« Guilty Feet | Main | Picturing Retirement: Bring it on Santa! »

December 08, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I've often said that you should at least hold a part time job in early retirement. But people scoffed at me. Not working or having a job and living off your investments/savings used to be considered retirement. That synopsis is unsustainable, especially when you retire young.

I retired at 50 but kept working on and off, part time only. My retirement meant to me not working M to F, 9 to 5 and just about doing whatever I damn well pleased (and sometimes suffering the consequences of such actions).

Now, at 61, I've often regretted quitting a full time job so early. I should have stuck it out longer and saved a lot more. Hindsight, unfortunately, is 20/20.

I am just hoping that Jacob didn't wrongly influence a lot of people. I mean, really, who wants to live in an RV for so long and eat lentils? Retirement means long term planning. Life is most assuredly, long! Because of Jacob's extreme downsizing, IMHO, he really was trapped and couldn't busta move, without taking on a full time job. I mean the guy couldn't get out of California fast enough!

Live and learn.


Great quote, "Retirement really just means that you get to think about what you want to be thinking about all day"....

That puts a finger on the exact source of my obsession with retiring early. I absolutely hate what I am required to think about all day, but as mentioned before, it pays so blasted much that I've forced myself to just keep doing it until I reach a tipping point where the money is no longer valuable. (e.g. Financially Independent)....So as recently wrote, I'm just in the process of confirming my FI "math" while it dawned on me that I have no idea what I will be retiring "to"...It's been completely about just getting to a point where I can stop the pain of being forced to spend 12 hours/day thinking about something that bores me so bad I want to vomit (Spelling?, never wrote that word before...)



I wholeheartedly recommend "The Joy of Not Working" and "How To Retire Wild, Happy and Free," both by Ernie Zelinski. Both are workbooks for how to build a new non-employment life built on your unique passions and interests. I'm up to my eyeballs in mine currently, and couldn't be happier. Some are fun, but most require a considerable amount of effort, either mental or physical, giving each day a sense of balance.

I also don't think of retirement as being static at all. I assume it will ebb, flow and undulate as I continue to change in the years ahead. The issue is as has already been said - I will be doing what I want, when I want, with no sense of being trapped.


Here's what I didn't get: I get what you did, Syd, leaving retirement for a part-time, short-term consulting gig. That's fine. I don't have any mental disconnect with that. What weirds me out is embracing the "early retirement" lifestyle and then basically jumping back into a 100-hour week, hard-core pressure/heavy politics profession. If it works for Jacob, cool for him. It makes NO sense to me. It's like working hard to become a vegetarian and then embracing low-carb paleo diets, or declaring yourself an atheist and then a few years later joining a seminary. It's a free country and by all means you're free to do it, but it just doesn't make sense to me. I wish him good luck but I - personally - don't get it. But, eh, shrug, such is life for those trying to suss out meaning from blogs.


Morrison, I retired 3 years ago at 45 and have been living off my investments just fine since then (and they have appreciated greatly in the last 3 years). I had been working part-time for the previous 7 years (2001-2008) after working full-time for the 16 years (1985-2001) before that. It is surely sustainable, especially for me.

By retiring at 45, I was able to rid myself of the most annoying part of working - the tiring and sickening commute. That and the morning routine associated with it was the worst part of my life, even 2 or 3 days a week. It was like I was living two different lives - one which was lousy and the other which was great. Now the great part is 7 days a week instead of 2 days.

I do not get bored easily, and I have been able to increase my volunteer work and evening dance activities (I did the latter each night for the last 4 nights, something unthinkable just over 3 years ago).

As for Jacob, I won't make any judgments about his lifestyle change. He put it all out there which took some courage. I can only wish him the best.

Retired Syd

I'm with Tamara on both counts--Ernie Zelinski's books are the best books out there on retirement. And of course Tamara is very wise for only being retired for such a short period of time. Retirement is not static, it evolves, you need to change with it or it will get stale. I'm sure my life in 10 years will not look very much like my life now as it barely resembles my life of 10 years ago. How boring that would be to always do the same thing.

