You know you’re ready to retire early if…

36 thoughts on “You know you’re ready to retire early if…”

  1. Really enjoyed reading this! I feel like having a plan for the many situations you described is what’s going to tell you whether you should retire. For me, I don’t hate work – in fact, I really enjoyed it. This is vastly different than many seeking retirement.

  2. While I’m not truly retiring early, unless you count fifty five, I find every one of these invaluable regardless of the pursuit. If you want something you have to point yourself at the target and work to it while mitigating problems along the way. Very few if any one gets to their goal randomly.

    1. I definitely count 55 as early retirement – by 10 years, in fact! It’s true, very few of us randomly achieve our goals. If we did, life would be entirely about luck.

  3. Yup, always have a backup plan! And I think the key is to, like you said, have a plan of what you’re going to do during retirement. What are you running to when you’re running away from mandatory full-time work?

  4. Well, I might be taking some big risks but I’ve got those big piles of money in the bank AND several backup plans.

    So yeah, I guess I’m a risk taker. But for me, taking those risks means getting to live life outside of an office building. That in itself is worth it AND I get to spend a lot more time with my family.

    It’s a risk worth taking.

    1. You are a risk taker, but your risks definitely are calculated. You aren’t being reckless, and there’s a big difference between being reckless and taking calculated risks.

  5. I’m glad you mentioned that you need hobbies during early retirement. I often think about the lack of productivity one would feel after quitting the 40 hour grind. The blog would definitely be one thing to fill that void. A person needs creative outlets like that. And the fact that you can pull income from it, double win! Thanks for the words of wisdom.

  6. Great post and so true. I agree that you have to retire to something. I strongly dislike work, but know that I will need something more than reading, fishing, and the gym to occupy 40 years of my life. Having a side gig that you enjoy and provides extra money for savings sounds like an ideal situation for early retirement.

  7. Good treatment of a complex topic. Most folks fall on the spectrum from “love my job, why would I leave” to “I can’t get out of here fast enough”. Knowing where you are is a good first step to know how to get to where you want to be. Funny thing, I literally just posted a bit on this topic, slanted toward my issues in deciding what to do with my time in retirement. Your post is like a checklist of things someone should think about.

    Thanks Steve, for the great (and pithily set forth) insights!

    1. You’re most welcome, Oldster. It’s true, there are a lot of people who couldn’t see retiring early, and then those who couldn’t make it happen fast enough. I was definitely more the latter than the former!

  8. It’s funny how if I’m having a conversation and the topic of early retirement comes up, the eyebrow raise happens. Folks then think that you’re planning on sitting on your butt and knitting all day or something. I’m super excited about FI because I’ve got so much @#$% I want to do and work is getting in my way!

    Great post, Steve and I like that you have a couple ways to adapt if things aren’t rosy the whole time… being able to adapt is important.

    — Jim

    1. It’s true, being able to adapt is super important. It’s that flexibility that allows us to confront basically anything that comes our way. Attitude is a big component, too.

  9. Check, check, and check. Yep, those traits suit me quite well. Mrs. SSC, maybe not so much. She is still nervous about the “retire to” aspect which is why she will keep teaching for an undetermined number of years. She has trouble with finding hobbies and sticking with them, so it’s a legit fear from her end and she gets a lot of satisfaction out of teaching, so it’s win-win for us. Don’t have to rely on our savings the first X# of years and I still get to “retire early” or at least leave the workforce before I’m 42.

    I don’t delude myself into thinking things will automatically change once I’m not working though. It sounds even busier than staying at my full-time job. I just need to make a schedule and stick to it.

    1. That’s right, Mr. SSC – schedules are super useful especially in early retirement life. But like you said, it will be nice to have that income continue even after you call it quits!

  10. An entry level job may only pay $20k-$30k per year for FT work, but that kind of work is ALWAYS available to a retiree that wants to come back after being unplugged for 10-20 years. I don’t see that safety net ever going away for anyone unless you are physically disabled.

    1. It’s true, and this is something that I strongly believe in. You may not return to the workforce doing exactly what you were before you left, but there is always work out there. Always.

  11. I love working – since the start of my mini-retirement, I’ve been having a blast writing and coding for my blog. I may want to stop working for someone else, but I know I’d go nuts without having something productive to dedicate my time to!

    Between that and hiking/walking, I think I’m fairly well covered on hobbies. I’m finding a shortage of time even in my mini-retirement. Go figure; I free up 40+ hours a week and I’m still too busy!

    My plan for FI should cover our finances with a bit of risk but nothing crazy. And I’m always open to taking on part-time work or cutting back as needed to cover the bills.

    I think the Keep Thrifty family is pretty set from a mentality perspective. Now we’ve just got to get those accounts up to the right number 🙂

    1. Woot! Sounds like you’re definitely setting off on the right foot, Chris. The trick will be to pursue your hobbies, but not to the point where they begin to feel like a “job”. That happens! 🙂

  12. You’re one of my new favorites, Steve. Thanks for a great post. I need a little kick in the pants to remind me not to pursue that “one year more.” 35… Man. That is sweetness. I’ll be a decade past that when I’m done, but still plenty of runway to go.

    1. Why thank you, Cubert! Early retirement ain’t no race – we all reach it at different times. Ain’t nothing wrong with retiring in your 40s, that’s for sure. My dad, in fact, retired at 49. 🙂

  13. Hi Steve,

    I totally agree with you.

    It is important to have large amount of cash stash in the bank account as a back up. I love taking calculated risk. It will be more assuring with the comfort of the cash stash in case I fail in my plan.


  14. Hey Steve, I think you brought up a very good point with having hobbies. It’s great fun and excitement when you are able to retire. It feels great when you have all that time on your hands, but it can feel like a drag very quick. Especially when you retire but you have nothing to fill up your time with.

    My friends and I call this the “Potato Life”. You are like a couch potato, just surfing through TV channels and passing your time.

  15. Great points, Steve, and I believe I’ve got them all covered.

    I’m one that doesn’t get it when someone says they don’t know what they’ll do in retirement. My list is plenty long, now I just need to get retired.

    1. Totally, Amy! I don’t understand the boredom thing either. I understand that some people just physically can’t do everything that they could do in a previous life, but that’s all the more reason to retire as soon as you can so you can enjoy these things…while you can.

  16. Hey Steve. I’ve read a few of your posts now, and this has been my favorite so far. So many people focus on retiring early as the key to happiness instead of pursuing a life worth living. I’m still fairly young (mid twenties), and most people I know dislike their jobs and keep working because society tells them to. Many people think the problem is work itself, office culture or a lack of free time, but more likely it is a problem with their values. I encourage people to pursue their interests as method of income generation, and not pursue more free time. Free time is rarely going to bring more joy into your life, but more likely just more time spent on unhealthy acitivies (watching tv, partying, etc.)

    Refreshing perspective on a popular type, so yet again, great post.

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