7 things those who will never retire say

62 thoughts on “7 things those who will never retire say”

  1. Definitely heard the “what if the stock market crashes” or “what if you get really sick” scenario. My take on all these “lifer” comments is that being in a position to be able to retire early, and working toward that beforehand, is just good sense financially. It means you are most likely doing money right. So if you end up able to retire early and want to–why in the world wouldn’t you?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kalie. Excellent question: “If you end up able to retire early and want to-why in the world wouldn’t you?” Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. It goes along with #1, but what I’ve heard before is “I would probably do the same thing in retirement so I might as well stay at my job and get paid for it”. While that may be true, you are still tied to that desk, working hours you don’t set, and subject to ~20 days paid time off / year, etc etc…

    1. Interesting! For some reason I hadn’t heard that one before, but yeah…all I could say is, “interesting”. When you look at all the extra “jobiness” that comes with doing something…even if you like that thing, there’s really no comparison between working and retiring – at least in my humble mind.

  3. Thanks for this list, I will be adding some of your responses to my mental arsenal. As we haven’t told anyone our plans yet (except my parents and brother) we haven’t fielded these comments yet – but I know we will!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mrs. PIE. Yup, the more well-known your plans are, the more of these questions and comments that you’ll get. It’s fun! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. “Holy crap it’s the apocalypse” had a few people look over at me when I started laughing at work

    That is my favorite one, because you are more prepared than 99% of the people that would ask it. Plus you essentially live in a portable campground! Not many people can say that!

    1. Ha! Thanks, Apathy. Yup, being mobile is a huge, huge advantage for us. Where ever the apocalypse occurs, you can bet we’ll be on the highway speeding away from it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I love when I read people saying “what if the market tanks? I lost my shirt in 2008-09!” The only way you lost your shirt in equities is if you did what you aren’t suppose to do – SELL.

    1. True, Fervent! If you’re a smart investor, you minimize those presumed “losses” during market doldrums by holding. Excellent point!

  6. #3/#4 are the comments I get most frequently when I share my plans to retire June 30, 2017. I get these looks of consternation and “What will you do?”… I think to myself every single time, besides the 2 years of little things (organizing and minor maintenance items) I need to do around my house, I can think of 100 things I would rather do each week than work. I notice folks that are my parents’ generation especially cannot wrap their heads around a life where it isn’t defined and monopolized by your profession. I’ve never wanted to be defined by what I do but the longer I work, the more you can feel those definitions setting in. Great post!

    1. Amen to that! Like you, I am definitely not defined by what I do for a living. For me, IT provides a good living, and I truly do enjoy much of the work, but defining myself by my JOB is definitely not something that I am prepared to accept.

  7. โ€œI could never retire early, Iโ€™d be so bored.โ€ I am totally flummoxed by this one.
    I would posit that one might discover their purpose in life during (or in prep) early retirement. Instead of being forced to interact with the same tiresome people day after day, you could chose companions who more closely align with you values and (gasp, dare I say) purpose.

    1. True that, Jolly Ledger. With the freedom to choose what to do with your time, the opportunities and possibilities are virtually limitless. There is a BIG world out there, and much of it is *outside* of what we do for a living. All we gotta do is have the time and inclination to look for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Yeah, pretty much nailed it here Steve. ๐Ÿ™‚

    People say the funniest things when they are trapped in the pits of despair that is the modern office drone mindset.

    All of these objections are presented as if there’s no alternative to spending all your paycheck (and then some!) every month. Even if you save toward early retirement in your 30’s or 40’s and fail miserably, you will probably still have a few hundred thousand dollars saved up by your 50’s. Not quite enough to retire early for most, but that plus some growth into your 60’s plus Social Security and you’ll have a very comfortable regular retirement.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Justin. The pits of despair under the guise of “it’s my career”. For the longest time, I was trapped in the very same pit and would probably use some of these same excuses with someone who was planning on retiring early. Something to make myself feel better, I guess. Ugh.

  9. I love it! I definitely suffer from # 5 and #6.

    #5) What will you do if [insert horrible event here] happens? I still worry that I might need to support my daughters or we have some catastrophic medical event that blows through our stash.

