Does Early Retirement Make You Lazy?

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FIRECracker

FIRECracker is Canada's youngest retiree. She used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, but instead of drowning in debt, she rejected home ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Post, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. To date, it is the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC's On the Money has garnered 4.5 Million views.
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“I’m terrified of early retirement. What if I get lazy and lose my edge?”

This is a question a reader asked me when we met at a coffee shop a few months ago. We were supposed to have a quick 30-minute conversation, but by the time I checked my watch, daylight had turned to dusk, the place had emptied out, and the barista was standing at the exit, glaring at us. Somehow a quick chat had turned into a 4-hour marathon. Again. Of course this shouldn’t surprise me. Whenever we meet up with like-minded FI people, this always happens. Not that I minded. I mean, it’s not like my ex co-workers, family, or friends were dying to talk to me about the subject.

“You’re not going to get lazy or lose your edge. If anything, you’ll probably be busier in retirement.” I said.

“So you’re not bored in retirement? You don’t worry about becoming lazy?”

I didn’t blame him for wondering this. I wondered about the same thing before I retired.

Back when I was working, people were constantly competing over how many hours they worked, how few vacations they took, how many blood clots they had. By being inside the rat race, we’ve all been indoctrinated into thinking that working long hours is the norm. That if we worked any less, we’re lazy, or “losing our edge”.

So when we quit and take a breather for the first time after a decade of work, we feel guilty that because we’re no longer killing ourselves over getting the corner office, a bigger title or a raise, we’re now “lazy” and “losing our edge”.

But is that really the case? Does early retirement really make you lazy and lose your edge?

Let’s take a look at these so-called downsides of retirement:

It Makes You Lazy

Many people fear that once you retire, you’ll sleep for 14 hours a day, eat Cheetos and binge watch Netflix in your undies. What’s the point of learning or working on anything when there’s no boss cracking the whip? Why bother doing anything productive when no one’s watching you? If you had the choice of binge watching your favourite shows for days on end until you fall asleep in puddle of your own drool, why wouldn’t you?

Well, considering that I’m writing this in bed in my underwear at 1 AM after binging watching “Designated Survivor” on Netflix for 2 hours, you could be right.

But that’s only after I’d spent most of my day exploring the sprawling gardens of the current city we’re in, eating the best pastries I’ve ever had my life, writing another chapter of our book in a coffee shop, embarrassing myself with my horrible Spanish, and just revelling in the beauty of life.

What people don’t realize is that retirement doesn’t turn you into a different person. If you were lazy before, you’ll be lazy afterwards. If you were diligent before, you’ll be diligent after. You’ll find things to do even if it doesn’t drop into your lap like it did when you were working.

This also leads me to the question of “if you were lazy before retirement, how did you become FI in the first place?”

There was this TV show I used to watch as a kid. It was in Chinese and for the life of me I can’t remember the name anymore, but in it, this Kung Fu master teaches his students how to fight. But he’s also careful to instill discipline, usually in the form of chopping wood, hauling rocks, and carrying buckets of water up and down hills for some reason. Jet Li’s usually involved somewhere.

Anyway, the Master explains that he does this because these martial arts skills are hard to acquire, and take a lot of time, energy, and sacrifice to learn. Without discipline, the students won’t have what it takes to push through the hard parts of the training.

The real reason, as it later turns out, is because martial arts could be used to kill, but by making sure the student learns discipline at the same time, by the time they get to the level where they could kill someone they’ve already acquired the restraint not to use it unwisely.

By Shi Deru (a.k.a. Shawn Xiangyang Liu) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

That’s the same with FI. Becoming Financially Independent is simple but not easy. It takes a lot of time, and it requires focused discipline for years. So like becoming a Kung Fu master, becoming Financially Independent comes with a built-in discipline mechanism. The long journey of getting to FI will make sure that when you achieve it, you won’t be a lazy bum that just sits around all day being useless.

