what we mean by “retirement”

we’re working toward our goal of retiring in december 2017, when we’ll be 41 and 38. but of course “retirement” means different things to different people. here’s what it means to us.

fundamentally, our goal is to never have to work again. we almost certainly will work at some point in the future since we plan to have many retirement years in front of us, but we’re hoping to save enough that we are never forced to work, and we’ll only do jobs that provide us with worthwhile benefits (like free ski passes, free travel or helping a nonprofit organization we love).

bottom line: we’re not trading our careers for jobs, or for some second career consulting vision. we are doing this so that our next life will be centered around everything but work. the outdoors, travel, adventure, time to live slowly… these are the new bosses we hope to have.

but we’re also total realists. we know that there are a lot of things we can’t control, and that we have to be flexible. so when it is time to say goodbye to our careers, our plan is to do it in a way that doesn’t burn bridges, and still gives us the chance to consult if we need to. and we’re both willing to do odd jobs if required. and to cut costs. we’re pretty great at being frugal when necessary, so we can cut our expenses way down if our savings underperform or dwindle.

a couple of years down the road, when we start telling our colleagues about our plans, it will be interesting to see what reactions are like. most of our colleagues are the types who seem totally defined by their work, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they view us the same way. we certainly don’t try to fight that perception now, since doing great work and being compensated for that is in our best long-term interest. that’s what lets us save for retirement, after all. but neither of us are compelled to work. and while we may miss certain aspects of our jobs, we are looking forward to defining ourselves in other ways that are more personally and spiritually fulfilling.

we completely respect people who love working, but for us it’s just a means to an end. and we hope our next life gives us the freedom to define different means, and different ends.


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