I could never retire early, I’d be so bored!

Published June 15, 2015   Posted in How to Retire

Of all the questions that I get asked by others who know our plan to retire early, there is one question that keeps standing out as far and away my favorite.

I could never retire early; I'd be so bored!Almost like clockwork, when the subject of early retirement comes up, the talk eventually leads to: “I could never retire early; I’d be so bored.  What are you going to do with your time?”

The truth is the “I’d be bored” excuse is just that…an excuse.  Following a pattern of more traditional American spending certainly will not prepare someone to retire early even if they wanted to.  Of course, I keep this to myself because the last thing that I want to do, especially when talking about finances, is to put the other person on the defensive.

Don’t be a jackass, Steve.  Don’t be a jackass.

But let’s consider the implication of the question.  If early retirement makes us bored, that means our job is the only thing that keeps us doing stuff.  That’s just sad.

It implies that our life is so barren and uneventful that, without a traditional job, we would otherwise find ourselves sitting on our couch in a semi-vegetative state aimlessly flipping through the channels until something halfway interesting pops up on the boob tube.  And no, Jerry Springer doesn’t count.  I said “interesting”.  🙂

But come on, surely we all have motivations and desires outside the square confines of our office space.  Our jobs might bring home the bacon, but that need not mean that if we were to quit those jobs, our lives would be reduced to a smoldering pile of rubbish.

My response?  “Whatever I want to do!“.  I have a couple blogs that I love to maintain.  I love to hike, travel and make pictures of our amazingly-beautiful world.  Furthermore, I enjoy taking some time away from my responsibilities as a [semi-] functioning adult and just sit, relax and enjoy some bloody peaceful solitude.

I don’t need a full time job to keep me active and motivated.

In truth, full time jobs tend to drain energy, not provide it.  Imagine having 40 or more hours of the most productive period of time each and every day taken up by a job…by work that makes somebody else rich and keeps us from “getting bored”.

This is me right now too.  I’m still working full time, though the plan is to end that by the end of next year.

After retirement, work does not end

Though the “retirement police” may clumsily believe otherwise, retirement does not mean that you are effectively done with being productive and doing those things that actually make you happy.

Instead, it means that you don’t have a “job”.  Retirement gives you the freedom to pick and choose the work that you do because you are financially independent.  Work if you want.  If not, don’t.  Before financial independence, we don’t really have a choice – we may be able to choose where we work, but we cannot choose whether or not we work.

For example, I would love to start a photography business after retirement.  Of course, this will be work, but not a job.  I will have the freedom to pick the jobs that sound interesting to me and politely decline the jobs that I would prefer not to do.  This is about having fun, not having a job.

For most who retire early, work does not simply end (in fact, the earlier that you retire in life, the more true this tends to be).  Instead, the work that fills our days is work that is far more productive than ever before.  It is work that directly benefits us (or others in the form of volunteering).  Being financially independent means trying something new, whenever we want, is always an option.

For example, early retirement gives us the option of pursuing new hobbies, like fishing, running or basket weaving. If you’re able to make some money on the side, great. If not, no big deal. If you wind up hating it, try something else. The world is your oyster, damnit!

By retiring early, we give ourselves more time while young and active to enjoy the things that our jobs had previously taken from us.  How about the freedom to decide on the spur of the moment to start reading a new book, or hiking to the top of a stunning mountain, or taking a road trip to a new city?  These are wonderful freedoms unlike anything imaginable in life.

These freedoms mean that we are in complete control of our time.  We decide what we do during the day, not some gratuitous corporation.  We decide how much time we spend doing the things that we love, not our inane corporate schedules.  We decide what time we get up in the morning, not our jackass boss who schedules a 7:30am meeting every morning.  That jerk.

We become masters of our own beautiful damn destinies.  All those bucket list items that never seem to get checked off of your list?  Retire early and spend some time getting those accomplished. The wooden deck you always wanted to build along the front of your house?  You know, the one that is going to totally make your neighbors jealous of your expert craftsmanship and keen architectural prowess?  Spend the next couple of months figuring that shit out.  The blog you wanted to start?  The car you wanted to refurbish?  You get the idea.

Or sometimes, it is simply about having more of an opportunity to chill.  Wish you had more time to think?  Retire early and take slow morning walks instead of sitting in traffic with frustrated, stressed out drivers on the way to work.  Sleep in a little more.  Make the morning time your time to take control of your mind, not to prepare for the next meeting, presentation or phone call.

Bored after retirement?  Hell no!  For my wife and I, that’s when life truly begins.

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


21 responses to “I could never retire early, I’d be so bored!”

  1. Go Curry Cracker had a great Louis CK quote about how we shouldn’t be allowed to be bored. The world is so vast and our brains are so deep, yet we’ve explored only a fraction. Being bored is exactly what you said… an excuse!

    • Steve says:

      Hey Fervent,

      Yup, I think that if you retire early, you aren’t allowed to be bored either. There is so much to do and experience. Our world, while small, is also quite big. Get out and explore it. Have some fun. All it takes is a modicum of determination.