You may not be driven towards earning money anymore, but the odds that you’ll spend the rest of your retirement binge watching Netflix in your undies are next to nil. Once that season of the Walking Dead is over, you’ll totally be on the hunt for the next passion project—whether it is volunteer work, a tech start-up, teaching, travel writing, or whatever floats your boat. Except now you’re choosing to do work that you value, work makes you intrinsically happy, rather than extrinsic rewards like money. In a weird twisted way, I was much lazier when I was working, despite the number of hours I was working. Because back then, I was turning my brain off and doing what I was told to do for a pay check rather than questioning—really QUESTIONING what I wanted to do with my life. Now, that’s lazy.

You Will Lose Your Edge

To me this means “lose your competitive edge”. Which means, you’re no longer trying to beat other people in achieving a goal. You’ve already achieved it—by becoming FI and not having to work anymore. No longer will you be elbowing your co-workers in the face to get the corner office, or throwing them under the bus for a promotion.

And somehow that’s a bad thing? What we found out, in the last 3 years of retirement, is that you don’t exactly lose your edge, you just gain something infinitely better –doing work you’re passionate about, rather than just for money or just to beat your co-workers. Before becoming FI, following your passion was a luxury for me, because it comes at the cost of lower pay, or in terms of novel writing—no pay at all for years! But now that I can choose to work on things I’m passionate about, I no longer have to choose between money or passion.

The finest food a writer’s salary can buy (Photo credit: Mark Turnauckas)

So sure, I could’ve lost some “edge” in retirement by no longer caring about competitively beating everyone for a higher salary, but I’ve gained so much more. I no longer have to take on jobs I don’t care about just for the money. I don’t have to accept sponsorship posts or affiliates that I don’t believe in. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many sponsorship posts from shitty credit card companies that we’ve turned down because I didn’t think it would benefit any of you. Being able to say exactly what you’re thinking is the best feeling in the world!

I like to think of it this way—if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, would I be full of regret? The answer is “no, no, a thousand times no.” I don’t regret losing my edge and not making more money that I don’t need. But back when I was working, I was terrified of dying, because my whole life would’ve felt like a waste.

So the question really shouldn’t be “Will you be lazy and lose your edge in retirement?” It should be “Will you choose to be lazy in retirement?” and “What’s wrong with losing your edge if you can trade that for your passion?”

If you’re the type of person who can make it to FI, you’re not lazy. And unless you choose to become a whole different person, you have nothing to worry about.

What do you think? Will early retirement make you lazy?



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65 thoughts on “Does Early Retirement Make You Lazy?”

  1. Great article.

    “Simple but not easy,” sums up most desirable things in life.
    LBYM
    Staying out of debt.
    Being in shape.
    Being honest.
    Etc.

    On thee other hand, when someone starts with , “It’s complicated,” my bullshit antenna shifts into overdrive. And yup, the lying and deception commences. Complicated, my ass!!! 🙁

    1. Yeah, I’m can’t stand the “It’s complicated” excuses too. “It’s complicated” sounds like a facebook relationship status. It’s not complicated–it’s just not easy.

  2. Absolutely excellent post, FireCracker! Your words resonated with me and I have to say that, while I don’t exactly know what my passion is, I have absolutely no fear that I will become lazy or that I will lose “my edge” when I finally retire. Those concerns had not crossed my mind until I read this post!

  3. The kind of people that ask that question are the ones who watch Netflix in their underwear eating Cheetos after getting home from work everyday. They are not the kind of people who will achieve FI without a major mindset overhaul. They are not writing blogs, or working on side hustles after work until 1 am. Those people are the kind of people who will be FI and who will find more than enough to do after working. I’ve been so productive after I quit my job that I find it incredible I even got anything done while working. If anything, I might be working harder now that I have no guaranteed income and would like to survive until my nest egg matures in 30 years.

  4. Unlike the stock market, when it comes to personal behaviour, past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour. So let’s use my “mini-retirement” (aka 7-month parental leave) from a few years ago as a good indicator!