    #6) A million at retirement is nothing these days, you will need more. I do suffer from this thinking and have gone past the conservative point of saving. I have saved for both the Zombie Apocalypse and the โ€œEnoughness Monsterโ€ I still have not tamed or slayed. I know that I will still want to buy a nice car every now and then and take a fancy bucket list vacation. I will have enough to do some of these things, however not enough to go crazy on a YOLO bender. This is the toughest piece of the FIRE puzzle for me to solve. I am impressed by your sensible approach.

    1. Hey Bryan! It is all too easy to think about those kinds of things. Very, very natural. In fact, we SHOULD think about those things because we don’t want to get ourselves into a situation that is unwise for us. It’s the healthy fear showing itself again, and that fear can definitely prevent us from doing something stupid. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I’m on Day 50 after leaving MegaCorp and am often asked “how is it going?” by friends. I tell them that you do miss your work colleagues, but you don’t miss the work … at all. (and I had a pretty fun job).

  11. Nice one and as Mrs PIE said, a number of gems here to store and have ready for the inevitable nonsense questions on our grand plan.

    Once we got our heads around living below our means (but still very comfortable) , the fact that we saved reasonably ok through 30!s and early 40’s until now and a final three years push of aggressive saving, the plan is set. People are brainwashed to needing 80% of pre-retirement income without even challenging this notion with their actual spend.

    As J Money said, you have to challenge everything. I actually look forward to challenging those who will scoff at our plan to FIRE and be ready with a smile and a bunch of answers that you nicely put together.

    1. Good on you, Mr. PIE. It’s true, there is another way, and being able to respond to comments that you’ll get will be an excellent and fun skill to have, no doubt! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. On point #1, people ignore that they might not get a say in when they stop working. Most people plan to work til 67 or later, but the average retirement age is 62. That gap is explained by people who are forced to stop working by layoffs or health issues, and you have to be prepared for things not going to plan! Even if you intend to work forever, there’s a good chance that won’t happen.

    1. Very good point, Ms. ONL – people very often do ignore that fact. Things change, especially in the working world. You may not always like your job. Your job may not always be there. You can never be too careful out there.

  13. A good list of reasons not to strive for early retirement. And even better answers on why it should be possible.
    Only my mom knows about it, she thinks it is a thing that will blow over. I plan for it to stay.

    on point 7: It id FI to me. The freedom to live on my terms!

    1. Your mom thinks that your desire to retire early will blow over, as if it’s just a fad or something similar? Good on you for planning for it to stay! This isn’t something that most people take lightly, after all. The freedom to live on your own terms is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I’ve heard the “boredom” excuse, the “I like my job” excuse, and the “you won’t have enough money” excuse plenty with the few folks I’ve shared our plans with. I have similar rebuttals, but with the boredom one, I just ask, “Don’t you have 2 things you’d rather be doing today than sitting in here working?” The same with the “I like my job.” I reply with, “Me too, I love it even, but I have other things I’d rather be doing with my time.”

    When my brother told me, “I’ll never be able to retire, I can’t afford it.” I didn’t argue with him. His priorities aren’t on retirement and they’re more focused on day to day stuff and the little spending here there and everywhere that takes all your money. I find when priorities are not on financial freedom and there’s no interest in it, you’re just wasting your breath trying to make someone see the light.

    1. Excellent retorts, Mr. SSC. It’s okay to love your job, but jobs take an incredible amount of time away from us. I think it’s unfortunate that so many of us – me included years ago, define ourselves by our work, assuming that the JOB is the only thing that keeps us productive during the day. To me, that’s a sad state of affairs.

  15. Not counting unanticipated free time from layoffs, I’ve had 2 planned stints of “retirement” a la Trav McGee – a 2 month sabbatical from Netscape (a perk of all employees after a few years), and 4 months I took off when I quit a horrible job and wanted some time to decompress.

    There’s never enough time in the day to have as much fun as you want when your time is entirely your own.

    If you’ve never done it, you’ll never understand.

    1. “Thereโ€™s never enough time in the day to have as much fun as you want when your time is entirely your own.” – awesome quote, Jack. And I’m interested in why that job was so horrible that it necessitated you taking 4 months off to decompress! That sounds pretty awful.

  16. Awwww, that’s so cute! (the girl in the field of dandelions)
    For the rest: well said, I can relate to lots of these, have heard that from friends and family more than once now.

  17. My favorite corporate time waster was the sexual harassment video that I had to watch every year even though I worked from my home in a state with no other employees. That was time well spent.

