The advantages or not of retiring early—1

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I could have pursued aggressive saving, slashed expenses, and been financially able to retire sooner, but that’s not the path I chose, fortunately’.

That’s Dave Hogan’s take in his post, ‘Why I’m glad I didn’t retire early’.

He admits that if the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) had been around when he was 30 he might have been a convert. He was already working in the investment field so the interest was there. ‘But that’s not the path I chose, fortunately’.

Fortunately?

Fortunately.

Present and future balance

Understanding finances, he and wife, Kathy, ‘saved well, but we tried hard to maintain a sensible balance between present and future, between saving and spending’.

They lived what could be called a ‘normal’ family life. They had holidays with their children that are still happy memories. They lived in a comfortable home. And they never saved anything near 50% of their income for retirement—not even half that.

Why?

‘To have done so while the children were home would have required deep, draconian cuts to our standard of living that I do not think would have served our family well’.

A life well lived

The best way to live life is to keep in mind the big picture. A life well lived takes into account the opportunities of the present as well as for the future. It sets priorities.

That’s true for whatever stage we’re at—whether it’s thinking about retirement or in retirement.

It’s worth asking a simple question. What is my current life purpose and what will it be in retirement? That may be two questions.

How you answer can shape your life, now. And for the future.

Choices

For Hogan, ‘Life is not only full of choices, but it is fleeting. You will never get today back. With the advantage of hindsight, now that I am at a typical retirement age, I can see the value of enjoying each stage of life as it happens and not putting one’s primary focus on the future’.

He illustrates his point by telling of the decision to put a swimming pool in his backyard. He admits that if he had invested the money instead, he would probably be better off by $100,000. So, financially, it was not a smart investment.

‘Do you think we regret it? Not one iota. Some of our best family times happened in that pool’.

That’s fulfilling a big picture need.

What’s your approach?

Are you keen to retire early? If so, how can you work on it? What are the sacrifices you will have to make and what are those you’re willing to make?

The advice from Hogan is this: ‘Have a plan for the future and save for it, but don’t let it spoil the special enjoyments of each decade of life’.

Whatever you decide, make it your decision for your life (or lives, if you have a partner). You can’t live someone else’s.

 

The advantages or not of retiring early—2 looks at Sam Dogen’s story of retiring at age 34 and the benefits he’s found in early retirement.

Bruce Manners is the author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com

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Category: Attitude, Early retirement, Retirement

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