As usual, I prize your newsletters. But as I scanned and read, in particular the article “8 Secrets of Success From Early Retirees“, I was struck by the modern usage of the word “retirement”.
Webster’s tells us something along the lines of withdrawal from position, occupation or from active working life. Please know that most people see retirement as just that, no more money from your labors. Thus the fear.
People who do this and that to make extra are not retired, and cannot write authoritatively about the ease of living in retirement. Most of the financial gurus I read always object to complete retirement, or retirement as it truly means, and encourage second careers, part-time work, etc. Genuine retirement, complete withdrawal from working, does terrify the working woman or man. The word, as it was defined, that is.
Thank you for taking the time to write and for your kind words regarding our newsletters. We’re really glad you enjoy them!
You are not the first to write and question the word “retirement” and what it means in modern society. Boomers seem to be changing the concept of retirement and want to do more with their lives away from the conventional working world. They don’t want to sit in a rocking chair and watch the world go by. They want to utilize their talents in many different ways, and they want the freedom to be able to do this, whether or not they get paid to do it or by volunteering or mentoring.
Actually, we know very few people who do “nothing” in their retirement. “Complete withdrawal from work”? What if you do house repairs? or work in your garden? or babysit the grandkids? or manage some properties to finance your retirement? or manage your financial portfolio? or help a neighbor out by driving her around and she gives you $20? Or dog sit a friend’s pet and he pays you for your time and gas? I mean, the lines get blurry pretty quickly. We believe that “work” is part of being alive, part of any healthy lifestyle. Just because someone is no longer receiving a regular paycheck does not mean they can no longer be productive, paid or not.
Opportunities abound when one does not have to work, and a person can take advantage of these opportunities or not. To be sure, we have turned down countless possibilities during what we consider to be our “retirement” because we didn’t want to work that hard anymore, or because these opportunities didn’t suit us.
When we first left our jobs to live off our investments (and we did this for 15 years before we wrote our first book or had our website), there was no real word for what we were doing. Had we even thought about the words “financial independence” we would have selected those words to describe us (and our website). But mostly, those words described multi-millionaires, sports stars, Bill Gates, movie stars and such. It was not a word that was brought down to usage by the regular folk, whom we consider ourselves to be.
You might want to take a look at a piece we wrote some time back called Our Money Our Lives which goes into this topic a little bit more.
Ultimately, we aren’t concerned with what label someone places on our lifestyle, and we don’t worry about fitting into a description by Webster’s Dictionary. We felt we had valuable information to share with others on how to save for their lifestyle outside of working for a living and how to manage their spending after they quit their jobs. This information has merit whether or not we are considered to be “retired” or “financially independent” and we felt moved to share it.
Thank you again for writing, Paul. You bring up a popular question and we are grateful to be able to respond to it from our perspective.
Wishing you all the best,
Akaisha and Billy