So you want to retire early, huh? To go against the norm and quit working when you have enough money earning for you so you’ll have time for yourself. Now what? We’re here to try and answer the eternal question we get:
What to do when I retire early?
People are scared of retiring. Why? Because they think that they’re going to get bored and lose their sense of being. They’re so used to being waken up by an alarm clock and having a purpose: taking a shower, eating, going to work for 9+ hours, going back home, decompressing, eating, chores, sleep and doing it all over again.
The cyclical nature of our working lives becomes a habit, which becomes harder to break. I think that’s why people have a hard time going back to their routine of working when they go back from vacation: their entire cycle has been broken.
But what if you break it for good? What if you have enough money generating more money for you that you don’t have to succumb yourself to that cycle? What if you’re free? Then what would you do?
Here are some ideas based on what we will do:
We want to travel full time (hence our mantra: our journey to financial independence & full time travel). We aim to become slow travelers where we’ll live in a country for at least 3 months, go home to either the US, Slovakia, or the Philippines to decompress for a month or so, then head out on the road again for another three months.
Why would we want to go back home to decompress? Well, we want a place to call home. We want to put down roots and go back to a cycle where we can get part time jobs if we want to, and if we get bored of that, quit and go on another adventure. We have a house to our name (well, not yet, we still have a mortgage on that as I type this) but it’s cheaper than renting a unit in our area.
With slow travel, we get to immerse ourselves in different cultures. We get to see places that may not be there in the future (think Maldives, or the Great Barrier Reef, even Antarctica and the glaciers). We can choose where we want to go depending on airfares we see, and just live minimally: with just our suitcases and our carry-ons.
We travel a lot even before we plan to retire, so we also have a mantra on financial independence for travelers.
Most American early retirees end up going on this route – buying a small RV and then going on a road trip to the lower 48 states (maybe even Canada).
This is a good alternative for us as one of our goals is to see as many National Parks as we can. Since Peter is not a camping type of guy, he needs a proper toilet and the comforts of home (like a kitchen – hence an RV).
We can also store in our inflatable tubes (we just bought some recently for a river tubing trip here in Florida), and our inflatable kayak on the RV as we go through the states.
It’s also one of our goals to visit all 50 states of the USA. So far we’ve been to 16 states , with more coming. The RV will give us the freedom we need to move freely without paying much for accommodation.
What’s a retirement without reading? You still have to keep your mind active by learning new things. For me it’s mostly personal finance or investing books, with a hint of comic books on the side, and for Peter it’s mostly history-related books or graphic novels. You can read some of our reviews on this very blog!
Finance books give me a new perspective on how to live life frugally or how to invest my money. It also gives me ideas on real estate and is available to me whenever I want. I could just reach for it from my bookshelf (if the book is not readily available from the library).
I also love reading travel books like Lonely Planet and Fodor’s or Rick Steves to help fuel our wanderlust and for additional information, of course. It’s always good to stay on top of potential places to visit!
Books make good company – and they don’t require electricity. Just your time, and a quiet place so you can rest, relax, and dive down in the pages in pursuit of new places, experiences, or knowledge.
Video Games and Other Entertainment Pursuits
Gotta have mindless fun sometimes. We love gaming and we like the way that it transports us into a different reality or life without leaving the comfort of our home.
Add that to our hacking techniques to get cheap (or even get paid) to buy video games, and it all makes everything more fun and worthwhile!
We are also movie buffs and eat our meals in front of the TV. We also find that we spend some time in front of the TV watching a movie or a show if we are feeling stressed. Never fret though, we’re not couch potatoes. We limit our binge watching to around an hour or two a day. Nothing more.
Building small businesses/rentals, the like
Pursuing activities simply for pleasure can be boring after some time. You’ll definitely need some challenge in your life and enter small businesses and buying or looking after more rental properties.
Sometimes having a business can mean failure or success, and a lot of stress and more work than you can ever imagine, but it does give you a sense of fulfillment to see something into fruition that you helped develop and build.
If we don’t feel like building a business, we’ll just go for the next best thing: part-time jobs. This will help us try new things and maybe branch into a completely different career.
We love video games, so why not just try to work retail in Best Buy or GameStop? We also love to travel, so why not try to work for an airline, an airport, a cruise ship, or become a travel agent?
We love IKEA so why not try to become an associate there as well? The world is our oyster, and if we have enough money coming in to pay for most of our expenses, then we work because we want to, not because we have to. We’ll also work for the extra money and for the fulfillment, so the pay doesn’t have to be big anymore.
There’s also the prospect of freelance work available for us online: be it a ghost writer, an editor, or Peter can finally have the time to publish and write his book(s). Maybe I’ll finally write a book too, you never know!
If we get tired of working, then we can just quit and go back to our retired life, take a break, and do it all over again. Nobody’s stopping us!
Spending time with whoever you want: family or friends
Spending time with the people you love or want to hang around with is definitely worth it. It may be a pain to spend 24/7 of your life around someone (i.e. your partner or husband/wife), but you’ll always cherish this time together. After all, doing something with somebody else is much more fun than doing something alone.
Nobody ever regretted spending more time with their loved ones. In this case, we can have the ability to fly to either Slovakia or the Philippines to visit our family, or we can drive to Sarasota to spend time with Peter’s immediate family. Or we can adopt more dogs and spend more time caring after them and loving them!
We don’t have children yet, but when we do have them, who’s stopping us from staying at home instead of putting them to daycare? We can actually take them to school ourselves and pick them up, and help them with their homework and stuff. This helps us to avoid paying additional expenses for their care, and we can monitor their progress ourselves.
The Art of Doing Nothing
Let us not forget that sometimes, it’s okay to do nothing. We find that we always have to be on the go and have to be constantly stimulated. However, our bodies and our minds need time where they can just unwind from everything, and that is the art of doing nothing.
Imagine just lying in bed or on a beach and just closing your eyes and thanking the universe for what you have: time and the ability to do whatever you want.
We aim to spend a certain amount of time just doing nothing. We can use the time to meditate, we can use it to clear our mind, to catch up on sleep, or just think about the wonders of the world that are available to us. We don’t often do nothing and think it may be a waste of time, but for us, we all need to just unplug and relax.
What are your plans after retirement?
Remember that becoming financially independent/retiring early is a means to regain your time back. Time to pursue other passions or learn more about yourself and what you like.
Retirement does not necessarily mean you should not do anything, and your purpose is completely lost. People think that retiring early means that we’re lazy. Maybe we are, but we aren’t. That’s why we made this post: to help us remember why we want to retire and what we want to do after we retire.
We may change some of the plans, but this is what we plan to do at the moment that I first wrote this. This is our journey to financial independence, and hopefully you guys follow this journey too. Now, after we gave you some ideas on what to do when you retire – feel free to share what your plans are for retirement in the comments below!