Early Retirement Will Be Completely Different Than What You Think

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The Sad Truth About Retirement

Ask a slave of the 9-5 what he’d like to accomplish.

Chances are the response will be something like “I’d start every day at the gym and work out for two hours until I am as strong as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why hasn’t he accomplished all of those things?

“Because I’m chained to my cubicle 40-60 hours per week at this horrible job. If I didn’t have the job, I would be out there living the dream for sure.”

Suppose that the guy finally does retire from the 9-5.

What do we find?

He is waking up at 10 AM, watching youtube, talking about going to the gym, eating chips etc.

Only once in a while he’s hitting the gym.

Retirement forces you to stop thinking that it is your 9-5 that holds you back.

For most people the sad truth is that they aren’t that organized, disciplined, or motivated that they thought they were.

Happiness – Will You Find It In Retirement?

In olden times, the average person didn’t expect to be happy.

Life could be a struggle for survival with hard work and adversity at every corner.

Marriages were arranged by parents and if, after 20 years, the couple hated each other, there was no option to divorce.

Every job has unpleasant elements and drudgery.

The working person imagines that if he didn’t have to work, he would be happy 24/7.

It would be like doing your favorite activity every day without ever feeling bored.

Suppose that you are retired. At this point, your one job is the pursuit of happiness.

If you are not happy, therefore you are a failure at your job and in your life.

But how can you be happy 24/7?

Unless you are retiring today with $50 million or more, however, you probably aren’t rich enough to live in a cocoon. You still end up running the same errands that you ran when you were a wage slave, but now they stick out more.

The errands aren’t keeping you from attending a boring meeting at work; they’re keeping you from a fun horse-riding or helicopter-flying lesson.

Will Your Social Life Disappear?

Most jobs come with a social life.

You show up to work. You have casual conversations throughout the day with a variety of people, most of whom you know and many of whom you like.

If all you do when you go home at night is sit and read or watch TV by yourself, you’re still a reasonably social person.

When you retire, however, this built-in social life goes away.

If you’ve got a spouse and kids, you’re all set.

You’ll spend enough of your day talking to other people.

If you’re single, however, be aware that you will need to create a social life.

This can be tough in many parts of the world and with your existing friends.

Your friends who have jobs aren’t available during the day and, most of the time, will be too tired in the evening to get together.

One strategy that might be effective is to spend every Sunday night planning activities for the week.

As your friends get older, it becomes more difficult to arrange dinner parties and other get-togethers.

They just don’t have the energy or inclination to hang out like they did in college or just after.

Traveling May Not Be What You Dream Of When You’re Retired (Even If You Are Now)

I guess one of the greatest things about retirement is the freedom to travel and explore new parts of the world.

But should you take the trips that you dreamed of when you were working? Maybe not.

Let me explain.

When you worked 45-50 weeks per year, the idea of sitting on a beach by yourself with a stack of novels might have seemed an appealing escape from the crush of interaction that afflicted you on every working day.

In retirement, however, you’re free to sit in your living room by yourself every day and read novels.

Nobody is going to disturb you. Why go to the trouble of getting on an airplane to a foreign country if that is all you want to do?

An ideal retirement trip might be one in which you learn some new skills and have built-in interaction with people.

For myself, I’d love 2-3 weeks stay in Italy, Spain or France now and then to ride my road bike, eating good food, strolling around, read and just live.

But vacations tends to be boring after a while, that’s why I don’t want to quit working completely.

Yes, I would like to quit a normal 9-5, but to build a business from scratch would be like a “dream-job” in my eyes.


While we believe that early retirement will solve all our problems in life, the answer is that it will not.

You’ll still the same person when you have a $100K, $M or $10M net worth.

The sad truth is that most people aren’t that organized, disciplined, or motivated to use their time in a good manner once they’ve escaped the 9-5.

The working person imagines that if he didn’t have to work, he would be happy 24/7.

But life is to a extent a rollercoaster even if you have loads of money.

No finite amount can fix that for you.

And while you dream of sitting on a beach with your favorite book when you’ve escaped the 9-5, that may probably not be your dream anymore when you’ve finally retired.


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4 Replies to “Early Retirement Will Be Completely Different Than What You Think”

  1. This is quite true.
    I tried out early retirement from August, but after a few months I realized that (a) I’d probably need 20% – 25% more money to make it more comfortable, and (b) I was not nearly as efficient as I thought I would be.
    I did manage to finish writing a book, but I thought I would have finished two and completed some other projects by now. I have been going to the gym, but I ended up skipping a lot for health reasons.
    The one great thing about retirement is the lack of stress. My previous job, and the country it was in, made life a pressure cooker. My happiness has not greatly increased, but my level of stress has plummeted.
    I gave myself a deadline of October 1st to decide what to do long-term, and when the day came I resolved to go back to work, but at a low-paying, low-stress job. A part-time job would have been even better but as I work abroad that makes visa issues too difficult.
    I’ve still had a nice 8 month break, then I’ll go back to work, sort of. I consider it semi-retirement. Having strict working hours actually makes me use my leisure time more efficiently, and I don’t let a moment of my weekend time go to waste.
    I guess this is different for everybody, though. For those considering early retirement, I suggest first just taking a year off to see how you go. Within a few months you’ll figure out what path is best for you.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks for your great answer. How is everything working out right now with the corona virus etc. ?

  2. Speaking from personal experience, I exercise about as often now (in FIRE) as I did when I was working full time. I had to be more intentional about scheduling workouts when I had an 8-5 job (planning runs with friends, signing up for races for motivation). These days, I can just roll into the gym at noon and take a class, although it doesn’t happen as much as I thought it would. Turns out there are lots of other interesting things to do during business hours too, like free lectures at the university and library!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Awesome, mate 😀

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