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I retired at 40, now I’m bored


Last week, I got an interesting comment from Jim after he read – Don’t Wait Until Retirement to be Happy. Here it is.

  I’m 40 and I’ve retired. It sounds silly, but I’m bored. I don’t know what to do with myself. My wife and I have a small child, but I have absolutely no interest spending 24-7 with a child. I have hobbies, but they don’t take up 16 hours a day. Any suggestions on how to spend time meaningfully?

I retired at 40 and now I'm bored

The problem Jim has is a common one. Most people look forward to the day they will retire, but don’t have any plans after that. Everyone focuses on their finances and neglects the personal freedom aspect of retirement. This is a critical mistake for early retiree because they will be restless and bored after the initial euphoric period.

All the things that you thought you’d do after you retire will keep you busy for only a year or two. We all want to travel, work on the house, read some books, and recuperate from a stressful career. These are all good things, but they won’t keep you fulfilled for 30+ years of retirement.

For someone who retired at 40, this problem is huge. They may have 20 more years in retirement than typical folks. Another problem is the retired by 40 folks worked very hard to get there. Going from working full tilt to doing nothing is much more challenging than you’d imagine.

Phased Retirement

That’s why I am a big advocate of a phased retirement. Here is my personal exit strategy if you haven’t seen it before.

  • Age up to 40: Work hard, save, and invest to attain financial independence (or just get close).
  • Age 40 to 60s: Quit corporate job and become a stay at home dad/blogger.
  • Age 60s to 100: Kick back, spend down, and make the world a better place.

Stay Busy

When you retire from your day job, you free up about 10 hours per day. If you’re a workaholic, you’d probably free up 14 hours/day. That’s a lot of time to fill. The key is to stay busy and find a mission or two. Relaxing and enjoying yourself is fun, but it’s not fulfilling in the long term. Luckily, I have a couple of missions that will keep me busy for many years to come.

  1. Raising my kid – This is a huge undertaking and I love it. Studies have shown that kids with involved fathers do better in life. Raising the kid really takes up a majority of my time and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You don’t have to spend every minutes of the day with your kid to stay involved.
  2. Encourage people to retire early – Retire by 40 started out as a hobby to chronicle my journey to retirement, but now it’s a mission. I really believe most middle class Americans can retire early if they just prioritize their freedom over their trappings. It’s a lot of fun to engage the public and show that early retirement is a possibility.

Jim wrote that he doesn’t want to spend 24-7 with a child and that’s understandable. It’s a lot of fun, but it can be extremely frustrating as well. Being a stay at home dad is hard and it’s not for everyone. Even a stay at home dad like me needs a little time to ourselves. Luckily, Jr. is going to preschool twice a week now so I have a few hours to myself once in a while.

Find a mission

Jim also mentioned that he has hobbies, but they don’t take up all his time. Having some hobbies is a good start. What Jim really needs is a challenge. He didn’t elaborate on his hobbies, but let’s make some suggestions here. We’ll start with hobbies and go from there.

Master a musical instrument. I haven’t picked up my guitar for ages. These days, I play the ukulele and I’m mediocre even with that. I’d like to get better with both of these instruments and perhaps learn to play bass, too.

Learn a new language. Learning Mandarin is on my bucket list. I’ll sign up my kid to learn it and try to pick it up at the same time. We visited China in 2008 and it was really difficult. I would love to be able to travel better on our own the next time we visit.

Make some art. The great thing about art is that anyone can try their hand at it. There are so many forms of art that you can try a lot of things and see what sticks. Try painting, pottery, sculpture, photography, calligraphy, dance, or even drawing comic strips. Mastering an art form can take years. Everyone starts out sloppy and if they keep at it, they will improve.

Get a PhD. Wouldn’t it be great to go back to school just to learn about the things you’re interested in? When I was in college, I just concentrated on getting my engineering degree and it was stressful. I’d love to go back and learn more about marine biology and all the other subjects that sound interesting.

Get in touch with your spiritual side. Another thing on my bucket list is becoming a Buddhist monk for 4 weeks. I’m a negligent Buddhist. I only know the basic philosophy and visit a temple about once a year. I really need to study it a bit more and become more enlightened.

Volunteer. Here is an easy one. Volunteer in your community and for other causes you care about. Do you care about child hunger, human rights, pet well being, literacy, elders rights, whales, sustainability, environment, immigrant rights, public safety, racial inequity, disaster relief, mentorship, education, or improving developing countries? There are endless opportunities to help improve someone’s life. You might not think you can make a difference, but everyone can make the world a better place.

