“Retirement isn’t the right word anymore”, is the phrase used by an article that I was reading recently. It was describing how people used to see retirement as, You hit 65, quit work, and sit around and get a pension, living out your golden years, or even more generally, you stop working and life slows down.
Anyone that is reading this blog has probably come across Mr. Money Moustache, and other blogs and heard them referencing the “retirement police”. These are the trolls or just misguided folks who seem to prefer the, “If you are working, then you’re not really retired” type of definition of retired. I say ballyhoo to all that, and I prefer to describe our upcoming change in life as a pre-tirement, stay at home parent type of thing. Real specific huh? I will likely work at some point, but chances are it will because I want to, not because I have to – so bring it on retirement police!!!
The biggest difference I see in those that define retirement as “You don’t work” is that they see work as a financial obligation and not a choice. Simply put, I will see it as a choice I can make and decide whether to participate or not. If it gets to be no fun, I can quit and not stress about bills, getting another job, and how this short stint may affect my resume, or even next job application. I have no doubt that I will work once I quit my corporate job and transition to stay at home dad. I’ll bet even more on the fact Mrs. SSC will also work in some capacity. We’re hoping to move to a place with a small college, so that either one or both of us may be able to teach. Also, we will be in a place with outdoor activities, which means there should be some outdoor stores, possibly even flyshops and I wouldn’t mind spending a few hours a week getting to talk shop about good trails, nice hikes, good fishing spots, what’s biting, what flies are working, etc… Yeah, they’ll come with mundane times of inventory, restocking, setting up displays, yada yada yada, but I’m too social to start sitting around in my recliner watching golf and holing up at the house for weeks on end. 1) I can’t stand watching golf, even for background napping noise; 2) I need a better recliner; and 3) why the hell wouldn’t I spend more time outdoors now that I don’t have a job chaining me to a desk?!?!
Actually just this weekend, I was double checking with Mrs. SSC that our current dream retirement town has a ski resort/big hill with lifts that take me up, so that I can snowboard down. I don’t need anything huge like Vail, or Breckenridge, I prefer the smaller places like Loveland Pass (usually empty and a LOT of fun runs). The point is we were talking about being able to get the kids to school and hit the slopes for a bit when there’s fresh snow on a Monday, or maybe Wednesday, or whenever there’s fresh snow. So working at an outdoor outfitters and being able to relay that info to tourists looking for nice runs on the slopes, sounds like a fun time for me. If you couldn’t tell from my posts, I can be quite a Chatty Cathy if you catch me on a topic I like. Topics that I’m not knowledgeable about, or don’t find very interesting though, can be a lot harder to discuss. For me, financial management is one of those. I can discuss it very thoroughly, but what I can’t do is explain “good financial management”. Actually, I can regurgitate what everyone else says you should do with your money, but I would have a hard time showing how to apply it in your life. I’m not financially minded, and except for the means to an end aspect of it, I could do well with not ever reading any more finance articles in my life. It just doesn’t do anything for me, so I can assure you, in my retirement, I will NOT be doing any financial advising, seminars, or anything related to that. Come to think of it, it does sound like an easy way to make some coin, “Come to my seminar and find out how you too can retire before 45!! For only $200, I will reveal my “secrets” to early retirement and you too can tell your job to shove it! (individual results may vary: especially if you don’t marry well, invest well, or marry someone that does both, oh and nice incomes to fund the retirement nest egg are also strategic and advised). Sounds like every other seminar I see ads for on tv, but rest assured, you won’t see Mr. SSC on your television shilling for your hard earned dollar.
So back to the point of this post, what do you see as “retirement” and why is it that we have retirement defined in our head as “no work, receiving pension, take up gardening/golf/fishing/knitting? My Grandad was scared to death of retirement. In his family, people quit working and then died. I mean literally died within a few months or less of “retiring”. He finally retired at 72, and fortunately made it another eight years, but he could have retired way earlier as he was at FI way before most people. He fit more of the traditional model, doing more gardening, volunteering, and staying active, but not anything that earned money, just satisfaction.
For me, I’m scared to death of 80. Except for the senile and decrepit few in my family that made it to their 90’s, most people in my family die by 80, if not well before. No wonder I need to retire early, I’ve got a clock ticking down people! Actually, we all do but I just don’t want to be one of those people that I see emails about in my office. At my last job and this one, I have gotten emails about so-and-so was diagnosed with “blah” and is terminal and going to spend his last days with family. Then a few weeks later, you hear so-and-so passed away and will be missed, and I read, hit delete and get back to work thinking, “Lord, I have got to retire soon and get out of this office.” A good friend of mine back in LA worked his whole career, finally got to retirement, had all of these plans made, and got a virus and died 2 weeks into his retirement. 2 weeks, and 1.5 of those weeks he was sick. What a pisser. Retired or not, I still see myself working to some degree, whether it’s at a job with a paycheck, making wooden stuff at home and selling it on Etsy or some other e-commerce platform, or maybe just playing bluegrass and getting the occasional gig. Who knows? But, I know that I’ll have some internet police giving me the business when I mention “work” and retirement in the same post. Until then, I’m still working and counting down the days until I can define my schedule, job, and what retirement will be like for me.
How do you see your retirement taking shape? Will it be more of a traditional model, or more of a FI approach where you can choose where and how you want to work if you choose to work at all?