I have been thinking about people that I have known that retired very young. The pattern I have seen is that those people sell everything they own and buy a home on wheels. Their plan is to live like a gypsy for the rest of their lives. They are seeking a simpler life.
We parked in our motor home next to a couple in Palm Springs that were doing just that. Their RV was beautiful and we could see them dancing in their living space while we were eating dinner. They had quit their jobs and sold their home so they could chase the dream. They were in their 40's.
That couple had only been living their dream life for a few months. I often wonder where they are now and what they are doing.
It really is all about the money. Those that stop working early live with their choices for the remainder of their lives. Can they stay in the happy place forever? I don't know. (See: 7 Stages of Retirement Grief)
I do see things differently from my vantage point nearer the end of the journey. I have observed that:
- Filling days, 24/7, with no direction can be hard.
- Children can think you are older than you are. Being treated like you are old is not good.
- Children do not necessarily want you to move next door.
- Baby grandchildren grow up and no baby sitter is needed anymore.
- Living in a small space is a reality when you give up your income without a plan.
- Humans are living a very long time. It may not be forever but it may seem that way.
- If you don't have good insurance, disaster is waiting to happen.
I smile now as I recall what retiring at 55 for me and 59 for my husband entailed. (It seemed very young back in 1997.) It has been 21 years since our employer sent us off into the world without a job. It has not always been easy and we were financially sound. Are we typical? I don't know.
We have not finished yet. There is more to come and how it all works out is an unknown.
Would we have retired at a younger age? I am not sure. It takes a creative person to find fulfillment. I suppose that is what it is all about really. Working at something that gives you only joy is the dream. Because work we must, even if it is not for money.
Would you stop working today if you could? How little can you live on? Are you delaying dreams even if you are retired and why?
Let me know what you think. Oh and stay tuned! :)