Do you have the confidence to retire early?

47 thoughts on “Do you have the confidence to retire early?”

  1. I enjoyed your “interview” and agree that confidence is half if not more of the battle! I’m sure that some people actually react like your interviewer when they hear that you are getting out early.

    It’s always amazing to me how people just want to go with the flow and do what is expected of them without taking charge of their lives and trying to shape the life they want. They are too worried that others will judge them, I suppose.

    1. Thanks Jon! Yup, I’ve heard a lot of these comments, both in person and also online when early retirement goes mainstream. Same ol’ story, really. πŸ™‚

  2. A pre-emptive strike against the angry mob. I like it!

    Or is it reactive? Did you receive a deluge of nasty comments when Forbes featured you? The skeptics seem to come out and attack like soccer hooligans when FIRE folks are featured front page. And they all assume you’ve not considered any of the above. Strong work.


    1. Actually, the Forbes piece generated mainly positive feedback. It was the Business Insider article a while back that spurred on some hate, interestingly enough. I have a theory about why, but I probably shouldn’t openly state that theory in public! πŸ˜‰

          1. I missed the business insider article. It seems like the comments sections are always full of neat little treats! Glad to see that there were some on board even though there were a few nay-sayers.

            Confidence and of course flexibility are key to early retirement. Most of us will earn some income throughout our early retirement doing the things we choose to do. Even those at traditional retirement age tend to do the same, but without the IRP hot on their tails.

          2. Hah! Yup, I enjoyed reading through the comments, actually. The thing is I remember being *those exact people* in an earlier phase of my life, criticizing other people’s decision to improve their lives because I was stuck in a rut and didn’t know how to escape. Oh, how times have changed.

  3. Ha I love the interview. I like your confidence. If you weren’t confident as you are about to make such a big life changing decision, you’d be in trouble!

    Also, no shame in picking up side jobs on the occasion to provide a cushion! If you are ever in Charlotte and need a meal let me know :).

    1. Thanks Green Swan. I believe that if you aren’t confident that your early retirement plans will work, you probably shouldn’t retire early to begin with. Your attitude, in such a case, will help to ensure that you fail.

      I’ll definitely keep ya in mind! My brother just moved from North Carolina, in fact. Spent a lot of time in your state. πŸ™‚

  4. I love it. Good on you guys for setting a challenging goal and seeing it through! That’s something that should make you proud and confident. Only a couple of months left…hang in there!

    1. Appreciate the comment, Ray Ray. It’s all in your attitude, and believe it or not, failure is a tough goal to reach if you’re trying to succeed. πŸ™‚

  5. Ha Ha!
    Crawling back to corporate America….a thoroughly unpleasant thought……

    As Eminem teaches us to be confident in Lose Yourself:
    “Success is my only mother****ing option, failure’s not”


    “You can do anything you set your mind to man”.

    Crank it up loud, hit the road and don’t waste away in the office with the headphones on.

    1. Unpleasant indeed, Mr. PIE! That is definitely the worst case scenario in our book, one that we will do almost anything to avoid. And strangely enough, thought I don’t listen to Eminem, I do know that particular tune. I can practically see the music video in my head, now. πŸ™‚

  6. It says a lot about our country when people are more scared to fail (e.g. return to corporate America) than attempt to live out their dreams. What has happened to us? Are we just cynical or have we become soft?

    I really hope that more people realize that we only have one chance to live this life. For so many, that realization will come too late. Blogs like yours are a wake up call regarding what is possible, when you plan and are willing to modify your lifestyle to live for the future rather than just today.

    1. One life to live for sure…and that one life is short, and spending half of our productive years commuting to and from an office doesn’t sound like a good use of our time. In fact, it sounds downright horrific!

  7. I love this post because you are speaking as a man that is on the cusp of really not having to care what anyone else thinks. That’s got to be such an amazing feeling and I have to admit I’m jealous!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you truly enjoy your retirement!

  8. Nice interview! Haters will be haters. But they are useful in a way. It’s like kicking the tires before you drive. If you have the confidence to counter them (imaginary or real) and a good answer to everything they bring up, you are ready to retire. Oh, wait, we knew that you are ready to retire… But good to reconfirm every once in a while! πŸ™‚

  9. My favorite line – “We are realists, and so we adjust.” This is along the lines of solution-focused thinking that I learned a lot about a few years back. If something isn’t working – you do something different. It’s always looking forward and not worrying about what has already happened. If something doesn’t work well – adjust. Speaks to your flexibility too – which is a huge asset in defining retirement!

    1. Thanks Vicki for your comment. Yup, our plan is to just go with the flow and see where it takes us. Either way, we’ll be happy to have escaped another three decades working in corporate America. πŸ™‚

  10. Talking of being confident can sound arrogant but it’s confidence nonetheless. Love it. Early retirement can bring its own challenges and concerns but, they are your challenges and your concerns, not that of your boss. If you’re able to do what you are doing any challenge can be met head on.

    Also I don’t think having to crawl back to corporate america is a failure, like you mentioned its a means to an end. Should you find yourself in a new situation where your original plan/portfolio won’t meet your needs, you can always go back to corporate America to beef it up. You may once in a while loose a battle but you haven’t lost the war.

    1. Thanks Maarten! Your state of mind is a huge influencer when it comes to early retirement or, quite frankly, anything else in life. If you stay positive, then things tend to work out. πŸ™‚

  11. There are definitely a lot of skeptics out there. You hit the nail on the head that it’s a moving target and you’ll have to adjust as you go. I’m very excited for you guys (and slightly jealous!) and can’t wait to hear about your adventures as you are on this path.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to hear more skepticism as well as I get closer to FI! πŸ™‚

    — Jim

    1. Hey Jim – appreciate the comment and the kind words. Only a few more months now. And trust me, the skepticism will soon fall on deaf ears the closer you get to FI. Why? Because you’ll be more confident in your ability to control your own destiny. πŸ™‚

  12. I think what most skeptics believe is that failure isn’t an option. Once you quit, you never go back — or so they believe.