    Phase 1: Plan for and then take a fun short trip with the family.

    Phase 2: Veg out completely for two weeks. No Netflix or cable, so hello to library movies and YouTube.

    Phase 3: Get completely bored with vegging out. Start planning something big.

    Phase 4: Do something big, productive, and future-oriented! (In my case it was four big things, including helping raise the little one of course.)

    Phase 5: Find your groove alternating between big things, little things, and periods of rest.

    When you’re doing things that you love (phases 4 & 5), you might actually be busier than before, but it feels much more balanced because you control the cadence 🙂

    1. Nice work living it up in your mini-retirement! That’s actually a really good indicator of what retirement would be like. Clearly you figured it–balance and alternating between work and play is the key 🙂

  5. Yep, I can confirm that I’m “busier than ever” after retiring.

    Everybody thinks “retirement” is lazing around and watching TV, but that’s totally not the case. I watch *less* TV now because I lack the time (and interest).

    I still have an occasional “lazy day” but I spend so much more time working on my passion projects now. The drive and desire to work on them usually outweighs any laziness.

    1. So true. I’ve had weeks in which I’ve been writing non-stop without a weekend–whereas when I was working I always looked forwarded to weekends. The flexibility over your time is my favourite part of retirement. It gives you a surprising boost in productivity–more done in less time.

  6. Love this article and perfect timing – I handed in my notice and will be free at the end of May. I was worried about “getting lazy” despite the fact I have hustled since I was 11 years old (now 46). Thank you both so much for writing this blog – it inspired and educated me in so many ways and gave me the confidence to just do it.

    1. Once a hustler, always a hustler 🙂 You have nothing to worry about.

      Congrats on your upcoming freedom! I look forward to hearing about your passion projects and adventures in retirement!

  7. Great post! From my experience you actually become more busier in retirement. After the initial transition phase you find more things to do that you actually enjoy.

    For example, when I was working I spent most of my day commuting, stuck in unproductive meetings or doing “busy work” that made no impact.

    Now you can spend time with your kids, working out and on special projects. If you need any ideas then call up a local school and see what they need. Raising funds for community projects takes time, requires many skills but it is ultimately rewarding. The key thing is to find something that gives you purpose. Once you do things will fall into place.

    1. “From my experience you actually become more busier in retirement.”

      Looks like this is a shared experience amongst early retirees. I feel the same way.

      Good for you for being so helpful and giving back to the community in retirement! Spending time with family is also a great way to spend all that extra time.

  8. I have to say, while I agree with the article overall, I do think you can reach FI while being lazy, and if anything FI even promotes laziness with its simplicity. Many people have to work HARD for money, jumping through hoops like buying houses, renting them out, working overtime, taking on side hustles.

    You don’t have to do any of this to reach FI. You can easily reach FI by working a regular full-time job, dumping all your money into a couple of ETF’s and doing NOTHING else for years, until one day you are financially free.

    At this point, some people will almost certainly stop and wonder what their life purpose is now, especially if they didn’t live a very fulfilling life before reaching FI.

    I think the key is to realize FI is not your PURPOSE in life. FI is simply a lifestyle choice that needs to support your purpose.

    1. I really agree with this. Sometimes when I read FI blogs they make me feel like I should feel guilty for chilling out when I get home from work. Like I should be hustling on my second job in ALL of my downtime.

      In my opinion that mentality is unhealthy and could lead to burnout. I think it is more important to do what you enjoy out of work, especially if your salary will eventually get you to FI without the extra hustle.

      Being busy is not the same as being a good person. Doing what you enjoy outside of your 9-5 will also help you find meaningful hobbies that you can do more of once you retire.

