Early Retirement Is Not the Goal

Why do you do what you do? What is your end game? Is it that you want to quit your regular job and run a business of your own? And then what? Is it that you want to own a million dollar house in the nice part of town? Is it that you never want to another day in your life, leisurely making your way through the rest of your days on sandy beaches and sunny climes?

For most people living in North America, the expected norm for retirement age is right around 65 years old. Some people may choose to retire a couple years earlier, some people may find it necessary to work a few years longer, but that’s right around what we “expect” to be “normal.” Just like how we “expect” a normal work week to consist of working from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. But normal is just another word for average or mediocre, isn’t it?

It’s not at all surprising that so many people, regardless of the type of work that they do, have dreams of early retirement. They dream of the day when they can get out of the rat race, the day when they’ll no longer have to endure the morning commute or put up with an over-demanding boss. It sounds much more appealing to go for a stroll on the beach with someone you love, right?

With this objective in mind, the more motivated among us may start to put a plan of action in place. They’ll look for extra side gigs where they can earn more money. They’ll brutally cut back on their expenses in an effort to grow their retirement fund. They’ll live like paupers so they can retire a few years earlier than 65. They’ll suffer now for perceived future gains.

But is this really the path you want to take?

It turns out that the idea of retirement is much more desirable than retirement itself. For a lot of retirees, retirement isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Research has indicated that complete retirement (at any age) leads to a 5 to 16 percent increase in mobility issues and a marked decline in memory and cognitive skills.

That’s because the work you do, assuming it’s reasonably challenging, engaging and meaningful, is what keeps your mind sharp. Your brain is a muscle like any other and it will atrophy from lack of use. In other words, you’ll lose it if you don’t use it. There’s a reason why some of the most successful and passionate people in the world continue to “work” well into their 70s and 80s and beyond, if they’re so lucky. Working, contrary to popular belief, is what keeps them “young.”

For some of you reading this, getting into professional blogging or Internet marketing may look like a path toward early retirement. These strategies may yield a system of passive income streams that almost run themselves, freeing you to pursue whatever else it is that you want to pursue. But this also lends itself to laziness, apathy, and a growing burden of meaninglessness.

It’s not that you need to retire from the world of work early. It’s that you need to redefine what “work” really means to you. With the amount of money that people like John Chow and others like him are making, they could very comfortably retire right this moment and never work another minute in their lives. But that’s not what it’s all about.

The end objective isn’t early retirement. The end objective is to find something you enjoy doing with the happy side effect of continuing to generate income to support your lifestyle. In this way, the real end objective is perhaps never to retire at all.

Because the sooner you give up on life, the sooner life will give up on you. What will your contribution be? what will be your legacy? How will you keep things fresh and exciting?

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8 thoughts on “Early Retirement Is Not the Goal”

  1. Hey,
    This is a very meaningful article and this that something that many people need to read and understand. Early retirement or complete retirement is not the answer! It may have severe health effects. It’s my personal opinion that people should never keep themselves idol. They should keep themselves involved in some or the other kind of work. Opening a small cafe shop after retirement is my idea of keeping myself busy.

    1. claudio Cotroneo says:

      If One has the Back yard to wander in i would like to share a idea that keeps many Older generations Very fit and enthusiastic (Gardening) it is seriously sexy to grow Tomatoes and Olives and at the current prices in the shops why not invest in your Own Back yard . who Needs a Gym membership when a rake and Shovel is your friend seriously folks the cardio workout will Trump any treadmill and give you fruits at the right time. i,m currently looking to add solar panels to create Night Lighting so watering is not a Hazard at Night as falls or tripping over can be a set back. anyway thank you for allowing me to leave a Reply on John Chow,s Blog Post , p.s. is there any way to get free solar panels out there in .com land ? do you need any Old Storys for viewers to read or can i tell a Joke or Two? hey if i can tell a quick joke could i earn a free ebook ? Happy 2018 to you All out in Blogg Land and say a hello to John Chow , very Inspiring man . Peace

  2. I like it Michael. I retired to a life of island hopping through blogging, throwing in the towel on the 9-5 to become a pro blogger for the remainder of my life. That’s the plan at least 😉 Because I have a strong purpose, really enjoying the ride, having fun and inspiring people to leave a life of employment behind if they feel that life binding and confining. Definitely gotta have a purpose to make your retirement work, or, to retire to something fun and freeing.


    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Money considerations aside, I have no plans to ever stop blogging (or writing in general).

  3. Divya Sehgal says:

    Hey Michael

    Indeed this article is nice share ever i think we must share this article with more people because this is not just a post. it is a guide for people. they must know that getting earlier retire is not good to do.

  4. What about the dream business they wanted to build.

  5. Diana says:

    Retirement is a time when you can follow your passion and enjoy your work with less worry about the income that you will earn. To make this happen, it’s important to set realistic goals and plan for your retirement early so that you don’t need to worry about it later. Retirement can provide you the financial independence that you’ve been looking for.

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