And I have to say, I'm with deegee on the early retirement thing. You'll be able to sustain years of retirement if you saved enough to sustain years of retirement, it's as simple as that.

P.S. to Steve--at this point, I don't get Jacob's decision to enter such a high-demand field either, but then again 3 years ago, I never thought I'd ever want to be working even part time. So who knows.

Retired Syd

P.S. to Penta I'm sorry you want to vomit, but you did spell it right.


You know, I really liked Zelinski's books when I first read them many years ago. But I don't think they're a good book fit for INTJ types. Leisure is really often quite difficult for us because it doesn't look at all like more "normal" people's leisure.

I worked in the science department for awhile at a university - it was astonishing how many 80+ y.o. prof's were still hanging out there every day, not even getting paid. Especially the physics ones. :-)

It seems to me that the way to not be judged when you do an about-face (or change your path) is if you don't go around calling people who are not doing what you do "stupid sheeple". I don't think Jacob does or did that. Mr. MMM I'm not so sure about. I just read it a couple of times and got a judgey feel from it. I used to be like that more in my 30's too, fortunately you start not caring what other people do when you get older.

fred doe

jacob, got a offer he couldn't refuse. (like in the godfather) retirement is like being born again. only being born again with a trust fund.( hallelujah) taking on a (even tough) job after retirement is like working with a safety net no fear, no expectations, no aspirations and if it's temporary you know going into it when you'll be walking away from it. (like retiring again) some of the jobs i have now pay me more then when i was working. why? because the people who hire/pay me don't have to do it every day/week/month/year. and neither do i :) i don't have to be involved with petty intrigues,though sometimes there juicy ( i'm shameful i know). penta you need spell check.it's really good.

Retired Syd

Jacq: I think you are probably right about the INTJ thing with regard to Ernie Zelinski. I'm not an INTJ--which one is it again that I am if I can never remember which one I am?

fred: I hadn't thought about that before but you are right about that (at least for me). Working in retirement is just like being born again with a trust fund! You don' really need the work for money, so the job has to meet other of your needs (whatever those may be), and you know you can walk away from it at any time. Definitely changes things. (I often wish I could come up with the concise nuggets of wisdom that you come up with. Although, if I could boil it all down to one great sentence like that, I guess my blog entries would be pretty short.)


Syd - oh you're probably some variation of E/I-N-T/F-P. You seem very similar to an ENFP/J friend of mine. Probably a 7 on the enneagram too.
It's usually the INTJ's that are more into that personality type stuff, trying to make some kind of pattern out of pesky incomprehensible people. ;-)
ENFP's are geared towards more of an outer world impact and ENFJ's are more inner.


You all carried on while I was out playing a very bad game of doubles tennis (!), but I was thinking about this thread during my game, and I decided that "retirement" was really a misnomer - what it appears most of us are yearning for is simply to control our own destinies by reaching a point of financial independence.

Perhaps "retirement" has outlived its shelf life as an across the board societal definition.


My experience and views are similar to "deegee" except that I retired at 45 and have been retired for more than a dozen years. If one is reasonably thrifty, living for many years on a modest investment portfolio is entirely possible. So I disagree entirely with "morrison".

As I've said before, I continue to keep engaged and to be a productive member of society by doing volunteer work. The nice thing about volunteering is that I can do it or not, as I wish, and that leads to more freedom and less stress than a paid job.

The rewards of volunteer work are mostly psychic: the feeling of a job well done and the appreciation of the few people who happen to be aware of my various projects. But I find it a lot more fulfilling than I ever did my former career.

Working to become rich is not the be-all, end-all, of life IMHO.


deegee, you're only into your retirement 3 years. give it time. i had a blast when i first retired.

a full 11 years into my retirement, I am doing fine. the keyword here is "I". I'm doing fine.

my hubby is 6 years younger than me and my retirement planning included him working longer than me. unfortunately, in this economy, it didn't work out for HIM.

