What does it mean to retire early? Is there a ‘right’ retirement age? The truth is that we’ve all been brainwashed.
Let’s be brutally honest here. Retirement is an artificial milestone produced by the industrial age notion of a ‘job’ where you work for an employer for 45 years in return for money when you retire. That world doesn’t exist any more (except for the government). These days, a job will not determine when you stop working and how much money you have when you stop any more.
If you believe that retirement means that you leave your job at age 65 and receive a pension for the rest of your life then you don’t get it. The defined benefit pension plan is dead for most people and dying for the rest. Nobody is taking care of your future and nobody is telling you when to stop working. This is good news and bad news.
It is bad news if you expect somebody to take care of you at age 65 or whatever age you think means retirement. But it is good news if you are prepared to take control of your life, design your lifestyle and live the way you want to live. When you design your lifestyle, retirement is irrelevant and there is no retirement age.
If you have a job now, early retirement might mean replacing the income from your job and regaining control over that block of time. The income replacement will probably take some time but if you plan well it will take less time than a job and leave more time for other activities. You have retired from your full time job but not from spending some time generating income. You haven’t stopped working but you have improved your lifestyle.
So at Job Optional Blog, when we speak about early retirement, it is code for managing your lifestyle and improving it. It means eliminating dependence on a job to support your lifestyle and it is done by making some serious decisions about how you want to live, making a plan to make it happen and then taking action. It isn’t retirement as our culture defines it. It is something better and it is the way people were meant to live by taking control of their lives and living the life they want. It is rejecting dependency.
Come back on Thursday for part 2.