Category Archives: Retire Often

Working In Retirement – Is It Worth It?

 

Once we retire, that’s it, right? You are finally able to give up your job and can leisurely sit back and relax. Or is it that simple?

Not all retirees want to give up their job once they hit retirement age. In fact, some even take up another job once they have retired from their regular one. Wondering why that is? Well, there are various reasons. For some folks retirement is the perfect time to pursue new opportunities of passion and interest. But the main reasons many retirees return to a paying job is they need the money or they just get bored with all the free time that retirement brings.

Thinking of calling it quits on your retirement and finding another job? Here are some reasons why it might be worth it.

Working In Retirement

The Benefits of Working In Retirement

Can Keep It Flexible

Lots of retirees enjoy the new lease of flexibility that it brings. They are no longer trapped by their nine-to-five. And it’s now possible to find a flexible job that they can do in their spare time. This is why there are a lot of retirees who are now becoming entrepreneurs and freelancers – the flexible way of working fits into their new lifestyle. You just need to remember to stay highly organized with your working schedule, paystub generator for your payroll, and filing your taxes. Being highly organized and having plenty of free time – they are the best things for helping your new flexible career become a success!

Provides You With A Regular Income

When some people hit retirement age, they are surprised to find that they haven’t saved up enough for their post-work life, despite all of their best efforts. If you find that you are in this situation, then you might be forced to go back to work. Don’t worry, though, even if your pension pot isn’t as big as you were expecting, it should make it possible to only go back to part-time work rather than a full-time job. Even taking on a full-time opportunity in retirement can be enjoyable. Especially if it’s aligned with what you are interested in doing or passionate about. Who knows, it could be the start of a rewarding encore career.

Working In Retirement has social benefits

Social and Personal Growth Benefits

Of course, it’s not just the monetary benefits that people get from going back to work. They also enjoy the social side of having a job as well! In fact, some retirees who feel quite lonely after leaving work choose to find a part-time job just so they have some regular contact with other folk. This is especially the case with retirees who live quite far away from their family.

Aside from this social benefit, working in retirement allows retirees the opportunity to learn new skills they have long admired. Personal growth is a rewarding self-investment that adds immense satisfaction.  

Delay Pension Withdrawals

If you do go back to work after retiring, you won’t have to begin your Government Pension (Social Security) or withdraw from your private pension (retirement accounts) as you will be living off your regular income. At the very least you will be able to withdraw far less. So, you will be leaving most of, if not all, of your pension for a later date, when you finally do retire for good. And, while your pension waits for you to fully begin withdrawing from it, it will be amassing more interest and will grow as a result. So, when you do decide to start making withdrawals, your pension pot will be larger than right at the start of your retirement!

 

Just because you are now at retirement age, it doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to retire. As you can see, there are a few different reasons why it might be worth returning to work!


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Create Your Own Phased Retirement

Just because your company doesn’t support phased retirements doesn’t mean you have to delay your retirement. Staying in their full-time rat race grind may be the only solution they offer. But it isn’t the only solution for anyone wishing to ease into retirement using a phased retirement approach.

Create Your Own Phased Retirement A recent study done by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) found that 77% of employers actually believe many of their employees plan to continue working after they retire. 47% of these employers also say many of their employees envision they’re using a phased retirement transition approach for their retirement.

Yet only 31% of the employers that Transamerica surveyed said they would let their employees shift from full-time to part-time employment. Not surprisingly, only 27% of employers said they would allow phased retirement seeking employees to move into less stressful or demanding positions.

Caution is Needed for Employer Allowed Phased Retirement

Retiring employees do need to be careful entering into a formal or informal phased retirement work arrangement with their employer.

Careful attention has to made into the impacts that a reduced schedule or a lower stress/lower paying position will have on any defined retirement benefits there may be. The defined benefit rules and the formulas they use are tough to get around. The last thing you want is for your phased retirement time dragging your retirement benefit amount down.

Other active employee benefits like medical insurance and paid-time-off/Vacation will also need to be carefully examined. Entering into a phased retirement arrangement will most likely impact them.

Signs to Look for Before Staying With Your Company in a Phased Retirement Agreement

Being able to have a phased retirement with one’s current employer is certainly the most comfortable way to go. We already understand the business, the work processes, and the culture. But based on my first career I believe caution is justified.

I think my corporate world experience isn’t unique and is a shared experience. Entering into a phased retirement agreement with one’s employer may not be the no-brainer decision you might think.

Think about the following:

Does your company have a habit of expecting employee loyalty but never reciprocates?

In other words, do they treat long-time loyal and dedicated employees as just a disposable number? Your phased retirement gig may be just short-term to ring out all they can before letting you leave on their terms, not necessarily yours. They will and do value younger employees who they think they can retain longer-term.

Do employees who have transferred to a new position or have been promoted get sucked back into their previous roles every time feces hits the fan?

Do you think your phased retirement agreement will stand if your company has a habit of doing that? Are you OK with a prolonged or indefinite return to your pre-retirement job obligations?

Has there been times when your company has backtracked away from promises made?

Think bonuses, raises, 401k match, pensions, health insurance, promotions, etc. When they do, did they include executives in the pain or did they state they decided not to include them in order to attract and retain the best for the company? Do you think they will honor your phased retirement agreement for as long as you want, need, or agreed to? If your company throws employees under the bus but never its executives then maybe you should think twice about extending your relationship with them.

Just take a moment and really think about your experience with the company.

If your career there has been nothing but a stellar experience then I think you are in the minority. If it’s that good I would also question why even consider a phased retirement. Just enjoy it until you can feel like fully retiring. If you have concerns now about the company then why enter into a phased retirement agreement and continue with any negative feelings in your life?

For my first early retirement I wasn’t thinking “phased retirement”.

I was fully in a “retire early and often” mindset. I have successfully done that with some rewarding and interesting post-retirement work. In hindsight some of the things I did while preparing for that included asking myself the above questions about my long-time employer.

Let’s just say that I have never worked for them again in post-retirement. I admit that there is some truth in the saying better the devil you know (than the devil you don’t)”. However I found entering into a new relationship to be in my favor when working in retirement.

I could work without a legacy of career obligation baggage to be dragged back into. I could create a retirement lifestyle where I would only seek opportunities aligned with my interests and passions. That includes only working under my terms for as long as I wanted to.

Not having to worry about upsetting or angering a long-time employer who may still have control over some of my retirement benefits, thus having control over me. That to me is a big deal.

Why Creating Your Own Phased Retirement May Be the Better Way

First off, understand what kind of phased retirement you really want. Even if your company does offer a phased retirement option it may not be aligned with what you envision.

  • Are you looking to go part-time?  
  • Change job duties to something with less stress and less responsibilities?
  • Wanting to only work certain parts of the year or specific seasons?  

Also try to figure out how long you want the arrangement to last. I think the fact anyone is willing to bring up phased retirement with their employer means they aren’t afraid to signal their retirement intentions. Hopefully this is done only after knowing one could actually retire because employers may sideswipe someone who have prematurely signaled their retirement intentions.

