Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What Does "Retirement" Mean To You?

Author: Nick
Category: Money

It’s always fascinating to read other personal finance blogs and see their writers’ retirement goals. People my age are starting to realize they’ll need a few million to retire comfortably in about 40 years, while those reaching retirement age soon may be able to get by with just a few hundred thousand.

While you may have a clear dollar figure in mind for your retirement, what do you intend to do with it? No, not with the money–with the retirement! Will you be someone content to relax on the porch sipping iced tea waiting for the end of time? Does retirement signal more of a “shift” in work habits rather than a complete halt to working? Or do you plan to work like you do today for as long as your body will let you?

Even at the age of 23, I already have my eye on retirement. I’m confident that I’ve taken care of the financial aspects of retirement, but I only recently starting thinking about what I’ll do with my retirement. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • I’d like to “retire” early. I’m sure most people would like to retire in their 40s or 50s, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to retire from my current line of work by age 40. That said…
  • I’ll probably never stop working. I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I certainly wouldn’t mind if I could combine work with something I really love doing. While it’s true that I’ll probably keep doing some sort of work for as long as I can, I’d like to be doing something by age 40 that I wouldn’t mind doing for free (but still get paid for doing it). All too often, salary is a roadblock to people’s dreams, so eliminating salary as a major concern should help me explore my dreams… once I figure out what they are.
  • I’ll need financial independence first. Maybe not complete financial independence, but I’d like to be totally debt-free (including a paid-off mortgage) with a comfortable savings.
  • Yet I still don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing. Perhaps I’ll become a teacher or something else that really helps people. While I know that a tropical island isn’t for me, I don’t quite have this part figured out yet; but I’ve got plenty of time to think about it.

How about you? Are you eyeing an early retirement? And what will you be doing with your worry-free days?

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