venture. But it’s not an end point, it’s an ongoing pursuit of your passions, free from the necessity of pay. Paid work may cease, but your passions and purpose don’t.
Now I hope to be able to fund myself well before I hit 60. Will I stop working? I hope not. I might not get paid for what I do, or maybe I will, it doesn’t matter. What I will be doing is pursing my life purpose. I’ll be doing that at 55 and 67 and beyond. We’re all made for a purpose, we all have different gifts and talents that make us unique. We all have something to offer and give. I want to be doing that to the end, paid or not. So will I retire? Yes, kind of, but in another sense no. I may retire from paid employment, but never from pursuing my purpose and passions. How about you?
Finding Your Purpose and Passion
We all need some direction and purpose in life. Retirement then is not the answer, purpose is. Maybe you’re still working it out, we all are really. Ask yourself questions like:
- What are you passions in life?
- If you could do anything, what would you do?
- What things when you do them bring you real satisfaction?
- What do you long to do?
- What do other people notice about you and appreciate about you?
- What when you do it fills your tank?
- What excites you and inspires you?
- What legacy do you want to leave behind?
These are all questions of purpose and passion. Find your purpose and your life can really sing. Your real goal then should be to fulfill your purpose, not to retire itself. It may be that you are already paid to do this. If so, why retire? It might be something you could be paid to do now. Maybe look to transition. Or it may be something you can give yourself to more fully once you are able to be self funded. If so, then early retirement might be a good option. If so you might want to check out my early retirement guide. But above all else, find your purpose and passions and pursue those. That is a lot more fulfilling than hours in front of the TV.
Now that’s wise!