Reflecting On Early Retirement

Hello everyone! I am looking forward to this week as the only full day of work I have is Monday! Like most, I am off Thursday and all the other days my bosses graciously decided to let us leave a little early.

My Mom Has “Retired”

This post was inspired by my mom, who just had her last day of work on Friday. Since my parents are moving quite a distance away, she put in for her retirement a few months ago and has been counting down the days since.

On Wednesday, her former boss took her out for lunch, and her two coworkers took her out to dinner, so she had free meals galore. On Friday, her workplace had an office party for her, and even invited old coworkers she hadn’t seen in a while.

The reason I have retirement in quotes is that my mom is most likely going to continue to work once they get settled into the new house, but only part-time and on a schedule she enjoys.

As I’m hoping to aim for early retirement, this had me thinking about what it must feel like to work your last day. It must be kind of crazy to reminisce on all your working years: the various jobs you’ve held, people you’ve worked with, and companies you’ve worked for.

It is incredible to think that my mom (along with most others) has been working for thirty-something years straight in essentially the same job. While her work places may have changed, her job duties essentially stayed the same. If that were me, I’m sure I would have grown bored long ago, but what works for some people doesn’t work for others.

It wasn’t an easy journey considering my dad lost his job several years ago, which meant her income was all we had to depend on.

It was stressful for her – neither of my parents attended college, and while my dad had a better paying job at the time, they never came close to $100,000 combined. I had been contributing where I could since I started working, and somehow we managed to make it through.

As it stands though, I’ve only been working full-time for a year and a half and I think of all the years I have ahead of me being “chained” to a desk…not pleasant. This is where the idea of early retirement or financial independence comes into play.


I’m Just Starting Out

I felt pressured into getting a job right out of college to help out my family, and I had to take what I could get as soon as possible.

My first job didn’t pan out at all – I left after six months when I realized the job I had originally applied for wasn’t the job I was going to be doing.

I had a job lined up that also didn’t work out – nothing like it was advertised, and the department was so overworked that they didn’t have time to train anyone, which didn’t help.

After I left there, it took about a month of emailing resumes out and interviewing for me to land my current job. It was a basic receptionist position, but I had to start somewhere. I was promoted after three months, which I am grateful for since I’ve been able to learn a lot more about the company and industry.

However, after seven months of doing the same thing, it’s gotten to be kind of routine. I love being challenged and I love learning new things, and that hasn’t been happening lately, hence the start of this blog.

Reading about extra income and side hustles got me thinking that my day job isn’t the only opportunity I have, which is why I started this project! Now I get to learn about the world of blogging, while meeting great people and writing about the journey I’m taking. I am excited to see where this will take me.

My loose plan for now is to continue working in my current position until R is eligible for a transfer elsewhere, and save, save, save for the move so that we will be okay if I don’t find a full-time job right away.

I would love to move right now, but going to a different state with neither of us having a job is a risk I am not willing to take. It took R about a year after he graduated to find an “actual job” and it ended up being seasonal; it was another four months after he started looking to find his current job.

Ideally, I would like for us to be able to live off of his salary so that I could get a chance to work on freelancing and blog income, but I know these things take time to build, so it will be a gradual process. I am prepared to practice living off of his income alone when the situation arises – I’m curious as to whether or not we can do it. It will be an interesting challenge!

Retiring to the Beach

The Next Chapter

In any case, I am looking forward to my parents being mostly worry-free as they embark on their journey toward retirement.

My dad is planning on doing what he used to love: woodworking. Whether or not he will make any income from it is up in the air, as he needs to get back into it, but it’s something I would encourage him to consider after he is done with all the projects in their new house. Hopefully it will be fulfilling as it seems he’s given up hobbies over the years (the other being photography), which is never a good thing. You need to find time to do what you enjoy!

Watching my parents in their last stage of retirement planning is definitely inspiring me to appreciate the journey you have to take to get there, as all the hard work will pay off in the end. You just need to keep the end goal in sight and have a positive attitude throughout.

