Early retirement advantages are not hard to discern. But don’t ignore the downside in your retirement planning.
Some people in their early fifties find themselves thinking ‘I’ve worked hard for long enough, now it’s time to enjoy life as I want it. Finally, I’m my own boss!’ It can bring health benefits as the stress from work is eliminated. Or perhaps they find a satisfying part time retirement job. It’s an opportunity to pursue that hobby you never had enough time for, like golf.
Life isn’t black or white, and certainly retirement isn’t, hence the dichotomy in this page’s heading and sub heading...early retirement advantages, is there a downside?
Read Paul’s story for a real life experience
mind was firmly fixed early retirement advantages! He loved his work as account
director in a leading advertising agency, but after 20 years it was now less
satisfying. It no longer challenged him, the learning had ceased, and he
questioned the value of his contribution.
Some days he felt bored. He worried when he heard stories of burn out. Now 59, he wondered if it was time to quit.
Although his official retirement age was 65, he reckoned he would be able to negotiate a good deal and go at 58. Both of his children were finished university and working.
Paul thought about retirement, one of the appealing images that came to mind
was golf on Mondays. One of his best friends, David, who was about five years
older and already retired, had sometimes mentioned that he looked forward to
the day when Paul would join him on Monday golf.
Paul was exceptionally fit for his age. He played tennis twice weekly and boosted that he regularly beat opponents half his age. He enjoyed golf but hadn’t played much in the previous ten years.
He was diligent about his work and didn’t believe in taking time off to play golf during the work week. Week-ends were for family and other leisure pursuits.
During retirement coaching, I suggested to Paul that he take a day off and go and play with the Evergreens, which was the name of the Monday Morning golfers, and to report back to me on how he got on.
Some weeks later he
called to my office and greeted me with,
‘Boy I’m glad I tried Monday golf.’
Tell me about it, I enquired.
‘Well Greg, they’re nice people but ... I would say they are ten years older than me on average! They are the Golden Years generation. Also, I knew very few of them because I haven’t play much at my club in recent years.
I’m not ready for that scene. I won’t be including Monday morning golf as one of the attractions of early retirement.’
Paul’s story highlights the importance of pre-testing some of your assumptions about early retirement advantages and balancing them with the disadvantages, in the course of your retirement planning.