Premature Retirement

This week I had a conversation about retirement.

I was presented with a logic centered around grafting very hard right now, making all the sacrifices, missing family time, working long hours, focussing on the big goal to have the best chance to make it happen.

With ‘the big goal’ being retirement at 65 with an abundance of wealth and ample time to enjoy it and have zero money worries.

Now I’m a huge fan of goal setting and the clarity and direction that brings. Lack of goals or ambition is sad to see; it reminds me of the quote:

Unhappiness is not knowing what you want and killing yourself to get it.

Big goals take big action and this guy was taking action but I found his strategy to be massively flawed.

With the average age of death in the UK being 81, that would leave you a mere 16 yrs to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour.

But the obvious thing to me was that the most important things in life had been retired prematurely for a future dream life (a life with no guarantee to even get there).

The guy I was talking to was already carrying a lot of extra timber and said he “had no time for exercise when I’m juggling work and home life”.

But to me, he’d created a life in which the only thing that kept him going was escaping said life. Is that paradoxical? Or ironic?

So my call was that he’d retired the most important things prematurely.

He had basically opted out (or retired his efforts) on:

  1. Looking after his fitness and well-being
  2. Spending real quality time with his family
  3. Being present and energetic when he was with his family


It reminded me of this quote:

Don’t do it FOR your family, do it WITH them

At the rate this guy was going, I’d bet that his health will have massively declined by the age of 65. He’ll struggle to enjoy his retirement.

Also, the divorce rate in the UK is nearly 50%, neglect your relationship while trying to achieve this big goal and you’ve lost your partner, your no1 fan.

How successful are you really if you get that expensive sports car but you’re too unfit to get in and out of it.  Or too unfit to climb the stairs in your mansion.  Living alone and fat in your mansion. Bingo! Success o’clock.

I hopefully left him something valuable to consider moving forward.  And it was a great reminder for me to review what is getting the monopoly on my time and attention.

You can’t pour from an empty cup and all that.

Have big goals and take massive action towards them,

BUT don’t neglect yourself or your loved ones in the process.

How about creating a life that you don’t want to retire from?