« Why Retirement Won't Make You Happy | Main | The Perfect Time in Hawaii »

March 21, 2011


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


Give her 'time', Syd. Pardon the pun. She'll catch on. It takes a while but we live and learn.

fred doe

there's another way to see it. not to be a polly anna,(i'm working to hard to be a curmudgeon) but think of the things we may have given up as we worked, raised families, married,yadda,yadda. now in retirement we can recapture some of that. maybe not as you did it, way back when. but close enough. the thing you meant to do but circumstances just didn't allow. now is the time to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation. carpe diem so to say.

Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom

But isn't this the kind of person that is the sterotypical "80% of income required for retirement"?

I shudder to think how much I'd have to spend every month if I would have spent according to income. I just don't think I could. Besides the fact that I'd run out of ideas for where to spend it... I think I'd feel terribly self-indulgent and it just wouldn't feel right. Like someone handed me a lottery cheque and said "here you HAVE to spend this". Not that I *couldn't* do it, but it would feel very, very strange. Maybe that's a good thing. :-)


Syd, remember that for many people who retire, early or otherwise, is to give up the negative things associated with working. Giving up a negative is just as good, if not better, than adding a positive (such as having more time).

For me, the negative I was giving up by not working was the lousy and often sickening commute. To remind myself of this, I like to watch the traffic and transit reports on the local news in the AM and PM rush hours and say with a smile, "I am soooo glad I got rid of that CRAP!"

And that "X% of income needed for retirement" never made any sense to me, either. This is because I cut my salary to 53% (before taxes, after taxes it was closer to 60%) of its former level when I switched from F/T to P/T work at the same company. This did not hamper my budget or reduce my lifestyle one bit. In fact, it improved it because I lost much of my commute.

And if that were not enough, I soon reduced my pay further (to about 1/3 of my former F/T pay, before taxes) to lessen my commute some more, still not hampering my budget or reducing my lifestyle one bit. So when I see the "X% of income required for retirement," I ask, "X% of WHAT? I already gave up 2/3 of my F/T pay and am doing just fine."

Simply put, you budget from the ground up, not from the top (i.e. income) down.


Yes, it's all about time.

For me, it's the opportunity to finally get my garden in shape. See



Can I just say I have no intention of giving up my cleaning service in retirement? Each time my husband raises it as a cost cutting suggestion, I smile gently and suggest that we also give up our gardener for same. That generally quells the discussion quite nicely!

In all seriousness, I completely understand the point of this blog. Since walking into a freshly cleaned home is truly an uplifting experience for me each and every time it occurs, we've looked elsewhere for non-fulfilling spending that could be given up without impacting our life quality. We've dropped our land line phone, a life insurance policy we'd forgotten about until the annual bill came due, consolidated our cable and internet service into a lower priced plan, dropped a credit checking service (we'd now have time to do it ourselves at $0 cost), several online and magazine subsciptions that we rarely had time to read, the newspaper (it had gotten so skinny there wasn't much point in keeping it), changed our hair appts from every 5 weeks to every 6 weeks, stopped buying coffee out, stopped buying takeout "just because" and will be changing the way we approach travel. Currently we go on cruises or stay in hotels. In retirement, we'll have the time to go on extended road trips around the USA and Canada in our trailer, as well as explore house-swapping around the globe, both of which we are extremely excited about.

I believe the total savings of the above come to something like $10,000 annually, and none of these items will really be missed in the long run.

Oh, and I did agree to drop the cleaning service down to just once a month, rather than twice. We'll be gone so much the house should rarely be dirty!


Seems like we were on the same wave length this week! There are things I would have a very hard time giving up. Others, not so much. When we went to our retirement budget our expenses didn't fall that much because we have been living a modest lifestyle before so we could retire so early.

I don't miss our vacation cabin in the White Mountains. I don't miss the house cleaner. I don't miss not flying at all. I don't miss the morning paper.

Importantly, now I don't miss seeing the grandkids grow up or family gatherings.


Time -- this is exactly why I chose to retire early! I wanted to be the boss of me! I continue to greatly enjoy your blog!


Great topic. This article so reminded me of that great quote James Earl Jones' character had in Field of Dreams. 'Because it's money they have . . . but peace they lack." And when you don't have time, in my thinking, you are lacking in some peace as well. For so many folks I work with, freeing up time brings them calmness. And gives them some space to prepare for their retirement move.

Bill Birnbaum

Hi, Syd... You pose an excellent question regarding our giving up something when we retire. I think there are a few things which I've given up that, to some extent, I actually miss. Pre-retirement, we lived in Southern California and there I had a cactus collection. As, upon retirement, we sold our home and did a seven month road trip, then moved to the Peruvian Andes, I had to give up the cactus collection. To a greater extent, I miss Dennis, the cat which we gave to our neighbor.

And yet one more thing I miss -- my identity as a business professional. Yep, I've read that men often have a problem in this regard. Bill


I am in general agreement with you, though on behalf of Tamara and myself, I gotta say a housecleaner is the first thing I'm adding back into my budget when I finally get my debts paid off and can retire! When it comes to cleaning, it's not about time, it's about how much I really HATE doing it (and how much my home reflects this!) But I can see where you're right about traveling--I expect to do a whole lot more of it, and much more cheaply than I currently do it.

Cathy S

We moved from a home we loved in CA, downsized to a smaller home in AZ. There are a few 'things' I miss from my old home, both in terms of the house and the area. I'm about ready for an ocean fix. We knew if we wanted to 'do' then we'd have to let go. It's about choices and I think you addressed it perfectly.


After working overseas for several years and traveling to various locations I am looking forward to retirement. In fact I have decided to retire overseas where my money goes further. More important I discovered I don't need all those things I need in the States. I can travel enjoy the countries and live very well by downsizing and living a more simpler life. I am not talking about a grass hut but things like the three cars, 240 channels on 4 televisions. I don't miss it and don't need it. That's my plan anyway.

Kids Nike TN

In fact I have decided to retire overseas where my money goes further. More important I discovered I don't need all those things I need in the States. I can travel enjoy the countries and live very well by downsizing and living a more simpler life

The comments to this entry are closed.


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter