19
44 Comments

Retiring early is a mistake

  1. 1

    Truth. I "retired" after selling at age 36.

    Less than one year later, I'm back. lol ... but the perception is different. The pressure isn't there like it used to be, which means I can enjoy the process more. Also, I have confidence based on my previous experience. Being my own investor doesn't hurt either.

  2. 17

    I disagree with this - I am 36 years old and retired. Being able to focus my energy on things that provide the most substantive value to folks I care about instead of highest revenue generation has been a big value add.

    1. 2

      Can you provide some examples of what you did/what you do now?

    2. 1

      I agree with you but if someone retire from his/her job early and no extra income that how can you say this a good decision. As you said give quality time to loved ones that you care but money is essential for living.

      1. 1

        I assume that when someone "retires" they made sure they have enough money until they are 100 (or has enough dividend yield or something)

      2. 1

        This could be a difference in terms. The definition many give for “retirement” implies enough money to live on from that point.

        If someone needs to return to work to make money later, the terms I usually hear for that are a “sabbatical”, a “career break”, or just that they “quit working”.

        Be curious how universal the distinction is between these terms and their implied financial situations.

  3. 1

    I guess it depends on what you do in your retirement. I'm technical and couldn't get tired of creating stuff so I'd imagine that I'd continue to work if I'm ever to retire. The difference is the pressure you put on yourself and I do find that being able to dictate your own time in your life is one of the few luxury things you should treasure.

  4. 8

    It's never a mistake if you can quickly and easily reverse it without losing anything. I'd much rather term it as experiment.

    Retiring early is a great life experiment. It could be a motivating goal too.
    --

    Pretty useless IH post though. Don't keep it up 👍

    1. 2

      To some people it might not be completely useless.
      It may help some people reorient their goals to more long term if early retirement is what they're chasing ATM.
      Then it also serves a purpose of starting a discussion or a counter weight to an opposing mindset.

      1. 4

        Nothing is completely useless.
        I call this pretty useless because it's low effort link drop without any contextual backing from the OP, and it's trending on IH as the subject line is controversial.

        On top of that, the tweet itself is not any qualitative research based observation, it's just a guy with an opinion based on his 3-4 friends.

  5. 8

    One person put it well: You need a sabbatical, not a retirement.

  6. 7

    In a ten year long study on more than 5,000 people, they found that those who had retired were 40 percent more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than those who were still working. The person’s gender or socioeconomic status didn’t make any difference. One of the conclusions was that taking early retirement was detrimental to health and led to earlier death. So at least healthwise, early retirement is a no-go.

    1. 4

      I was talking to Patrick Cambpell on the IH pod this week, and he mentioned that an unexpectedly high number of people he knows who've retired early and done nothing have ended up addicted to drugs. It's risky to be aimless.

      1. 1

        ugh, I wish I was more surprised hearing this. But I think you're exactly right - "It's risky to be aimless." Basically sums it right up.

    2. 1

      I guess that's one of the risks when you retire without a plan. I know resting and relaxing is all good, but at the end of the day, something must've replaced the daily activities they used to do, and it doesn't have to be that hard.

      They can learn new hobby, find new sports, hangout with new group of people - literally just anything that will keep their physical, emotional, and mental health stable.

  7. 4

    As someone who retired at 36 (40 now) my advice has always been something like this:

    If you get your purpose, social life, structure and sense of accomplishment from your job, keep working.

    If you can transfer those attributes from your job to where you’re responsible for them, you’ll thrive in retirement.

    Not everyone can do it! It’s why many retirees need some kind of an “identity bridge” so they can continue to think of themselves in the same way and keep using some of their most core skills into retirement.

    In my case I switched from working for other people to building things for fun on my own schedule. Since leaving work I’ve build a ton of not-at-all-successful things that have brought me a ton of joy. I’m not making money at it (yet!), but I don’t need to.

    I’m building a startup ( https://hardcover.app ), but I’d still consider myself retired. My reasoning is that if you plan your life around work you’re not retired. If you don’t you’re retired.

    1. 1

      " Since leaving work I’ve build a ton of not-at-all-successful things that have brought me a ton of joy." - love this.

      Hardcover looks interesting.. what's the idea around improving on GoodReads?