Rather than thinking only “phased retirement”, open up your options by thinking of retirement as the absence of needing to work. You can think of it as a phased retirement or as I had planned to do and have successfully done. That is retiring early and often.

If your plan is to go directly into your desired phased retirement position then begin finding, interviewing, and accepting a position before announcing your retirement. This will at least allow for you to explore your options over only attempting to stay at your existing company.

Here are some reasons supporting why you should create your own phased retirement:

Make a clean break from your employer. No worries of negatively impacting any retirement benefits through a reduced salary (less stress-pay/fewer hours) phased retirement agreement.

Free to choose opportunities aligned with your interests and passions. Not what your employer thinks is their best way to use you. It’s easier to limit your duties to agreed upon responsibilities and negotiate rather than be dictated when our role needs to be changed.

No previous legacy obligation of work to be dragged back into in any time of crisis, real or otherwise. That certainly could circumvent your phased retirement wants and needs.

New working environments offer new experiences. In people, work, education, and culture. It may not be as comfortable starting out but it makes up for that by being more exciting. We all stay in our ruts too long.

It’s easier to move on or as I call it “retire early again” when there are no long-term ties. Knowing that I can simply leave once a retirement job isn’t checking off all my boxes anymore makes working in retirement fun and not a dreaded burden.

Last Words on Creating Your Own Phased Retirement

The company I worked for over 3 decades did not offer any phased retirement options. It was “their way or the highway”. I waited some months after retiring early before I began looking for my first dream retirement job. It all worked out wonderfully. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t take some effort on my part.

I have several pages on this Leisure Freak site that might be of help:

Retiring Early and Often 

How to Choose Your Retirement Job 

How To Find Your Early Retirement Job 

Retire Early and Start Your Own Business 

Check under the Retiring Early and Often tab at the top of the page and there are pages on retiree resume  and interview  tips, handling the dreaded “overqualified issue, and even how you can increase your wealth by retiring early and often

Before I close out this post I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fly in the ointment. It’s called health insurance. If you retire without a retirement medical benefit then health insurance must be considered. A phased retirement agreement at your employer that allows for employee group medical insurance does carry some weight.

When looking at creating your own phased retirement, include health insurance in your decision process. Look at staying with the same employer, looking for new opportunities that provide health care benefits, or buying health insurance in the single payer market.  


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Retire Early and Often: A 7 Step Plan for Scoring a Successful Encore Career

If I was able to retire early and have a successful encore career then you can too.

When I retired early from a long career at the age of 51 it was late 2009. Unemployment was high and the economy was low. It took having a plan of action for a successful encore career to happen for me.

People have many reasons for wanting a retirement job or starting an encore career. There are obvious social and financial benefits. For me there were some things I really wanted to learn more about and experience. Getting paid to do it was the frosting on the cake.

Successful Encore CareerI had always planned to retire early and often.   I needed to set aside my decades long engineer persona and all of its associated all-consuming obligation. My wish was to spend more of my time doing things closer aligned with my passions and interests.

I didn’t need to return to work. What I wanted to do was cherry-pick opportunities that concentrated on the skills I enjoyed using. I was and still am grateful for all that the earlier version of me and my career gave me. But I needed to move-on and reinvent myself  to living a more passion-driven lifestyle.

I’d like to share my seven-step strategy for landing a successful encore career.

Second Act, Here I Come

My 7 Step Plan for Scoring a Successful Encore Career

Phase one of my plan started with taking some time off to decompress and enjoy some alarm clock freedom. Phase one had it’s unique importance. It’s where I could mentally shed decades of institutional career-driven conditioning. That and embrace the new life to be lived on my terms. Phase two is where the 7 step encore career actions came into full play.

Step 1: It’s All About and Not About Money

Have Your Financial House in Order

Obviously my retiring early meant having a good handle on my finances and lifestyle cost. In my case my early retirement funding paid for my primary living expenses. This allowed me to remove money from the retirement job decision process. With money off the table I can ask myself whether I would really want to pursue an opportunity. That question is a tool I use in what I describe as “retiring well”. 

Even if lifestyle funding isn’t at 100% for the long-term, knowing where we are financially removes any job search desperation. I believe part of my encore career success was the lack of financial desperation in my opportunity selection process. I Chose well. It was at no time salary driven. I also believe having a lack of financial desperation helps in the interview process.

Encore career success isn’t just about money. It’s about scoring an opportunity aligned with our values, passions, and what we are interested in doing now.  What I did was focus on the opportunity first. I then only negotiated an appropriate salary after being offered the position.

Step 2: What Floats Your Boat?

Identify Your Passions and Interests

I asked myself, what do I want? The whole idea is picking the right encore career opportunity.  I began with a self-assessment of my passions and interests. There were specific industry and positions I wanted to pursue.

I then listed my relevant payable skills and divided them into 2 columns. Those I enjoy doing and those that I don’t. I only targeted opportunities that tilted heavily to the payable skills I enjoyed using. There will always be a need to do the things from the less desired payable skills column. The encore career idea I embraced was to limit my exposure to the non-enjoyed column skills as much as possible through purposeful opportunity targeting.

Step 3: What’s Your Story?

Be Able to Enthusiastically Answer the “Your Story” Question

The question can come in many forms. Tell me about yourself. Why did you retire? Why are you interested in doing XYZ? That’s when understanding my story became important. In my story I am the protagonist. I am more than a chronological list of my experiences. My resume certainly lays out that professional experience and accomplishments list. I didn’t want to just roll through that boring narrative when given the opportunity to tell my story.

Choosing an encore career path different from one’s first long career can be challenging. Instead of my early retirement and subsequent search for a new opportunity looking like I’m some kind of unpredictable, undependable flake. I wanted my story to be about coherent transition. My story is about all my experiences and discovering what I am really good at, love doing, and what I have passion for. It shows how I am pursuing opportunities that are on a logical path forward to grow and be productive in those areas. It’s why I should be seen as an asset and not someone making a nonsensical disconnected jump.

What I found necessary for encore career success is telling my story by adding emotion and interest to the chronological history. I used feelings to set myself apart by adding how I felt during certain milestones or personal discoveries. I also emphasized the impact it had on me, the business, and/or others. My belief in my story is projected out when telling it.

Step 4: Keep Growing

Add New Skills that are Aligned with Your Early Retirement and Encore Career Goals

I am very curious and that is a big part of my early retirement. I’m always exploring new concepts and adding new skills. I had many interests that went in different directions when I was looking at opportunities. Even though I was targeting opportunities based on what I loved doing, the job ads listed things I had never done or wasn’t as proficient at doing.

I took free classes that were offered at my library. It was a gardening class and had nothing to do with my eventual encore career. It was about other encore avenues I was exploring. I also did volunteer work in what was another path unrelated to my eventual encore career. Although they did not result in an encore career the experience was still rewarding and helped me in other ways.

