First of all, thank you to those of you who have found this blog and are reading as I build this and get it started. This means a lot to me! Let’s talk about some observations I’ve made lately.
I’ve read quite a few other early retirement blogs and I find a few things remain a common thread through all of us who are, or desire to be, retired early. (I’m omitting the FatFIRE people, because they have a slightly different title for a good reason.) Let’s talk about the common denominators, because one in particular has stuck out to me this week.
1. Most of us CHOOSE to live somewhat frugally before and during retirement. I’m not talking about living in the worst possible home, extreme couponing (this is a big NO for me personally; I’m lazy!), or only eating rice and beans. What I often see in most of us is that we somewhat want to be stewards of the Earth. We drive sensible, fuel-efficient cars. We think physical activity, such as biking or walking, is superior to getting your car out to drive a quarter mile to the store. We don’t feel a need for shopping a ton or buying tons of possessions. Many of the bloggers who have retired early prefer travel and adventures over owning things and consuming things. Essentially, we don’t desire extravagance in life, but rather a moderate existence without taking it to an extreme. I am not saying that has to be you in retirement, as there is the FatFIRE group who will welcome you with open arms for wanting and planning to spend $100k-ish each year! I am saying that we each take a different road to retirement, so whatever gets you to your destination is a good thing! In many cases I’ve seen that a similar path leads a lot of us there.
2. The second item is the one that has been getting to me all week! I have spoken to multiple people over 50 whom I work with about retirement. The common thread I’ve found among these people who have great amounts saved up, and also have pensions, but they continue working is that they are AFRAID (and a lack of math skills isn’t helping, is my guess). Let me repeat that: they do not have FIRE, they have FEAR. All of them have asked me similar questions such as, “What will you do for healthcare?” “Are you sure you’ll have enough money at ___ age?” Lastly, my personal favorite is, “Won’t you be bored?”
Let’s answer these questions to put Freddy Fear at ease.
1) Healthcare is available through individual insurers, it’s also available through state exchanges (as long as the ACA remains intact), and on top of that the individual mandate was repealed, so you can go without, self-insure, or carry a catastrophic plan with a very high deductible. The bottom line is: you’ll survive if you do your best to remain healthy, have enough money invested, and carry at least a catastrophic plan for the big things like cancer that we can’t predict.
2) The second question makes me laugh as a CPA. I can do math. I’m a big fan of calculations and analysis. These are executives I’m asking, so I am really hoping they possess the math skills to at least read the advice on the Internet and figure out their own funds. If not, there are tons of people like me who are willing to help them! Many bloggers are even doing it for free. (I’d be happy to answer questions as well!)
3) This is an easy answer: no, I will never be bored. I have worked more than full time for many years since I was 18. I have many hobbies I ignore for 9+ hours a day, such as running, which I only get to do 1-2 hours a day maximum. If you don’t have an alternate purpose, such as volunteering, raising kids/grandkids, going for long walks, reading, or knitting, I encourage you to develop a hobby. They are a means for having an alternative source of self-esteem than your work performance!
If you need help with the hobby ideas, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to suggest things! 😉