Become a master chef. Making good food and seeing people enjoying your creations is an awesome experience. Everyone loves to eat and I think most people prefer home cooked meals, too.  Learning how to cook a particular cuisine is not so expensive these days since you can just Google a recipe or try looking it up on YouTube. Taking some cooking classes would be a lot of fun, too, but I’m too cheap for that at this time.

Write a book. This will keep Jim busy for a long time. Everyone has a story to tell so why not write it down and find a publisher. Actually, you don’t even need a publisher these days. You can publish your book electronically and sell it on Amazon.

Start a business. Building a business from the ground up is very gratifying. This would definitely take care of Jim’s 16 hours/day problem. I’m not sure if this would be a wise financial move, though.

Make a bucket list. If you die tomorrow, can you really say you have no regrets? Are there things that you have been putting off until you have more time? Well, now you have a lot of time on your hands. You can make a list and begin to address what is on it.

Okay, that was 10 things and I could go on and on, but let’s give you a chance to make some suggestions. What do you think Jim should do with all the his newfound free time? If all else fails, Jim can always go back to work. That’s the beauty of early retirement. It doesn’t have to be permanent.

Photo credit: flickr *Kicki*

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 70 comments… add one }
  • Scott Painter December 11, 2018, 9:47 am

    I have been self employed for 18 years in an industry technology has made cheaper and easier for consumers to do themselves so I am closing up shop. Portrait photography.

    I also have 8 rentals and you can live very well off $40K a year in Indiana. I had a job for a couple months and clearly didn’t know how to think like an employee. Not sure what I should do to fill my time.

  • Ryan October 30, 2017, 3:05 pm

    I ran into this problem too once I crossed the threshold where my passive income exceeded my expenses by quite a bit. It was actually pretty daunting because it went from having this big challenge (early retirement), which took a while to reach to having no major goal. Being a person who enjoys working it became much harder to find meaning in work rather than just stacking money and assets up. Meaning is harder to accomplish since you can’t quantify it and you have to go take risks and try new things… at least for me.

    I started teaching myself online courses with machine learning, started living a digital nomad lifestyle, scuba diving, and writing. I had to do this otherwise I would go crazy since I’m not married and don’t have kids. Still it’s hard to motivate yourself when you don’t have to work and you can just lay around all day if you really wanted to.

  • Kevin October 9, 2017, 1:16 pm

    I retired at a week before turning 43 and thought life was great. After busting it for years at work, scrimping, saving, and investing harder than anyone else that i knew, my optics were firmly set on enjoying spending time with my wife and kids along with lots of travel.
    We did travel and I was Mr. Mom for years but things change…
    Kids grow up and do their own thing, everyone you know still works, and travel grows stale. We had all of the trappings of a luxurious life but it felt empty.
    I started back to work, 24 hrs per week, at 50, and love it! I started a social club and we still travel. My bucket list is getting shorter every year. I’ve met loads of new friends at my part time “career”. We get more done and squeeze a bit more life into our weeks than ever.

  • James Ussery August 31, 2017, 2:11 am

    I’ll be 38 in Oct this year. My wife and I moved to India in ’09 and ran our business for about 7 years. We worked so much while even homeschooling our son that we all ended up at the office regularly. The Indian work culture required us to follow up after the employees and spend additional time redoing work. I would end up spending time lecturing them and motivating them to invest more time and effort to quality and performance, even telling them I’d give raises. They loved that, but unfortunately they didn’t have the skills to pull it off. So I started to lose interest over time.

    Around the time this post was being written I was starting to spend my free time after hours expanding my mind with spirituality and esoteric knowledge. It changed everything. I no longer cared about most things based on societal norms. I started reading everything I could get my hands on, watched hours of YouTube and meditated either in the office or on the roof (better air flow).
    One of my Indian friends got on the same kick and we started long talks. One late night after meditating for 38 hours straight he called me and told me he had a vision and that he wanted to walk India. I helped him work out some angles, kept in touch with him and even joined him a couple of times. It was a fantastic experience. We met and stayed with and ate with villagers, shared stories, slept out in the open and bathed from water well hand pumps.

    Coming back from these walks changed my already changing perspective of my life in the world.

    My wife and I retired at the tail end of 2015, handed the business over to our manager that had been with us since the beginning, and we never looked back. We still have a couple of clients with him and get a small kickback so we’re not living off of a lot of money. Living in India doesn’t require a lot in the first place.

