“The action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.” This is what I found when looking up the definition of retirement. Being someone who is pursuing early retirement (by the age of 40) I find that this traditional definition just doesn’t fit any more. Also, from reading other blogs out there, I’m not alone in this thinking. So today I want to go over what my definition of retirement is.
My definition of retirement is simple. Once I reach financial independence, meaning my investment returns can cover my expenses I will consider myself to be retired. This doesn’t mean that I will never work again, and it doesn’t even mean that I will quit my current job. It DOES mean however, that I will quit full time work. So what will life look like for my family in May 2021 (my estimated retirement date) and beyond? I’ve got no idea, but here are some options (in no particular order).
My family and I may choose to stay in Houston. I know I’ve talked about wanting to leave Houston to experience some place new, but maybe we decide to stay. Maybe the kids are settled in to their lives and doing well in school and we choose not to disturb that. If so, then I would imagine Mrs. MBC would quit her full time job as an art teacher and probably get a job tutoring part time or possibly working as a pre-k teacher at our church. As for me, I think I would consider going part time at my current job. After all, I enjoy what I do and more importantly, I enjoy the people I work with, so I wouldn’t mind coming in 2-3 days per week. Our daily lives would mostly stay the same. Option 1 is certainly a safe option, and while having safety margins is important, this option may be a little too safe for our taste.
Retire from our jobs in May 2021, sell the house and move to a new City/State. Right now we envision that place to be Bend, Oregon. We have absolutely no affiliation with Bend, Oregon, but we are drawn to the weather and the surroundings. I like the climate that the high desert provides and we all agree that living in or around mountains would be great! We would probably take the first 6-12 months of retirement getting settled in and familiar with our new city, and then I imagine we would both pursue some sort of part time work that we enjoy. We all like this option and I think we could easily make the transition as a family. It certainly isn’t as “safe” as option 1, which I see as a good thing. However, I’m still torn on the idea of renting vs. owning and I’m not sure I want to buy a house in retirement. That said, renting in a place like Bend, is probably a little too expensive, so to make this option really work along with having My top 5 early retirement safety margins covered, we may actually have to work an extra year or two and put off this whole retirement thing until 2023 or so (this is not optimal).
Option 3 should come as no surprise, because I covered it here in Geographic Arbitrage with Kids . I have to admit I am really drawn to this option. We wouldn’t have to buy a house and the “rent” we would be paying as long time guests at Airbnb properties would be under $1000 per month. We would get to see the world and experience new cultures. Due to the low cost of living that Geographic Arbitrage provides, we wouldn’t need to work at all so in that sense this option (which by all other accounts is nontraditional) would be closer to the traditional definition of retirement. That said, my guess is that we would still find ways to produce income if we wanted to.
I think this option would provide a really unique way to live. But would it get old not really having a traditional home base for the kids? Is that really as important as we make it out to be? Or do the people make home what it is rather than the place itself? To be honest, there is a lot more fear that comes along with this option, but none of it is financial fear. In fact, I am confident that this option would work out great for us financially. No the fear that I feel from this option is fear of the unknown. It’s not the norm, but then again neither is early retirement so maybe it makes complete sense for us to pursue this option.
So our definition of retirement has less to do about quitting work and more to do about having options. Readers, it’s your turn. What is your definition of early retirement and what will your life look like when you are retired?
Ps – After coming off a wonderful 3 day Easter weekend, I have a new goal for my early retirement and that is to make every weekend a long weekend.