Guest post: 4 things (New) lifers say and how to stop grieving your career

25 thoughts on “Guest post: 4 things (New) lifers say and how to stop grieving your career”

  1. Very well done, love the tie in to the 5 stages of grief. I think I may have hit the bargaining stage before I realized there was the side door toward early retirement. Thankfully, I had already been saving a bunch. Slowly I came to the realization that it is possible, began to wonder why more folks don’t follow the same lifestyle, and then started a blog to help folks understand personal finance and reach FI.

  2. “Index fund investing is as simple signing up for Twitter and avoiding your next impulse purchase.” This is my favorite blog line that I’ve read in a while. You’ve hit the nail on the head both with the 20 something objections and feeling of impossibility, and your responses.

    1. The best part is it’s true. Despite my username, there’s no magic involved in earning solid investment returns. If more people knew this (and if the personal finance industry focused more on education and less on intimidation) many more people would be in much better place financially.

      Thanks for the compliment.

  3. It took me 5 years to get into the bargaining phase, thankfully I was rescued by books and personal finance bloggers before I accepted my fate!

    Great post – I think you are making a few of us jealous with your impressive savings so early.

    1. Thanks Jolly Ledger. I can definitely relate to feeling like you’re on a completely different plane. It can get lonely as the one person secretly planning on exiting completely in a few years. Thankfully there’s the wonderful early retirement community providing some therapy on that 😉

  4. The points made under kids is important. Too often an easy excuse for too many. Fully agree that it is critical to resist the urge to enter your kids into the “arms race” (as Mrs. PIE described in a recent post on this very subject. ). Much of what kids need is unstructured time to explore the world around them. That in most locales is absolutely free.

  5. Hmmm I’m in a unique position, I guess. I had to be on disability in my 20s. Having not been able to earn a paycheck had two effects: It made me fearful of not having steady money come in and put me very far behind most people’s financial progression. Made worse when we had to contend with my husband’s own health problems (and extreme expenses).

    So I’m not sure I’ll ever retire. Partly out of necessity (this year we’re spending $26k on oral surgery, which would’ve been spiffy to put against our mortgage but oh well) and partly because I’m not sure I could handle the anxiety of once again living on a very fixed income. That said, I’d love to be able to at least go down to part-time one day. So we’ll just do our best — especially now that the worst is out of the way (she said, dooming herself) — to get toward financial independence.

    1. Abigail, pursuing financial independence is about so much more than just retiring. Retiring is the end, the real benefit of the early retirement mindset is the financial freedom you begin to accumulate. Even if early retirement never happens, the financial security and peace of mind that grows with each increase in savings is priceless. Like most things in life, the reward is in the process, not the end goal.

  6. Ha, the “five stages” analogy is perfect! I’ve seen one more reason for denial among the 20-somethings: they just worked their entire lives to get here. Several of my young colleagues in my first company were absolutely miserable — like, crying-in-the-office-regularly miserable — but wouldn’t consider planning for anything but the traditional career track. I think a huge part of that reasoning was that they had just spent the past two decades working as hard as they could for straight A’s, the best university they could attend, Dean’s list, a competitive professional job, etc. How could the thing we strived so hard for be so unfulfilling?

  7. I’m a youngin, but I work with a whole range of ages on a regular basis. There’s definitely a shift in thinking as time goes on.

    I initially told a similarly aged colleague about my early retirement plans and got the “you’d be so bored” comment. About a year or two later I mentioned it again, but not as “retirement.” I talked about it in terms of being free to pursue side projects full time without worrying about income. Then she was all for it!

  8. Whether it’s a new career or a new career, the worn down worker day-dreams of a bargain to regain control of their fate.

    I assume this was supposed to be ‘new car or new career’?

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  10. Great articles from unique perspectives. Wondering what each guys thoughts are on the following:
    Why I “Can’t” retire too early;
    1. By continuing to work and contribute to plans like a 529 & 401K, my investments will cover everything I want and college for my children. Providing for them a more simple start than I had in reaching where I am.
    2. The opportunity cost of retiring early as opposed to after 30 years of work is massive! If I retire at 55, in 20 more years I’ll have $1M just in my 401K, not to mention other investments, a company funded pension & have my house fully paid off. BUT if I wait 2 more years its another $250K, another 5 years and Im at $1.4M- which would provide $108K/year until I turn 81. Let’s say I go all the way to 65 now I am sitting on almost $2M, half from the last 10 years. I’ll have $108K/year to live on in retirement. Provide anything I want to my children and grandchildren. I may even put my grandchildren through college.
    3. You are giving up free money, most companies pay a match on a 401K contribution. Say 6%, for the sake of easy math $6,000/ year they give me as a match for my 6% contribution. Doubling my money every month!!! Course I contribute more than that min 6%, but the company will give me more than $200K for free over the course of a career. That compounded with interest is about $500K after 30 years.
    4. I mentioned my other investments, there is also a company pension to consider, the company also pays dividends.

    So I am content not to eat my PB&J and “be free” from hard work. I’d prefer to put in the hours, develop skillsets above and beyond someone gaining no exposure to strong opinions, well developed peers, challenging business environments and experiences that build character. We enjoy our international trips every year, our new cars every 10 or less, we like our big house and we want our kids to have every advantage. In retirement nothing will change, with the exception of having more time to do all the things we love with all the financial security we have built.

    I welcome your responses.

    1. Hi LW – my thoughts on this. The argument is 100% undeniably sound. It’s spot on accurate and acutely describes how much money can be made by staying in the work force for a longer period of time. And to that end, I agree with it 100%.

      But respectfully, I must also retort with this: “Well duh!” Of course remaining in the work force will result in a significantly higher net worth. Making lots of money will often result in more money than making significantly less money. 2 is very often bigger than 1. It’s a wonderful mathematical formula that we can certainly count on.

      However, early retirees value other things in their lives. It’s not all about money. It’s about having *enough* money to live the lifestyle we choose. To some, spending another 20 years in corporate America sounds absolutely horrible – regardless of the monetary incentives involved. Many of us value our time over our money. Two week vacations every now and then don’t cut it.

      In the end, there’s nothing wrong with working your entire life to accumulate a small (or large) fortune. Whatever floats your boat. But to those of us who value our time and freedom over money, we may choose to exit the work force super duper early in order to live the rest of our lives doing what we truly want to do. After all, we humans don’t need millions of dollars to be happy, and at the end of our lives, we’ll remember the adventures we had, not all those hours we spent sitting in an office.

      To each their own! 🙂

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