I did sit for a few sessions with a friend of mine who was an Excel and SQL-pro. He tutored me on advanced spreadsheet and database query skills. They were skills aligned with my targeted technical encore interests. Those skill learning sessions were directly related to my eventual coveted retirement job. There are many ways to learn new skills.   

When we keep growing in areas of our interest and passions it makes our early retirement fuller and only improves our chances for starting a successful encore career.

Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Test the Waters and Yourself

I actually started interviewing a year before I retired from my first career. At that time (2008) job opportunities were limited due to the deepening recession. Doing it gave me practice. Job interviewing is like a game or dance. The better we are the more likely we are to stand out. It’s something we get better at the more we do it. Our resume facts are the same. But it’s all about feeling and acting more natural and comfortable in the role of self-promotion and being judged.

I also did some volunteer work and a side hustle. The volunteer work was very physical and allowed me to test my interest and passion for the outdoor recreation industry. For the side hustle I was a private consultant. It was a contract related to telecom litigation and paid extremely well. I was able to explore my self-employment path in an area I thought I enjoyed from my long career. In both of these examples I decided the experience showed me that they weren’t exactly what I wanted to do in my retirement.

The volunteer work was too physical for my 50ish old body and I couldn’t easily keep up with my younger team members. I had to set aside that targeted path and honor my limitations. The other was too close to my first career. Requiring heavy use of skills I preferred to limit using going forward regardless of how much it paid. However it did bring to view how much I really loved some of the other skills I had to use. The experiences fine-tuned and narrowed my focus to the space where my eventual encore career lived.

Step 6: Get Off Your Island

Stay Connected To and Keep Expanding Your Network

After retiring it’s easy to withdraw from our professional connections. Our focus happily changes and the last thing we want is to stay connected to anything associated to the past grind. That withdrawal is what I allowed during my first phase of my early retirement (career mindset decompression). It was a time I concentrated on building my social circle. I began reconnecting to my professional circle in phase 2. I did this by email. No big drawn out dialog. Just reconnecting and reminding them of my retire early and often plans that many thought was crazy or funny when I mentioned it during my pre-retirement years.

I also expanded my network using LinkedIn. There were many people who had left my orbit over the years that I had worked with and respected. I reconnected and mentioned my intentions when appropriate. What all of this did was lock-in what I was going to do. It gets the word out but more than that it made me accountable to myself. I then started mentioning to my social circle that I was always open to the right opportunity. Retiring early and often became a great conversation topic at social events when others discussed work matters.

My successful encore career came out of LinkedIn. An email came to me asking if I would be interested in talking about an opportunity. Using social networks like LinkedIn is a necessary tool but it is important to go beyond them. Through face to face social conversation I met executives and other key connections to add to my network. Just by talking about what I did and what I wanted to now do.

Step 7: Throw Your Name Into the Hat

Post Your Resume Online and Talk to Everyone

I did what everyone does. I started searching for opportunities that were posted online or in the newspaper. Unfortunately applying for those openings and getting a call back during those times had a very low success rate. Hopefully things are better for that now. I did successfully get a lot of contact from simply having my resume posted online and viewable to recruiters. I have used Snag-A-Job, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice and InDeed.

Obviously not all targeted jobs use recruiters to fill positions. If you have no network connections for a foot in the door, then the good old-fashioned way of going on site or to their online portal and applying is the only way to get your resume in front of someone. My stepped down retirement jobs came that way. The resume posting sites I mentioned above allow you to directly apply your posted resume to job listings. 

A key tip is to talk to everyone you can. Even when they are calling or emailing about a position that you know upfront you wouldn’t be interested in. Don’t just ignore them. Have fun and learn what’s going on. It is easier talking with them when you don’t want the job. I would return their calls/emails and ask for more details. After listening to their pitch I then would explain why I didn’t feel it was a good fit and what it was I was looking for. I would be totally honest. I would also share the name and contact details of anyone else I knew that was looking for an opportunity in that field. What this did was create a certain rapport and a new professional connection. I still get contacted from many of them even after removing my online resume over 5 years ago.

In Closing

I believe that retirement is the absence of NEEDING to work, not the absence of working. That doesn’t mean I will always do paid work or even look for new opportunities. But when I do it is something I really WANT to do. Parts of all seven of these steps came fully into play for me to score my encore career. They will again if I choose to do another opportunity.

Now that I’m in my second early retirement I look back at all of my retirement work opportunities far more fondly than my first career. I believe that’s because they were all on my terms and aligned with what I valued doing. Doing what I wanted to do for as long as I wanted them in my life.  

There is nothing special about me. We all have our own unique skill-sets and experiences. I hope by sharing my approach for scoring a successful encore career that it inspires you to see a way to set your own retirement job strategy into motion.


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A Fun Retirement Job Starts With Your Motivation

I have had a few working opportunities since my first early retirement. I can tell you that a Fun Retirement Job Starts With Your Motivation. Work and Fun together in the same sentence seems to be the ultimate oxymoron. But the reality is that working for the right reasons in retirement can be fun. I love the definition of retirement as the absence of NEEDING to work. Basically we are still retired if we choose to work for reasons other than our financial survival. Being forced back to work for a paycheck just to make it is unfortunately another flavor of the rat race.

More and more people plan on working in retirement. There are many reasons why retirees choose to work. Motivators include:

  • Working in a Field of Interest and Passion
  • Being Social
  • Brain Stimulation
  • Staying Active
  • Learning New Things
  • etc.

For some retirees the motivation to work in retirement is for a financial boost or extra play-money. For a fun retirement job money can’t stand alone and shouldn’t be the only motivator.

No matter what our reason is for starting a new retirement gig, having a fun retirement job starts with our motivation. Then using our motivation to pick the right job that checks off all of our motivation boxes.

My Fun Retirement Job Experiences

I had always planned on retiring early and often. Since my first early retirement as an engineer from a long telecom career I have had some amazing retirement jobs. I call these fun retirement jobs my passion driven opportunities.

Wireless Telecommunications NOC Tech

A stepped down responsibility position from my land-line engineer career where I was able to learn everything I could about wireless networks.

Cable Video on Demand Systems Analyst

This was my encore career. It was a nice transition into IT away from my earlier life in network operations. I was able to use a lot of my passion focused skills to learn and work in the video world.

Cable Telecommunications Billing Systems Analyst

This was a 7 month early retirement side hustle. It started as the most perfect and fun consulting gig I have ever done. I was able to use the skills that I like doing from my first and second career together.

Craft Beer Bartender

This was a part-time gig of passion. I love a good beer and the craft beer movement. It’s a totally new working experience and it gave a huge boost to my social circle.

Not a bad run of opportunities since first retiring in December 2009. These passion driven opportunities were all fun retirement jobs for me. It was my motivation that made them that way. Many of my coworkers in these gigs were not having fun. That is because they HAD to work there. They were motivated by career driven money reasons and their financial survival.

What was their rat race existence was my learning, social outlet, rewarding (financially and otherwise), passion driven and fun experience.

