5 BENEFITS OF EARLY RETIREMENT

Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement

THE REALITY OF EARLY RETIREMENT

Now that I've settled into the idea that working again is really unlikely for me, I've come to see that there are a multitude of benefits when it comes to no longer being in the paid workforce. There was (of course) an adjustment period where I needed to let go of the idea that only wealthy people could afford to leave work before they turned 65, and that it's quite possible to live very comfortably on one income if you've stewarded your money well in the lead up to leaving work.

We've been careful with our finances all through our married life, and although we've never been "rich" as the world would define it, we've managed our income carefully and reached the point of being debt free by the time we were in our 50's. Once the mortgage is paid off, it's quite easy to live a comfortable life on a minimal income without worrying about the wolf knocking at our door.

THE JOYS OF EARLY RETIREMENT

Once you have your budgeting under control, and the financial pressure is off, then you can focus on the benefits of not waiting another 10 years before you can consider leaving the job you hate, or are bored with, or worried about losing. To start the ball rolling, here are five benefits I've discovered about retiring in my 50's.

1. BEING YOUR OWN BOSS

For so long I was at the beck and call of a boss - some good, some not-so-great. They decided which days I worked, how much they thought I was worth in dollars, when I could take a lunch break, when I could have my holidays....and the list goes on. It's their right and privilege as the boss to do those things, so becoming my own boss means it's now my choice as to how I manage my time, and how I use it, and that equals a lot of "job" satisfaction for me!

2. YOUR TIME IS YOUR OWN - FREEDOM

When you're retired there's no schedule controlling your days and weeks. You don't have to fit your life in around your work hours anymore. If you want to have coffee on a Wednesday, or change your grocery shopping time, or stay home all day, it's your schedule and you can do what you like. Need to go to the doctor, dentist, hairdresser? You no longer need to schedule it around your days off or try to get an appointment on the weekend. On the other hand, if you don't feel like doing something you can change it or put it off to another time - nobody minds. And the best part for me is that there's no alarm anymore - nothing telling me I have to get up and get ready to face a work day - I wake when I'm ready and the day unfolds from there - how good is that?! I love not dreading Mondays anymore.

3. PEACE AND QUIET

I wrote a post a while ago about the quiet simplicity of living life like Henry David Thoreau chose to when he built his cabin by the lake. There's no clamouring, there's no morning rush hour traffic to battle through, there's no traffic lights, there's nobody making demands or insisting on your attention. Life without a 9-5 job is serene and sometimes I stop for a moment and just savour that peace and quiet - to hear the birds chirping as I type this, to look out at the trees and not an office wall - it just makes my heart happy.

Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement

4. CHOICES - FLEXIBILITY

When you're tied to a desk several days a week, your choices are limited. You made a commitment to put your job first and to give it the best of your time and effort. When you take that job out of the picture, you suddenly find that your choices are opened up and there are endless possibilities with how to use your week days. If you want to stay home all day in your yoga pants - that's fine, if you want to go out for a coffee date - that's fine, if you want to volunteer somewhere - that's fine, if you want to take a few days' holiday in the middle of the week - that's fine too. You can do what you want, when you want - and that's something I relish every day.

Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement

5. AVAILABILITY

Our delightful grandgirls and their parents came down to visit us for a few days last month. They arrived on a Monday and left on the Friday - and I was available for every moment of their visit. There was no going off to work and leaving them behind, no juggling and swapping work days to be available for their visit, no missing out on any of the time they had with us. Our son and DIL headed off for a couple of those days to have some time away by themselves, and it was possible because I was there for the girls and there was no stressing about how to fit it all in. We'll never have these days with the girls again, they'll grow up and I want to have these memories, and not regret missing out because I was too busy trying to earn a few more dollars.

Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement

RETIREMENT IS WHAT  YOU MAKE IT

I know early retirement isn't for everyone - for as many reasons as there are people! But for those who are wondering if it's the right thing for them, I can't recommend it enough. I'm so glad life's circumstances brought me to this point much sooner than I expected. I don't have the remotest desire to go back to living my life around the daily work grind.

Life is short and it keeps getting shorter. I want to live it on my terms now, doing what I love, and sharing every moment with the people I care about. For me, stopping work has been an absolute godsend - I had expected to be worried about finances, worried about what people would think, and worried about being bored. None of those has even been a blip on my radar, instead it's been one pleasant day after another - with many more to come.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you still loving your job or are you considering stopping work? Are you wondering what you'd do if you retired? Or are you happily ensconced in this new way of living and enjoying it as much as I am?

