One of the things I’ve started to do is to meet with people I know who retired early themselves. Many of them are old coworkers or folks that I have met along life’s journey and it is good to tap into their wisdom and to catch up with some old friends. I will post a bit about these meetings I’ve had. Today I met up with an old boss of mine at a tiny Starbucks and we chatted for a while about a number of topics, but especially about getting to financial independence & retiring early (FIRE). He was someone that gave me good advice about saving money when I was younger – I posted about it here.
A couple things he said surprised me. First, he said that the transition into early retirement (he quit @ 55) was difficult. He said he didn’t know what to do at first and ended up going back to the office and meeting up with old coworkers quite a bit. Too funny. He said it was challenging because most of his friends were still working, so for a couple of years he would meet up with people for coffee. Second, now that he is in his early 60s, he was still spending a fair amount of time with his old coworkers, who are now retiring themselves. I guess it’s obvious that retirement is more fun when your friends are retired!
When I asked him about where he finds his sense of purpose, his answer also surprised me. One of his passions is technology and he has gotten involved in the Apple Support Community (an online forum) by answering questions people have about iCloud. He said that he was surprised by how inaccurate many of the answers he saw were, so he started spending time answering them. After a while, he was the #1 responder on the iCloud topic in the world! He said it was very rewarding because he was able to help people with difficult questions and even help some recover precious photos of loved ones, which they thought were lost and they would never see again.
He had also done some volunteer board work with the local art museum and is looking for his next service opportunity now. But the Apple Support Community was a sort of volunteer service role itself. Interesting!
All in all, he was enjoying his retirement (after 7 years) very much and highly recommended early retirement. He really enjoyed the freedom of owning his time and being able to travel or do whatever he would like on his schedule. He noted that you never know when health issues might strike you – even in your 50s or 60s – so the sooner you make time for yourself the better. Sage advice from a wise friend.
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