Better than retiring early: Find enjoyable and meaningful work

There is a movement in our country Financial Independence Retire Early, with the acronym, FIRE.  I have been reading about this growing group for the last several years.  Generally, I applaud those who take control of their lives and are sensible in their consumption habits.  Here’s an article that nicely summarizes FIRE. 

The general premise: save as much money and retire as early as possible.  Why?  In order to enjoy life.

The typical FIRE devotee plans to work very hard in their twenties and thirties, be extraordinarily thrifty in their spending, and then retire in their forties so that they can do what they want for the rest of their lives.

In theory, that sounds appealing and certainly better than those who work at jobs they don’t like for 40 plus years, spend money on frivolous things, and then have too little to retire even at more typical retirement ages.

But there are some problems:

1.) Most – but not all – of the FIRE followers do not like their jobs.  If they did, they would not be so eager to retire. So they are resigning themselves to work they don’t like for a couple of decades.

2.) Most – but not all – work really hard to earn money.  That’s fine.  Nothing wrong with hard work.  But if they don’t like their jobs, then that’s a lot of time in one’s twenties and thirties to be doing something.

3.) Most- but not all – limit their spending such that they limit their enjoyment of life outside of work.  Let me clear on this point.  I am not talking about refraining from buying the latest I-phone or fancy car.  But that many do not travel or engage in other worthwhile experiences because they are so focused on savings.  Moreover, the “work” needed to save money- such deals and only shopping at certain times/places – is limiting in my mind.  I realize the counter might be that they derive satisfaction from savings.

4.) Retiring early has more drawbacks then most realize.  Most importantly, many feel purposeless.

5.) Retiring early usually means having a large lump sum of money in the stock market.  This is risky because of potential market downfalls.  Having to go back to work after taking time off is very challenging.

The better solution: find a career path that you love.  That’s what Career Counseling Connecticut can help you with. Contact us today.