      1. Yeah, I agree but then again what would these blogs write about if all they advised was to live a normal (frugal) life and invest the savings in ETF’s? You don’t need to do anything a normal person wouldn’t do, other than spending less of your income and investing the savings. It takes practically no effort to do either of those (sure, discipline, but no effort). This is why I like the Simple Path to Wealth from JL Collins. Read that one book (or read his blog series) and that’s all you need to do. You can learn it and implement it all within a few months and after that it’s pretty self-regulated.

        I used to make FI my ultimate life goal without exception, and nothing would get in the way, but I’ve come to realize that makes for a pretty miserable life without any meaningful purpose. People need to find their meaning in life and construct their path to FI around it. There’s no point being financially free yet miserable with the life you have made for yourself.

        That’s why I’ve cut back on my saving and focused more spending on things that make me happy, like travel and weekend activities that some might consider a splurge. I still save a lot more than most people, but it’s nothing like the 75%+ of the FI community.

        1. That’s a good choice I think. You gotta enjoy the journey there, right? I’m lucky that most of my hobbies revolve around not spending money. Haha! Gardening? Making cheese? Both save me some money!

    2. Hey for those lucky few who can coast their way to FI with cushy jobs and find it easy to become FI (I haven’t met anyone like this yet), kudos to them! Though, I’d say if they were resourceful enough to figure out they could become FI, they’ll be resourceful enough to figure out what to do in retirement. Also, there’s never a shortage of volunteer work 🙂

  9. we had a couple of changes in the past year and my results were interesting. my job ceased to suck and i stopped working nights and weekends and at the same time we went down to one full-time income. we had streamlined our lives like crazy before that and were very efficient just to have quality time together. it feels like part-time work now but it left a void of all this newly minted time on my hands i didn’t have before. mrs. smidlap has her painting and art passions and could fill days and weeks on that. i have less of that except i started a little blog. the other thing that happened is we reached an FI number and that was a major life accomplishment. now i need something else worthwhile to work on as i’ve gotten a little soft while i figure it out. this nasty ass upstate, NY winter hasn’t done any favors as far a exercise and getting out in the great outdoors either.

    1. Wow, that’s great that you job doesn’t suck now! And congrats on reaching your FI number!

      I think what you’re referring to with the “I’ve gotten a little soft” bit is the feeling I got when I stepped back from the crazy work hours and felt guilty for not hustling all the time. The good news it that guilty feeling of “GAH! I’m not killing myself hustling all the time! I need to be hustling or I’m useless!” will go away over time. You need time to decompress after being in the workforce for so long. But over time, you’ll find that you don’t need to kill yourself using up every second anymore. It’s good to have time to smell the roses and follow your passion.

      Starting a blog to build a community and improve your writing is a great first step!

  10. Damn it, I must be in the minority! I early retired over a decade ago, and I am definitely achieving less than when I was working. I am as busy as ever, but less efficient. I spend more time on stuff that I used to have support for or didn’t use to care about, e.g. negotiating health care rates, doing house work, cooking, exercising (used to have readily available co-workers for pick-up basketball), optimizing expenses, evaluating credit card offers or other ways to make a few K a month, doing my taxes, home maintenance and repairs, rental property management. I am also more easily distracted by a million things than back when I only had time to work and produce impactful results. Most of this stuff I used to hire out since I made so much from my job. Now I have the time to do it all myself, and I don’t think it’s worth it to hire out anymore.

    I think it all depends on how much bank you were making when you were working!

    1. I think what I’m hearing is that you are doing more in retirement, but you find it “less impactful”. Maybe because it’s related to maintaining the house/chores, rather than what you perceive as “achievement”?

