I have spent the past several months excitedly telling friends, family and perfect strangers that I will be retiring at the end of this year at the age of 44. The responses from people have sometimes been surprising to me. Some don't understand why I would want to retire at such a young age, some wonder what I will fill my time with, and a few seem to very much disapprove of my decision. It's almost as if I have offended them in some way. This reaction surprises me the most. I feel very proud of myself that I achieved a goal that I have hoped to attain since early in my career. So it is hard for me to understand the viewpoint that I am doing something that warrants disapproval.
It just occurred to me, though, that each person's view on retirement is influenced by his own life experience. And I have a vantage point that not many other people share. In two weeks, I will turn 44, the age at which my own mother died of cancer. While I have never really worried that I would die young, it has given me a perspective that life is short and so you should try and make the life for yourself that you really want, not the one others think you should live. You shouldn't have to wait until you are 65 to retire if that's what you want for yourself right now. Life can be too short to wait until later to do the things you would really like and are able to do now. I'm figuring on having another 50 years in front of me, but why not start living them the way I want to if I can make it work financially?
I had a goal and consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to achieve it. Most of my friends are happy for me, many would also love to retire. My dad seems very proud (especially since he has always preached that it's most important to make sure you are having fun) and is happy I will have more time to spend with him in his own retirement. I think my mom would feel the same, and would very much approve.
I can soooo relate to the reactions you're receiving when you share your great news with others... I actually got the most disapproval from my family. Ouch.
As harsh as this might sound, I think most of the negativity might stem from feelings of envy. You know the saying, "misery likes company"?
You have every right to feel proud. Don't let the naysayers get you down.
Posted by: Millionaire Mommy Next Door | November 30, 2007 at 07:05 PM
Thanks for those comments. I do like to think I'm past needing other's approval, but must admit it does have the effect of taking the wind out of my sails when I don't get it.
To be fair, I think when it comes to family members, they also worry about us financially "Does she really know what she's doing? Did she really figure it out right? What if she runs out of money and can't get another job and loses everything she's ever worked for!?!" That kind of thing.
(While I can appreciate the concern, I am a CPA that has worked in finance my whole career--you would think people wouldn't have worried that I made a calculation error!)
Thanks for the words of encouragement!
Posted by: Retired Syd | December 01, 2007 at 09:42 AM
Syd, I realized that it's been almost 3 years since your set out for the path to pursue true happiness in your life. Therefore, my response to this post can be quite delayed. :-)
I can't relate more on the feeling toward retirement. I completely agree with you on "life is short and so you should try and make the life for yourself that you really want, not the one others think you should live." and "Life can be too short to wait until later to do the things you would really like and are able to do now.".
Great job for living the life that YOU'd want! I'm a CPA in the late 30s and doing the same thing - designing my life/time the way that it fits my vision of life and I'm enjoying it.
Posted by: Travelphotoperspectives.blogspot.com | July 01, 2010 at 04:59 PM
@traveler: Excellent! That's what it's all about, isn't it?
Posted by: Retired Syd | July 01, 2010 at 05:09 PM
How do you deal with the cost of health care/health insurance ?
Posted by: SH | January 28, 2011 at 01:03 PM
@SH: We found the most economical way to deal with health insurance was to buy a high-deductible HSA compatible plan. Which means that we basically pay for any health care during the year (which isn't much for us) at a premium far lower than the more comprehensive plans, but provides a safety net in case we have some catastrophic health problem.
Posted by: Retired Syd | January 28, 2011 at 02:12 PM
What state do you reside in ? I'm from NY and I haven't noticed such a health option (at least without income restrictions).
Posted by: SH | January 30, 2011 at 06:36 AM
I'm in California. While I don't know each state's health insurance options, the Health Savings Account (HSA) was put in place on a federal level under the Bush Administration, to be used in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance plans several years ago, so it would surprise me if you couldn't get such a plan in every state.
A quick google search for HDHP - HSA compatible plans in New York gets me to plans from Aetna, Healthnet and many sites such as ehealthinsurance.com with many other companies offering them.
You can get a quote right on-line--it's worth looking into. There are no income restrictions for these plans. Here's a link to a good summary of the plans --specifically mentioning New York: http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/new-york-health-insurance/health-plans/hsa
Posted by: Retired Syd | January 30, 2011 at 08:44 AM
How much different will your monthly social security payments be by retiring early as oppposed to working until your mid-sixties ?
Posted by: SH | January 30, 2011 at 06:35 PM
I am 55 and am retiring in two weeks, with such disapproval from my two daughters. Yes I confess I am a workaholic, but am starting to rethink my retirement because my kids are making me feel GUILTY!
Posted by: Esther | January 07, 2013 at 10:49 PM