    We spent the first year in a beach town called Goa. Coming from a major city costs were sliced nearly in half. Our son is now nearly 9. We have much more time with him for home school but also fun time. We spent so much time on the beach and exploring the area. But the time came that we were ready to move on and see and do more. I wouldn’t say we were getting bored but we knew that there was too much out there to just stay in one spot.

    We’ve since sold all our furniture and items and bought rucksacks. We start out in a couple of weeks (once the monsoons stop) for our first trip as a family, walking in India. We’ll wake around 5am and walk until about 10 or 11am, stop for lunch do some home school lessons, setup camp, visit with the locals, bed down at sundown and get up and do it again. If we want to stay longer in a certain place, well, we don’t have plans,… why not?!

    There’s a site called http://workaway.info that we’ll be looking into once we decide to have an actual agenda. It allows you to work for people for a place to stay. Nifty idea, and it’s an internationally used site.

    We’ve been staying at my wife’s dad’s place (she’s Indian but we met in college in Texas) while we’re waiting for the rains to stop. We’re literally, officially, homeless. And I say that proudly.

    I’d say boredom kicked in while I’m here because I’m in a holding pattern, which caused me to search and find this site. I’m commenting here so that others can see that I believe, as this article and the other commenters have already pointed out, that boredom comes from lack of interest and lack of activity. From what I’ve found with my study of self and life is that we need to know who we are at the core, in order to not get stuck with simple decisions of “what to do with our time”. My advice to all is to study yourself, be a student of your life and to be mindful of what makes you tick and how you make decisions. It allows you to much more easily, live in the flow of your own timeline.

    You’re creating your life. Do so, with joy.

    • retirebyforty August 31, 2017, 10:46 am

      That’s very interesting! Thank you for sharing. I think it’s great that you’re taking the time to explore your unusual interest. It sounds like what some monks used to do in Thailand in the olden days. They would walk and set up camp where ever they liked. Good luck and enjoy your journey.

      • James Ussery September 1, 2017, 9:52 am

        Thanks. I’ll be posting my experiences online if you care to check in.
        Also, I like the idea of your blog. There are too many people working without actually “living”. Excuse the pun, but people need to literally get a life 😉 And I say that with the best possible meaning. If people aren’t doing what they enjoy/love, then don’t do it. I used to tell my employees, “If you’re not happy working for me, I want you to be happy somewhere else!”

  • Martin July 18, 2017, 6:40 pm

    I retired at 40 and in October I will be 50 & I’ve had the time of my life for the past 10 years just loafing around taking it easy and filling in my time doing what I enjoy on my terms – who could ask for more hey? Aint Life Grand? 🙂

  • Earlyretiree September 27, 2016, 4:12 pm

    I retired age 34 2 and a bit years ago after having THE strongest urge, ever. I spent my waking hours reading about and envying those already there

    Today? I’m bored shedless.. it’s half 8am so there’s still quite some hours left in the day for me.. I started a business I enjoy working 3 half days per week and surprisingly am earning the most I ever have (!) which I’m greatful for but even on days off or after that I’m bored

    I put it down to NOT moving states. NOT travelling the World. NOT doing exactly what I want but just sitting mediocre. I have a great expensive house which many would be content with, but that means basically nothing to me, it’s just a house

    Gotta do what it is you were born to do (good luck!)

    • retirebyforty September 29, 2016, 8:01 am

      Early retirement isn’t for everyone. I would find activities that you care about. Maybe help feed the hungry or something that can improve the world. Life is boring if you don’t have a cause. Try traveling a bit too. It’s fun. Good luck! Don’t stay home if you’re bored. You have the freedom to try different things.

  • T. Nakamura October 27, 2015, 12:46 pm

    Please forward this message to Bored Jim and let him know I will immediately trade places with him. He will have enough busywork to break his spirit, arse AND his back for the next 20 years or so.

    The only thing hard work gets you is MORE hard work.