    But failure isn’t a bad thing. Failure at early retirement won’t look too bad. In most cases, only a part-time job would be needed.

    Sure, you probably won’t get the same job, but for anyone willing to work it’s not a bad thing!

    1. It’s true that failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s also true that early retirement isn’t some “point of no return”. Why you may not get your very same job back, you probably *don’t want that very same job back*. After all, that’s what you’re escaping.

  13. Interesting approach. I can see the Airstream life growing stale after a few years, but there’s no reason to be trapped in a single abode, or a single location.

    Personally, I’m hoping to hear updates from the mid-Atlantic by then, after you’ve come down with “continent fever” (feeling that the East and West coasts closing in on you – an expensive version of cabin fever) and need to sail the globe for a few years.

    1. Hey Jack! My folks full-time RV’ed for 13 years, so people definitely do stick with this lifestyle for a while. We’ll see how we do, though. We definitely do harbor ambitions to go overseas. One day, it’ll happen!

  14. I have been following your blog for a while now. I am really appreciating your insights particularly on the psychological piece of early retirement. My husband and I have been both lucky and relatively frugal over our lives, and are sitting on a good nest egg, and the past couple of years I have retiring debt (home and one of our rental properties still have mortgages) with an eye to early retirement (I’m currently 51, so it’s not that early compared to some of you crazy bloggers, haha). I guess the thing I’m kind of facing now is the feeling of *failure* about walking away early (or early-ish). As in, couldn’t I have achieved more professionally? Isn’t there some *perfect* way of using my skills that I just haven’t found yet, some way of downshifting or changing careers? Am I willing to walk away from all I’ve achieved and built up over time? My husband was inadvertently retired at a layoff when he was 57, 7 years ago, and hasn’t ever worked again, mostly because he wouldn’t be able to replace his job and it just worked with our family (our kids are now highschoolers, and it was great having him home). But he struggled with feeling irrelevant and kind of humbled and “out of it” afterwards. So while I would love nothing more than leisure to pursue other things, including lots of camping all around the west, a longtime love of mine, I can see it may be a mental process to letting go of the whole “career” thing and feeling like we need to maximize the career, particularly if we’ve worked pretty hard to get where we are. Kind of rambling post, thanks for reading!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment, Shavano! It is very true that having a sense of purpose after retirement is a very, very big deal. In my case, working a job wasn’t really providing that purpose for me. I succeeded, certainly. But, big deal…when all is said and done, I’m not going to lay on my death bed thinking about all those wonderful days I spent in the office.

      No, it’s going to be those adventures that we will soon have. Hiking a 14’er. Bike riding 50 miles in a single day. Hurriedly putting in our Airstream awnings ahead of a super strong thunderstorm that’s liable to tear them right off the rig!

      It’s those moments that I will remember. And you never know what opportunities will surface once you have the time to look for them. Jobs, I’ve found, aren’t our only opportunities to feel productive. There is SO MUCH out there that we can get involved with. In my case, jobs just get in the way.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      1. Thanks for writing back! You are definitely very much farther down the road of bucking the conventional wisdom and mainstream viewpoint that one is very much one’s job and that reaching the apex in one’s career is a key goal to strive for! I am trying to still that little voice in my head that tells me that retiring early is the equivalent of slinking out of the room and admitting failure. Funny that this belief should be so strongly ingrained in me. It sounds as if you never took this belief on very strongly, or have cheerfully abandoned it along the way! That is awesome! You are absolutely correct, there is so much out there to do and explore and the 9-5 grind, and in my case multiple clients to answer to, just completely closes us off from being able to get out there. But it is interesting how much of a change in perspective early retirement is (well, at least for me) and takes some significant mental processing! I am again so impressed with how you are approaching it! You mentioned hiking 14ers, maybe you noticed my username? I’ve hiked quite a few of them. Like life most of the fun is in the exploration and beauty, and sometimes epic adventures, along the way to the top.

  15. Nice interview! Mr. Skeptic is kind of a douche, though… hahaha..
    Yeah, the worse that can happen is you’d have find a full time job. That’s no worse than now.
    I have one addition. I felt confidence because I’ve been generally lucky my whole life. Things just seem to work out. Once I was prepared, I went for it.
    Hang in there, it’ll be over soon.

    1. Yeah, Mr. Skeptic is kinda a douche. πŸ™‚

      I’m trying my best to hang in there. I know very well that things could be a lot worse for me right now, so putting things into perspective helps me to remain focused.

  16. Hahaha this was such a clever post, I loved it! Especially the last question. I think it’s good to remember to visualize the possibility of early retirement actually happening. It’s an attainable goal but not a lot of people know the steps to get there so the confidence may not actually be present.

    Most people that aren’t the success achievers attribute the wealth creation through luck, but we personal finance bloggers know better. Takes years of planning, taking risks, and working hard. After those years are up, everyone can call us an overnight success all they want, however!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Finance Solver. When people chalk things up to luck, what they are doing is giving *themselves* an excuse not to achieve similar levels of success. When a good amount of luck is involved, after all, there wasn’t much that he or she actually DID to reach their goal. They just kinda stood there, I suppose, letting themselves get showered with all kinds of flowery luck.

      If only that was how life actually worked. πŸ™‚

  17. Haha I like the interview. Confidence in your decision has to be there. Without it, you may constantly be questioning your decision and that’s when things could really go. Enjoyed the post!

    1. Thanks Dollar Engineer. Confidence really is everything. I know it sounds corny, but if you *think* you can achieve something, you probably will!

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