Lawrence King said, “the work for 60 years and be free for 10 model is overrated.” That resonates with me in a big way. Long before I ever thought about work in these terms or tried to articulate these ideas, I figured out a groove for myself that lead to independence, to owning my time, at a very young age. There’s a little more to it but I did not want to have a daily commute and I was never great at interacting with bosses, I call bullshit when I see bullshit.
In the last couple of days, I’ve had encounters with two friends on similar paths, 20-ish years apart. The first friend is in his early 70’s and retired when he was 56. He made some good decisions along the way and has been bailed out by the stock market of the last 15 years for any suboptimal decisions made along the way (not a dig, no one will get every decision correct).
He’s been very successful staying fit and healthy, is very artistic and based on yesterday’s conversation has immersed himself in 3D printing: how they work, things that can be done now and how 3D printing might evolve. This is impressive, tackling a pretty meaty technology in his 70’s. Seems like a great recipe for keeping the brain healthy. Stay curious.
The other friend is two or three years younger than me and has been very successful in the corporate world. He mentioned retiring early to me a few years ago and now it is happening for him. This friend seems to be fit and healthy and has many interests, so he’s built a successful runway for his retirement and hopefully my assessment from the outside is correct and things play out exactly as he envisions.
In both instances, these people had the luxury of choosing to retire early believing that had/have sufficient resources and income streams to make it work. As you know, the vast majority of Americans are not so fortunate. I have to think that if both of these guys loved their jobs they would not have retired. If you are in your 50’s and don’t have a lot saved such that you could consider retiring and you dislike your job, start gameplanning now on how to make changes. Can you save more? Can you change careers? Can you downsize enough to make your savings become enough or downsize enough where you have the flexibility of making less money doing something you love?
This is something we all need to solve for ourselves. No will care more about your wellbeing, financial or otherwise, your retirement or your fulfillment more than you. The government won’t care more than you, you’re just a statistic, your friends and family won’t care more than you, they will care but not more than you. It is up to each of us to figure this out for ourselves, the sooner we do the better off we will be.