How do you motivate yourself from being lazy in retirement? That’s one of the questions I got last week from a reader who is pondering early retirement. It is a valid question. Laziness is one of the seven deadly sins after all. Nobody wants the lazy label. We were all taught to avoid laziness when we were kids and it still rankles when someone calls me lazy. Some people may think early retirees are lazy because we are no longer a productive member of the workforce. However, early retirees have a lot of things to do too. I wish I could relax on the couch all day and catch up with Dr. Oz, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Will early retirement make you lazy?
I had a pretty busy day so I don’t feel lazy at all. This morning, I went to the duplex to replace 3 light switches, met the water heater installation guy, watered the plants, and cleaned out some junk from the basement. In the afternoon, I took RB40Jr swimming and then prepared dinner. Now, I’m writing a blog post while everyone else is sleeping. It doesn’t look like this is going to be a lazy retirement for me. Oh, I did grab a 20 minute nap while RB40Jr watched cartoons before we went swimming. My sleep pattern is a mess.
How did I ever find time to work 50-60 hours per week? That’s easy — I paid other people to do all that stuff. We had a property manager for our rental. However, I am sure they would not have noticed the water heater leak until the water came cascading down the stairs. This water heater was for the 2nd floor unit. The property manager only checked the place thoroughly about once per year and nobody cares about your property as much as you do. I knew the water heater was old, so I kept checking it and sure enough, it started leaking while our tenant was on a 3 week vacation to Europe. Whew, we dodged a big repair bill there.
How about our kid? When I was working full time, we paid over $1,200 per month for full-time daycare. We dropped RB40Jr (he was a baby at the time) off at 7 am and picked him up around 6 pm. That’s a lot of time apart especially since he went to bed very early. Now, I spend a lot of time with him and it’s great. I’m teaching him to swim instead of sending him to swimming lessons. This summer, we went to playgrounds, listened to free concerts, played at the beach, explored museums, and tried various new food carts. It’s a lot of fun to spend time with him while he’s young and inquisitive. He’ll be a teenager soon and he will want a lot more independence then. He’s heading off to kindergarten next week so I will have more time soon. It will be interesting if I really can be more productive with the additional time.
Blogging also takes up a lot of time. I usually work on Retire by 40 for 2-4 hours per day. It is a part-time job. I would like it to be more passive at some point, but I’m comfortable with the pace for now. I cut back to 2 posts per week recently and it made a huge difference. It’s easier to write and I can relax a bit more. I was starting to run out of ideas when I was posting 3 times per week.
These are the main things I do every day, and I have a ton of other things on my plate, too.
- Domestic chores – Cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and the occasional loads of laundry.
- Healthcare – This summer has been a bit crazy. I felt like I was always taking myself, Junior, or my mom to see the doctor. We don’t have any big health issues, but there were a lot of little things.
- Exercise – I’m trying to exercise more, but it’s hard to get to the gym. I need to go every weekday so it becomes a routine. I’ll do that after school starts.
- Relaxing time – I have a bit more relaxing time now that I’m not working full-time. I’m reading more and I can watch a DVD all the way through once in a while.
- School – I’m sure once school starts, we’d have more school related things to deal with. I’d probably need to help with homework, go to the PTA meetings, help with fundraising, and various other activities.
- Manage our finances – I keep an eye on our bank accounts and investments, pay the bills on time, and keep a look out for investment opportunities.
- Travel planning – We’re heading to San Diego next month and then Thailand later on. I need to book the Thailand trip soon.
- Car – I fill up the gas tank and deal with car maintenance.
- Home repairs – We haven’t had much of a problem at home lately so things are okay here. Thank goodness the recent fire in our building missed our place. Our HVAC is still broken, but we seem to be fine without it so it’s on my procrastination list.
There are just a lot of things to do. When I was working, I could outsource some of these, put some off, and ignore the rest. I was also sleep deprived most of the time back then. It seems sleep is always the first thing to go when there is too much to do. Now that I’m not working full-time, I’m trying to take care of all these things myself. My days go by quickly. There are endless things to do and I don’t feel lazy at all.
Early Retirement Won’t Make You Lazy
Some people may think early retirement will lead to laziness, but I don’t agree. If you’re not lazy before retirement, you’ll find plenty of things to do in retirement. Retirement doesn’t change who you are. It just shuffles the to-do list a little bit. I have plenty of things to deal with and I am busy all the time. I don’t have to motivate myself to get out of bed and I don’t feel lazy at all. The great thing about retirement is that you can take a slower pace, put off some stuff until tomorrow, and still be active. I am procrastinating more, but as long as I’m not sitting on the couch all day watching the TV, I’m okay with that.
Do you think early retirement will lead to laziness?
Image by tookapic
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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.