Jump to content

Early Retirement: Why don't more people aim for this?


Recommended Posts

Why is it that people don't make early retirement, say at age 45 or 50, a serious goal? Why are people resigned to working until they are 65? Is the rat race that compelling? Or at the very least, why don't people save enough for the future so that working is something they WANT to do, not something they HAVE to do?

 

Is it lack of planning? Lack of discipline (eg, can't resist blowing money on material items?)? They can't see another way to life?

 

What do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 84
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I am sure lots of people would like to retire early, but its hard to save money and put money away for retirment...

 

Imagine all the people that put away money in there 401k last 10yrs... well that 401k lost 45% of thier value in the last 6 months...

 

Its just hard to save... plus so many people live paycheck to paycheck... debt up to thier heads.. so no extra money... you need to put away lots every month and yr to reach that goal....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have known people whose life goal was "Freedom 55" so instead of enjoying their life they sat there religiously tracking their investments every day making money their God. Guess what...life happened, interest rates down, markets doing poorly, children needing their financial assistance etc and all their dreams of early retirement went out the window. When people exist only for planning early retirement, they lose out on really enjoying life....and I am not talking about spending money, I am talking about not focusing on money...because face it....people who are hell bent on this goal of early retirement tend to make money what they worship and they are real incredible cheapskates...and they always want freebees and other people to fork out money for them....at least those are the kind of people I knew who were so focused on early retirement...they were greedy and selfish people. It is not about the rat race...it is about enjoying your job, enjoying life and not trying to rush your life away. As they say, it is about the journey, not the destination. Many people HAVE to work but they also WANT to work...and they get fulfillment out of a job well done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

oh yeah, in my department, there is some professor who has to be over 80. he just loves his job, he's in there in lab every single day, even though he might have 'officially' retired decades ago.

 

i can't imagine retiring, to be honest with you. i'm young though. i think if you like your job, it keeps you going. i think in some ways, it can help someone live longer, because they have a purpose, something to keep them going.

 

i think back in the day, people used to die in their 50s and 60s. now the average age is 78, and i know in my family, my grandmothers lived to 95. so, if you have to retire at 55, that's still another 40 years of life you have to finance!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because life is more expensive than you think, if you want an ordinary life with home, kids, etc.

 

Housing is expensive as a percentage of income, as are clothes, food, and the other luxuries people want for themselves like new cars, furniture for the home, etc.

 

And it costs something like $250K at least to raise a kid to maturity, even without paying for college. At 45, most people's kids are in college or out working and parents are helping them.

 

So it's just mathematics, and how frugal people are.

 

Plus there are the vagaries of investments and the stock market, which many are suffering from now.

 

It just isn't easy, or everyone would do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My question is this: Why are they wasting their time and not doing what they WANT to do now?

 

In terms of work, I've been doing pretty much what I wanted to do my entire working life. Even though it was not a high-paying career, I've still managed to sock a good chunk away. Maybe not as much as I'd ideally have liked to by now, but y'know, life happens...and time goes by a lot quicker than you thought it would when you were in your 20s.

 

There is also another problem with the goal of "do what I have to do so I can retire early and then do what I want to do"....there are no guarantees that any of us will make it to our next birthday, no matter what our current age. Oh, sure, chances are good that most of us probably will...but some of us won't.

 

Somewhere, there's a balance between being the grasshopper and being the ant. (Don't get the reference? Go here and save the wear & tear on my wrists: link removed) That balance point is, IMO, a more reasonable goal than either extreme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my field, people are often not out on their own in their careers until their early to mid 30's and don't hit their prime until 50-60. 5-7 years of graduate school + 3-6 (or more) years of postgraduate training do not an early retirement situation make.

 

My mom retired at age 49. But she was a teacher with 28 years of experience, and took early retirement. In that field, where people in our state could take retirement after 28 or 30 years or service for full benefits (including free insurance for life), it made sense for some of those individuals to leave the profession and enjoy home or the kids finishing growing up, what have you. She had no regrets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

oh yeah, in my department, there is some professor who has to be over 80. he just loves his job, he's in there in lab every single day, even though he might have 'officially' retired decades ago.

 

i can't imagine retiring, to be honest with you. i'm young though. i think if you like your job, it keeps you going. i think in some ways, it can help someone live longer, because they have a purpose, something to keep them going.

 

i think back in the day, people used to die in their 50s and 60s. now the average age is 78, and i know in my family, my grandmothers lived to 95. so, if you have to retire at 55, that's still another 40 years of life you have to finance!!!

