Yesterday I listened to a podcast episode from the Friends on FIRE podcast. (I don’t often listen to this podcast, but I guess I follow them on Instagram, b/c I saw a post there that intrigued me.) It’s a financial podcast, geared toward the FIRE movement.
(Also, disclaimer- we are not “FIRE movement” people, so I’m probably not really their target audience. 🙂 )
Anyway, the episode was all about how the co-host and her husband are both ready to pull the trigger and retire this May….at the ripe old age of 41. !!!!! Keep in mind, they have 3 kids/ are in the middle of the child-rearing years.
Because we are not “FIRE people”, this is something I can’t even really fathom, but that’s beside the point.
When I heard her say it, my gut, immediate reaction was, “I wouldn’t WANT to retire at 41.”
But then my own reaction surprised me a teeny bit….I mean, wouldn’t that be the dream? To not have to work anymore? AND her husband is retiring, too! Free to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted?
I don’t know. Something about it just automatically rubbed me wrong, personally, for me. Surprisingly, my reaction wasn’t one of envy, but one of, “Not for me. Not yet.”
I guess when I think about it, I generally like working! Work provides an obvious structure to my days, and our life. I’ve always liked structure and routine. I have also always enjoyed getting a paycheck. 😉
Also, I spent a LONG time going to school, from K through college graduation. The main purpose was an education, obviously, but also to use it for something good. Which I think I am doing, with an interesting, fulfilling career, in transplant medicine- a very cool field.
I’m not sure exactly what we would do all day everyday if we retired at 41. No doubt, I could find meaningful ways to spend my days. However, maybe it’s because I work from home and have a flexible job now, but for the most part, I currently feel like I have “enough” time to work AND do interesting things with my life.
This might be the defining difference from her situation to my situation. I haven’t 100% finished listening to the episode yet, but it sounds like she has a “Corporate America” job (which I do not). She references feeling too often lately like “life is short” and wanting to really soak up time with her kids (ages 10-13), her extended family, etc.
At the moment, I don’t feel like my work is impeding me from having a deep, full relationship with my kids or “soaking up time” with them. We see our extended family a lot/ plenty, too. We travel quite a lot and we each get many weeks of vacation time per year. I see the kids every morning, every night and every weekend, and we spend lots of quality time together. On top of it all, I have at least some personal time, too, to write on this blog, or exercise, or volunteer, or read a book.
Even Ivan, who works in the office and is gone from ~8:15- 6 pm every day, never seems to really be lacking for time too much. I never sense from him that he feels he “needs to work less” or anything. (Perhaps a key factor- he doesn’t travel for work, so he’s home every evening and weekend, too.) And I think he really does like his job, too, most days… 😉
Of course, things are busy in this season, and do I always have “enough” time for everything I want or need to do? No. Are there times I feel totally frazzled and overwhelmed? Yes. But on the whole, I think we’re doing pretty well.
Maybe this podcast co-host and her husband have a very different work/life balance than we do, due to the nature of their jobs. I’m not sure. I’m sure they must have good reasons for wanting to both retire at 41! To be clear, I’m not judging them at all, simply reflecting on how I personally feel about it, for me and my life.
Then, there’s the financial side. We save a good amount for retirement, but we also spend plenty on “now” experiences that we enjoy, like travel. So let’s just say…in our case….the egg ain’t ready to hatch yet. lol.
Even if it were, from age 41 to ?? you’d still have to be doing something to actively manage those investments/accounts for all those years/ ensure you continue to have enough money going forward. I don’t know, that sounds kind of stressful to me. I think I’d rather just keep working and earning and saving for now. Because like I said, I’m happy with my life as it is. I don’t want to have to live frugally just to not work.
(I was thinking more about the financial aspect last night, and I think maybe I’d be cool with quitting my job if I could somehow be guaranteed X # of dollars every month, for life, PLUS I could also have a huge nest egg that would be guaranteed to somehow never deplete or disappear. So like, maybe someone really, really rich could just adopt me or something, and then I could just not work (or ever have to think about managing my retirement funds). Hahaha.
Anyway, I need to listen to the end part of the episode. I just looked, and I think there are actually several episodes on this topic! So I’m sure she expands more on their future plans. Maybe this is just them “retiring” from Corporate America, but eventually they want to start a business, or do something else, like a low key “fun job”? Or maybe not! Maybe they’ll just live out the rest of their days as true retired people. I’m not sure. Either way, it’s their life, and she seemed very happy and excited about it, so, that’s great!
Whew, sorry, that was a bit of a brain dump. If you stuck with this long post, what do you think? Would you want to retire at 41? (I’m 38 1/2, so for me, that’d be just a couple more years of work…). And if you’re into the FIRE movement stuff, check out this podcast! They seem like good people. 🙂
Speaking of work…Here is Ethan, applying for his first job!! He’s only 13 but applying for a summer agriculture job (with 2 of his best friends) at a local seed company “identifying rogue corn”, among other tasks. Since it’s agriculture, they hire starting at age 12. Woooo! Bring on the paychecks. Haha! (I started working at age 14 (at McDonald’s), and I loved working as a teen! So I hope my boys have good experiences, too.)
I am grateful for tupperware/ food storage containers. (Sorry, these just never seem to match the theme of my post. Oh well. It’s truly what was on my mind this morning as I put some hard boiled eggs away. 🤷♀️)