      Don’t know, maybe I’m more simple minded, but I find plenty of achievement in all those things you mentioned and they’re impactful in making your family happier and healthier, why is that “less impactful” than making a company more money? If you don’t like doing those things and don’t find that it rewarding, you always have the option of going back to work and outsourcing those things, or starting a business/side hustle to pay for it. The beauty of FI is that you have choices. But giving how much you’re doing, I would definitely not call that lazy 🙂

  11. I feel like my spouse and I have been pretty lazy since we retired a year ago, or at least focusing on the wrong things and not making as much progress as I feel we should have. I still work 4 hours a day from home at my old job so I am only semi-retired and I “wasted” about 4 months running a Warcraft guild that ended in February. It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot about managing a large group of people and building a good rapport and received a lot of good feedback. It also inspired me to write 2 new songs and improve my singing technique but I feel like if I would have put as much effort into our art project then that would have been a lot more productive. Meanwhile my spouse is the best homemaker ever and has learned a lot about cooking and baking and fixing things around the house but again, that is not what we sold our house and moved to the middle of nowhere for. Now that we are on to year two it is time to get more focused on the art business.

    1. Why do you consider building the Warcraft guild a waste if you learned how to build a good rapport and received good feedback? Is it because it’s not towards your dream of building a business related to art?

      I used to feel that everything was a waste if it wasn’t related to writing, but some of the things I learned doing volunteering, socializing with people actually helped a lot in my writing. So in my opinion, no learned skill is ever wasted. You always end up using it sometime in the future.

      1. I guess I feel like most of what I learned happened in the first 6 weeks and then things got kind of stale but I held on for months trying to make things work. I wanted to step back and there wasn’t anyone else who was willing to take on the responsibility of managing the guild so I knew if I let it go everything I had built would fall apart and I would let everyone down.

        When the guild eventually failed I also learned a lot of things in hindsight for instance it turns our I am pretty good a reading people and predicting what they are going to do (the whole thing was like a giant social experiment, I was constantly observing behaviors and seeing how things played out).

        With that being said, I just feel like with the amount of work I put into the whole warcraft thing (building a website, researching different raid encounters and class specifications, officer meetings, helping people get the gear they needed, etc.) it was like a full time job that ended up being really exhausting in the end and now that it is done all I have is a couple of songs, one really good friend and a handful of good memories along with the previously mentioned lessons learned. If I had put that much effort into our art business then we might actually have gotten somewhere by now (so far there is a lot of art but no business, as in no website, clients, social media presence, etc. because I have been procrastinating.)

  12. Its funny, ever since realizing I was FI, I have become even busier. Writing blogs, reading books, going to conferences. Who has time to work a W2? It’s getting harder for me.

    1. Sounds like an awesome way to spend your retirement 🙂 Those are also my favourite things to do. I spent 2 hours in a book store the other day and I have no regrets. Time spent doing what you love is never wasted in my book (bad pun intended)

  13. I have been thinking about how I devote time differently than I used to, prior to FI. For example, I love leftover whatever for breakfast (quiche, pizza, omelet) and I have discovered that if I warm it in the oven rather than the microwave, the texture is so much better.
    So simple but true for many things. If I take 20 minutes to do something thoroughly, it works out better than if I rush through it in 5 minutes. I was rushing through so may things…can’t even count.
    My time is what I’m really jealous about these days. For so long I just handed those minutes and hours over to others without even thinking about it. No more. I choose.

    1. I feel the same way, Renee! I can actually sit down and read a book carefully and even take notes, instead of skimming it like I used to. And if I want to slowly enjoy a meal, I don’t have to hork it up without even remembering what it tastes like. It’s awesome to have the time to enjoy things!

  14. I absolutely agree with you when you say that early retirement will NOT make you lazy but will, in fact, make you more productive and happy overall because once you become independent you can FINALLY start doing what you enjoy. I know I will certainly start doing the things that I enjoy once I retire early.

    But I also agree with the dread part about dying with regret. I felt the same way with my old full-time corporate job. Man, people tell us to get a great job and work 833593065065 hours a week and everything will be just peachy. Well, I experienced that and things were far from peachy. Losing sleep, cramming into train carts 5 times a week, working hard and still hardly able to meet the rent. Gosh, it would suck to have to do that again.