      1. 1

        I’m working on a blog post answering this one right now. The tl;dr would be something like:

        • We’re rebuilding the few features most people use with polish (which is tracking what you read and want to read) + half stars in ratings.
        • Using the collective data around your reading preferences to give a “Match Percentage” for every book from 1-100% on how much we think you’ll be not it.
        • Later: library and other integrations to help making finding books easier (and without amazon).

        Book discovery - finding new books on the platform - is one we’re still working on.

        So far match percentage has been great though. When someone hears about a book and searches for it on Goodreads, they get some info about the book, reviews, etc. On Hardcover you get a score on how much we think you’ll enjoy it.

        We want to lean more into that side, and make that experience when you’re deciding if you should read a book the best anywhere.

  8. 4

    The people who have achieved early retirement won't stop because they're probably already doing what they're passionate about or interested in. It simply means they can stop doing things for the sake of money.

    The whole concept of retirement is that you're not having fun everyday so you can't wait until you retire. The goal is to find a way to sustain yourself while doing what you're passionate about everyday so it erases the concept of being retired! :)

  9. 2

    Unfortunately, our society thinks in such a materialistic way...

    Money doesn't really make you happy. Good people around you do.

    Working is a good thing. These people kept doing it for fake money, instead of for their real beloved ones.

  10. 2

    I met a guy at pottery class the other night who worked as a surgeon until he was 54, then retired from surgery and started two professions part-time just for fun: pottery and acupuncture. He's 72 now, quite healthy and fit for his age, and still filled with enthusiasm for what he does every day. He's a world-famous potter by now, too.

    I have a friend who has worked in tech for his whole career. He's a director now. His goal is to retire from his first career in his 40s, so that he has time to devote to doing what he really wants to do. Writing. Or physics. Or something else. But there will be a something else.

    My grad school advisor is approaching retirement. He's won many accolades and ends his career as an academic on a privileged (and well-deserved!) perch. He's excited to retire and feels like there are many different, interesting paths to go down post-retirement. He's genuinely looking forward to taking off his academia hat and putting on a different one.

    "Retiring early is a mistake" is an intentionally provocative and unfortunately inaccurate title.

    Retiring early is a privilege.

    The mistake Paul's friends made wasn't retiring early. It was failing to have a plan for making life meaningful after retirement.

  11. 2

    What is "retiring"?

    Almost all people of the FIRE movement are still working, but for them.

    1. 2

      Exactly. I've heard from all FIRE people that they've earned more after retiring and with much less stress

  12. 2

    Having a purpose and holding a job/building a company isn't mutually exclusive. I agree that a human needs a purpose or mission to have fulfillment but retirement doesn't have to affect that.

    When my father retired after 25 years in manufacturing, I was worried that he'd waste away. Little did I know he'd been eager to start a new purpose: Writing fiction books. He traveled the world and wrote 3 books before he died and was the happiest he'd ever been.

    I'm so glad he retired when he did even though he was considered young at the time.

  13. 2

    I definitely think early retirement is a mistake! And...really, maybe retirement in general is overrated. My grandma continued happily working until she was like 90. She was so sharp and fit. But family often fought about whether or not it was good for her to still be working and some were worried she was being taken advantage of. Long story short, family pressured her to quit and like within 6 months her health had taken such a nose dive she was admitted to a nursing home where she rapidly declined. It happened so fast it was shocking for everyone.

  14. 1

    Retiring early is a privilege that most people in this world would love to have. I don't see how it could ever be a mistake, but rather, perhaps poorly planned for.

  15. 1

    I am revisiting this post and just like to say, work forever is a mistake, regardless on how interesting or influential the work is. It's a bit philosophical, but we are just tiny bit of life that we need to make the most of it. Time is finite so the more we spend on one area means we are missing out other parts in our life.

  16. 1

    Retiring always sounds relaxing but personally I don't think I can keep energetic and enthusiastic any more if I ever retired...

  17. 1

    so true. we're wired to feel productive. If someone retires early, they'll have the inevitable relief and pride that they "won," and then they jump right back into the game.

  18. 1

    Retire early might means differently for everyone.

    Some means do absolute nothing, which is actually also a hard thing to do. Some means just quit 9-5 employed job and still really active. Some's just giving back to the community. Some's traveling and learning new things or enjoy life... you get the picture.

