« Is There Life After Retirement? (And Other Transcendental Questions) | Main | Book Winners »

May 05, 2010


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


I am not retired yet but looking forward to it. It is not selfish to retire. Many of us are so conditioned to think that unless we are giving our ALL to others, we are selfish. I can't wait to be selfish as there are so many other things I want to do but can't because there just isn't enough time working 40+ hrs/wk (excluding commute). Hats off to you Syd for retiring early and keep doing what you want to do!!


I think "being a productive member of society" refers to those who are self sufficient and pay into the tax base.
Retired folk are self sufficient and pay their own way.
There are people who through unforunate circumstances or personal choice do not work or support themselves and are pretty much wards of the state.
People who don't have children are sometimes/often called selfish by some of those who do. That is strange because if you think about it most pay hefty taxes that benefit others. It is hardly selfish.


syd, how do you define "early retirement"? I think of any age below 65 as early. I see Grace's blog and she thinks 61 is to late to call it "early".

Retired Syd

Patty, that's a good question. I guess I would define it purely in monetary terms, being that "early" would be before you are eligible for Social Security--so she would still qualify as "early" right now.

On the other hand, you can start taking withdrawals from your retirement accounts without penalty at 59 1/2 (and I think most private pensions work that way too.) So maybe that's the cutoff?

I guess generally I think of people retiring in their 50's and younger as "early" and in their 60's and 70's as "normal retirement age.

Interesting question though, since I've been reading a bunch of articles about people in their 80's that still working (who think anything before 80 is "early"!)


My family makes us feel like we are cheating somehow since we are choosing to retire. Of course - one sister is a widow and hasn't worked in 15 years, one sister is a business owner with her own hours and loves her business and my two brothers don't know how to save a dime. My mother says,'Oh well, it looks like you don't HAVE to work..." Sad- isn't it?


I've been thinking about this lately as my husband who loves his work and is at regular retirement age just lost his job - while I'd love to retire early and actually am semi-retired, working part time.

What makes work compelling and useful and what makes some work numbing? I just finished a book, "Shop class as soulcraft" about this topic (not early retirement). The philosophical references go beyond my 25 year old liberal arts education but address some of the issues of why many work places leave us feeling so inhuman. It really made me think about why we do and don't work and what makes meaningful work.

Beyond that, there are all kinds of work and work doesn't have to be in a structured career ladder kind of situation for it to be meaningful and useful.

Very thoughtful posts, Syd.


Patty, thanks for the comment about childfree people not being selfish. It annoys me a lot when we childfree people are called that.

I retired in late 2008 at the age of 45 (after 7 years of working part-time). The biggest reason was the commute. It was long, tiring, annoying, and at times sickening, even only 2 days a week. I took a big payout of company stock (before it tanked but has since recovered, I have learned) and live off the dividends from a bond fund I invested it in.

I still pay taxes, albeit a lot less than what I paid when I was working. Property (i.e. mostly school) taxes are not based on one's income so I now pay a greater percentage of my retirement income in property taxes than I did before. I am not old enough to qualify for any senior citizen school tax breaks even though I am childfree, and that annoys me a lot. I pay some income taxes but no Social Security taxes (YAY!).

Retiring early runs in my family. My dad retired at 63 and my mom retired (on disability) at 56 (she died a few years later, sadly). just took it to a new level.


Early retirement is selfish ? Very strange argument...I am in my thirties and still working. I don't think that with my corporate job I am serving humanity and society. I am serving my employer, so that the comany can succeed, increase profits. Profits are received, by customers paying. Yes customers do get a service. But they are paying for it with money as well. So I don't see the "benefit for society" here.

When I retire early (hopefull by mid forties), I will have earned, saved, and invested my "own" money. It's not like I will use someone else's money or retire at someone else's expense. I paid all the taxes on my earnings. And even when I retire (or semi-retire), I will pay my taxes on my stock/rental/part time work earnings each year. I am not going to be cheating anyone. With the free time that I have I will volunteer, visit the elderly, and contribute more to the community. So there can definetly be a lot more self-less acts when I retire early. In fact the earlier I can retire, the more earlier I feel I'll have time to contribute to others, to the ones I love, support my aging parents more often etc.


Here's what's really selfish - people who don't save for retirement and then complain about how they can't live on their "fixed income".

To retire early one has to make a lot of sacrifices - monetarily speaking. If you're paying your own way you can do whatever you want. You can work or not work. You can blow all your savings on peanut M&M's. It's your decision!

Andrews Hayes

Absolutely not. It's not selfish to retire. As we grow older, we should not deprive ourselves to rest and enjoy the remaining years of our lives. We could not just work for the rest of our lives. You could be a productive member of the society for some time, but once you approach the right age to retire, then you should go for it!

RP Dahlke

Interesting concept: retirement. Some are frightened of it, other's are excited. I just lost a friend of 38 yrs. to cancer. She was looking forward to retirement but died before she got there. Here's my take on it: decide what you really want to be when you grow up, then do it. I always wanted to be a writer. Well, I am a writer, but now a published one since I have time now to write mysteries about strong women in some pretty funny, if tough, situations. And, wouldn't you know, people seem to like to read them, cause my ranking on Amazon is climbing every day! So, my take on retirement? Retirement is just the beginning! Cheers!

RP Dahlke

The comments to this entry are closed.


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter