Back in my introductory post when I mentioned that I wanted to retire before I turned 35, I’m nearly certain that the general response was:
“This rat bastard is out of his mind! The average retirement age is 65. Why does he think he can retire 30 years earlier than average? This asshole must think he’s better than me.”
To which my response is:
“Easy with the cursing – my mom might read this! And let the records state that I don’t think I’m better than anyone. Please just continue following this blog and I’ll have some concrete details as to why my plan just might work.”
If you decided to stick around you’re most likely thinking:
“Okay, okay. Even if you get lucky enough to pull this off, why in the world do you want to retire in your 30s? Are you that miserable in your job? Don’t you have any professional goals? Aren’t you going to be bored as hell?”
These are the types of questions I’d like to address today!
Time is Precious
The average American works or does work related activities for 9 hours a day. That’s 2250 a year. That’s 90,000 hours per lifetime. That’s obnoxious. Holy shit – there is too much I want to do to spend 90,000 hours working for someone else. The absolute number one reason why I want to retire as early as possible is so I can have control of my time. The way I plan on spending my time can be broken into two broad categories:
1. Personal Time
I’m definitely gonna get drunk before noon every day of the week! But I’m sure that’ll get old after a few years and I’d be a real hypocrite talking about the importance of physical health and then treating my liver like that. In all seriousness, a significant portion of my time is going to be dedicated to my health. A primary reason why the U.S. is one of the more unhealthy developed countries is due to the amount of hours we work. You know what you’re not doing when you’re work at work? Exercising. Preparing yourself healthy meals. Sleeping (I guess I shouldn’t make assumptions J ). There are only 24 hours in a day. When a third or half of those are spent at the office, it’s the exercise and meal prep that are cut out first and replaced with watching TV and fast food. So with a rigid work schedule out of my way, I plan on spending plenty of time just working on my fitness (she’s my witness), as well as my mental and spiritual health as well.
I don’t have any kids myself. Neither do any of my closest friends. Yet we’re always complaining to each other about how busy we are. What in the world are we going to do when a few little hell raisers come along (besides put them up for adoption)? Oh that’s right, we’re going to do what has become the norm and let a daycare raise them. Now this is just my humble and naïve opinion, but I personally would not feel like much of a parent if my child spends the majority of his (or her, god forbid) waking hours with a rando daycare employee until he’s old enough to start school. I totally understand everybody’s situation is different, and in some cases putting the child in daycare is absolutely the best decision. But if I’m designing my ideal lifestyle, I’m personally raising my kid from day one. So when I get the question, “What’re you going to do all day if you’re retired?” my initial response is “fatherly things.” I don’t want to romanticize this idea too much, but if you ask a hundred parents what brings them the most joy or what they’re most proud of, the answer for ninety-nine of them is going to be their kid(s). This serves as a powerful reinforcement that spending time with my kids is going to be time supremely well spent.
Now that we got that “being a father” and “staying healthy” bullshit out of the way, we can get to the good stuff: Markie’s hobbies. I plan on traveling all over the world and living abroad for extended periods of time. I’m going to hike and camp frequently and explore new cities and towns. I’m going to try local food and drink, and engulf myself in the native culture. I’m going to watch a lot of sports and see a lot of live music. I’m going to read and write plenty. It’s going to be fucking great. And I’m not going to be limited to weekends or PTO – this is going to be my life, day after glorious day.
2. Business/Volunteer Ventures
I cannot stress this enough – I do not view retirement as the end of my working life, but rather the end of my obligation to work to be financially comfortable. Truth be told, I’m sure there will be certain post-retirement years where I work more hours than I do now. The caveat is that any work that I do will be work that I’m grossly passionate about. As I mentioned when I introduced myself, I like my job and I’m fairly passionate about the work I do. But, there is a decent to fair amount of bullshit that comes with it. Bullshit includes but is not limited to: office politics, busy work, showing face, commuting, redundancy, dress codes, red tape, lazy coworkers, and conflicting agendas. You may suggest that I chose the wrong career path. And you might be right – I haven’t been in my career for long enough to be absolutely certain that I made the right choice. However, knowing what I know, if I took a DeLorean ride back to my high school years, I would do more or less the same thing in terms of a career path. So suck on that, haters.
Whether it’s starting my own business/organization, or joining someone else’s, my post-retirement life needs to touch more than just myself, my family, and my close friends. Regardless of what the cause or mission is I believe there is innate value to being part of a group working towards a common goal.
I hope you’re still with me
This wasn’t supposed to be a persuasive piece on why everyone should retire as early as possible. I’m simply trying to shed light on the benefits of having control of your time. While early retirement may not be for you, I still encourage you to think critically about what the lifestyle of your dreams looks like, and if it can still be achieved by working for 90,000 hours.