Having the Right Motivation: The Key to a Fun Retirement Job

We have all been there. Having a job to pay the bills and enduring the crappy commute. We lived for payday and the weekends. If we were lucky we had some fun doing what we did for money.

Working in retirement has the same challenges. There is still usually a commute and a work schedule which obligates our time to be committed to the employer.

The difference that makes a fun retirement job is we only work in retirement because we want to. The key is tying anything we do to our passions and interests. Otherwise we trade one rat race lifestyle for another.

Work is work but if we choose our retirement job correctly, the Fun comes when everything is aligned perfectly.

My motivation has always been to try and learn new things. I also focused on skills I enjoyed using and steered clear of skills that I had and didn’t enjoy doing. My passion driven opportunities were for reasons other than money.  That is what made them fun. Money was just the frosting on the cake. I targeted areas of high interest and passions. How could I not enjoy doing them? It also doesn’t hurt knowing that leaving a job is always an option.

Sometimes it doesn’t Work Out or Last

We will never know until we know. As we grow and move forward some of our passions and interest can change. That is when a passion driven retirement opportunity can stop being fun. The money side of the brain can take over and convince us to stick it out. But that isn’t what working a fun retirement job is about.

When the fun ends then that is when it’s time to move on. Life is short. That is the “retire often” part I love. When I hear that little voice that I have all I wanted from the opportunity and it loses its fun-factor it is time for me to go.

Sometimes the opportunity is still something I have interest in or passion for but other elements have made it lose its luster and fun.

  • Difficult Coworkers and/or Managers
  • Difficult Clients
  • Change in Work Scope
  • Commuting Changes
  • Health and Wellness Issues

There can be a number of reasons that can make what was a fun retirement job turn into dreaded unsatisfying work. Once our motivation is no longer being met then it becomes another obligation slog. Just like any pre-retirement job. It is then time to move on to the next fun retirement adventure.

In Closing

a Fun Retirement Job Starts With Your MotivationI just ended a short 3 month run as a Craft Beer Bartender. It was a blast and totally outside of anything I have done before. The people were great, the PUB was awesome, it was close to home and I learned a lot.

However my old back injury was aggravated by all the standing on hard surfaces and the constant bending over for low stored items / low dish sink. I have had to limit a lot of things I used to do because of my back issue. So I had to resign and return to loyal customer status.

I only worked part-time a couple of shifts a week. It was still a scheduled obligation and if it wasn’t fun it would feel like an unwanted obligation. Looking forward to going in for a shift was exactly what a fun retirement job is about.

On my last shift which was this past Saturday I felt more sadness about leaving coworkers and the business than I did in my first 2 early retirements. It was hard to quit something I was enjoying doing and being a part of. Sometimes things just don’t work out but we gain great things in the experience.

Who knows what or when the next passion driven opportunity will come along. Early retirement is an adventure. My primary motivator is to strive to keep it fun and rewarding.

Are you open to considering working a fun retirement job?


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Proudly Just Another Corporate Has-Been: It Takes More Than Money

Let me explain why I am proudly just another Corporate Has-Been and share the overlooked aspect. It’s beyond financial. A conversation with an ex-coworker reminded me of that. “You were at the top of your game, traveling the country, influencing national standards and the go-to engineer for the company’s multi-billion dollar revenue stream. Now you just casually stroll through life. What happened to you?”

Ouch… I had to think, is that really what he and some others are thinking?

Sadly yes but it’s what I think that matters.

Proudly Just Another Corporate Has-Been? What is there to be proud about?

Think about the definition of Has-Been: A person or thing that is no longer effective, successful, popular, etc.

Why should I be proud of that?

You see, I am now powerful. OK, in the eyes of the unaware corporate enslaved there is nothing for me to be proud about. In fact I may be seen as a loser from anyone still in that corporate world where title and salary is seen as the true measure of a person.

For too many people this is a world where you measure your accomplishments and success by the amount of revenue you can produce or retain, the amount of data that can be processed without defect or loss, the number of billable clients you can land, the size of the department and employee count that are under your control, the number of deals you can close, etc. It’s the all too common career mindset view of what a real winner is.

You get to also be measured by consumer measurements. The size of your home, the snob-status of your automobile, your exotic vacation factor. Then there are all the little trappings of life. Like your cell phone and plan; your Cable or Satellite TV package, fashion choices, the bicycle you ride, etc.

For those in the world’s consumerist and career minded track, people are measured by how well they keep up with the Jones’s to satisfy their social class peer acceptance and all of its perceived view of success.

I am proudly just another Corporate Has-Been because I know that is all horse crap

Proudly Just Another Corporate Has-Been: It Takes More Than MoneyThere is pride for my successfully living a frugal lifestyle beyond the reach and concern of what others think and my becoming a super saver. Thus earning my freedom from the rat race. But there is something else that must be done to proudly go where few go.

It is important to get this right and become our own rock. We have to be confident and with purpose. Don’t think for a second that everyone we know is going to celebrate our decision or understand retiring early to a free but frugal lifestyle.

When it comes to those close to me who are confused about my pitching the big-time I get it. I was once the unaware corporate slave who didn’t realize I was climbing farther and farther into the rat race trap. Always climbing and volunteering for more responsibility or accepting my corporate masters dumping it on me. All for some promised or falsely perceived corporate status and career mindset prize.

The cruel truth is until you reach the point in the trap where you are no longer able to move, of which I mean have a life outside of and free from the pay-check source, you don’t even know you are in a trap.

An all-consuming trap of both job status and possessions with its associated debt. All geared towards some false feeling of success and approval from our social class peer group. It is all taught to us as being the normal way of life. Make money, spend money. Make more money, spend more money. A vicious cycle of dependency. Job, paycheck, debt, stuff.

So I understand why my unenlightened ex-coworker pal sees my early retired lifestyle as a wasteful casual stroll through life.

I can also see why my early retirement lifestyle looks like nothing for me to be proud about in the eyes of the trapped. Even though they can’t understand me I can empathize and understand them. I was once them.

The Overlooked Aspect to Proudly Being a Corporate Has-Been: Our Ego

Every occupation has its trappings and meaningless life measurements of success. They are either self-applied through years of working with career mindset conditioning and/or by our close circle of influences.

Certainly it takes financial independence to proudly just be another corporate has-been. But to win at this game it also takes letting go of our ego. It takes both. Having one covered without the other isn’t going to cut it.

There are all kinds of people sharing tips on the financial side of things. This site has plenty written about it. But the overlooked side is all in our heads.

Think about it. There are a lot of people who make a lot of money and are set financially for life. Enough to be financially independent even if they are irresponsible consumerist. But if they lost their job, title and career based identity they would be miserable. That career title and all they felt important would be gone and their ego will hammer them. Money is no problem but their head is a mess. This can happen to anyone at any income level and often does.

This is especially a problem when the corporate world is finished with people who are still clinging to it. I have seen many who were financially secure discharged with every business and economic bump. Some never really recovering from a depressed self-worth.

