Early Retirement is a noble pursuit. At least, in my book.
We spend many years working, saving and investing to finally arrive at our destination.
But what then?
Well, the majority of people I’ve come across, end up enjoying their new found freedom for a while, spending extra time with family, getting stuck into their hobbies or travelling.
After that initial honeymoon period, some people start looking for new challenges. Some of those even include work!
But you’d better be careful…out there on the internet, an angry mob awaits you. And that mob, is the Internet Retirement Police!
Internet Retirement Police
Yes, it’s a real thing.
Years ago, Mr Money Mustache spoke out against this inflexible and negative culture.
Their theory goes, once you’re retired you should not be undertaking any new activities which produce money or save you money.
Because if you do, you are obviously doing it for the money. Therefore, you aren’t really retired at all, so your ‘early retirement’ is a complete fraud!
Now, you can imagine, some of these folks will be doing it because they’re jealous, or enjoy bringing others down.
As for the others, since productive activities are a form of work, I can see their point. But sadly, they’re missing the bigger picture.
The real world is a huge, awesome place with unlimited possibilities. So much so, that an inflexible mindset in this area helps no-one.
Hopefully, the world will come to realise that Financial Independence, or Early Retirement, just means freedom to live your life as you see fit.
And we’re all a little happier with some type of work to do, project to build, or research to undertake. It gives us a purpose and gets our creative juices flowing.
Surely nobody can argue with that, right?
Mrs Strong Money Breaks The Rules
Currently, we’re keeping a secret. I suppose we should come clean now…
After a little over a year of freedom, Mrs StrongMoney was offered a part-time job at her old work for 2 days per week.
Internet Retirement Police Violation #1
She always enjoyed her job and the people working there. The only thing she didn’t like was the lack of freedom from working full-time. As of recently, she decided to take them up on that offer.
So far, Mrs Strong Money is enjoying the extra work/social time, comforted by the fact she can leave anytime she likes.
And that’s the point. Without the pressure of needing a job, you end up enjoying whatever you work on that much more. Because it’s by choice, not by necessity.
Anyway, she’s at work, while I’m busy tapping away on the computer at home. And this leads to our next indiscretion…
Mr Strong Money’s Scandal
As for me, I spend a chunk of time each week ‘working’ on this blog.
I really enjoy the writing and getting comments and emails from readers. Some of them make my day!
And now this blog has even started earning a trickle of income, which is obviously not allowed….
Internet Retirement Police Violation #2!
But I also bury my head in the investment world trying to learn stuff. Mostly, this involves reading stock news, listening to podcasts, reading company reports and poking around investment forums.
And over time, one thing becomes more obvious…
The amount of stuff I don’t know, is absolutely limitless.
Anyone who thinks they know it all, is full of shit. The investment world is too complex for someone to have all the answers.
But that’s not to say, don’t bother learning about it. Not at all. In fact, it’s kind of exciting, because it means I get to learn a little bit more all the time.
Just because it’s a complex topic, doesn’t mean we need to make our investing complicated.
Which brings us to the next sin…
Because I enjoy the investing world so much, I applied for an opening to do some freelance writing for an investment website.
Nothing major, just a few small stock articles. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it, we’ll have to wait and see. But it’s paid work, so that means…
Internet Retirement Police Violation #3!
Jeez, three strikes and you’re out?
Well, I guess it’s official, our Early Retirement is a scandalous bed of lies!
Here’s the thing…the world will probably throw opportunities your way, or you’ll come across stuff that looks interesting, so you’ll give it a try. From what I’ve read, that nearly always seems to be the case after people reach Financial Independence.
Of course, I’m mostly joking around with this ‘Internet Retirement Police’ stuff, but some people actually think this way. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why.
Initially, I thought I’d be perfectly happy doing no ‘work’ ever again. And I even thought of actively ‘not working’ just to prove a point. (haha, sad but true)
After a while, I realised that was pretty silly and life is more enjoyable when we have some of this ‘work’ stuff to do.
So yes, we’re absolutely breaking the rules and doing various forms of income-producing activities again. The difference being, now it’s optional. And that’s the whole point!
It’s completely up to you, what you spend your time and energy on, once you reach Early Retirement and have that freedom in your life. Plenty of that stuff will have nothing to do with work, but some of it might, and that’s okay too!
Knowing you can hit the ‘stop’ button anytime and get off that ride when it’s no longer enjoyable, will take away any fears and give you peace of mind.
Retirement is as much a mindset shift, as it is a lifestyle change.
Maybe I can put it this way…
Reaching Financial Independence means you’re free from work, but paradoxically, it also means you’re free to work.