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Why I don't want to retire early
Old 04-06-2015, 09:27 AM   #1
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Why I don't want to retire early

Maybe I'm just playing a semantics game in my head, but this morning driving to work I had a game-changing thought.....

What does it mean to retire early? Pre-65 years of age? I think not.

Think about your working years as a race. Do you run the race for a determined amount of time (until 65 yo), or do you run until you get to the finish line? The finish line isn't painted on the track where you are when the buzzer sounds....it's painted at the beginning of the race. If you finish the race in 30 minutes you stop. You didn't finish "early".

To complete the race-work/retirement analogy, think of the finish line as that date which you have sufficient resources to meet your lifetime financial needs without continuing to work. Retiring "early" would simply mean retiring before you can meet your financial needs. Granted, there are some people who want to run to see how far they can run, and they will continue to work and build a big pot of money. However, for me, I hate running.

I'm either at, or very near the finish line.....not "early", just before a lot of other people running slower.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:34 AM   #2
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How about "retire early" with an implicit "with respect to societal norms with regard to age" attached?

-gauss
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by kzodave View Post
Maybe I'm just playing a semantics game in my head...
That's the way I see it.

Or maybe a guy trying to find something to take his mind off having to go back to work on a Monday.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:50 AM   #4
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Stopping work before you can meet your financial needs isn't "retirement" in my opinion. It's more like "unemployment". "Sabbatical" at best.
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:51 AM   #5
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Depends on the race format--Lemans run 24 hours. Car that goes the furthest in that time period wins.

I think we also have different view of retirement. Some view retirement as a never ending luxury cruise where they are catered to constantly. Others view it as the point where they can just get by without any other sources of income. (definition of FI). Big gulf in between those two! MrMoneyMustache site has a blog entry about the IRP (Internet Retirement Police) trying to define for people what retirement is. I like his view that retirement is whatever you want to make it when it is YOUR choice about what it should be.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gauss View Post
How about "retire early" with an implicit "with respect to societal norms with regard to age" attached?
This.

I never viewed getting to retirement as a race, so that analogy seems like week tea to me.

I simply was getting burned out of my job (a previously very enjoyable, but high effort one) at about the same time I was realizing I had reached financial independence.

And since I stopped working at 49, that seemed like a pretty reasonable approximation of "early retirement".

I haven't looked back since!
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kzodave View Post
Maybe I'm just playing a semantics game in my head, but this morning driving to work I had a game-changing thought.....

What does it mean to retire early? Pre-65 years of age? I think not.

Think about your working years as a race. Do you run the race for a determined amount of time (until 65 yo), or do you run until you get to the finish line? The finish line isn't painted on the track where you are when the buzzer sounds....it's painted at the beginning of the race. If you finish the race in 30 minutes you stop. You didn't finish "early".

To complete the race-work/retirement analogy, think of the finish line as that date which you have sufficient resources to meet your lifetime financial needs without continuing to work. Retiring "early" would simply mean retiring before you can meet your financial needs. Granted, there are some people who want to run to see how far they can run, and they will continue to work and build a big pot of money. However, for me, I hate running.

I'm either at, or very near the finish line.....not "early", just before a lot of other people running slower.
As other(s) have pointed out, I think you are considering "early" in the wrong relative terms. Early in the typical usage in these forums means earlier than the average population. Put more explicitly, FI means you have the option to stop working and RE means you have exercised that option at a younger age than the average worker's retirement age. Obviously the average retirement age could be debated, but probably most would agree anything before 65 counts as early.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:18 AM   #8
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The analogy does not work for me....

Remember, a race has a definitive finish point... It could be a distance or a time period... like a marathon or the previously mentioned 24 HRs race... It seems that your race is to a certain number... But that number is different for different people... you cannot say someone is slower than you... there are a lot of billionaires that have 'won' a lot more than you, but have not retired... why do they keep running after they pasted the finish line