Trying to enjoy the journey as it is happening has been a little difficult for me, though. Sometimes I find myself too focused on the next chapter. I get caught up wondering where we will find ourselves in a year: if we will be happy with relocating, better off financially, and what opportunities may come our way with these changes.

I need to keep an eye on the present and be happy with what is happening in our lives right now, otherwise things might start to pass me by! I plan to write another post expanding on why I’d like to retire early and what being financially independent would mean for me.

What are your plans? Are you hoping for early retirement/financial independence, or are you currently focusing on other things? If you love your job too much to leave, please share!

Photo Credit: First Picture, Second Picture

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

31 thoughts on “Reflecting On Early Retirement

      1. Agreed. I would probably end up doing something that made me really happy, at least part-time. I would love to volunteer or learn more about other fields of work.

  1. I’m not really on the early retirement track, though I would like to be able to work part-time if I want to later on in life. I definitely think a positive work environment with great people make all the difference. That will be exciting to see your process and grow once you become a freelancer!
    anna recently posted: Telling My Partner I Have DebtMy Profile

    1. I agree with working part-time. It’s less stressful and you still have time to devote to other things. My biggest gripe right now is not having any time to even schedule a doctor visit! I wish more offices were open late. I really cannot *wait* to get out of my current situation and expand my horizons.
      E.M. recently posted: Reflecting On Early RetirementMy Profile

  2. EM, that is super cool that your parents can go enjoy their retirement and even better that their kids don’t have to worry abut them. I have enough interests (guitar, composing, writing, fitness, hiking, traveling, etc) to keep me busy without another minute of work starting today, for 10 life times. We are going to get all the debt paid off, get a good online presence, write more books, and see what happens.
    cj recently posted: Smelling the RosesMy Profile

    1. Sounds like an awesome plan CJ! My parents have credit card debt, but I told them (rather firmly) that they have no choice but to pay it off with the proceeds they get from the house sale. They will still have enough left over to put toward new furniture and then put the rest away. I know I wouldn’t want to go into retirement with debt, so I am hoping they make the right decision.
      E.M. recently posted: Reflecting On Early RetirementMy Profile

    1. Yes, it’s definitely a struggle. While I was in college I used to think about how awesome it would be to just work full-time and not have any papers due. Ha! Now sometimes I miss those days of cranking out papers in the library. Just goes to show you how things change and anything can happen.
      E.M. recently posted: Reflecting On Early RetirementMy Profile

  3. Congrats to you mom on the retirement! And it looks like you have things in order as well. I agree with not moving to another state without either of you having a job. Extra income and side hustles are great to have especially if you are enjoying doing what you do. As for me I started my own SEO/Digital Marketing firm and I am currently building up my blog as well. It would be great to get some side income. My plan is to be financially independent since I think I will always work. if I had more FI I would simply spend more time traveling and doing things with the family.
    Thomas recently posted: Paying For College with Federal Student LoansMy Profile

    1. I envy those that can pack up, leave everything behind and face the risk of the unknown head-on, but I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night not knowing when I’d get employment. I’m not that adventurous unfortunately.

      Having my own business or being a consultant would be interesting, but I need years more experience before that’s a viable option! I would definitely opt to travel and have more family time as well.
      E.M. recently posted: Reflecting On Early RetirementMy Profile

  4. I don’t see early retirement in my future, mainly cause I just can’t work out how I would fill my days! As far as being financially independent, well, I still grapple with exactly what that would mean.

    I can’t actually imagine my blog every earning a competitive income (not without me totally selling out!)

    I don’t love love my job, but I’m pretty happy with it. right balance of hours on the job, pay, good people etc.
    SarahN recently posted: Film review: World War ZMy Profile

    1. I don’t think I would actually retire from working fully until maybe 50ish, but considering that’s another thirty years away I can’t say for sure. I would like to do work I really enjoy, even if the paycheck is minimal.