 

People in medicine and research often work well into their 70's and 80's. I know quite a few physicians and researchers who are still very active and prolific at that age. One woman is close to 90 and still has a lab and is doing research. She is very well known in her field. Some of the physicians I work with are in their 70's...they are very highly respected and still do amazing things. One researcher I know recently died at around 75..he still had his laboratory going...he never retired. I think it is amazing that people love what they do and continue doing it without thoughts of retirement. If my health allows it, that is what I would like for myself. I love the work I do and love the intellectual challenge. I couldn't imagine retiring and spending my days just volunteering or working at something less intellectually challenging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, lot of people do badly in retirement... they have a lot of big expectations, then park themselves in a chair and get depressed and die soon after. They don't know why that happens, but it is very common for people to die soon after retirement. The fall into depression and confusion as in 'is this all there is?' and retirement is not as pleasant as they anticipated.

 

The trick is to stay active your whole life doing things you want to do. If you have sufficient funds, retirement frees you from the need to earn money, but you still need to find interesting things to do with yourself or you will shrivel up. A lot of the physical weakness in old age is related to lack of exercise and keeping muscles strong.

 

Even 90 year old who have been wheelchair bound for years can get out of the wheelchair again if they do some light weight resistance training to regain muscle strength.

 

I think a better goal than early retirement is active engagement, always being fully present in your life, making sure your current life brings you happiness, while saving a portion of your assets and investing them to make sure your older years are adequately funded.

 

It's not work people want/need to avoid, but working doing things they hate or that are too stressful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

History:

Any Idea how we came upon the idea of social security retirement? Why 65 years old, why not 70 or 80 or age 64? The reason is we (the USA) adopted the social security system from Bismarck hook, line, and sinker. Bismarck was an S.O.B. just looking to boost his popularity with his social welfare system. So he goes to his actuaries and they assure him (this is the late 1800's, of course) that everybody's going to be dead by the age of 65. Of course today's equivalent is realistically 105.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, lot of people do badly in retirement... they have a lot of big expectations, then park themselves in a chair and get depressed and die soon after. They don't know why that happens, but it is very common for people to die soon after retirement. The fall into depression and confusion as in 'is this all there is?' and retirement is not as pleasant as they anticipated.

 

Yeah, that's for people who don't prooperly plan their retirement. I'm shooting for early "retirement", but I'm still going to work, but I'll be working at something more meaningful without the stress of having to worry about losing my job, kissing ass to management, etc. Or perhaps I will volunteer full time, but I'll be engaged in something productive and meaningful, for sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure lots of people would like to retire early, but its hard to save money and put money away for retirment...

 

Imagine all the people that put away money in there 401k last 10yrs... well that 401k lost 45% of thier value in the last 6 months...

 

Its just hard to save... plus so many people live paycheck to paycheck... debt up to thier heads.. so no extra money... you need to put away lots every month and yr to reach that goal....

 

It's not hard to save at all, if you have the desire to do so and the means. It's just people don't have the discipline to do so. They know they should save more, but they can't resist the here and now.

 

It all boils down to this: Do you want to have your material items now or do you want to have the freedom to do what you want to do in life later, but still live comfortably today?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not hard to save at all, if you have the desire to do so and the means. It's just people don't have the discipline to do so. They know they should save more, but they can't resist the here and now.

 

It all boils down to this: Do you want to have your material items now or do you want to have the freedom to do what you want to do in life later, but still live comfortably today?

 

of course self desclipne is important.... without it theres no reward...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thing is, one can plan for retirement with all the self-discipline possible, save money, stock up the 401K, make investments, and it can ALL be wiped out in the stock market, etc. Look at current news, the stock market has taken a pounding and people like the Madoff situation has wiped out other people's retirement, fortunes, etc. all in one swoop. You can think you have all this money saved up, and the next day you wake up and IT'S ALL GONE!!!!!!

 

Sometimes, living for the day is better. Unless you hide your money under a mattress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thing is, one can plan for retirement with all the self-discipline possible, save money, stock up the 401K, make investments, and it can ALL be wiped out in the stock market, etc. Look at current news, the stock market has taken a pounding and people like the Madoff situation has wiped out other people's retirement, fortunes, etc. all in one swoop. You can think you have all this money saved up, and the next day you wake up and IT'S ALL GONE!!!!!!

 

Sometimes, living for the day is better. Unless you hide your money under a mattress.

 

Wish I could rep you for that, Ren.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, that's for people who don't prooperly plan their retirement. I'm shooting for early "retirement", but I'm still going to work, but I'll be working at something more meaningful without the stress of having to worry about losing my job, kissing ass to management, etc. Or perhaps I will volunteer full time, but I'll be engaged in something productive and meaningful, for sure.

