Is an “early retirement” what you really want?

retire in paradise for less, retirement, retire early, paradise, mexico, london,naked, ecuador,thailand,quito,cuenca,puyo,ambato,san miguel de allende,chiang mai,I think most people would be all ears if I sat down with them and told them that they could absolutely retire early and have an early retirement in a beautiful paradise for less money than they think possible. Even if they loved the jobs they were doing, the thought of retirement is enticing to most. However, it may be not for you. I happen to be really, really good at doing nothing. In fact I think I am an expert in this field. Seriously, so many people I know are NOT good at doing nothing. They get agitated and feel lost; if this sounds like you then an early retirement age or for that matter any full-time retirement may not be for you.

Besides being bored there is another more obvious factor. I remember my own dad telling me in his 70’s that “if he knew he was going to live this long he would have saved more money”. His words are spot on for many of us. Having enough money until “the end” is an important factor and sadly far too many people actually choose suicide over being poor in their old age.

You may well indeed have a government or private pension in place but with a small savings account things can get difficult fast. If you have to pay $5,000 USD for a medical issue then that may be a good portion of your savings. Gone, and very difficult to replace. Welcome to the world of “fixed income”. It is not possible to call your government office and request overtime or a pay increase for good job performance. If I could have, I would be earning top dollar for my performance of doing very little at all!

The irony of us Baby Boomers is that we all (most) want(ed) to retire at 55. However, we will live longer than our parents (hopefully) and thus the decades of being retired is much more than our parents ever had. So more money is needed and I think a more open mind to staying busy when retired. Early retirement means no “water cooler chat” no more office social events, no more office friends and for many it means not being part of something bigger than themselves.

Early retirement means having money for yourself and may still mean supporting children in some ways in college years or early family life of the kids. An early retirement may just mean “early” in the government pension sense. A “full retirement” means a higher pension pay (maybe 67 years old) each month as opposed to an early retirement (perhaps 62 years old) which means you have a penalty for each year before your full retirement. Each country has different rules and a very important step before pulling the trigger, on starting a government pension payout, is to check the rules where you live.

For me an early retirement at 60 was a no-brainer, I was all done with my great mechanical engineering career in medical devices of 35 years, I had few financial obligations and was quite content with a cool drink under a palm tree or a coffee on some sleepy town plaza. Your lifestyle and needs may be different so take it easy in thinking about this huge decision. Best of luck to you all.

I would love to hear from you on this topic, so please consider commenting in the box below. Cheers, John.

About John Arnold