Early Retirement – Can We Do That?

Early retirement -kick up your heels

A friend of ours recently retired. No, he’s not in his sixties and yes, retirement is a word that’s been popping up a lot more than I ever thought it would before turning 50.  Our friend’s exit from the working world was an early retirement and well deserved. The mere thought of it had me realizing that standard early retirement age, 62, is not as far off as it feels. Here’s more on Retirement Age.

Truth told, I laughed when I heard our friend was “retiring.” “You can’t retire,” I said. “You’ll be bored out of your mind.” I went on to pepper him with questions about what he’d do with his time and let him know that I had a full-time chef and chauffeur position open for the taking.

Jokes aside, I was surprised when my young retiree friend said he just wanted to sit back and enjoy his life for a while. Of course that made sense, but we’re still young with so much left to contribute. But his rat race to success had reached its end and he was now ready to reap the benefits of his years of hard work.

I get that and while it certainly did seem enviable, I first thought; Wow! You can really do that? And then I thought; If you could, would you really want to?

Tony and I are at an interesting point where he has put blood, sweat and tears into his tax consulting business and I have put the same (I would say more) into raising the girls while writing on the side.

Now that the girls are teens, I have been more focused on my writing career and Tony has been much more focused on golf, thanks to his solid team at the office.  While he seems to be winding down, I feel like I’m ramping up. I have grand ideas for 3 Olives & a Twist and I am hopeful that my book will soon catch the interest of a publisher. As my mind spins out of control with possibilities for my personal career goals, I periodically catch myself thinking, how much is too much?  Yes, I want to continue writing, but many of my ideas are elaborate and would require the tenacity of a hungry twenty-something to create the level of success I envision. Do I have it in me? I think about the video I included in my Crossroads post suggesting that 50 is the new 20 when it comes to career aspirations.

Here’s where my mind begins drifting. In just five years, both of my girls will be in college. Excuse me a moment while a dry my tears. Thank God Tony’s expertise in financial planning has put us in a place where, hopefully, we won’t be destitute after one tuition payment. And girls, dear girls, academic scholarships are never a bad thing – get your nose in those books!

While I don’t have the kind of “job” that Tony does; the idea of early retirement is just as appealing. I am not going to lie; now, in our mid – OK let’s say mid to late forties, we are tired. We’ve crammed in a lot up to this point and the idea of travel, freedom, relaxation, reading, dining out and simply living life at a slower pace sounds pretty fabulous.  At the same time, I cannot fathom having a full day entirely to myself. What the heck would I do?

For me, early retirement is a dream, a nice one to have, but a dream nonetheless. I just keep wondering, if we were so blessed, would early retirement be enough to sustain our zest for success?  Are Tony and I really ready to kick up our heels and settle in for the next phase of life? Or would we be bored?

Are you retired? What’s it like? Are you happy in retirement?

If given the chance, would you retire early?

Here are some sites with points to consider about early retirement, retirement portfolios, investment portfolios, retirement income, cost of living, debt reduction, retirement budget and early retirement strategies. All good things to know if early retirement in on your radar.

Forbes – 7 Simple Strategies to Retire Early

Market Watch – How to Retire Early: A 5-Step Plan

Bank Rate – 6 Signs That You Are Ready to Retire Early

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Making Decisions Isn’t Always Easy – Crossroads

crossroads image


I’m usually a decisive person. I know what I like and what I want, so there is often very little time spent making decisions. Earlier this year someone told me that this would be a year of change. Change can be stressful, but I am at a time in my life when I feel very open to it.

Lately, however I feel stuck at a crossroads. I’m ready for certain, inevitable changes in my life, but when it comes to making decisions about what my “professional” future should be, I don’t have a clear vision. Up until now, freelance writing has been great, but I am ready for more.

I feel like I am on the right path with my book and blog, but I don’t know where the path is going and that is driving me nuts. I have a million ideas swirling around in my head, but nothing has struck me as the best next step. I feel like a kid in high school who doesn’t know what they want to be when they grow up. “It’s OK,” a parent might say. “You don’t have to decide right now.”

But, I’m forty seven years old (there, I said it), I do have to decide and I think I should do so quickly, because I’m running out of time.

Fifty Is The New Twenty?

But am I? Fifty can easily be the new twenty. I know several women who have reinvented their careers after fifty and here’s an inspiration clip I recently posted on Facebook.

Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur and public speaker. Good message-old tee and scruffy face aside.

The Dilemma

Here’s my dilemma – While I want the professional success I’ve always known I’m capable of achieving, I also want to accompany Tony as he makes his slow progression toward retirement. He said something recently that really hit me…“Just as I am starting to slow down, she is ramping up – I’ll be happy to pass the baton.”

And I’d be happy to receive it, but I also know myself. If I take that baton, I am going to run with it at full speed. I will immerse myself in whatever I do, just like I did as a mom and more recently as an obsessive dog owner.

There is a really big part of me that’s been looking forward to the time when Tony and I can focus on being a couple again with fewer distractions. Dinners in the city, day-trips, travel and joint activities are all things we’ve talked about doing more of when we aren’t so focused on work, carting kids around and rushing home to let the dog out. A truly successful career does not happen without a lot of work and I question whether now is the time to start over.

What Now?

I’ll probably be at this crossroads for a while longer. I guess I am like a kid in high school who doesn’t have to decide right now. But I want to start making decisions soon and when I do, I’ll go all in to whatever choice I make. There really is no wrong way, but embracing the chosen path, without looking back, will be the key to my success; be it personal or professional.

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