      A modicum. 🙂

  2. Is Jerry Springer still on?!? 🙂

    Could not agree with you more! We have a post lined up for next week on a similar topic (what will we do when we grow up?)… we’re about to go on vacation so had to do some advance writing. We often think about this question (could we possibly get bored?) and pretty much think there’s no way that’s possible. The Louis CK quote from GCC is good, but we’re often reminded of that old adage, “Only the boring are bored.” Don’t think we haven’t used this with kids who lamented boredom before. 😉 Pretty much, as long as you are a person with varied interests, a general sense of curiosity about people and the world, and a little dose of gratitude, there’s no way you can be bored. And if we find out that we’re wrong, then we’ll go back to work. It’s not hard to figure out. But honestly, we don’t see that happening in a million years.

    Is your photo blog live yet? Please keep us posted on this side of things, so we know to swing over there!

    • Steve says:

      Ha! I think there may still be re-runs, but honestly, I’m not 100% positive.

      I like that quote…only the boring are bored. I’d happen to agree, and agree even more emphatically with your statement that there’s no way that we will truly get bored after retirement. We have so much planned…so much to experience, so much to see.

      Photo blog is going live this week, actually. I think I am going to release it tomorrow. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Stockbeard says:

    Wow, Jerry Springer still exists?

    Regardless, this is spot on (so *this* was the upcoming post you mentioned on my blog 🙂 ), in particular, I love what you wrote here:

    >> ‘work that makes somebody else rich and keeps us from “getting bored”.’

    Exactly!!! By working for someone else, you’re giving the best of yourself, making someone else richer, and helping *them* to do whatever they want with their time. Good for them!

    Why people don’t immediately get onboard the “early retirement” plans as soon as they understand that kind of locig is beyond me

    • Steve says:

      Hey Stockyard,

      Yup, this was it. Honestly, I am not sure why more people aren’t on-board either. I think many would like to be, but where the rubber actually meets the road is in their ability to make more sound financial decisions that priorities their future happiness rather than their temporary present ones.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Chris Muller says:

    Well played. I cannot fathom how someone would be bored in early retirement… here’s why…

    I truly think those who don’t inherit wealth have to make a conscious effort and work hard to retire early. These are people who know money inside and out, who can live below their means, and who don’t care what others think of them. They’re determined. Someone like that isn’t going to sit around on their ass all day after they’ve finally achieved their goal of early retirement.

    This post is a great example of debunking that myth – I think it’s awesome that you have so many plans after your early retirement. I agree with you, to me an early retirement means an earlier start on doing what you LOVE and making the most of your life. Congrats on writing this – excellent topic.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Chris!

      Yeah, I absolutely agree with you; if you have the gumption to work hard, safe fast and retire early, then you are probably the type of person who has enough creativity in your life to keep yourself busy after retirement, naturally. Great point!

      Yep, my wife and I won’t have any time to be bored. There’s too much to do. 🙂

  5. Mrs. FI says:

    Ladies and Gentleman, the FI Quote of the Year: “We become masters of our own beautiful damn destinies.” Thanks for another great post – gold stars all around! 😉

  6. Jason says:

    Now Jerry Springer, along with Maury, is some quality TV and would have to be part of an FIRE environment :). Love the sentiment. Every day you get closer…and if you ever are bored I am sure we could find things for you to do.

    • Steve says:


      Daytime TV has always been a little…umm, void in the meaning department. Wonder why that is. 🙂

      Being bored is only for the boring – and we ain’t boring people. It’s going to be a wild ride.

  7. Steve, you nailed it. I think so many people identify themselves as their job that it is impossible for them to imagine a life without it, not to mention the desire for a new Audi ever year to demonstrate status. Maybe this is what sets us early retirement folks apart from the rest of the crowd? Great post.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Mr. RB35!

      Yep, I think this is what separates us from those who’d rather retire at 65. At one point I truly did want the best car, or the nicest THIS or THAT. Now, I think that mentality is pretty darn shallow. I’m glad that I finally got over that phase of my life and now on the road to early retirement, just like you. 🙂

  8. I am 5 months from our “FIRE Escape” date and have to admit that I’ve been wrestling with the worry of not having anything to do. I’ve even made a “Not Bored List” of 150+ things to do and created a weekly calendar of all of the interesting things to do in our metro area. My wife thinks I’m nuts, because I always have 5-6 “hobbies” underway. One quote that framed it for me (oft repeated on earlyretirement.org forums is “When I am bored I never think – I should go to work” 🙂

    • Steve says:

      Ha! Nice quote, MrFireStation. I must agree that I’ve never seriously asked myself that question either. Even if I’m just sitting outside with a cup of coffee supposedly “doing nothing”, that’s my time to rest and relax. Sometimes, a little R&R goes a long way. 🙂

  9. “I will become ‘the master of [my] own beautiful damn destiny.” – that’s what I will try to remember to say when I tell my boss I am quitting on Wednesday. Very poetic. Besides, if I was bored, I wouldn’t come back to spend an hour in a budget meeting!

    • Steve says:

      I definitely want to know exactly how it goes for you, MrFireStation. I’m sure that you will write an article about it, and I’ll probably be the first to read it. 🙂

  10. “If early retirement makes us bored, that means our job is the only thing that keeps us doing stuff. That’s just sad.”

    I’ve never heard it put that way. It made me sit back in my chair and say “whoa” to myself.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Bus Thinker, appreciate the comment. Yeah, that’s an interesting tidbit to think about. If your job is the only thing that keeps you active, that means you probably don’t have any hobbies or anything else keeping you intellectually stimulated. That could pose a problem in early retirement!

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