Even people who successfully planned their retirement can and do suffer a loss of self-worth if their ego hasn’t been addressed. A conversation like the one I had with his shared negative perception could have anyone questioning their reason for retiring early. Certainly it could challenge retirement happiness.

How to Tackle your Ego in Early Retirement and Proudly Embrace being a Corporate Has-Been

Here is how you can proudly be another Corporate Has-Been.

It takes time to reinvent your self-identity. It is easy to link our identity with our jobs. I have turned down some great opportunities to come back and do what I have retired from.

Early in my retirement I would think how I could easily do a job similar to my long career and my ego would push me to investigate it further or at least question myself until my gut told me otherwise. It took time for my ego to let go of who I used to be and the false need to reprove myself.

I purposely retired early while on the top of my game. Sure I took some hits but I won the big game and walked away. I knew I didn’t want to continue serving the soul damaging corporate system and that there was a more meaningful way to live. Yet I still had my ego telling me I could still play the game at the same level.

Fortunately I was able to quiet and now control my ego. My ex-coworker’s comments didn’t rock my world or early retirement lifestyle. It reaffirmed the reasons I am on the journey that I am on.

When I started my encore career it was all within a passion driven mindset. When it no longer met my interests and desires I quickly retired again. Ego did not have me walk into another career mindset trap and stay longer than I wanted to.

Ego Management Tips

Forget about approval from others

Concerning ourselves with what others think allows ego to mess with us. Our ego loves being told we are popular or admired. This human need to feel accepted by our peer group does nothing but misdirect us down wrong paths. It leads to irresponsible behavior.

How many have been financially ruined by keeping up with the Jones’s or wasted their lives and relationships chasing an all-consuming career? The answer is too many.  By retiring early we are responsible for our own self-worth and new life with purpose. Don’t allow ego to have you treat that irresponsibly.

Stop Greed to starve Ego

Greed is Ego’s super food. Know when enough is enough and start living life on your terms. Ego loves to drive us farther into situations that we don’t enjoy or even hate being in. If you feel the need for more stuff and more money than you really need then ego is alive and well.

When I was looking at starting my encore career I took money off of the table and only viewed the opportunity from a passion driven mindset. Then once the perfect match came my way I negotiated salary appropriately for the position. Our time is finite. Trading our time for money shouldn’t be ego driven.

Let go of what we were

I think anyone who was successful in their career, even if they grew to dislike it, will have thoughts of returning to prove they are still a top performer.

Let go and be thankful of what we were and tell ego not again. Time for something new and more meaningful to dedicate our finite time to. Refocus all of our energy and drive that gets us to early retirement to passion driven pursuits.

If it’s a return to a prior position then at least do it differently and more aligned with your values. Not what you decide it was time to retire from.

End the comparing and competitive urges

Ego’s sibling is envy. It can happen to anyone. Together these two sibs can be very powerful. Seeing others accomplishments or possessions may make our ego want to have it too at all costs. That’s the problem with this. It WILL COST TOO MUCH. Wasted time chasing the wind. There is no top in this kind of ego driven endeavor.

It is nothing more than chasing your tail. There will always be someone better and you will always be looking over your shoulder at who is coming up behind you. Allowing ego to make your life a competition with others will only lead to unhappiness and frustration.

A better strategy: Count our blessings and stick to our plan.

Conclusion

To my misguided ex-coworker I may be wasting a productive life. However instead of letting him lay a downer on me I just told him

“I am proudly just another Corporate Has-Been. How happy are you in the trap?”

“Happy? What does that have to do with anything?”

“Everything.”

What makes me proud is that I did it. Putting the rat race behind me with my early retirement has been the most enjoyable adventure of my life. I don’t care if from a corporate world perspective that I am now no longer effective, successful, or popular. Their point of view is a false measurement of success.

If I could describe the way early retirement freedom feels it’s like being a kid again but without having anyone telling me what to do all the time. When someone THINKS they can tell me what I need to do I get to laugh, mock, blow a kiss, agree only with any good advice, or silently ignore and mentally dismiss them. Try doing that as a corporate slave.

In all honesty and full disclosure, I do still have to submit to any law enforcement and the rules of the universe even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. Oh, also my wife which may fall under the rules of the universe.

If you have the financial side of early retirement and escaping the rat race figured out make sure you also get your head straight and tame your ego. I say tame because aside from Gurus, you can never conquer it.

It will be a process and it will surprise you. I feel that after leaving the corporate world I will always be in recovery. Were ego and career mindset trappings will always raise its head and tempt temporary wrong thinking. The trick is to be aware of it and stay focused on what really matters. That being the rest of my life on my passion driven terms.

Have you ever found that your ego is pushing you in the wrong direction or leading to unhappiness?


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Retired Multimillionaire Busboy Dishwasher

This weekend I saw a Retired Multimillionaire Busboy Dishwasher. I know many early retired folks who since retiring have either happily started their own businesses, began their dream encore career, or simply have taken on part-time work for a scaled down approach to working. All of them doing what interests them and doing what is aligned with their values and passions. They don’t need to work but they want to. After all, that is what retiring early and often is all about. However this guy is someone I would not have expected to see with an apron on and taking on the cleanup role at a grand opening for a new (craft beer) micro-brewery.

He happens to be the only Multimillionaire that I know.

We met years ago through our shared automotive hobby interests and through some of my volunteer work. That said I won’t be specific with his name or the establishment for privacy reasons. He is a good guy, very down to earth, and active in the community. His is a story that illustrates that working in retirement doing what you want to do and enjoy doing is the new retirement model to strive for. It also illustrates how those who do retire early don’t lose all ambition and never work again. We the early retired just never trade our time for meaningless work anymore.

His story is common for many Multimillionaires. He started a business, grew it to great success, and he and his partners sold it years later to a larger corporation for a massive amount of money. He took some time off and could have just taken another corporate executive position but instead wanted to stay in town and make a difference locally. He saw an opportunity to buy an automotive repair shop in town where he shows up daily and promotes the business and stays active in the automotive enthusiast – hobby world. His manager and mechanics do the day-to-day grind. Not a bad gig for him. I am sure even he wouldn’t have thought a few years ago that he would be a Retired Multimillionaire Busboy Dishwasher but that is what makes the early retirement adventure so interesting. You don’t know what your next opportunity or passion driven endeavor will be.

Why Be a Retired Multimillionaire Busboy Dishwasher?

Retired Multimillionaire Busboy DishwasherThe simple answer is he is a part-owner of the new craft beer micro-brewery. He invested in this new business as something of interest and passion. He also knows the mastermind behind the operation. The primary has owned and operated the Home Micro-Brew supply store in town for years.

You may be saying, “Man I knew it. It’s his joint. No wonder he was busing tables and washing dishes.” Sure, that is normal for business owners but not so much for Multimillionaires. He could just have easily hung out, shook-hands and back-slapped all day long. Nope, you see those who worked hard, made wise financial decisions, and lived within their means to get to early retirement are driven, motivated and not the type to be sitting around just counting their money or worrying about looking like a rich jack-hole who is above any menial work.

