Saturday, June 10, 2006

Early retirement

Coffee with Amee muses about A Life Between Jobs. According to Amee's source, a New York Times article, it's a phenomenon among younger people where they choose to quit their jobs and use that time as a long vacation. I can so relate.

My own philosophy on this was greatly influenced by an article or book I read some time ago. Was it Charles Handy, or some other writer, I wonder? The conventional way of approaching life is to work until you're 65 and retire. But that's a model that's breaking down. In fact, it's been broken for quite a while.

With the present medical state of the art, life spans have increased to a high average of 80 years of age; on the other hand, our bodies start breaking down at about 60, if not earlier, owing to lifestyle diseases. So what does the old model give you? About fifteen years to twenty years of medical bills and aches.

Really, why should a person retire at the age of 65? It might have been a valid assumption two generations ago when people worked with more their hands and less with their brains; these days it's the other way around. A mentally sharp 65-year old can do just as much work as a younger person, and that senior citizen would have the benefit of experience and insight. Indeed, we might even argue that senior citizens need to work in order to keep their minds sharp.

So why not turn it around? Retire at some point in mid-life, say two to five years, and subtract that balance from the twenty years of retirement that would have come at the tail end of life.

In my case, I'm taking an early retirement, a privilege afforded by frugal living in my twenties. Will I go back to join the workforce? Eventually. That means I'll be working well beyond 70 years of age, but so what? When I do, it'll be with the benefit of additional life experiences ...and several hundred kilometers of bike trips.


  1. Yup, how our generation views the workplace has changed since the time of our parents.

    I initially started out doing the usual corporate route thinking it was the better way since it offered a position and stability. But quitting that job was the best thing that ever happened to me.

  2. Thanks for the visit, Jon. Technically, I am retired, though it's still a working retirement. I'm working at my pace, though, not at some cruel taskmaster's. I like it.

  3. Dom,
    This blogging thing is quite weird, you feel like you know somebody already because you've read them thru blogs. In a way, that's how I feel towards Amee, you, hillblogger, ellen, mlq, etc.

    It's also taking some time off me, but it's ok because I like doing it. I wonder when it's going to taper off.

    Congratulations to your "early semi-retirement", you're like rizalist, sort of. I think it's the right way to do it. There's no such thing as total retirement when you come to think of it. Complete "inactivity" is bad for the body and mind.

  4. I too share your observations and I also plan to retire early, say at 45 years old. But the only problem is saving enough money to do what you want during early-retirement.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Jon. Here’s hoping the next iBlog conference becomes a reunion of sorts.

    Hi there, Iloilo Boy, thanks for dropping by. Yeah, it's really how we manage our own circumstances. But hey, at least we have a goal to work towards. Great blog you have there, by the way.

  6. Stumbled on your blog...I just early retired(will be 63 in two months)back story:got corporate downsized at 58,bounced through a couple of jobs I hated(prior to downsizing I had been a Senior Vice President and the jobs I landed where back in direct sales..had been divorced but kept the big house etc..finally sold it and evryything in it moved from New England back to Mid-Atlantic area home front.took another sales job,bought a condo,furnished it...then new young turk "beat up' boss year was enough for me..QUIT(thus retired lol)now collecting early social security,paying Cobra for health insurance for next 18 months will leave me with an 11 month gap to find Individual health ins.until 65 and Medicare...bored ,but better to croke poorer with less stress than at the company laptop getting beat up on a boss conference call weekly..hey who knows maybe I can find a part time job with health benefits..all in all,I worked long and hard for years..and with no more corporate loyalty in America I deserve early retirement..wish me I'm back to home area around my married children and grand children..