    By the way, that pic of the fancy feast was probably the best thing I’ve seen so far today. 🙂

  15. So you’re telling me that I can’t binge on cheetos (flaming hot with lime, of course) and Netflix in retirement. WTF have I been working for then? ;o) I am a huge Keifer fan mainly because I love 24. I watched a few episodes of Designator Survivor, but it just wasn’t the same. Jack Bauer is hard to beat!

    1. I ate a whole duck pate straight out of the jar today, so who I am to tell you what you can or can’t do in retirement 😉

      And yeah, Keifer rocks. I found myself rolling my eyes through parts of DS, but somehow I still continue to watch it. It’s not as good as 24 but he still manages to steal the show.

  16. I love the martial arts analogy. You do need discipline for FI and when you get there you’ll have instilled the habits which will prevent you from blowing all your money and time.

    It’s worked on me. In the past few years I’ve become smarter and more defensive with my money.

    1. As Thoreau once said “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

      Glad it’s working for you!

  17. Hello all, it has been some time since I have checked in. I am back to work, close to FI, and miracle baby is happy in Montessori, wouldn’t take her out of something she loves. I am concerned about some extreme health challenges of older parents getting worse in the past few months. I have been going back and forth to a near by city to help them, and spend time with MB, rushing to get our own stuff done. I fear I would be everyone’s caregiver if I FIRE now, and this is now leaving me exhausted. I have a new manager who is much more pleasant, and the work remains the same, lots of mess for me to clean up from being on mat leave despite training the new staff, work ethic not always shared!
    I have worked in social services for decades and done plenty of volunteer work, and the thought of more of this leaves me feeling drained.

    Not sure what to do, just recently back to work and committed to stay over the summer as MB daddy is taking the time off to spend with her and I want him to get the full caregiver experience.

    Are you in TO for coffee? I will make/buy it? Sorry to complain, leaving a decades long career is scary and I’m not sure what’s next.

    Blessings and good wishes to all, shine brightly 🙂

    1. Hi Tigermom,

      Great to hear from you! I’m glad to hear that MB is happy at school, your manager is more pleasant and you MB is taking time off to relieve you of the full caregiver experience.

      If working is a better fit for you in this situation, then I would say don’t quit. As I mentioned before the RE part of FIRE is optional. Only the FI part isn’t. So in your case you’re close to FI which is great, and allows you piece of mind in case any instability in your job happens or you want to take some time off. Having options is always a good thing and I think in your case, it looks like you know what works best for you. Kudos for being an amazing person and taking good care of your parents and MB.

      Thanks for the offer for coffee! I’m not currently in Toronto (We’ll be in Europe for most of the year), but I’ll take you up on that offer the next time I’m in Toronto!

      1. Thanks for the encouragement. Europe sounds lovely, especially the non paleo pastries, oh my! Lots to think about for our family,

        Enjoy your travels!!!!

  18. I would say it makes you work differently. I work one half to two-thirds days six to seven days a week, but everything I work on I actually want to work on. I would probably do all of it for free.

    In addition, there is less urgency (due to external deadlines), but greater productivity.

    I also find I am much healthier now. I think it is because having autonomy is extremely helpful to my personality type.

    Go MilRev!

    1. Less urgency + great productivity was a huge surprise to me as well. Apparently, killing yourself working 60-80 hours weeks doesn’t actually cause you get more done. I just causes you to burn out, make more mistakes, and waste time fixing them.

      Hooray on the improved health! That’s the biggest win of having the autonomy to work when you choose rather than when they choose.

    1. The long stretches of breaks is always a plus. I can’t go a whole month without working on some sort of project, but I should probably learn how to 😉

  19. Great post. The concept immediately reminded me of an old quote that I love. The interwebs point to various versions and origins, but the one I originally heard is the one that stuck with me. “Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” – Will Smith

  20. Great post. One of the things I wonder about is how many FI’ers quit their jobs, take some time to explore other interests (Cheetos and Netflix certainly qualifies) and eventually go back into their old line of work. It isn’t so bad sometimes when you don’t HAVE to do it. This is what happened to me…

    1. I know ERE is one of them. There are probably many others.

      Like you said, when you choose to go back it’s very different than HAVING to go back. And you probably enjoy your job better than if you hadn’t become FI, because the “what if” question has been answered.

