Could You Really Retire?

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Just dropped 2 comments on a really interesting article about retirement and thought I’d challenge you to a different view on this topic.

There you’ll find some tips for early retirement and also a good plan to take into account. What I’d like to discuss though is another aspect: can you really retire as someone who’s usually very active? Let’s suppose we have everything planned for our ‘golden years’: we have saved/invested well, no debt anymore (or at least is well under control) and, most importantly, our health is great, so we can spend the remainder of our lives traveling and having fun.

How long until you lose your minds?

There are millions of people who dream of not having to work anymore, of being the masters of their own schedule, just sipping cocktails on the beach and watching the young ladies pass by (or young gentlemen ;)). To come and say you might not enjoy retirement, is like a slap on the face, when so many people are counting the days until ‘freedom’.

retirement-old

To be honest I could never relax for too long.

My first years as a radio DJ meant non-stop work. In the first 24 months I never got a vacation (not even a small one). We could get money for the days we didn’t ‘take’, so I chose the money, since I was crazy about my job.

After 2 years a new law was passed and employers HAD to send their employees home for the duration of the vacation (21 working days, so around a month). This meant Dojo had to stop going to the radio station for at least 7 days.

As you might guess, it all worked nice (I was burnt out anyway) for 4 days, then I was so bored that I called the station asking if they needed any help. That was the end of the vacation.

Years passed and I learned to abide by the law, but there was a new thing on my mind, so I wouldn’t get bored: I was learning web design and running my web sites network. From that moment on, any moment away from the radio was spend managing my sites.

Active vacations and possibly retirement

In 2010 we left the country for the first time. 6 months in NYC at our dearest friends. We were tourists there, just enjoying a spectacular city. Of course, after few days since arriving there, I had to resume some of my work, since just the fun fun fun wasn’t enough.

So, all the months we had spent there, I did a lot of sightseeing, spent a lot of time with our friends and their perfect daughter, but also managed my small business. Sure, I didn’t work ‘full time’ as I’d do when home, but scheduled few hours every day for this.

During our small vacations at the seaside I also spend 1-2 hours/day for my web sites and clients. Responding to emails, writing an article, cleaning up an installation etc. Even if I don’t design in Photoshop or code a WordPress theme for instance, I still do ‘maintenance’ work (probably to keep myself from going nuts from all the inactivity).

For me, 2-3 days are enough to just relax and enjoy my ‘freedom’, but afterwards I start getting anxious for some work.

Even now, theoretically I’m ‘away from business’, since I have a small baby. As you can guess, running a business in this case is pretty challenging, and I have decided that my business IS NOT more important than my daughter. So I spend ALL day long caring for her, playing together, walking etc, so this leaves me with 2-3 hours max. to handle my client work and run the network.

I have to say that this arrangement (while it doesn’t allow me to develop the business as fast as I could) works great for all of us. Sure, there are days when I just don’t feel like work at all, so nothing gets done.

To be honest, I’d like my ‘golden years’ to be the same and actually think this is what will happen. Me and total relaxation are not compatible for more than 2-3 days, so I’ll probably work on something then, too. Probably it won’t be web design or blogging, who knows what I’ll fall in love with in the meantime. But what I know at least now, is that I cannot function id my mind is not busy ‘cooking’ something.

So, provided you have the money for a safe and long retirement (and your health is also great), do you think you’d be able to retire completely or would probably have something more like a semi-retirement?

4 COMMENTS

  1. Sometimes, all this work gets me so tired that I believe that if I had the money, I wouldn’t even consider working for a decade 🙂 I did manage to take a month long break from working recently and only did minimal maintenance, probably less than 10 hours total for 30 days. It was not difficult, but I was completely burned out.

    But usually I am just like you: after a few days, I start to get itchy fingers and I have to work a bit. I get new ideas, I am in a great mood, so I can’t stay away from working at least a bit. So probably this is how my retirement would look like, ideally: a couple of hours per day, location independent – just like your NY stay.

  2. I think there is far more power in mini retirements throughout your life rather than one big, long period of non-work at the end of it. This concept is discussed in depth in the 4 Hour Work Week which I’ve recently read and it’s converted me.

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