Downsides of Early Retirement

I’ve talked about how I felt about post retirement before, which was pretty positive. But there are still things which are quite an adjustment, and not necessarily good. I’ll talk about these in my post today.

Different Life Stage with Spouse

When this COVID-19 madness dies down, I’ll like to travel and create some good memories with my family. Not just short stays limited by 18 days of leave, but hopefully months. Something like taking our time driving through the Italian countryside. Or relaxing on the beach in Bali. There is enough money to do that for a long time, perhaps even indefinitely.

But my wife is still building her career, and she is not the type that will stop working anytime soon. She’s not likely to take months off to travel. While I have repeatedly told her that we can take a long break together, she’s just not ready.

It’s fine for now as I still have things to do in Singapore. Plus travel is obviously not possible for the next few months at least. I don’t blame her for wanting to work, and I recognise that we are just at different life stages. While I’m in my mid-thirties, my lifespan and assets are a lot closer to a retiree in their 60s. My goals are more towards spending time with my family and self-fulfilment, rather than making money.

Colleagues

I previously enjoyed interacting with my colleagues during office hours. I would take breaks from writing or excel, to chat random things with neighbours around my age. We joke around, and I learn new things too. There was a camaraderie and shared experiences. Right now, I don’t have that and it feels a bit lonely.

But in any case, I was already growing apart from my peers thanks to my health and portfolio. I don’t want to be a downer by talking about my cancer, and I can’t share my thinking about finance with them.

Frankly, I find the topics that many people my age talk about are shallow, such as office politics and gossip. I go along with it of course, but I long for a deeper connection and understanding of who we are.

Probably difficult to find that in an office.

Housework

Last week was the first time I cleaned a toilet in 10 years. It always used to be a helper doing that. I was scrubbing my bowl and thinking “what the fark. I’m a millionaire. Why am I on my hands and knees cleaning crap?”

But being financially independent is really like that. You do things yourself. Even if you have money, you watch your expenses. Someone still has to clean, and since my wife is working a full-time job, it falls on me mostly. While we can afford a helper, it just doesn’t make sense, and there is a price to pay for privacy and responsibility.

Still, I have enjoyed the lack of brainpower needed for housework, and there is the simple satisfaction of seeing things clean. I’m not sure how I will feel about it later though. Will need to learn how to stand and move so not to strain my back.

Closing Thoughts

Despite the downsides, I still wouldn’t give up my lifestyle to go back to my old office. Being free from the stress of managing bosses and projects has been a lifesaver. I even managed to make more from my portfolio in these last 6 months than I do working a full year. I don’t expect it to keep repeating, which also explains my modest lifestyle.

I’ve been free to explore other interests, such as building this blog. Within a few short months, this blog reached top 30s of Singapore’s top 75 investment blogs. I view this blog as a legacy, something that can influence thousands of people for years to come.

I can’t say the same for the work that provided for my rice bowl for the last 10 years. Looking back on my career, I feel a bit sad. The work has been all forgotten or overtaken by events. Nothing lasted, or had my name on it. It was always credited to those higher up in the totem. Who remembers the engineering team that built the iPhone? No one. Only Steve Jobs is remembered. While I was paid fairly well, I always felt it stunted me, and that it was a mistake to stay. I only got money out of the experience, which is a shame.

If I passed away while doing what I was doing, my colleagues would have come for the funeral. But I would be forgotten by the next week.

With this blog, I can at least point my son towards it so he knows his father. It would also have influenced others to improve their financial plans, though it is thankless task. But as long I know it in my heart, it is quite enough.

Satisfaction comes from within.

6 comments

  1. Avid reader of yours and always great and independent of how you think differently from others.

    Keep the strength going and the pursuant towards having a mindset of Financial Independence that you can one day pass down the legacy to your children. It’s all gonna be worth it, you already know it is.

    1. Hi Brian, great to hear from you. I’m a keen reader of your site too, it’s very refreshing and a great resource for FI in Singapore.

      Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it

  2. Hi there, just a note to say that while I did not encounter something similar to yours but I understand your points of view. on closing thoughts, very few people true satisfaction from their work. perhaps once in a blue moon. but not often. very much work is truly a means to exchange time for money. no one will regret not working harder at work at their death bed. whatever you are doing now will definitely leave a lasting legacy for your children 🙂

    1. Hi Cheryl, thanks v much for your kind comment. I guess leaving a legacy is something all parents want for their kids. Just doing what I can with the time I have. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Sir,

    I have been constantly reading you posts and admiring your literacy on FI. I am in my late twenties, working in an MNC with decent paying salary (slightly higher than median), chasing the rat race.
    I have been following a lot of FI blogs, forum since the pandemic and have me wondering what am I really doing with my life. I have been actively investing during this period and I need the salary to build capital. However, lately I’m losing interest at work and it is getting difficult to motivate myself to work that extra mile in office. I can’t quit becos I need the job yet I feel so unsatisfied.

    Sorry to digress, all I wanted to ask: if you could give advice to your younger self. What would it be?

    Cheers,
    Johnny

    1. Hi Johnny, thanks for reading. I have been in a similar situation. When I look back, my biggest regret was not quitting sooner. It always seemed like that if I hang on a bit more, I’ll get what I want and be happy.

      It didn’t work in my case and I left after being burned out. Now I wish that I had followed my interest and talents, rather than what paid the most.

      That’s my own story. I can’t say what works best for you, no one can. It is really up to you. Cheers

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