(Just because you can doesn’t mean you should…)
The Wall St. Journal ran an article this week called “Why You Should Think Twice About Early Retirement”. Four pundits weighed in. Two talked about finances. The other two talked about the psychological and spiritual issues for people retiring before 55.
It was the latter’s remarks which of course piqued my interest.
One interviewee, a geriatric psychiatrist, warned that “the best-laid post retirement plans to travel, relax or pursue a beloved hobby can go awry when interest wanes over time, illness intervenes or resources wither.
“Relationships that once were on autopilot, nestled within the daily routine of work, may now take a lot more time and energy to sustain.
“And finally, it can be challenging to re-channel the purpose provided by one’s job or career into equally meaningful pursuits for the 30 to 40 post-early-retirement years.”
I totally agree.
Most of us dream of – and can make a success of – a few months of extended leisure time. But once the novelty wears off, you’ve got a real reckoning to do—and that’s to face what that nothing-but-leisure-time will mean, especially if you have 30 or 40 more years to live.
Endless leisure is an open space. Is it for us to fill? Yes. Does it fill itself? No.
So think about what you are going to do to make that time meaningful as well as enjoyable.
Don’t underestimate how important purpose and meaning are in your life. They provide structure and satisfaction. Their pursuit staves off boredom, and opens new avenues for enrichment, fellowship and personal growth.
If you’ve got the resources and the desire to retire early, good on you. But ask yourself: is a life of leisure good for you? My guess is no.
Read the full article here.