Are You Thinking You Might Join the Retire Early and Often lifestyle?
  • Have all the necessary financial and non-financial early retirement boxes checked.
  • Always keep an open mind.
  • When something interests you dig into it and find out everything you can.
  • Always stay curious because you can never know enough about anything.
  • Figure out what you would love to do.
  • Understand the necessary skills.
  • Assess your skills against the required skills.
  • Close any required skill gaps.
  • Learn all you can even if it means working somewhere starting at the bottom to get it.
  • If later you find you no longer enjoy what you are doing in retirement then retire again.
  • Don’t lock yourself into something you don’t love doing anymore.
Final Comments

So I saw a Retired Multimillionaire Busboy Dishwasher this past weekend and I wasn’t really all that surprised. I know the dude enough to get what makes him tick. His early retirement has him still active in the local small business world and he is having a ball. They guy is always smiling living life on his terms even when getting down and dirty.

For those of us who have reached early retirement and have been open to pursuits of passion and interest it truly is worth all the hard work, spending discipline, and saving to get here. For those on the path toward financial independence this kind of life is a worthy goal to strive for even for us non-Multimillionaires.

If you were a Multimillionaire could you see yourself busing tables and washing dishes?


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Voluntarily Unemployed or Early Retiree

What am I? Voluntarily Unemployed or Early Retiree. A recently read newspaper article talked about how the employment percentage numbers are not as high as being reported. This was due to many people opting for Voluntary Unemployment.

Unemployment or unemployed to me has always been a kind of negative financial status to be in. You need a job and are looking for one with urgency. My first thought was who are these Voluntarily Unemployed people choosing to be in this financially negative status and in doing so screwing up the national and state measured unemployment numbers? I mean, who are these people who need a job and money to survive but voluntarily chooses unemployment? All of which results in eventual starvation and homelessness.

As usual when I come across a new term I am not familiar with my Leisure Freak curiosity latches onto it. For me it starts with a web search to find out how people define and use the terminology.

How is Voluntary Unemployed Defined?

Oh boy. Based on the first definition of Voluntary Unemployment found in my search I was mostly wrong about how it is defined and what it is:

“Voluntary unemployment is a situation when a person is unemployed because of not being able to find employment of his/her own choice.”

Hold on a minute, are they talking about me?

Well that definition isn’t too bad but it is certainly extremely broad. I admit that this definition describes me perfectly as an early retiree. Someone doing the “retire early and often” thing. Like other early retirees I know we are always open to opportunities of interest and passions. That is as long as the opportunity aligns with what we value. Not so much of not being able to “find employment of our choice”. But taking time off when we want to and being super picky about the work we trade our time for. Hardly the negative financial status I have always associated with being unemployed.

Voluntary Unemployment as defined – a bad generalization

Voluntary Unemployment as defined is a bad generalization. By using a word as in “unemployed” that usually means being in a bad financial situation and needing to work. There are a lot of generalizations thrown around these days. Even though we all know generalizations are usually false. Mostly devised by some select specific group or special interest group upset that things aren’t going their way. Generalization is the tool used to persuade the masses to their cause. Those with the money and media’s ear know that many people lazily fall for their targeted generalizations.

That Voluntary Unemployment definition describes my first impression. Someone who is unemployed and unable to support themselves yet chooses to not look for a job. It also includes everyone in between. Like freelancers, threshold earners, stay at home parents, etc. Basically Voluntary Unemployment includes anyone who is able-bodied who chooses to not be employed whether they can support themselves or not. Talk about a broad-stroke label and generalization of people who are choosy when choosing to work.

Voluntarily Unemployed or Early Retiree, it’s all the same to the Generalizers.

Look, some of us have earned the right to be picky about the work we agree to do. And there I believe is the issue that THOSE who coined the term “Voluntary Unemployment” and so broadly defined it are most likely at odds with. Some other observations found in my reading about Unemployment paints pictures with warnings and dread. All to further discourage voluntarily unemployment:

Unfulfilled Economic Obligation

Unemployed resources (meaning people) are idle and an economic waste. For those who have received education and training and do not work the costs associated to their learning and skills is wasted.

Loss of Government TAX Revenue

The unemployed pay no or much lower income taxes. They pay less indirect taxes like sales taxes because they ultimately spend less.

Decreased Human Capital

Many skills are gained while working on a job. Being unemployed can mean that fewer new skills will be acquired and their existing skills will be lost.

Gap in Work History-

The longer people are unemployed the harder it is to rejoin the world of the employed. Business believes the longer you are unemployed the more skills you lose. Some even believe the long unemployed lose the habit of working.  Over time some workers may become permanently excluded from employment with little or no prospects of work.

Stagnant salaries for the employed

There is political pressure to paint a rosy economic picture and unemployment is one of those measurements. Corporations, businesses, and their stooge politicians believe that the unemployment numbers are not as low as reported. All due to the Voluntarily Unemployed and don’t feel the need to raise wages. Of which they normally would with today’s positive unemployment figures. Raising wages may bring more to the table thus negatively impacting unemployment numbers and returning to an employer’s market so why bother raising salaries.

The generalization label of Voluntary Unemployment is starting to look like some great big guilt trip. By the way I am chuckling inside because it’s not working.

For those of us who have worked hard and embraced frugal living. Who became super-savers and avoided debt to reach a point of early retirement. To choose to retire early and often by only working on our terms. I say there is nothing to feel guilty about even if all the above is true. But it’s not true.

My detailed rebuttal:

Unfulfilled Economic Obligation

Not hardly. If I decide I don’t want to do that work anymore then I owe nobody my labor or an explanation. I was educated, trained, and I worked my keister off which repaid any associated costs ten times over. By the way, who are you calling idle? I am busy doing what I want to all day long and using the skills I WANT to use.

Loss of Government TAX Revenue

I am sure this one stings because I use to pay more in yearly Income Taxes than my entire yearly early retirement lifestyle budget. It shouldn’t be an issue because you would think the corporation would back-fill. Then someone else would pay the taxes. But that is only if they hire someone or should I say hire someone in this country. Of which in my case they did not. Don’t blame the early retiree or voluntary unemployed for this one. As for spending less thus reducing indirect taxes. Early retirees (myself included) spend just about as much as we did when employed minus commuting cost. Early retirees get there by being a frugal living super-saver. So the voluntary unemployment generalizers are wrong here. The Government never received an unbridled consumerist level of indirect taxes from us.

Decreased Human Capital

This could happen if your skills required constant practice. But many skills only lose value if they become obsolete. Most new software applications in business are made so that working with them is easier. So if someone had done it the hard way before they should easily pick up the new crap. At least just as easy as if they were chained to the desk when it was deployed. So what if people get a little rusty. Rusty is better than having no skills at all.