  • Denn November 25, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Retiring too early is a consideration for each individual, but from personal experience it can turn into a form of imprisonment when you run out of things to do that interest you.
    Continuing for work, even part time, would have been a better option, but at the time the liberation from the daily rat race seemed ideal.
    If you have the option, take an extended period of time off (vacation days) from your job and don’t travel, just plunk around the house or local area in a manner that’s comparable to what you’d do if your company took a vacation day during the week.
    Boredom is no joking matter for retirees that have been at it for a while and are truly out of activities and the personal interest list is blank.
    Regardless of what kind of plan you come up with, come up with something before you retire, and make sure you have an opportunity to try it for a few straight days before locking onto it.
    Creativity and flexibility are critical elements in maintaining a comfortable retirement…

  • Muskoon September 18, 2014, 1:47 pm

    Very good touching discussion, actually I retired at the age of 42, and I wasn’t planing to retire I thought I would take break and the rejoin the workforce again, it has been three years since then, being busy at first with finishing my new home which took me around one and half year, lately I am becoming to feel bored of not doing something meaningful with myself, and I see it difficult of going back to the routine job.. My time is not that free as I am a father for 4 kids and I try to fulfill my responsibility, it is only the sense of doing something meaningful to me, something that I can find myself in… Which I don’t know what is it and I am searching for it.. From that perspective sometime I feel that I am lost!!

  • Andrew May 23, 2014, 11:14 am

    This is why so many pro athletes try to come back… There’s only so much golf they can play, and only so much time they can spend “staying home and seeing their kids grow.”

    Thus they try to “go back to work.”

  • Dave May 3, 2014, 7:53 am

    Great article. I retired at 41 and did many of the things recommended (volunteer, travel for 3 years, settled down in a new country with a new language, cook, began reading up to ten books a week. Six years into retirement, I’ve had enough of doing all that (I’d never ever imagined I’m bored of traveling but I am). I want to work so badly, but I haven’t kept my skills up to date so that’s gone. I’m seriously thinking about working part-time at a fast food restaurant just to get myself out of the house and do something with my life.

  • Chris January 30, 2014, 11:33 am

    Bike across the country and actually visit places you only saw in pictures or on YouTube. Go white water rafting. Go skydiving. Practice Yoga. Eat more yogurt. Go to a theme park or zoo or museum. Learn how to shift your mind to altered states of conciousness. Study trees, birds, insects, cars. Practice shooting a bow-and-arrow and compete in contests. Go skating, ice skating, skiing, tubing, water skiing, sailboating (for a 3 hour tour).
    I don’t know, I could probably keep going, but I’ve got plenty to keep me busy for 30+ years in retirement.

  • Little House January 29, 2014, 6:44 am

    I wonder if Jim is mistaking boredom for loneliness during the day. It’s probably a little difficult to hang out with friends when your friends are working! I think coming up with a side business is a great idea. Jim needs to find something he is passionate about. Through networking, he can stay involved with people during the day so he’s not so bored/lonely.

    • retirebyforty January 29, 2014, 9:12 am

      Loneliness is a big problem. You need to get out there and meet new people. I’m not great at that so I’m just putting it off for now until I have more time.

  • Erin @ My Alternate Life January 29, 2014, 6:17 am

    I would still write, read, travel, and spend lots of time with my husband (and eventually kiddos!). I’m basically doing everything right now I would want to do if I retired today. That’s pretty damn awesome 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 29, 2014, 9:11 am

      Just the kiddo would be an addition. That will keep you super busy for years.

  • Felix Lee January 29, 2014, 1:31 am

    Honestly. I cannot imagine myself retiring at 40. I is indeed comfortable to stay at home and own your time but it is still different when you are working outside and interact with people and have fun as well while still young.

    • retirebyforty January 29, 2014, 9:07 am

      I think most people are better off working when they are 40. There are a few of us that do better on our own, though. Self employment is good too.

  • Dividend Mantra January 27, 2014, 7:47 pm


    I agree that people focus too much on the financial side of retiring early. “Do I have enough money?” is a common question, but while important it shouldn’t be your only question.

    You really need to figure out exactly WHO you are. I’ve written about this phenomenon here in the U.S. whereby people identify themselves by a job title. You meet someone new and soon enough the question migrates towards: “What do you do for a living?”

    I don’t identify myself by a job. I view myself as a writer, investor, partner, friend, brother, son, would-be philanthropist, philosopher, fitness enthusiast, etc. It’s my job that actually gets in the way of who I am and what I enjoy. The sooner you figure out what you’re really passionate about the sooner you can get on with an enjoyable retirement.

    Best wishes!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 11:10 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I still have trouble answering the what do you do question. Usually I default to stay at home dad or freelance writing…

  • Harry January 27, 2014, 6:30 pm

    great article and great suggestions! wish I could apply the suggestions to myself. I pre-tired last year at 56, “unfortunately” I liked my job quite a bit (though 12hr work days were more of a rule than the exception). Quitted because staying on would have meant to go to a part in Europe I did not particularily like and I could’nt take my boy out of school in North America. How long does it take to focus on other things and get your but up to do them actually??

