I’ve noted before that the media loves to create hysteria & fear about early retirement. From Suze Orman’s cautions that the FIRE movement is “the dumbest personal finance decision people can make” to this recent article from CNBC focusing on the ‘Downsides of Early Retirement That No One Tells You About’.
I thought it might be good to offer my own experience as a counterpoint to what the author shares in his article. Everyone will have their own reaction to the lifestyle adjustment that comes with FIRE and the five concerns he shared frankly don’t match what I have felt at all …
- “You May Suffer From An Identity Crisis” – No, not at all. Good jobs certainly come with a degree of status, but I haven’t heard anyone who wouldn’t trade their current title for ‘financially-independent goof off’.
- “You may second-guess yourself” – I haven’t done this one single time in over three years. Even when the stock market has fallen suddenly or my MegaCorp stock options lost most of their value, I was still happy to be free & independent. (MegaCorp options have bounced back nicely, by the way).
- “People may treat you like a misfit” – I can’t think of situation where I’ve felt that way. Generally, I would say that my FIRE story inspires many people and I feel more like a hero and people say I ‘beat the system’, ‘won the money game’, or comment that ‘I wish I had your life’. No real misfitting.
- “You might be surprised that you aren’t that much happier” – I enjoyed going to work & had interesting jobs. Still, I’m a happy person overall and not working has been an absolute pleasure. As I’ve learned from others, the ‘honeymoon phase’ doesn’t need to end.
- “You may get really really bored” – Nope. As I’ve said, there aren’t boring retirements, only boring people. If you can’t find things more interesting to do than work on MegaCorp budgets, manage MegaCorp projects, and handle MegaCorp administrivia, you have a lot of learning to do. Like most FIRE devotees, I am busier and having more fun than ever!
One person’s joy can be another person’s challenge, of course. I like the author’s Financial Samurai webpage for the most part and he has been very successful. I’m not trying to negate his experience with this response, but want folks to know that his ‘downsides’ certainly don’t apply to everyone.
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