My former boss from MegaCorp recently posted an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal titled “In Defense of the Not-So-Busy Retirement.” After retiring a year ago this month, Mr. Boss commented that he was having no problem embracing the idea of ‘Slow Retirement’ touched on in the article – that is, a retirement where one doesn’t succumb to the social pressure that one needs to keep as busy/purposeful in retirement as they were when they were working.
The author describes the challenges of a ‘stay busy’ retirement culture with expectations that can “edge toward oppressiveness when the fulfillment of idealized retirements depends on the consumption of costly leisure goods and experiences, or on the self-conscious selection of activities for their status value.” When the most common question people ask you is “What are you doing with your time?” It is natural for people to want to feel responsible for spending it wisely.
Since I published my Second FIRE Anniversary posts last month, many commented on how busy our activities seem. I do keep pretty busy, but at the same time, most of the activities I am involved in are: 1) voluntary; 2) social; and, 3) focus on fun/leisure/recreation time. While I am involved in board work and do an occasional consulting project, my daily time investment has shifted largely in line with that of other retirees as shown in this chart published with the WSJ article:
I can see a lot of our FIRE lifestyle in the data captured in the chart. Leisure & sports, which includes travel, concerts, and museums are way up. We also go out to eat more and spend more time on household activities. Busy or ‘slow’ is a bit in the eye of the beholder, but the only real pressure I feel right now is to improve on last year’s softball batting average!
What’s your reaction to the time-study chart from this article?
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