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 11:09 pm

      It’s tough to walk away when you like your job. How long? You can start right away on most of these things. Do you find that you have too much free time?

  • nicoleandmaggie January 27, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Huh, if I took the “Get your PhD route” and spend almost every day just learning about things that I want, does that mean I’m already retired?

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:46 pm

      If you have to ask, probably not. 🙂

      • Nicoleandmaggie January 28, 2014, 4:46 am

        that’s pretty harsh. But I also know that self defined retirement definitions vary–I don’t consider a lot of stuff retired that you would. And I don’t see the point in stopping contributing to society, especially if someone is going to be bored.

        • retirebyforty January 28, 2014, 10:29 am

          I don’t mean anything by it. I know you’re not retired. I don’t think I can go back to get a PHD, but if someone really love learning, then I it’s a great option.

  • Bryce @ Save and Conquer January 27, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Taking care of a small child is more work to me than any paying job. Sure, I took care of our son when he was little whenever I needed to, but I was always more exhausted afterward than after a full day at work. There are lots of good suggestions in this post for what a person can do with themselves. I think being willing to learn is a large part of filling one’s time. During my bachelorhood, I used to take evening courses at the local junior college just to fill my interests and time.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:46 pm

      It’s exhausting to take care of our son. Taking classes is a great way to pick up something new. I’d love to take more classes too, but I just don’t time right now.

  • Daizy January 27, 2014, 12:31 pm

    My mother said, “Won’t you get bored?”, when I told her about my plan to retire at 45 (4 years from now). Her husband is now in a nursing home and she is struggling to fill her time which was once spent caring for him. I told her that I had a million home improvement projects to work on. After that, with gardening and animals, I will never be bored. She is slowly filling her time at her church which offers all sorts of thing like exercise classes, making sandwiches for the homeless, even country line dancing. Depression has made my mother lose interest in life but hopefully she will be able to turn things around once again as she develops a new daily routine.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:44 pm

      I hope she can turn it around too. It’s good that she has a support base at church. Keeping busy is the key and she is getting a good start. Good luck!

  • EL @ Moneywatch101 January 27, 2014, 10:31 am

    Now Im interested to find out how he achieved his FI journey. The suggestions Joe gave are great, I could add to go watch the arts; plays / concerts / Museums on occasion to fill a day or two a month. I would also add to learn how to dance, you can meet new people while you get healthy. Dancing is great cardio.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:38 pm

      Dancing is a great idea. I’m not very good with that, though. I’ll probably do more yoga if I have more time.

  • Getting burnt out January 27, 2014, 9:52 am

    I remember seeing that comment and I was a little surprised by it. I am certain that I would fully enjoy retirement and wouldn’t be bored. There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my wife and kids. If I were to retire now, I’m sure I’d stay active by exercising daily and picking up some hobbies I currently don’t have the time for due to my work schedule.

    I also agree with your idea of phasing into retirement. I used to work 12-15 hours per day and over the last 7 years I work about 4-5 hours per day. Looking forward to working zero hours per day.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:35 pm

      It’s great that you’re able to work less. I think 3-4 hours per day is about perfect.

  • Moon January 27, 2014, 9:38 am

    Seems like you missed one thing that people tend to say they want to do when they retire – traveling. A lot of people say they want to do a lot of traveling when they retire, except this is not something can occupy you 365 days a year. But I guess the ‘planning’ stage can be considered traveling as well. Some people may consider having a sail boat and sail for 2-3 months at a time, which is great traveling experience. If Jim retires at 40 he is still young enough to go many places in the world, just hope that he has enough money to make couple trips a year without depleting his actual retirement savings. 😉

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 10:34 pm

      That one is too easy. 🙂 I’m planning to do a RTW trip once Mrs. RB40 retire. It will be a lot of fun, but I don’t think you can travel forever. It’s expensive.

  • davidmichael January 27, 2014, 9:11 am

    Sooner or later we all come to the realization that life is about the journey. I remember reaching my career goals and saying to myself, “That’s it? Now what?” It’s the dream that keeps us going. Retirement affords us the time and hopefully, money, to pursue our dreams and our own personal “Bucket list”, whether travel, volunteering, being a stay-at-home dad, or a new form of paid work.

    Personally upon retirement, my wife and I helped design and build our dream house and one acre garden. A decade later, my wife started a new career and I decided to go back to graduate school at age 65 to get another master’s and teach ESL overseas. But that was after I had bicycled across the USA, New Zealand, and Europe. The possibilities are endless. When we reached age 75, we started volunteering for the Oregon State Parks. What a surprise that was in that our contributions gave back a hundred fold in terms of fun, purpose, socialization, contribution, learning, and self-worth.

    The money we had saved up and invested all of those working years? The money gave us the freedom to make choices. Each of us has a precious opportunity to make life match our dreams. I love, love, love retirement. I found that it’s not about retiring…it’s about living!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:32 am

      Thank you for your perspective. Life is what you make of it. After retirement, you just have more time to pursue your own agenda.

      • Larry January 28, 2015, 11:05 am

        AT 36 I retired, but kept my company for the income. That was in 1987. I’m 62 now and just sold the business. What did I do those years? Most of the time was not exactly fulfilling. I did all the hobbies and health related stuff. I’m talking ALL the hobbies. I traveled w/my wife to the places we wanted to see overseas while we were still young enough to get out and enjoy the places we went. We got with some friends and created a goormet dinner group… once a month…ran 30,000 miles started that at 25, stopped at 55 due to knee pain…WE are both very social, and our friends were all working so we did volunteer projects all around town, like starting a children’s museum in an empty library. Played golf for charity events throughout the years. Involved in son’s boy scouts and sports, same with daughter. All that time, I was thinking of what kind of different business I could do, but nothing really appealed to me, Now that I sold my 33 year old company that I started age 28, I am really bored. For me it’s a mental game. Done all the home improvements, travel and typical retirement stuff w/my wife and kids. Don’t care for video games/cards/TV/movies. Did a ton of reading; have 2 degrees, don’t want another. I am not wealthy nor poor but that doesn’t really matter. I just can’t find a ‘routine’. At this age my grandchildren are fun but they have their own schedules, too. I’m sure this period of doldrums that I’m in will pass…I have no bucket list. If money were no object, maybe buy a jet and move up from propeller pilot to jet pilot. Hope I didn’t bore anyone silly.

        • 8Kevin October 9, 2017, 3:06 pm

          Been there, done that.
          I got a job working 3- 8 hr days with people who didn’t get an education, but work really hard. God physical labor, young crowd, lots of laughing and fun.
          Best thing I’ve done in yrs

    • Larry January 28, 2015, 11:19 am

      You speak from a position of enlightenment. I forgot how much fun I had volunteering, and there are hundreds of opptys. where I live. Thanks for waking me up.

  • Our Fine Adventure January 27, 2014, 8:41 am

    Another I would suggest is just constantly trying new things… there is so much out in the world, that if you keep trying new things, you are bound to find some new, fun ways to spend your time, often that you never even thought about!

  • Financial Samurai January 27, 2014, 8:37 am

    Start a blog! It’s a lot of fun and you see immediate results via a published post!

    I’m going back to work as an advisor for a startup. There’s lots to do once you don’t have to work!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:30 am

      Enjoy your part time job!

  • Nextbiteoflife January 27, 2014, 8:36 am

    Acquire new hobbies. Learn a new language (after 8 months of not working, l still haven’t had the time to learn italian just so l can communicate with my in-laws). Take some classes ( I start end of February), travel ( I am writing this from Istanbul). The list goes on. Volunteer work is also good, maybe work at a shelter, or kennel. He can find things to do if he really wants to. Of course the beauty is that he doesn’t have to.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina January 27, 2014, 7:54 am

    I have this problem when I have days off from work. Sometimes I’m not sure what to do without work. It takes a little of an adjustment, but now that we have a house, I’m spending a bunch of time on house projects.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:30 am

      A house takes up a ton of time. 🙂

  • freebird January 27, 2014, 7:36 am

    I nearly fell into this trap last year, fortunately my boss talked me out of it so I’m still fulltime on the job. I don’t want to be working forever, though, so I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this question.

    I noticed over the years my interests have become both fewer and shallower so hobby time has gradually shrunk. What I believe would liven things up is to get deeply involved in one or two things. We can offer dozens, maybe hundreds of specific suggestions, but where to start? The list probably can be categorized according to what kinds of emotional needs are satisfied and what kind of personality type will likely enjoy doing them.

    Some people are creative types who crave freedom and don’t mind lack of structure– they’ll put in more all-nighters after retiring than they did before. My guess is these people don’t need any advice or guidance, they’ll do what comes naturally and thrive on their own, whether their medium involves art, music, poetry, etc. I would venture, though, that there are many creative geniuses in this world who never realize their latent talent because they never gave it a try– so by all means use your free time to experiment around and see if you happen to hold any winning lottery tickets.

    Then there are organizers who like to build or arrange things according to a plan that they develop. I think a lot of collectors fall into this category. Some people do traditional stuff like stamps and coins, or maybe art and antiques at the higher end, while others go for niche specialties such as soup recipes or vinyl LP records. Be aware that it can occupy not only time but also space, so if you’re living in a small apartment, best not to try this at home, unless you can find something you like in virtual space.

    I’d guess the largest category is the social types who need human interaction on a frequent and regular basis to stay engaged in life. Huge opportunity here depending on what role you want to play. There’s the coaching and mentoring of the younger crowd (online tutoring and teaching English are popular), and there’s helping the elderly in their day to day living. More people are getting actively involved in message boards devoted to special topics. One of my co-workers spoke of his retirement dream as living in a coffe-shop (he’s pretty wealthy so he’ll probably end up buying one he likes).

    As for me, I don’t really fit any of the above categories, my forte I think is puzzle solving. It’s what I do full time in my job, and even though I didn’t hire in well-suited to it, over the years my mind evolved in this direction. So for me it’s probably going back to college to find some global problem that meshes well with my engineering background, and spending years trying to solve it.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:29 am

      That’s a great breakdown. When you have a full time job, everything else is 2nd priority. I’m sure when you have more free time, you’d pick up more hobbies and interests again.
      Going back to school would be great for you. Getting a PHD for the sake of learning is a great way to spend your retirement.

  • Insourcelife January 27, 2014, 6:36 am

    Retirement does not mean Jim can’t do some sort of “work”. What are your interests? Do something part time that aligns with your hobbies. For example, I like real estate, cars, motorcycles, travel and fixing things. If I were to “retire” by 40 from my IT job I would find something I could do in those fields to keep me busy. I would definitely have an active early retirement because sitting around in your prime years is a little silly and causes first world problems like this one.

  • Done by Forty January 27, 2014, 6:33 am

    It’s tough enough to plan my own early retirement, so unfortunately I have very little advice for Jim. Maybe his path is to have a lot of little activities, instead of one or two time consuming ones.

  • Justin @ Root of Good January 27, 2014, 6:05 am

    Work doesn’t equal the cure for boredom. I was pretty bored at work. Filling out TPS reports in triplicate were fun the first NEVER times I did them. Some parts of work were fascinating, but the BS parts of work rapidly eroded the awesomeness. Shitty coworkers helped as well.

    I love the list of “major feats to accomplish if you are bored”. I’m personally working on about half of those (learning a language, writing, business, informal education).

    Then last night, as I was watching a BBC documentary on the Danube River in Europe, I thought “hey, wouldn’t it be awesome to canoe the entire 1800 miles of the Danube?”. Being early retired means I could do exactly that if I wanted to. Then I realized there were serious white water rapids, 20 below freezing temperatures, and unpredictable weather and water levels when the Alpine snow packs melt. So I abandoned that particular dream by the end of the show. But maybe I can find a suitable river to conquer! The point is, when you have tons of free time you can dream big and accomplish the extraordinary.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:25 am

      Exactly. When you retire early, you have more time to explore your interest. Challenge yourself and see what you can accomplish. The white water trip would be pretty tough with 3 kids, though. Maybe something a little easier. 🙂
      Next year, I plan to spend 2 months in Thailand with the kid. That’s a luxury most people don’t have.

    • Jenna February 6, 2014, 4:15 pm

      Hah! Love this comment.

      I make cost models in Excel all day, every day in my little cubicle. Every cost model is unique so I’ve already optimized them as much as possible. BORING! For the first NEVER times for me too.

      I’m figuring out my exit plan. My plan is to save up about a year’s worth of expenses + a side hustle that I can grow to cover my expenses. Even if the side hustle brings in less than my expenses when I quit, I’ll have a year or more to cover my expenses, or at the very least, a long time to figure out where to go next.

      To Jim: Try stuff! Try your own projects, go out and interact with people at clubs. You can even go get a job that’s a good fit. Just go out and do rather than sit around. Hire a babysitter to take care of the kids for a few hours a week if that’s a concern.

  • Maverick January 27, 2014, 5:23 am

    You’re absolutely correct Joe. I can certainly understand where some people may get bored. Especially at a earlier age such as 40. Having found early financial independence in the following decade, with no kids at home, I have no problems with boredom. I’d like to remind folks that when you retire early/find financial independence, most of your friends and colleagues will still be working, so whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s likely you’ll be doing it solo (or with a significant other at the most). For me that means finishing a retirement house, rebuilding cars including engines and learning how to paint them, gardening with my tractor, building fine furniture, as well as the usual travel, camping, photography, and if I can squeeze it in…kicking off a DIY blog. Boredom? Not here.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:22 am

      Doing things solo can be hard for some people. I guess it just depends on your personality. I have no problem with it, but some people likes companies. It sounds like you’re having a great early retirement!

  • Justin @ Decisive Dollar January 27, 2014, 5:06 am

    I tend to agree with the comments above. I can’t imagine needing to work to avoid boredom. At this day and age, the information available to learn something new is unlimited. I don’t understand the idea of being “busy” just to pass the time. Great suggestions in the post!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:21 am

      I’m so busy everyday. I don’t know where I found time to work previously. I guess everything got deprioritize when you have a job.

  • Moneycone January 27, 2014, 5:05 am

    This is also my biggest fear! Retire after you figure out what you are going to do! Here’s one more suggestion for Jim – video games! But yes, with a toddler around, that could be a problem unless Jim has a private office!

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:19 am

      I’d save video games for when I’m 65. 🙂 It’s such a huge time sink.

  • C. the Romanian January 27, 2014, 1:40 am

    I’m at that point where I believe that I could never get bored if I managed to retire at 40 and I would rest all day long, read books and watch movies and still have the time of my life.

    Of course, it’s the tired me speaking right now and I am sure that I would actually get bored. I too believe in an active retirement, so I would do my best to travel as much as possible, find a hobby and do something constructive. Literally, I would like to build something like homemade furniture for our home, chairs and stuff for our yard and so on… and, of course, write a book. I’d be a pretty busy retiree, it seems 🙂

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:18 am

      Actually, I think you’ll get bored very quickly if you just rest all day. You need to do that when you first retired, but then you need more activities. Home made furniture sounds like a great hobby.

  • papadad January 27, 2014, 1:04 am

    Good post, Joe. I think some of your suggestions are excellent. SO many ways to fill the time — learn a language, musical instrument, skill like cooking, write a book, start a blog, consult/volunteer, get into shape/hit the gym, mentor our youth,, Find religion/become more spiritual, explore/expand a hobby, start a business…. you nailed many that i would recommend and how I would spend my time. Of course, exploring and researching how to spend your time can be a use of time in and of itself too. I agree also that you make your life exciting or boring. One must learn to entertain oneself. Especially so if retiring by 40 when there are few retired peers our own age with which to spend time.

    Shooting for 45 myself….T minus 17 months, 3 days and counting.

    • retirebyforty January 27, 2014, 9:17 am

      Good luck! You don’t need a lot of money to have fun. There are so many things we can learn for free. It’s better to learn to have an exciting life without spending a lot of money, right?

  • Pretired Nick January 27, 2014, 12:53 am

    As I used to tell my nephews when they’d whine about being bored: only boring people get bored. That’s not meant as an insult. People never get bored when they hold a deep fascination with the world around them. I typically take on more than I can handle so I’m not only never bored (OK, maybe a little when I’m playing with Pretired Baby) I’m usually stressed about how I’m going to fit everything into a day. I have trouble going to bed because I don’t want to stop having fun. Life isn’t about being entertained while you ride along. It’s about exploration and growth. And that never needs to end.

    • Dividend Growth Investor January 27, 2014, 4:48 am

      Right before I started my graduate degree, I took a few months off years ago. I was actually so busy during that time, that I felt I didn’t have enough time in my day.

      When you don’t have to do anything, only the most important things for you go to the surface. I worked out, spent time with family and friends, and read read read a lot. I would imagine my retirement would be similar in nature. I looked forward to each and every day, and learned something new. I also learned to value independence, which is the ability to live your life, without scheduling chunks of time on activities that require you to be in a certain place at a certain time.

      • Pretired Nick January 27, 2014, 8:09 am

        I got so much busier once I left full-time work! I always joke that I’m going to have to go find a job just so I can have some free time again.

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