      How has it been for you? Do you enjoy your job more than you did before?

  21. I went back as a contractor doing certain aspects that I enjoy, and skipping the parts that caused me to spend 80 hours a week in my old office and dream of early retirement in the first place. Also, I suspect I am one of those people who doesn’t do well creating structure in their own lives and I need someone else to do that. So yeah, it’s been much better. It doesn’t pay as well, but that’s the best part of FI – who cares?

    1. “It doesn’t pay as well, but that’s the best part of FI – who cares?”

      Bingo. Cut out the bad parts of the good job, keep the good. Ignore the pay. That’s the way to do it. Glad it’s working out for you!

  22. Thanks for the encouragement. Europe sounds lovely, especially the non paleo pastries, oh my! Lots to think about for our family,

    Enjoy your travels!!!!

  23. Well I guess I’m screwed then. I just never have the energy to get anything done after 9-10 hours or more of work.

    Actually, that’s not completely true. I still blog and am attempting to find part time work on the side. I just find it hard to avoid falling asleep randomly at the end of the day.

    I like to hope that early retirement me would be different from weekend me. Even on my off days, I tend to bum around and not do everything that needs to be done because I don’t have the energy or attention span to be productive. I need to figure out how to change this.

    Sincerely,
    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. “I tend to bum around and not do everything that needs to be done because I don’t have the energy or attention span to be productive.”

      This has been the most rewarding change for me. You don’t change as a person, but that behaviour does change after retirement. You have way more time to learn new skills and you actually have the energy to do it!

  24. I have 2 collector cars, a garden that is only a thought right now, 500 songs in my head, 200 stories to write, 3-4 fantastic web empires just waiting to be exposed, a BLOG, a youtube channel…

    sorry, I have no time to do nothing in retirement …

  25. Exactly! Yes, I’m a bit lazier and less edgy, but that’s fine. Life is good and I’m still very busy. I was already losing my edge when I was working anyway. That’s just part of growing older.

    1. That’s a good point, Joe. I’d much rather lose my edge in retirement than get laid off for getting old and losing my edge at work.

  26. “I like to think of it this way—if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, would I be full of regret? The answer is “no, no, a thousand times no.” I don’t regret losing my edge and not making more money that I don’t need. But back when I was working, I was terrified of dying, because my whole life would’ve felt like a waste.”

    I can’t believe you wrote those exact words, Firecracker. Before I left my previous employer, this is exactly the way I felt. I had been with the company 23 years, maxed out my pay level, had cheap health insurance, and 6 weeks paid vacation a year. Eventually all of that didn’t matter. A good friend of mine was close to retirement, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died a few months later. I kept thinking to myself how pissed off I would be if that happened to me. It led me to leave that position for a much smaller company doing part time work that I am really passionate about. Was it a smart move financially? No. Would I still be pissed if I received that diagnosis? Yes, but I would not be thinking that I had wasted my life energy on something that didn’t matter. I can truly say that I am OK with whatever happens at this point. It’s very hard to explain but it is a whole different feeling about life and death. Priceless!

    1. So sorry to hear about your friend, Stubby. 🙁 My breaking point was also when I watched my co-worker almost die at work (the doctor said if he had been rushed to hospital just 30 mins later, he would’ve died). That’s when I realized I had to make a change. It just not work it–no job is worth dying for.

      Glad you are much happier in your new job. It’s makes a world of difference when you can wake up every morning, knowing you live with no regrets. Kudos!

    2. That quote also stuck a major chord inside of me.

      I would have so many regrets if I died tomorrow or even worse if I laid in bed waiting for death for an extended period of time.

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