So I quit my job in July to become a full time stay at home dad and call myself retired. This bothered quite a few readers and they let me know their opinions. It seems many people define retirement as both partners completely not working anymore and can financially support themselves. This is pretty close to the traditional definition of retirement. Retirement means different things to different people and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just want to share my perspective in a bit more detail. BTW, I appreciate all your input and enjoy the back and forth bantering so don’t hesitate to share if you don’t agree with me.
First, let’s look at the definition of ‘retired’ from the online Merriam Webster dictionary.
Definition of RETIRED
- secluded <a retired village>
- withdrawn from one’s position or occupation : having concluded one’s working or professional career
- received by or due to one in retirement
I’m going to focus on the underlined text. This is what the “retire” in Retire By 40 means to me. I left my six-figure salary engineering career because I was completely burn out. It’s analogous to a young basketball player retiring due to injury. Fire fighters, policemen, and other civil servants sometime can retire at 50 years old and receive a full pension. Young people retire from a career all the time. This might not be the traditional retirement from a career when you’re 65, but young people can retire too.
Both people not working
Some readers are stickler about both people not working. I don’t see why this is a problem at all. A married couple can be different ages and almost everybody stops working at a different times. Why does one partner’s employment status affect the other? As long as we can pay the bills and are not mooching off the government, I don’t think it matters if one person is working or not to call myself retired.
My parents are retired and my dad is still working part time in a micro business that he owns. My father-in-law retired with a full pension and he is working at a friend’s liquor store for free. One of my college buddies is financially independent, but he still needs to actively manages his portfolio every day. He’s not working for anyone and I call that a good retirement. People give up their main career and they still continue to work part time just for fun or to bring in extra income. It’s good to keep your mind active and work a bit to keep busy.
The biggest objection is due to the fact that we still depend on Mrs. RB40’s income to continue our current lifestyle. My passive income, online income, and freelance income covers about 50% of our monthly expenses. Mrs. RB40 is still working and her paycheck covers the rest and has a bit left over for savings. Our current residence is a bit expensive and while Mrs. RB40 continues to work, we’ll stay here. If she quits working, then we can move into one of our rentals or to a cheaper location. Yes, we choose to continue our current lifestyle for now because it’s more convenient for us. If our finances don’t work out in the long run, we will make some adjustments to our cash flow. I don’t think $3,000-$3,500/month is excessive, is it?
Stay at home dad
Lastly, becoming a stay a home dad/mom isn’t really retiring. I think most people who became a stay at home parent planned to go back to their career someday. I don’t plan to go back to engineering. That’s the big difference for me. I don’t plan to work for anyone else for the rest of my life. I’m working on this blog and other online properties for myself. When baby RB40 goes off to preschool, I’ll have more time to work on other self employment ideas. It’s true that I’ll still be working, but it’s on my own terms. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to.
The truth is I’m not 100% retired. I can say that I retired from a career. I’m happy with that. I don’t think I’ll ever stop working completely so this is as close as I’ll get to a traditional retirement.
What does being retired mean to you? If you are married, do both of you need to stop working to be retired?