I met a really fun woman this weekend that is contemplating retirement. She’s in her mid-60’s, and is planning on retiring in a year or two. She told us about a recent conversation she had with her husband. They realize they will have to give up some extravagances in retirement, but couldn’t arrive at any that they were actually willing to live without.
I knew when I retired I was willing to give up a housecleaner and a gardener, I knew I was willing to downgrade the luxury level of our travel, and at some point down the road, sell our vacation home. When you work, you enjoy the luxury of a steady paycheck. Which means you can pay people to take care of a lot of the things you don’t have time to do because you are busy working. It means you can make your travels spectacular because you only get 3 weeks of them. When you work, you can buy a little bits of time with money.
I listened to my new acquaintance as she went through the list of all the things she wasn’t willing to give up. I was trying to think of something substantial to add to the conversation, something that maybe she hadn’t thought of that would be easy for her to give up, and my mind drew a blank. Despite the fact that we spend three-quarters of what we spent before I retired, I couldn’t remember what it was that we had given up. I couldn’t think of anything I was missing.
It just occurred to me this morning, that’s because what I really wanted before I retired was time. I was willing to buy it, a lot more of it. And if you aren’t craving that time, I mean really craving it, you will probably feel like that time costs too much. It costs you a fashionable wardrobe, or luxury cars, or some manual labor. It costs you a star or two on hotel rooms, or some legroom on a flight, or the latest iPad. And if you didn’t actually crave that time to begin with, you might just wind up resenting all the gadgets you’re giving up.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job