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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Peter Gammons Talks Baseball, Passion, and Success

Signed baseball by Peter Gammons and a Louisville Slugger
Signed ball by Peter Gammons from Monday’s event and Tony’s battered, Pete Rose, Louisville Slugger.


The Event

On Monday I accompanied Tony to a client appreciation event held at the law offices of Greenberg Traurig in Boston’s financial district. Being there brought back fond memories of my time working nearby on Franklin Street.

I debated attending wondering what I could offer in a room full of lawyers. As it happens, my cousin David is a partner at the firm – catching up with him alone would be a treat (he’s one of the funniest people I know.)

The spacious and sleekly designed office space was also a treat. The outdoor patio on the 20th floor really sold me. When I stepped out and looked up to the tops of the surrounding buildings framed by blue sky, I imagined spending many a lunch hour enjoying this lovely retreat. Not surprisingly, it’s rarely used. Partners are too busy and associates wouldn’t dare be caught lounging outside.

Peter Gammons Takes the Mic

I soon turned my attention turned to the evening’s keynote speaker. The firm brought in esteemed sportswriter and baseball television analyst, Peter Gammons.

I’m not going to lie, baseball isn’t my game, but as soon as Gammons began speaking, I was fascinated with his in-depth recall of dates, statistics, players and general baseball knowledge. His remarkable knowledge and clear passion were inspiring. He commented on everything from the problems with youth sports to what it takes to be a star, along with countless anecdotes of his encounters with baseball greats.

I found his story about recognizing a great hitter most fascinating. Read his full story here. He explained that only great hitters like Ted Williams, Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire have had the experience. It’s when the seams of a fastball connect with the bat of a perfect swing in just the right spot on a foul straight back – or something like that. The perfect storm of power and placement results in the burning smell of ball striking bat.

The Message

While most of this baseball talk was lost on me, I took from it two things – the passion, dedication and natural ability to be great at something will lead you to unique experiences reserved only for a select few. I would like an experience like that someday. If you love something, like Peter Gammons does baseball, you can engross yourself in it so completely that your passion alone will bring you success and personal fulfillment.

I have found my passion in writing. While this discovery came later in my life, I’m very glad to have uncovered it and am committed to seeing where it will take me.

Have you found your passion?

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