(Thanks to my first guest contributor: DD (Doug's Dad))
How the working world has changed. I remember when no one talked about retiring in their 40s. My experience was pretty typical of those of my generation who worked for big corporations. The time from age 40 on up was like a crapshoot - who would get the axe and who would live until another round of cutbacks. No one thought, hmm, it would be nice to retire at 40 or 45. Will I have the money to do it? That answer would have been emphatically no. By the time I was in my late 50s and the axe fell on me, I was in a financial position to be retired thanks to the generosity of the severance plan that my company offered.
Money wasn’t the problem. Being unceremoniously kicked out the door was. We, of my generation, fully expected to work until age 65 or thereabout. It was a blow to my self-esteem to be jobless. I now marvel at, and am a little envious of, the young people who can contemplate, plan and actually carry out retirement in their 40s. The diametrically opposite psychology of the two generations is amazing.
After I was retired, I would wake up at the usual early hour that I had become accustomed to for all those years and realize that I didn’t have to go to work and wasn’t that awful. I didn’t know what to do. I tried getting another job, but at my age (59) and with no really specific skills, it was a frustrating and fruitless search. I felt pretty useless and unhappy. Finally, I found a volunteer job where I could use my coordinative and managerial skills. This made me feel much better about myself. After about six months I began to realize that the corporate job that I had hadn’t been so important after all and I now had time to do many other things at a reasonable and, perhaps, inefficient pace. But, hey, this is my life and I don’t have to answer to the corporation anymore. It’s been 13 years now and I certainly don’t regret getting out early anymore.
DD (Doug's Dad)