    I love how you mentioned seeing every national park. The other day, my teenage son said he wished there was a class he could take that involved traveling the country and visiting every national park. I like how that sounds.

    1. Yup, I know videos like that very, very well. ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s funny, the idea that your son had would probably teach our youngsters far, far more about life and our country in general than any classroom could possibly do. I like it!

  18. This is a great post, I’ve heard a few of these reasons come up in conversations I’ve had. The main theme that I keep hearing is “I’ll be bored” or “What would you do with all that time?” I think people get hung up on the word “retirement.” It seems like they picture retirement as sitting around watching TV, etc. They don’t see all the opportunities and freedom that are opened up by no longer HAVING to work for a living and no longer having a reliance on income.

    I once heard a quote saying “It’s very important to retire TO something and not just retire FROM something.” I think that’s what a lot of people get hung up on. They haven’t even thought about the millions of other ways they could be using their time instead of sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day.

    I think us as humans are wired to need to do something productive with our time. That’s why unemployment can be depressing, and sometimes retirees feel depressed/unfulfilled without their jobs. The best thing about financial independence is that you can do anything productive that you want, without worrying about whether it’s bringing in any money. It’s important to figure out what that is, and then chase after it.

    1. I think you’re exactly right, Matt – people hear the term “retirement” and they immediately picture some 80-year-old dude just watching TV and staring out the window. The fact is that the earlier we retire, the more productive we can be. We are still healthy and active. We have the ability to travel, to hike, to do all the things that we’d rather be doing that our current jobs make more difficult. It’s true that we need to feel productive. The difference is that many of us don’t need our JOBS in order to feel productive. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the comment. Well said!

  19. The what-if’s are always out there. In all honesty, I’ve pondered many of them myself (I have my fits of worry, too!). But if the zombie apocalypse hits, my finances are ruined whether I’m retired or not. And I’ll probably lose the job I was holding on to.

    Might as well enjoy my time (by being retired) before the alien invasion hits!

    Nice post – thanks for sharing it.


    1. I’m with you, John. If something catastrophic happens, the last thing that I’d worry about is having a job, and I’d certainly like to look back upon my life and smile rather than wish I had done something else.

  20. These are fantastic. I love the #5-style “what if the whole world falls apart” questions, especially. Well, shit, if that happens, I’ll be glad I had a few years of fun away from an office beforehand!

    1. Thanks Matt! Exactly. If the world comes crashing down all around us, or if we get hit with some sort of illness, I last thing that I’d want – on top of all that – is to wish that I had done this whole thing sooner rather than waiting. Sometimes things happen, and jobs tend not to be forces that STOP them, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Ha! Fun article. The one that I get a lot is:

    “That’s great for you, but I could never live that way (saving 60 – 70% of my income).”

    When my family started this journey toward early retirement by increasing our savings rate, I thought it was going to be impossible. So I was floored by, not only how easy it was, but by all the hidden benefits of rejecting our consumerist society. Its always worth giving something a try before you dismiss it outright.

  22. Really enjoyed reading this article and have to say that an awesome topic to read. In fact there are 100% true and I have been experiencing such points whenever any kind of discussion going on for retirement. I feel mostly people are not aware much or interested enough to save money for retirement and finding excuses to defend them. But the fact is one day you have to retire form typical job, whether you want or not. Thanks for this great share.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read, Santanu! Yup, there are enough excuses out there to fill a book. I used to use some of those very same excuses, too. Ugh!

  23. I’ve been working towards financial independence for a few years now and have even discussed it with people at work. It was a funny conversation one day with one of my bosses when they asked where I wanted to be in 5 years and I said, retired. I’m in my late 40’s and the response really caught my boss off guard, she really didn’t know what to say.

    As it would happen I was restructured out of my job back in early February and have been enjoying not going to the office every day. I’m somewhat looking for another job and yet at the same time I keep crunching the numbers to see if I can just pack it in. I have a scenario where I believe it can work. Some of my friends keep sending me job leads and I look at them and some I apply for and others I don’t. I told them about my thoughts of not going back to work and I have heard most of the excuses above. However, there was one friend who I hadn’t talked to in a while and she sent me an email the other day with a job opportunity. When I responded I said I would look at it but I was also thinking about retiring, she surprised me and told me to do it, don’t even think about it just do it. I was so surprised after all the others giving me the excuses that everyone seems to give on why you just have to go back to work.

