Are you ready to retire? Every individual is different and the time to retire for one person is most likely the time for another to buckle down. I’ve recently read two articles about early retirement. I’m going to include their links but first I wanted to say two things. Not everyone wants to retire even if they can afford to do so. To be truly happy in life you need a sense of purpose and if your sense of purpose involves going to work every day, you shouldn’t give it up just because you can afford to do so. There are a lot of stories about people who die in the first year of retirement, that’s why Dan Buetner says, “You know the two most dangerous years in your life are the year you’re born, because of infant mortality, and the year you retire.” The second thing I want to point out is that many Americans shouldn’t retire because they have too little money to do so safely, there are also those Americans that have miraculously come out ahead financially and need to consider whether staying in the rat race is healthy for them. I read a study once that said that people spend more time planning their vacations than they spend planning their retirement. Don’t be one of them. Proper planning will allow retirement to be something to enhance your life. Improper planning or more likely lack of planning at all will put you in a cage you’ll be hard pressed to get out of.
The two people whose links I am going to include both decided to retire in their 50s. That’s pretty early but the Google exec probably didn’t have to look too closely at his finances to determine that he was okay to take a break (I did notice that he plans to leave the door open for other opportunities) and he mentions other pursuits he’s ready to take on that aren’t work related so he’s obviously not just jumping into it. He also makes it clear that he didn’t decide last week that he is sick of working and tossed in his resignation. Instead he spent time considering what he would gain from taking his break and how that break in his schedule would incorporate something other than watching the boob tube for endless amounts of time.
The second individual experienced an unexpected opportunity. He wasn’t in the same position as Patrick Pichette and had to spend some serious time analyzing whether an early retirement was a good option for him. He eventually decided to partially retire by becoming a consultant but his approach to retirement involved being realistic about his financial and medical health. His story is here.
There are plenty of stories of 50-somethings and even 40-somethings managing to put away enough money to retire. Inevitably, those stories involve those same people continuing with work but on their own terms. For some, that means working from home, for others it means cutting back the number of hours they put into work. Many have made real sacrifices to reach a point that they can do those things. That’s the power of compound interest. However, those people decided very early in the working life that their goal was to retire. Then they put everything they had into making that goal work for them. If you didn’t do that, likely you’ll have to wait until later in your life to retire. Like me.
If you’re wondering what all goes into planning for retirement, a good beginning is to attend a free LifePlanning seminar.