“Lifers” say the darndest things. Those who will spend their entire productive lives robotically commuting into a cold and dreary office tend not to let themselves accept the possibility of retiring early. After all, it’s hard. It requires a lot. Or something…
Here are some of my favorite “lifer” quotes and, of course, my response to them. What other quotes are you particularly fond of? Let us know in the comments section below.
- I don’t need to retire; I like my job
It is wonderful that you like your job, but I believe you are missing the point of early retirement; truth be told, I used to like my job too until the tedium finally got the best of me. I discovered that I can be a lot happier when I am in complete control over what I do with my time.
Like I discussed before, don’t let your current satisfaction of your job keep you from achieving financial independence even if you have no current plans to call it quits early. It is great that you love your job, but remember that you may not always love it. Things change. You may hate your next boss or get pushed into a management position that you really don’t want. In other words, your job may literally turn into the very definition of “the suck”. Like the Boy Scouts always say, be prepared.
- Did you sell a business or something?
Nope. I tried my hand at entrepreneurship and it just wasn’t for me. Believe it or not, I don’t have large sums of money to fall back on like that rich cartoon duck (pictured to the right).
Instead, the wife and I spent the last several years of our lives saving every extra penny, close to 70% of our total combined income every year. Investments will add up quick with a savings schedule like that!
We also don’t buy crap that we don’t need. We eat out maybe once or twice a month unless we can con someone else into paying for it like the hobos that we are. No cable or satellite television. No magazine subscriptions. We don’t drive brand new cars. We recently downsized from a 1600 sqft house to a 200 sqft house.
- I could never retire early, I’d be so bored
Man, sucks to be you. If your job is the only thing that provides you with satisfaction in life, you may want to reexamine your priorities. My job is not my life. In fact, I have so many other interests that my job currently stops me from actively pursuing, like visiting every national park, or hiking every day or traveling this wonderful country of ours. Or spending 3 hours in the middle of the day reading. Yeah, reading! Imagine that.
My job is relentlessly killing the time I’d otherwise have to pursue these interests. Every minute I spend thinking about work is a minute that I’m not thinking about myself, about my own happiness, about what truly makes me tick. My job is what makes me bored. The drudgery of meetings, of performance reviews, of paperwork…that nonsense doesn’t exactly cure my boredom. Rather, it causes it.
- You will completely lose your purpose in life
With all due respect, I question the premise of this statement.
My purpose? What makes you believe that my purpose in life is to spend 8 to ten hours a day sitting on my ass staring at a computer screen and typing a bunch of stuff into the computer? What gives you the idea that anybody’s purpose involves kissing corporate ass to get ahead, enduring those insipid “ethics training” videos straight out of the 1970s that remind us that playing grab-ass with our co-workers in the office is generally a frowned-upon activity (that’s right, George Costanza!)?
Seriously, why in the world would my job also be my purpose? Just because I spend the majority of my day doing that job does not mean I derive any sort of “purpose” from it. My job is what I do for a living. My purpose is a far deeper emotional element in me. If anything, my job suppresses my purpose. I like what I do, but I don’t like holding a job to do it. Jobs aren’t purpose.
After all, don’t you want something to remember at the end of your life? How many times do you think that you’ve started a car over the course of your life? Now, how many of those starts do you actually remember? Not many. How about that time the car didn’t start and left you stranded in a Walmart parking lot? I bet you remember that. New experiences give us something to look back on. The relentless tedium of the typical 9 to 5 won’t stick with us up in the ol’ cranium – except of course when the time comes where we realize how much of our lives we’ve spent in an office.
- What will you do if [insert horrible event here] happens?
You mean what, kinda like this?
I will probably do what anyone else would do if faced with the same situation – deal with it the best that I can and move on. Like I wrote about before, my escape from full-time work only enhances my ability to confront life’s challenges. Retirement means I can literally move at the drop of a hat to where I need to be at the given time, give 100% of my focus, effort, and resources to address it.
I don’t have to “wait until I get home” or ask for PTO (vacation) before confronting the problem. I have the time whenever something happens, a clear mind to consider my options and a stress-free opportunity to make the very best decision that I can. I’ll have health insurance just like you. Teeth cleaning, doctors visits, you name it. It’ll be as if I’m living in a first world country…again, just like you!
The difference is I’ll be much more mentally prepared to deal with catastrophes or significant events without the burdens of a full-time job taking up space and clouding my mind.
- A million at retirement is nothing these days, you’ll need more
Says who? Actually, we won’t have a million by the time we officially retire; when you live well below your means and actually give a shit about where your money is going, people can live quite well on far less than a million. Live like kings, in fact.
The million dollar figure is held up like some figurehead dollar amount that somehow means you’re “ready to retire”. Why? Because it’s a nice round number, and people more easily understand nice round numbers. For example, if someone said that only $773,421 is needed for retirement, that probably wouldn’t be quite as accepted as a number. $1m has a bunch of zeros. And it rolls right off the tongue. Try it: “A million bucks”. Hell, it even feels good to say!
…like a well-packaged, easily-understood and often regurgitated factoid that people can impress others by remembering.
How much do you actually need to retire? Check this out.
- Remember, if you earn a dime after retirement, then you aren’t truly retired
I mean this with all due respect, but I truly couldn’t care less what the retirement police think that I’m doing. Whether people consider what I do “retirement” or not is their problem, certainly not mine. I’ll be too busy enjoying my time out in nature and frolicking in fields of dandelions like a school girl, no shits given. End of story.
For completeness, I present to you a school girl in a field of dandelions.
Got any other gems for us? Let’s hear ’em!
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.