Absolutely not! It not stupid to walk out on a pension. What is stupid is staying in a job that you don’t love, when you no longer need the money.
All of this hinges on the concept of “Enough”. It’s a tricky one to grasp if the television has done its job in raising you to be insatiable. But if you work through your own bullet points like the ones above, and you’ve got enough, then dude, trust me, you can go ahead and quit.
When you take early retirement, you are almost always walking away from a whole bunch of money. Salary. Benefits. Bonuses. Stock options. I’ve often recounted how I’ve “lost” least a million dollars of potential income since quitting in 2005. Even now, I am forced to turn down more work opportunities almost every week, and Mrs. Money Mustache does the same. Early retirees seem to have a way of attracting unwanted work opportunities, almost like the casual man who walks into a pub with no desire to hit on women. The employers can almost smell your freedom, and it makes them want to offer you additional money. But unless the work offered is your true love, you will gracefully decline.
We are deliberately sacrificing extra savings and security in our distant futures, for continued free time right now. We’re throwing away the equivalent of many good pensions. Oooo. Big deal.
To gain the ability to quit your job, you have to learn to lose your addiction to artificial security. You may think you’re building up additional financial strength, but really you’re just indulging a psychological weakness.
More money beyond the reasonable guidelines noted above does not make your life better. But spending an extra 10 years working a mundane job, setting the alarm clock and droning away on the conference calls because you are afraid to quit does make your life worse, unless that is truly what you were born to do.
[OTOH, in terms of finding employment as a retiree: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2013/08/26/retirement-encore-careers-age-discrimination/2693259/%5D
Thanks BB. That link contains another interesting link on how to calculate what you can retire on: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/29/how-much-do-i-need-for-retirement/
Thank you for this! My dh was downsized/forced into early retirement at 56, and now I am pondering whether I should follow him and take early retirement when I hit 55, in less than two years. He thinks we can & should do it; we visited a financial planner last year who thinks we can do it too. It’s scary to leave the security of a job I’ve had for almost 30 years… and of course, there’s a part of me that finds it difficult to believe that I am old enough to retire, lol.
But it’s so true — why would I want to spend an additional 10 years getting up at 5 a.m. five days a week and slaving away at a job that no longer holds much appeal for me, just to get a bigger pension, when I already have enough to live on (not extravagantly, but comfortably)?
Once it became apparent that a family was not going to be in the cards for us, this became our new goal as a couple, and a sort of silver lining/compensation, if you will. I would rather have had the family and been working until I was 65, but since I don’t…
A friend told me recently that her dad took early retirement at 55, travelled the world for four years with her mom, then had a stroke at 59 and has been fairly incapacitated since. Had he not retired early, he would never have gotten to enjoy those years of not working. I don’t know what the point is of working and working just so you have more money when you are old (barring having enough to survive on).