Now, the retirement I planned for me, must cover him also.

perhaps a scenario even the best laid plans of an astute financial adviser could not have foreseen. this is not a medical calamity, which one can prepare for. it's different.

for me, and only in my own retrospect, if i had calculated this into my plan, i would have stayed at the fair a bit longer. that's all.

everyone is different. and yes, we shouldn't judge. we all have to do what we think is right and hope for the best. and calculate a plan B, C, D and even a plan Z.


Im going to agree with deegee and Mr colorado. I am continually engaged even on a limited income and cannot imagine it being otherwise. Do I expect to do what I am doing now always? Of course not. I've started a business, gone back to school and decided not to go back to school-next year I may do something else. Thats what its all about. Although I'm a widow, my husband and I planned our retirement together, not different retirements for each of us-no me and him.

I think Jacob has to do what he thinks works for him, but I have to wonder if he wpent too much time writing and worrying about the financial side of early retirement that he did not allow enough other things in-just a thought. As to his advise, just as on any blog, you use what you want and leave the rest.


Syd - I like Barb's observation that Jacob spent too much time worrying about the financial side but wonder if this is a common plague of anyone who retires early? In other words, unless you just won the lottery, the very fact that you had the financial where-with-all to retire young, means you probably know something about investing, etc...And the only way you could have gained this wisdom is by focusing on these topics in the past (probably a lot)....So after you quit your job, how is someone whose investments are their only source of income, supposed to not obsess on the topic after they cut the embillical chord to a job...? Was/Is this is something you fight....? Penta

Retired Syd

Penta: Well as you know, I was a CPA, so obsessing about investments/finances is an obsession I enjoy. But I don't obsess in a negative way, I just keep on top of it, making sure my asset allocations are where I want them to be, keeping an eye on the budget, and making adjustments as necessary. I actually like doing it, so it's not a burden for me.

I hope it will help you to know that I worried a lot more about money before I actually retired than after. I don't worry now because I can see that it's all working out fine.


Syd - You just so confident with your decision...You're in a great frame of mind, hope all on this thread can join you in that state one day....

P.S. I also have a very deep analytical background so obsessing on investments is something I also "enjoy" (no really, I do)....Just don't want it to go from enjoyment to a burden after pull the rip chord so your perspective is much appreciated..., Happy Saturday, Penta


Morrison, I actually consider my "retirement" to be 10 years, not 3, because the 7 years of working part-time have been more like my 3 years of not working at all. It was 10 years ago when I started my volunteer work and resurrected some long-dormant hobbies. Ridding myself of the last vestiges of work 3 years ago had a smaller impact on my life than switching from working full-time to part-time 10 years ago.


Ditto. Working part time is the missing link most retirees don't consider when they "retire'. IMHO, when you retire young, a part time job helps the transition to full retirement. I've always worked part time for the past 10 of my 11 early retirement years. This past year is the first I haven't worked at a part time job.

Perhaps Jacob's early extreme retirement could have been more successful and sustainable if he had worked a part time job (that paid fairly well)? Just a thought. His early retirement had the support of a working wife (who also supplied him with low cost medical coverage). Thus my early retirement was supplemented by my own husband working.
Now, Jacob has taken on a job, moved, relocated and his wife is out of a job. She was a teacher and gave up her career. If all goes well, Jacob expects his wife to find another job. But what happens when the 'what ifs' come in to play.

If it happened to me, odds are good it can happen to anyone.

As Barb pointed out, Jacob appeared to have been obsessed with finances. Perhaps, thus, the reason why he dropped everything and ran back into a full time, well paying job. And again, Jacob may not have thought this move completely through because now his wife is unemployed.

Only time will tell. It'll be interesting to see how all of this pans out. Everyone is different. No life is the same. Again, we shouldn't judge. Just observe and learn.

I wish Jacob and his wife only the best in life.

Senior Planning Services

Thank you for your big help. You just shared such a huge information for the readers including me. Thanks a lot.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter