This week, I’m reading Ernie’s How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. I really like it so far because it makes you challenge the idea of traditional retirement. Most people only think of retirement as the end of a journey. We feel useful when we are working and retirement tends to signal the end of that usefulness. However, that’s not necessarily true. Ernie encourages us to think of retirement as an opportunity to find yourself and rekindle your zest for life. The transition is not always easy though and we all need to do some preparation before taking that leap.
Today we’ll just focus on one topic. Ernie asks early in the book - what would you want to do if work was abolished in this world? I interpret this as – what would you do if you don’t need to work for money? Would you occupy your time with the same job/career you are in currently? It’s a great question because the answer will tell you whether or not you’re in the right job/career.
What would I do?
If you asked me that question 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have had a good answer for you. Sure, I knew that I didn’t want to be a computer engineer forever. However, I didn’t really know what I would do for the rest of my life if I quit my job at 35.
Now that I’m a stay at home dad/blogger, I have a much better idea. I am having the best time of my life. Would I keep doing this if money isn’t an issue?
The answer is a big YES. I love being a SAHD (for the most part.) It’s great to spend a lot of time with RB40 Junior and we have a ton of fun together. Sure, we butt heads sometime, but that’s just natural. I’m sure he’ll grow out of it soon enough. It’s a privilege to be able to spend this much time with our kid and I really appreciate my good fortune.
As for blogging, I probably would continue doing this even if I didn’t have to. It’s good for me to put my thoughts down and the process keeps my mind sharp. However, it is a lot of work to write 4 times per week and I’d probably cut back a little. Overall, I really enjoy what I do right now and I’m very grateful for it.
Of course, life keeps changing and we all have to adapt. In 2½ years, RB40 Junior will start kindergarten and I’ll have more time on my hands. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I want to start some kind of micro business. I just need to come up with a good idea and run with it. Oh well, I have a few years to keep working on it.
Well, this is all nice and good if you don’t have to worry about money, but is it realistic? What if you’re not quite happy with your career, but you still need to bring in some income to pay the bills? Here is what you need to do:
- Save and invest as much as you can to start making some passive income. Even a little passive income will give you something to fall back on if you decide to make a change.
- Explore the alternatives. Ask yourself, what you would like to do in a non work world. Everyone has different passion and interest and we all have something to contribute. Spend some time exploring what you can do with your interest. I like blogging, personal finance, traveling, photography, reading, and music. I was able to convert blogging into a little side hustle and it grew from there.
- Make a jump to doing something you enjoy. This is hard, but it’s not impossible. Over the past year, I met a bunch of people who are pulling this off so I know it is not impossible. You don’t have to follow the rigid office drone lifestyle that society imagined for us.
The possibilities are endless – yoga teacher, personal coach, pet sitting, freelance writer, roller derby, ecommerce entrepreneur, landlord – These are just a few of the people I met. There is a whole world of possibilities out there and you just need to go outside of the box to find it.
What about you? If you don’t have to work for money, what would you do?
photo credit: flickr castgen