 

 

Yep...I knew people who thought exactly like you....but then the reality of life finally hit them. Perhaps you should be looking for a job you enjoy now rather than waiting for retirement to start living happily. Why not find a meaningful job now...if you are that unhappy now then the stress levels will result in ill health by the time you do indeed retire and all that "once I retire then I will be happy" attitude might not pan out if you are running to doctors and dealing with what made you unhappy before retirement. Be happy and content NOW...don't plan on only being happy and content once you retire because new problems will crop up then....and no matter what kind of job you do, EVEN if it is volunteer work, there is always nasty politics and people out to stab you in the back...stress is always there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thing is, one can plan for retirement with all the self-discipline possible, save money, stock up the 401K, make investments, and it can ALL be wiped out in the stock market, etc. Look at current news, the stock market has taken a pounding and people like the Madoff situation has wiped out other people's retirement, fortunes, etc. all in one swoop. You can think you have all this money saved up, and the next day you wake up and IT'S ALL GONE!!!!!!

 

Sometimes, living for the day is better. Unless you hide your money under a mattress.

 

Oh god, there are so many holes in your argument. If you know anything about stock market history, you know that over the long term, stock market has a postive long term trend.

 

And the madoff situation, oh please! Anyone who was stupid enough to invest with that rip off artist pretty much was greedy and stupid. If you allocate your assets properly, you don't have to worry that much about "losing all your money". There are a number of people in their 50's and 60's who had what 80-90% of their money in the stock market? They shouldn't have had that much in the first place!

 

So no, I don't think your argument is any good. It amounts to things have a chance of going bad so why not spend all my money now and live for only today? Very myopic, IMO!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be happy and content NOW...don't plan on only being happy and content once you retire because new problems will crop up then....and no matter what kind of job you do, EVEN if it is volunteer work, there is always nasty politics and people out to stab you in the back...stress is always there.

 

Um, I am happy and healthy now, one of the happiest and healthiest people I know, you know why? It's because I've had the discipline to save up so I don't worry nearly as much about losing my job as others who've spent, spent, spent and live paycheck to paycheck. I have so little stress in my life it's unbelievable to most. And it's because of my discipline and planning in all areas of life.

 

When I speak of stress, I speak for other people who are under stress in fear of losing their jobs at age 40, 45, 50, whatever. If they had had the wherewithawl to save more money in their 20's ,30's, etc, they wouldn't have nearly the stress they have now.

 

Granted, this career of mine brings little personal fullfillment, but it also doesn't make me stressed out either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh god, there are so many holes in your argument. If you know anything about stock market history, you know that over the long term, stock market has a postive long term trend.

 

And the madoff situation, oh please! Anyone who was stupid enough to invest with that rip off artist pretty much was greedy and stupid. If you allocate your assets properly, you don't have to worry that much about "losing all your money". There are a number of people in their 50's and 60's who had what 80-90% of their money in the stock market? They shouldn't have had that much in the first place.

 

So no, I don't think your argument is any good. It amounts to things have a chance of going bad so why not spend all my money now and live for only today? Very myopic, IMO!

 

 

SOmetimes it's the "perfect storm" that can come together and prevent you from saving up for retirement. For example, you are in your 40's, have a nice nest egg save up for retirement, then the stock market takes a plunge, and you lose your job and then you have nothing but your savings to live on. Just like that, you hopes for a retirement can vanish, since even when times DO get better, it takes a while to rebuild savings, tanked stocks, etc.

 

Yes, I know I said we should live for the "now", but I really meant, do save some money, but also take time to enjoy and live life in the NOW, since who knows, it can all be gone when you think it will be there.

 

Life is unpredictable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sort of sense that you're just gloating that you get everything right financially....

congrats??

 

Some people have a rough road. Like Ren said, life is completely unpredictable! What if you were to get seriously seriously ill and find yourself in a ton of medical debt?

 

THERE GOES the retirement plans...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I know I said we should live for the "now", but I really meant, do save some money, but also take time to enjoy and live life in the NOW, since who knows, it can all be gone when you think it will be there.

 

Life is unpredictable.

 

Ok, I agree with you there, but the thing I don't understand is why do people always assume those who are saving a lot and going for something like early retirement aren't enjoying their lives and living a good, balanced life? I'm Exhibit A of that, I am enjoying my life with hobbies, GF, friends, etc, but also maintaining the utmost financial discipline.

 

Life is unpredicitable, yes, but it's better to be prepared for the worst.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...