    1. Ha! Nice response, love it. Looks like the right things happened for you at work, too. It’s nice to be able to pick and choose your opportunities, isn’t it?

  24. I gotta say, after about 1.5 years of early retirement, I got kinda bored so I started consulting. It was the perfect match, consulting in a new space (fintech) in a new department (marketing) for 20-25 hours a week. I loved the balance since I was working more like 50-60 hours a week towards the end.

    Two days a week of work is awesome. And then being able to go travel for however long you want while making money online is more awesome.

    Nobody classifies FS as an early retirement/FIRE blog b/c I just write about everything I’m doing in retirement, and not so much about retirement. There’s so much to do!


    1. Sounds like a good situation to be in – 20 to 25 hours a week isn’t bad, especially if you are getting some enjoyment out of it. Never hurts to pad the stash, either, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yeah, 20-25 is a good sweet spot. I actually learned a lot about online marketing and everything there is to know about the robo-advisory and fintech space after spending the last 2 years doing consulting work. So that helps translates into more authoritative writing for FS as well. Good synergies!


  25. Well said. Number 3 is something I’ve heard around the office too many times. In fact I’ve had coworkers who won’t use their vacation days, because they’d just be “bored at home”.

  26. This is one of my favorite blogs to drop in on occasionally – I find myself about half and half in terms of agreement with what I read. On the agreement side of things – I am 60 and will bail out of the working world before the end of this year to travel in our Airstream and spend summers in our cabin in Alaska. We are fortunate enough to be financially able to do this by 1)having a high earning potential during my career, 2) living below our means and 3) saving regularly but still having fun. All in alignment with Steve and Courtney – hopefully we will meet you guys in a wonderful camping spot soon.

    The other half is what I think of as the career bashing. I guess my thinking is that if what you are doing to earn money isn’t doing it for you and you want to get out of it as soon as possible, find something else to do. What has my career done for me?

    The opportunity to discover other places via a company transfer – that is how we ended up in Alaska, found our property and built our cabin. We have actually moved back there and left three times for a total of 18 years cumulative time living there – all because of my career. That will allow us to spend time up there in retirement that we never would have the chance to do otherwise.

    The opportunity to live overseas – specifically in West Africa and Central Asia in our case not to mention the opportunity to travel to great places from there. Not only were these experiences great for us but made a fundamental difference in the lives of our children. Think about your kids being able to live and learn in different cultures. Did I mention that both were educated in Swiss boarding schools paid for by the company I was working for? Also, college educations paid for by cashing in company stock and writing a check? Both kids are happy, both emotionally and financially independent.

    When I look back on my career, I recognize that there were ups and downs but the end result is that I am glad that I had a wonderful 35 year ride but I am ready for the next stage.

    Am I anything special? Hell no but I worked hard and worked smart although I never did rise above a middle management level. My advice is that if you really don’t like what you are doing, there are two options. Save everything you can and bail out of the workforce to travel and have fun or think about what other options are out there to provide you with the challenges that you are looking for. Either way works for me.

  27. I know I’m coming to this conversation late, but it is an interesting topic. My co-workers thought I was crazy leaving a six-figure job at the age of 39, but I was ready. However, even though I have a ton of interests and I have purpose in my life, regardless of my career, I did start missing being a part of the working world, especially since everyone around me is still doing it. I volunteered, traveled, tutored, wrote, read, worked out, etc… but I still missed the atmosphere. I just didn’t miss the stress and strict schedule. I’ve since gone back part time where I work only 2-3 days a week. I find it keeps me a little balanced. I’m not alone, even ERE went back to full time employment! This difference though is that when you are working because it truly is your choice, it is soooooo much better. While I will probably never go back to a full time salaried job, I do enjoy this balance and I can take extended travel trips between projects.

    1. There is nothing wrong with going back to work – especially on your own terms. If that’s what excites you, then it only makes sense to pursue at least some part-time work. After all, we don’t *HAVE* to crave early retirement. It’s definitely not for all of us.

      Thanks for your comment!

  28. The possibility of retiring early is close to nil for a middle-aged burger flipper. While I don’t play lottery games, I guess I can now understand why some people do – because the odds of coming into a large sum of money is probably greater with a lottery ticket than it is with a dead-end minimum wage job.

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