I’ve Just Retired Early – Now What?
HEARTY congratulations are in order the minute you’ve got enough in the bank to retire early.
For years you’ve cut spending while saving and investing the proceeds.
It’s been a long journey but you’ve showed laser-focus on the task at hand and finally achieved the ultimate goal. Financial freedom.
Now what will you do with your time?
It’s all very well reaching your “number” and winning the great money game – but you’re not done yet.
Life isn’t over. In fact, a new exciting chapter is just beginning…
That’s why I decided to come up with a plan that will be put into action the day I retire early.
I know I’m not going to be slogging my guts out at work until I’m so old they throw me on the scrapheap.
No way. Not me.
My investment strategy will get me to financial freedom and this lifestyle plan will steer me through the rest of my days.
Give up work slowly
I honestly don’t think I could handle quitting my job cold turkey.
After more than 20 years, my body is used to the drug of working crazy hours and the stresses of deadlines.
I’m going to wean myself off by getting a part-time job. It might be in the same industry I’m employed in at the moment (the media) or it could be something totally different.
Maybe I’ll go work in my local supermarket.
It really doesn’t matter, as it will be a change of pace and give me the chance to try something new.
Experiences are part of life and I love fresh challenges, even if they don’t pay well.
Plus, any salary I do earn will be a nice little bonus.
Giving up a secure, full-time wage will be a shock to the system at first, I’m sure.
A trickle of extra cash hitting my bank account every month will hopefully stop any feelings of panic I might feel as an early retiree.
Live within my means
This should be easy. I’ve been doing this for years.
I’m not about to blow my retirement fund in an orgy of Vegas-style gambling or on a flash supercar.
I’ll just sit down, make a budget, and stick to it.
I know the safe withdrawl rate for my investments (3-4% per year) and I’ll factor in a safety margin to make sure the money never runs out. Ever.
Even if stockmarkets have a few rough years, I’ll cut my cloth accordingly. I might give up one or two luxuries if things get really bad, but my lifestyle will always be comfortable.
Travel the world
Now we’re getting to the fun bit.
I really haven’t explored our wonderful planet enough, and that has always bugged me.
The two things that have stopped me from travelling have always been time and opportunity.
I went straight from university into my career and haven’t stopped since.
Well, once I’m retired I am going to have a lot more time on my hands.
This will be my golden opportunity to tick off all those places I’ve always wanted to visit.
Personally, Australia will be first up. It’ll be now or never.
Start a new hobby
There are loads of things I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance.
For example, I’d love to learn a musical instrument or have a go at painting (artwork, not houses).
Now I’m pretty sure I don’t have a musical or artistic bone in my body, but I’m damn well going to have a go at them anyway. Why? Because I can. And it’ll be fun to find out just how untalented I am.
Maybe I’ll start that book I’ve wanted to write for years. Not to get it published and make money, you understand. Just for me. To prove to myself I can do it.
Try new experiences
The possibilites are endless when you retire early. So I’d encourage you to jot down a quick bucket list of things you want to do before you die.
Start with five and once you’ve ticked them all off, come up with another five. Then another, and another.
For what it’s worth, here are my first five:
1. Drive across America
2. Learn to snowboard
3. Climb a mountain and live off the land
4. Learn Spanish
5. Swim with dolphins (so cliched but I want to do it)
Spend more time with family and friends
This might be the most important one for me.
As the years have gone by many important people in my life have died.
And what did I end up thinking after each of them passed on? “Oh, if only I could have spent more time with them. Had a few more laughs, swapped a few more stories, shared a few more ideas. If I wasn’t so damn busy…”
Well, I don’t want to have any more regrets.
There’s nothing more precious in my life than family and friends.
The biggest bonus of early retirement will be strengthening relationships with loved ones and reconnecting with those who I don’t see nearly enough.
Work has been in the way in the past. Soon in MyRichFuture, it’ll never get in the way again.
Have you made a plan for when you retire? What are you going to do with your time? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, please share it using the Twitter icon.