I do agree that 'retire' is different ages around the world, but it does have a meaning here that is a timed based race... ie, in your 60s.... so, is you stop working before that age you have retired early.... just as in the example of a 24 hour race.... if you go park your car in the garage after 20 hours they will say you retired early.... even if you drove more miles than anybody else that did the full 24 hours.... heck, I just talked myself into agreeing you could look at it as a race...
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:18 AM   #9
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I do not get why it is necessary to define any of this...
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:41 AM   #10
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In my situation, I am defining it as retiring earlier than I expected. During my work life, I expected I would have to work until my late 60's, but we started saving and paying everything off, so now we are able to retire in our earlier 60's. It may not meet the definition of early retirement to most folks here, but for me, it's several years early.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:56 AM   #11
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I do not get why it is necessary to define any of this...
It's the human thing to do...the sheeple mentality, if you will. It's best if we can get everything to "fit" into a neat, pretty little box. Of course, I certainly don't buy that line of thinking, but I think that's what drives these "norms".
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kzodave View Post
Maybe I'm just playing a semantics game in my head, but this morning driving to work I had a game-changing thought.....

To complete the race-work/retirement analogy, think of the finish line as that date which you have sufficient resources to meet your lifetime financial needs without continuing to work. Retiring "early" would simply mean retiring before you can meet your financial ....
What your are thinking about is the difference between FI (financially independent) and RE (retiring early). For many, they achieve the former but continue to work because they still enjoy work or have other reasons, but they don't have to work for financial reasons.

I agree with others that whether one retires early is more in reference to societal norms and expectations. When I was growing up, 65 was considered normal retirement age and retiring 55 or earlier was considered to be retiring early.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:10 AM   #13
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Maybe I'm just playing a semantics game in my head, but this morning driving to work I had a game-changing thought.....
Yup, it's the semantics. And don't drive and think ER at the same time. It can lead to accidents depending on where you are at with ER timeline.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:18 AM   #14
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Or....
Is 'early' in the eye of others?

YOU may not think/feel you're retiring early (based on your observations above) but others may think so based upon their own expectations of how old a person should be to retire.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:20 AM   #15
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Realized at 60 I had more than enough to retire; could have done so earlier. Work no longer was any fun. Why on earth would I keep working?
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:27 AM   #16
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What your are thinking about is the difference between FI (financially independent) and RE (retiring early). For many, they achieve the former but continue to work because they still enjoy work or have other reasons, but they don't have to work for financial reasons.
I agree with this. Once I hit FI, I really began looking at if I wanted to RE at that point. But due to the finding enjoyment and flexibility in my job, I am still planning to work for another 2 years - unless Megacorp decides otherwise. One could argue that I have in a sense 'early retired', as I am no long seeking the "rat race' rewards of salary increases, promotions, personal contentions, and working long hours to impress others.

I have learned not to look at work as a race, but to look at life as a growing "tree", with "work/career" being one set of branches. My career "branches" may have stopped growing by my choice, but there are plenty of relationship/hobby/activity branches than I will continue to feed and grow as long as the tree is alive.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:46 PM   #17
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Stopping work before you can meet your financial needs isn't "retirement" in my opinion. It's more like "unemployment". "Sabbatical" at best.
+1.
But I would add it means meeting your psychological needs as well. A fulfilling retirement is more than just building a financial nestegg.
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:58 PM   #18
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I don't need to worry about the semantics of it. I retired in 2009, at age 61.5 . According to the Gallup poll, the average age of retiring in 2009 was 60.

Average U.S. Retirement Age Rises to 62

Therefore, I really didn't retire early. They still haven't cancelled my account here, though.
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Old 04-06-2015, 02:38 PM   #19
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Societal norms is probably my first thought. My second would be retiring when you still have the ability to work without a significant drop in performance. Not a complete definition, but perhaps a factor in considering a retirement "early".
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:50 PM   #20
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My parents and grandparents all retired at 65, so I had that established in my mind as the "normal" retirement age.

While still young, I set myself a goal of beating that by ten years, being able to retire at 55. I made it (well, 55.3 to be technical), so I'm happy to call myself an early retiree.

I know there are many here who achieved that goal much sooner than I did, and I couldn't be happier for them.

There are also many here who made it much later than I did, and they seem to be just as happy.

May we all live well and maximize our retirement years. There is a wonderful Portuguese verb, aproveitar, that has no direct English equivalent. It has the connotation of "take advantage of", "make the most of", "make good use of", and the like. Sort of a "carpe diem" or "eat, drink and be merry" idea. That's how I try to live each day of this delightful period of my life.

My recommendation to all is "Aproveite!"
We only get one go-around.
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