      I’m not sure if my blog will ever make a decent amount either, but I would like to eventually get rental properties and have enough invested to last me a while! That’s a ways away though. I hope to find a balanced job at some point…

  5. I essentially to keep on hustlin’ and see where it gets me ;) Haha but seriously I love the idea of increasing income. While it may cause a quality of life issue, I really do think that increasing income – especially at a relatively “young” age” – can really benefit you long-term and alleviate a lot of financial problems. I’m so glad you are blogging and I hope you stick with it long-term!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: One Year Bloggerversary! Accomplishments and Goals for the FutureMy Profile

    1. Thanks DC! I agree, starting early is great – there’s so much opportunity and potential for more. You may find yourself with less time now, but hopefully all the hard work will pay off in a few years. My biggest motivator is getting my student loans paid off so that I can focus on investing.

  6. I had a similar experience as you where I tried to immediately find a job after graduation to help my parents out. They were kind of forced into retirement though and they did some part time stuff briefly afterwards but it’s harder to find a job when you’re older. As for me, I’m lucky in that I work in government and will probably have a pension in my 50s. I would like to reach financial independence before that time though. Also, great comment about planning for the future but still living in the present. I have that problem too sometimes!
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: Living on One IncomeMy Profile

    1. Yes, my dad did try to look for jobs but he was in IT and there was really no competing with college grads that were more up-to-date and willing to be paid less. It was an unfortunate situation, so I am glad they are moving past it now! If I could afford to stay here I would try to get a job for local or state government. That’s what my mom did and she got quite a nice retirement package plus tons of vacation/sick time!

    1. I imagine it’s quite a different process if you’re running your own business! Lots of people rely on you, and if you tried to phase out or put the business in someone else’s hands it could be difficult.

  7. I love my job but I always want the opportunity to quit at a moment’s notice. I love that you’ve expanded your thought process to include income streams outside of your day job! I think too many people get tunnel vision and forget that there are hours in the day and opportunities all over the place that could be taken advantage of….
    AverageJoe recently posted: Hoping for Business Success? Try Good Customer ServiceMy Profile

    1. Knowing that you have the choice to leave whenever you want because you have the freedom to do so is very powerful. It’s true that there’s so many opportunities – I keep hearing of bloggers hiring virtual assistants all over the place and it makes me want to get out there even more!

  8. Having enough saved is the best way to look serenely for a new job. When I left my last job at 29 I didn’t need to earn much because I had a very comfortable cushion to fall back on. Now my investments cover my living expenses so anything I do is because I really want to, not because bills have to be paid.
    Pauline recently posted: My failed attempts at making money onlineMy Profile

    1. I have enough saved for if/when we move, plus we will have R’s income, so I’m not too worried. Having a cushion is very important in being more adventurous. I can’t wait to build up some investments to reach that point!
      E.M. recently posted: What Is Family Worth To You?My Profile

  9. I’m currently employed right now. Luckily, I have a great job that can sustain a lifestyle. However, I plan to retire young and rich. Yes, the job can sustain a living but how about my dreams? I’m currently working on a certain budget wherein I a lot a huge portion of the savings. Eventually, that saving will be invested in a business or portfolio that earns interest. I love to be in the situation that money works for us.

    1. That’s a good point about our dreams. Sure we can keep working as it allows us to put food on the table, but what about our happiness?

      1. I agree my friend. That is very important. Happiness! Some of us may be lucky to be born rich and inherit a fortune however some of us also works hard to attain financial freedom. After schooling, we find and settle for a nice job. It is okay but find for more opportunity to earn. We cannot work for the rest of our lives. While in current position of being employed looking for opportunities to earn, being a happy in your job is essential. We need to be happy at what we do. Whether in employment or seeking business opportunities, happiness is the fuel for success.
        anthony a. @ financial freedom ideas recently posted: Saving money now is about confidence, hope and trust in yourself.My Profile

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