    I was broke growing up. I worked 16+ hrs a day and semi-retired at 35. I have about a year of vacapay when I quit. I don't really want to be an employee anymore. Now I can do what I want when I want. To be honest, I'd wish I trade a lot of what I gone through for youth and health. I am now an advocate to tell people to spend money when they are young and enjoy life. Don't be old and grumpy, full of regrets and health issues...

    It's probably not a good recommendation as a financial advice, but as a life advice

  19. 1

    This is like saying “having a red car is a mistake” or “living in Paris is a mistake”.

    It’s ludicrous to make such a generalised statement as if it’s a hard fact for everyone.

    And this guys sample size…. 3 to 4 of his friends… Jeezo. The things some people think the world needs to hear.

    1. 1

      The opposite has been taken as a "hard fact". Just take a look at how big "retire early" communities on Reddit is. So this was more about having a counter-argument and starting a discussion.

  20. 1

    I totally agree. Don't retire early or you'll lose your fire. I don't think it has to be a job necessarily, but don't stop just to play golf or drink.

    Always learning. Stay curious. Keep hungry. There is so much on Earth to learn and experience.

    There are studies of how older people, after they retire, tend to decline cognitively and physically. Something as simple as caring for pets a garden or another regular responsibility is enough to keep people's minds engaged.

    My grandmother has been retired for a long time and just enrolled in a Mandarin course. I asked her why and she said "I'm not dead yet."

  21. 1

    It's a mean to an end....you don't have to work if you can satisfy your financial needs otherwise...say for example by having passive incomes.

    People need to identify their source of fulfillment before they get engaged with life, not the other way around.

  22. 1

    Everyone is different. The main thing is that the definition of retiring is changing. The thing that I have noticed is that even the ultra wealthy - they like to stick around for things. They either stick with their business or let go of it and focus on something else.

    Having purpose and meaning in life drives people to live and grow. Contributing to others.

    Retirement in the sense of I put my feet up, do nothing all day, have no structure. Eat, sleep and drink, rinse and repeat is detrimental to our well being in the long run.

    Having the ability to be financially free is a great gift, a step forward and a blessing. Not the end though.

  23. 1

    just reading the comments and learning a lot from you

  24. 1

    Working allows you to exist in 2 worlds.
    Your job thing and your side hustle thing

    Because of my "job thing", I can only give so much time and attention to my side hustles and hobbies, and that’s what makes them a blessing. It's also amazing for productivity, knowing that doing the things I care about has a time-limit.

  25. 1

    I heard about this opinion from some doctors who are engaged in rehabilitation therapy after a stroke in old age. I'm still far from all these consequences of old age but .. If work was not the meaning of life for a person at an active age, then this will not become a goal to maintain activity after 60. I have seen this in real life examples from people in different social strata. But there is another possibility that forces us to be active - relationships. People can just chat on social networks, chats without real dates - https://www.together2night.com/portland-personals.html But it makes them live every day in anticipation of something new.. I still don't know which way I'm going to go when it's time for retirement.

  26. 1

    Lol, no one retires early. The people that I know in the FIRE movement just shift their focus. Work on passion projects, adult classes, gardening, travel.

    A lot of them have lots of business contacts, so they do some consulting on the side, as well.

    You always need a mission! Always need a hustle.

    1. 1

      You’re totally right. In this case “FIRE” just means “finally doing what I wish I could’ve always done.”

      Makes me wonder what life would be like if we did that our whole lives instead of after “retiring.” Work on passion projects, garden, travel… I imagine would be better overall for a lot of people.

  27. 1

    Found this and it made me think...is the whole concept of 'retiring early' a "mistake"? Is the goal of retiring early similar to the goal of saying "I'll do [hard thing x] and then I'll be happy"? Any IHers here who retired early?

  28. 0

    if you have no source of income except your office job then to leave office is not good decision.

Trending on Indie Hackers
I failed 5 startups, what next? 37 comments Users want to use social logins 34 comments Do you have a blog for your business? If not yet, why? 28 comments What I've learned building an indie SaaS business 28 comments How to learn hard things in tech 28 comments 26 actionable marketing tasks you can do right now 14 comments