Gap in Work History Punishment –

Yep, the punishment by the corporate world and adopted by every HR and hiring manager because the employment authorities made this a thing. Out of work too long then you can’t work again. Or should I say they won’t let you work again. Same old warning I have heard since retiring early the first time. Seems more like an institutional punishment for free thinkers and free workers. Punishment to those who defy the call for every able-bodied person to be shackled by an employer. Staying shackled under any condition until they say it is OK for you to leave. If someone forgets how to work and becomes a lazy employee later then fire them. Why punish everyone?

Stagnant salaries for the employed-

Just another excuse for the “Man” to show who is in charge. They are right. You make a job attractive enough with increased salary and flexibility and people who are sitting on the side-lines would maybe come give it a looky-loo. So what? Don’t blame the Voluntary Unemployed for a business strategy to horde cash and increase pay for executives instead of raising salaries for all employees.

In Closing

So how do I see myself, Voluntarily Unemployed or Early Retiree? I see myself as an early retiree. As for Voluntarily Unemployed it’s too broadly defined to be a thing. Or represent a group to have any real meaning. Voluntarily Unemployed does describe every retiree who leaves their career or work on their own terms. Including every stay at home parent who has made that choice for their children. It even includes the people who can’t support themselves but won’t look for a job. The list goes on.

A better definition if they really need to have a label for people who are Voluntarily Unemployed that are making employment measurements difficult is – “Voluntary unemployment is a situation when a person who needs employment to support themselves is unemployed because of not being able to find employment of his/her own choice.”

See, by adding that little statement it narrows the definition to those who need employment and they should be counted in unemployment reports. Go ahead, label me and other early retirees with a broad and meaningless generalization. It won’t bother me as I stay free from meaningless work living life on my terms. I do apologize for ruining the corporate and political master’s Unemployment Measurements. But I never consider myself unemployed. Voluntarily or otherwise.

Are you striving to join the Voluntary Unemployed through financial independence?

Will you be able to live with yourself knowing you are screwing up the employment measurements?


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Never Say Never Just Say No Thank You

I was just reminded of my diplomacy mantra “Never Say Never Just Say No Thank You” when I need to reject an opportunity. I also use it on myself to quell ego and greed. Two insidious human conditions that are counter to the way I want live now. You see, sometimes when you least expect it and are least prepared an opportunity can present itself. After the initial surprise my best instinct is to follow my gut. But then my brain kicks in. You may think that is how things are supposed to work. But my making a shift to a passion driven mindset means thinking beyond money when living my retire early and often lifestyle.

Never Say Never Just Say No Thank YouMy brain is very good about identifying financial benefits.

Especially after all the exercise it got during the long trek to financial independence. My brain can’t help itself, running the numbers starts-up immediately. However my being open to opportunity in my early retirement does come with important limits. After all it is my finite time I am trading for money when I CHOOSE to accept paid work. In this case the opportunity was aligned with what I have previously identified as work I enjoy doing and have interest in. It even matches up with my last early retirement side hustle but this time my gut immediately said something else to me. It said, “Hell no, not again”.

Passions Can Change so Never Say Never Just Say No Thank You

Sometimes I see or hear about opportunities that look interesting because I have done them before and I am very good at doing it. My ego then will have me consider stretching the work interest and passion limits that I have set. My brain runs the numbers and lets greed chime in to make its case.

But my gut is the gate-keeper trying to calmly keep things balanced and aligned with the passion driven way I have chosen to live. This time with this latest opportunity offer my gut had something important to say.

  • Perhaps it was how my last side hustle turned into an extension and didn’t go as promised.
  • Perhaps the corporate world is just more than Leisure Freak Tommy wants to deal with anymore.
  • Perhaps I am just having too much fun now not doing paid work and not ready for any paid work.
  • Perhaps I just have too much planned now. Projects, travel, celebrations, and whatever I want to do.
  • Perhaps my passions and interests have changed as it just doesn’t fit well with me anymore.
Putting Trust In My Gut

There was no “perhaps” about it. After some self-assessment of what my hesitation and gut was telling me it was all the above.

I hadn’t given it much thought until now so I am surprised with the results of my honest self-assessment which put money totally aside. I really don’t want to engage in Tech anymore. Not as a telecom engineer or technician. Not working in IT and being a business, data, or systems analyst. I am no longer interested in any of it and have scratched those skills and work from my passions list. At least for now. They served me well with my first career, my encore career, and even my early retirement side hustle but I want to move on. I checked off some bucket-list items doing it and now it is time for new adventures when I am ready to begin another.

So to this opportunity I simply said to myself Never Say Never Just Say No Thank You. To the consulting company I replied No thank you, due to current obligations I am unable to accept the opportunity at this time.

It is a truthful response.

How to Walk Away from the Money

  • Ask yourself, if money was no object, would you want to do this work?
  • Set Retire Early and Often (working in retirement) limits tied to and aligned with your interests and passions.
  • Live by the interest and passion limits you set so you won’t dread any paid work you accept.
  • Remember your mortality. I see the government actuary tables  show my life expectancy to be 84. Simply do the math. No sense wasting any of it in misery for money.
  • Remind yourself that your health is best now while younger and don’t put off doing what you want to do until later when older age physical conditions will change.
  • Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t regardless of how much money it pays.
In Closing

I use saying to myself Never Say Never Just Say No Thank You to cope with the fact that my passions and interests can and will change. For all I know someday I may have a change of heart and would enjoy doing tech work again. So I leave myself open to that fact this way.

Life and early retirement is an adventure. You never know what you will find along the way.

How about you. Can you see how your passions and interests can change but see the benefit of saying never say never?


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Robert Redford is Right about Retirement

Robert Redford is Right about Retirement, well sort of. Redford was quoted in a Market Watch financial article today from his interview with The Wall Street Journal,

“I think retirement can lead to death, and that’s not for me.” The Market Watch article is titled Did Robert Redford get it wrong on retirement?

As someone who believes in living a lifestyle of retiring early and often I may be grouped with the Never Retire crowd and my agreeing for the most part with Robert Redford as no surprise. However I limit my being open to opportunities (paid-work) to only those I WANT to do that are aligned with my interests and passions. Otherwise I am one happy early retired Leisure Freak. Meaning I am not chasing after work and I am just living life on my terms enjoying my time and freedom. Just between me and you, Robert Redford is already retired, he just doesn’t know it.

I have non-traditional retirement beliefs

My definition of retirement breaks with the traditionalist. I believe retirement is leaving behind meaningless and soul sucking work but being perfectly open to paid work and still be considered living a retired life on my terms. I have also referred to my retiring early and often lifestyle in a couple of my site pages as somewhat like an actor’s lifestyle were I am always open to the right part, being choosy about any project I sign on to. I am only as good as my last gig in some cases to be able to continue catching the waves. The waves of opportunities that come my way.

