I've been in early retirement since October, 2007. For a while, reactions ranged from disbelief to shock. Most people couldn't believe that I was actually going to retire. Typical questions were about what I was doing next, for work that is. However, after 22 months, most people have figured out that I am in it for the long run. Now the questions are about whether I miss my company or working:-)
Here's my assessment of the great, good and bad aspects of early retirement:
|Great, Good, or Bad?|
Less stress and more fun. I have 50 to 70 additional hours each week, if I include commuting. That's 2500 to 3500 hours per year, or 104 to 146 day equivalents, to spend on the activities of my choosing.
Just before retiring, I was under exercising and drinking eight cups of caffeinated coffee each day. As a result, I was overweight, feet hurt, and my heart had an irregular beat. Since retiring in October, 2007, my weight is down 8% (vs. target of 10%), my feet no longer hurt, and my heartbeat is more normal. In addition, I'm exercising 6-7 times a week, eating health, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and drink 3-4 cups of coffee a week.
I no longer have to juggle work with family events such as vacations, extended family visits, and our daughter's activities. We take regular vacations, visit my in-laws a couple times a month, and I attend the majority of my daughter's presentations/recitals/games.
Our annual income was down over 80% in 2008. Not surprisingly, the stock market collapse was the main cause :-( Fortunately, we had sufficient funds in cash, bonds and CDs to wait 3-4 years for the stock market to recover.
Except for the income, retirement has been great. Of course, early retirement isn't about making more money. Also, since we planned on living with 35% lower income during retirement, we were prepare a little for the actual decline.
Net, my overall rating is that early retirement was a pretty good idea. We've had to make some adjustments, but I'm glad we were able to do it in 2007. I would have been scared to do it by the end of 2008.
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This is not financial or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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