There is a Bollywood movie that is quite close to the hearts of many Indians “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”, not unlike another with a very similar feel – “Dil Chahta Hai“.
It had a beautiful message – YOLO – You only live once. The main protagonist’s character in the movie lived by the rule – work your asses off in the early stages of your life and retire by 40. Although, his perception of life changes during the course of the movie, but this thought stuck with me even after the film ended.
When you google about early retirement, you will get a lot of results diving deep into the mathematics of it, what should you do to achieve the results, how much to save, how many years should you target, et al. There is no dearth of knowledge and research that has gone into this particular obsession. But perhaps you won’t find as many discussing why you need to retire early, and what to do post-retirement.
Well, let’s be clear here, I’m not discussing the scenario where people HAD to retire early because they lost their jobs, or due to some unforeseen circumstances were unable to work. I’m talking to the group of people who voluntarily want to stop working pretty early in their career. Reasons can range from pursuing a hobby or wishing to spend time with the family etc.
The idea can seem pretty enticing though, no work after 40, spending the rest of the life lying on a beach sipping a cocktail. But is it an idea worthy enough to be impulsive about and dive head first. I would be more cautious.
Why you may ask. Because of Randy Meisner. An American former musician, at age 30, he quit his band after a tiff and decided he will retire. Having earned a lot of money, his finances were well taken care of. But in just a year, he went back to work and launched his solo album. He simply got bored! He said in an interview, he had nothing to do. All his friends went to work and were only available on weekends. That’s as good or as bad as working full-time! And when you love your work so much, you can’t give it up so easily.
Understand that a job gives you the independence and freedom to not worry about your future and the depleting wealth because you are constantly replenishing it. If you stop working, you have to be assured of your net worth and whether it’s going to be enough for the bigger part of your life, it’s all you’re going to get and it will be constantly depleting. Keeping the finances aside, there is also to consider the social aspect of it. If you’re a social butterfly, you’re in for a bumpy ride my dear!
Imagine a beautiful island, a ship passing by and the passengers enjoying the beauty and wishing they could live on the island someday.
Suddenly a man jumps from the ship and swims over to the island. You’re going to be that man. You get the beautiful island to live on, with no worries of the world. But will you be able to live alone on it and not wish for the ship to come back once you’ve seen all of it? That’s the question you need to answer.
Think about your life a day after you retire, a year later and 10 years later. Will you be able to spend it by pretty much being by yourself? Think about your decision. Weigh your options.
If you have made your choice, then perhaps consider not working for money, but still working. Perhaps a job not as high paying as the earlier one, but something that you love to do. Something that will make you want to get up in the morning and look forward to the day. And pocket money never hurts, it will be useful to take care of the daily expenses, while your savings will stay with you to fulfil your wishes and dreams post-retirement. Take inspiration from people who have done this and succeeded. Like this couple from Bruised Passports.
Retirement doesn’t necessarily have to be about “not working”. It can also be about “not stressing” about your work because you have taken care of the money business. It can be meeting a group of people on weekdays working on what you never could imagine doing early on in your career and going out with your friends on the weekends just like you used to do earlier.
Let me know how you feel about this, would you retire early? What would you do post-retirement?