So I see where Robert Redford is coming from because I use the same mindset-model. I am sure he is one picky SOB when it comes to the movie parts he agrees to do and the people he works with. His lifestyle off-stage is hardly working in the sense that the rest of the world endures either. It is probably closer to retirement between gigs than grinding it out in a nine to five situation. Even with his Sundance Film Festival and everything else he has his hands into. It is all exactly what he wants to be doing and any long hours are out of passion not dreaded grind. When he does work he works hard for as long as the gig lasts. Sounds a lot like what I and others are doing in our early retirements.

Retirement is Living Life on your Terms.

Successful actors and those who have always had the ability to work at their true passions and live life on their terms have always been retired, they just don’t care to realize it or call it that way. They retired long ago by retiring to the life they WANTED to live, a life they never need to retire from. Walking away from a lifestyle you love would probably lead to death.

Robert Redford is Right about Retirement Leading to Death

Robert Redford is Right about RetirementThe Market Watch article states many study results that both support and reject Robert Redford’s retirement leading to death comment. The mixed results support for my mind and others who are living their lives on their terms that it all depends on what work you are doing. Obviously for someone in heavy labor careers in construction and the like will not be able to physically “never retire” even if they loved doing it.

I truly believe that if I had stayed in my first Telecom Engineering career that the stress and soul sucking environment would have certainly caused my early death. But if someone in those laborious or stressful fields have outside interests and passions that they could turn into paid opportunities then they will agree with Mr. Redford and maybe say they will never retire under the traditional definition.

Living with purpose

Living with purpose is the reason why anyone who has plans to continue working at some capacity in their retirement will agree with Robert Redford.

We have to strive for something that is important to us, something we enjoy doing. Something that we love doing or love to support. If there is nothing that we want to be involved with or do then what would we do in retirement? Sit on the couch and watch TV all day long, complain about politics with the other old geezer down the street or your spouse? That is the real path to a short life. The sweet long life is all about what we retire to.

We have to have a reason to want to get up and move our asses and dance in this life. Stay curious, keep learning, keep growing, and know you have value, not retired and sent out to pasture. It doesn’t HAVE to be paid work but we should never be closed to it being paid work just because of the word and label “retired”.

In Closing

I love articles like this from Market Watch where something can be said and people come out and add all their negative comments at the bottom. Obviously Robert Redford is talking from his life experience, passions and opportunities not from the view of a ditch digger. He knows just as I do as a Leisure Freak doing my “retire early and often” thing that as we age the waves of opportunities may slow and eventually end and we will have to support our passions and purpose in another way.

Maybe there would be no question if he had simply said retirement from acting and film, my passion and purpose can lead to death then it would have been accepted 100% with all easily agreeing that Robert Redford is Right about Retirement. There would have been nobody giving a second thought and a whole different Market Watch article written about Robert Redford and retirement. We all will die someday but as long as I am still moving my ass and dancing it won’t be because of my retirement.

What is your view of YOUR retirement? Will it lead to your death?


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Stay Healthy my Retiring Friends

I don’t always pursue paying opportunities of interest and passion in my early retirement. But when I do I prefer being healthy enough to do it. Stay Healthy my Retiring Friends.

So you may be wondering why the play on good health. It seems that good health or at least not having bad health is key to living the retired lifestyle you dreamed of. Particularly those who wish to work at something new in their retirement according to a recent survey of retiring boomers.

The study by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement – “New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income Boomers” finds that Middle-income Boomers view employment as a part of the retirement experience. Of which I, Leisure Freak Tommy with my “retire early and often” mantra just can’t help but smile to know I am not as big a freak as I thought I was.

This may have surveyed Boomers. But the results should apply to any retiring generation. People are people. The survey found that 28%, almost a third of retired Boomers said they are now employed or have been employed for pay during their retirement. Of those currently employed, 61% work because they want to. Not need to work. Oh yes, the true definition of retirement: The absence of needing to work defines retirement, not the absence of working.

The survey dug deeper. It found that 59% worked for non-financial reasons. Like remaining physically active, to have a sense of purpose, and/or staying mentally alert. Finally I want to also list here that 78% of these employed retirees state they are as satisfied or more satisfied with their work when compared to their pre-retirement job or career.

A whopping 32% reported they were much more satisfied now than their pre-retirement career. All of this is exactly what my experience has been. But I now want to get to the purpose of this post. With all the wonderful results for the 28% who successfully pursued paying opportunities of interest and passions. What of the rest of the survey respondents?

Stay Healthy my Retiring Friends Because Poor Health Crushes Plans.

Of the surveyed retired Boomers who have not or are not currently engaged in paying work almost half (48%) would like to pursue paying opportunities but can’t, more than not because of health reasons.

It is bad enough to not need to work and having dreams of an encore career crushed by having to sit it out due to poor health but it is a very raw situation for those who need to work for pay to supplement their retirement income.

  • For many of the surveyed retirees they wanted to work longer but found themselves retiring earlier than planned due to poor health reasons. In total, 69% said they had to retire earlier than expected. Of that a huge 79%, almost eight out of ten people retired for reasons beyond their control like personal health reasons (39%), having to care for a loved one (9%), or being laid off (19%).
  • Of all the surveyed retired middle-income Boomers who had never worked for pay in retirement, half (48%) would like to work but can’t, either because of their own health reasons (35%), the health of a loved one (5%) or because they can’t find a job (8%). Health reasons is the biggest issue keeping retirees from finding any kind of retirement work.
Stay Healthy my Retiring FriendHealth has to be a higher priority.

We spend a lot of energy and planning setting the perfect frugal lifestyle budget, paying off all debt and keeping it paid off, and saving/investing a large percentage of our income to reach our early retirement and financial independence goals. But how much are we doing to insure we are as healthy as we want to be and need to be when the time comes to live the lifestyle that we envisioned and created? It is never too late to start taking our Health seriously and making it a priority.

  • Stop smoking. Why keep doing something you know is slowly killing you.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol. Moderation is the key.
  • Eat healthy. We all know we can’t get away with eating Pizza like a college student anymore. Make an effort to eat better.
  • We should continue to exercise daily and plan for it to be part of our envisioned retirement lifestyle. Ride your bicycle, hike, use the stairs, and join a gym if that is what it takes to keep you motivated.
  • Get your Medical checkups. Get your physical exams, colonoscopies, mammograms, etc. as recommended. We never know when something goes wrong with us medically. Catch it early and chances are it won’t ruin the rest of your life or crush your retirement dreams.
  • Correctly take your prescribed medication. Pay attention to the directions and make sure you take them as recommended and take them regularly.
  • Drink more water. Time to move away from soft drinks and energy drinks.
  • Get plenty of sleep. More and more the importance of getting enough sleep comes up as important to good health.
Final Comments

The survey was targeting the most current group of retirees who happen to be Boomers. I hope that seeing “Boomer” didn’t turn any of my non-boomer readers off from reading the rest of this post because the same issues will be true for the next generation coming behind the Boomers. Check out the survey. It is an easy read and has some interesting findings.

Stay Healthy my Retiring Friends, no matter what generation you are or how young you are when you can pull retirement off.

Do you put your Health as a high priority just like you do your finances?


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