RELATED POSTS


Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement
Are you considering leaving work in your 50's instead of waiting another 10 years? Here's 5 benefits I've discovered since I retired at 57. #midlife #earlyretirement

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44 comments

  1. Choices, flexibility & freedom...you can't put a price on that. The one thing I've always wanted is to be available to drop everything if Mum & Dad need me & at the moment, while my job is technically flexible I can't just do that. Living on your terms, that is a true life goal.

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    1. I don't think it will be all that far down the track for you Jo - life changes every day and what we assume we'll be doing for years to come can change in a heartbeat. I think the secret is to enjoy what you have now and if changes come you welcome those too (because there's always so many silver linings!)

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  2. All of those things sound amazing. Even though I've cut back to part-time I'm struggling at the moment as it feels as if I can't cope with the stuff I have on and I'm not giving enough. I think perhaps I'm just adjusting to the part-time gig. It's a bit nebulous in terms of stuff I have to do. Project management stuff but then some content writing and I'm never very sure re timeframes and expectations I guess.

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    1. I think every change takes some adjustment Deb - it takes a while before you feel like you're in your groove and have your priorities figured out. Once I stepped back a bit and stopped trying to justify every waking minute of my day, I found a very pleasant pace that I'm absolutely relishing - you'll get there before you know it (and I think what you have for work now sounds like a really good mix for you).

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  3. This Thursday my 4 year old grandson’s kindy is having “grandparents day” and because I have just stopped working I am free to attend. So excited ��

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    1. A perfect example Lindy - so many people miss out on stuff like that because they have to work - if work is a necessity then I get it, but when it's a choice and you miss those lovely moments then I think it's a little bit sad. I bet you have a wonderful time creating memories x

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  4. HI, Leanne - As I have also taken early retirement, your 'five benefits' strongly resonate with me. What resonates most is your closing statement that "retirement is what you make it." I couldn't agree more.
    That picture of you and your grandchildren is priceless. I love your retirement priorities!

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    1. Hi Donna - I think of you off doing your Camino walks and visiting family and having your Summer breaks etc and all of that is possible because you have the time and space. I can't believe how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live life on our own terms instead of marching to someone else's drumbeat xx

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  5. Leanne, it's lovely to see you settling into YOUR retirement lifestyle! You are so right that it is all about choices. Some folks have a hard time as retirement can give you so many choices. Too many choices can feel overwhelming or you can feel like making one choice is a commitment forever or you can't choose because you've always had things (your schedule) decided for you. I'm learning that a (big) choice made can be changed. And small commitments help me make other choices (I'm doing a new exercise program for one month- signing up today). And yeah, all of this is freedom and flexibility!

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    1. I'm feeling more and more that retirement allows me to do things on my own terms Pat. If I want to try something new I can, if I don't feel like doing something that I usually do, then that's okay too. I wasn't well last Wednesday and ended up not going to my exercise class - it was such a relief to realize that it really didn't matter and it would still be there next week - it wasn't dependent on me being there. I feel so much more relaxed these days and lighter in mind, body and soul!

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  6. I retired early, and have never regretted it. A main benefit, for me, has been enhanced health, less stress, and more contentment. Thanks for this timely (for me) post!

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    1. Hi Diane - I can relate to all three of those benefits. I was SO stressed by the time I left my job that it was affecting my mental and physical health. Now I feel like I'm back to normal - only calmer and more relaxed than I've ever been and that's such a joy.

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  7. Thank you for reminding me about all of the benefits of being in charge of managing my time. The “quiet simplicity” is huge for me. Something I have never had in the past. I appreciate your number five point. “Availability.” We do have the privilege of seeing our grandchildren each week. Priceless! I reread your “Quiet Simplicity” post. Many great quotations.

    A great post, Leanne, as always. I love the photo of you and the grandchildren!

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    1. Hi Erica - that quiet simplicity is really key for me coming to terms with this stage of life. I just LOVE that I'm not beholden to anyone anymore - I can do life at my own pace and make choices that are all about my values rather than what works best for other people. Every morning I wake with a smile and a sense of peace - what's not to love??

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  8. Returning to your post, Leanne, and sharing #MLSTL and sharing SM Interesting and fun to be part of this party. Thank you to you and Sue for organizing:)

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    1. We love having you here Erica - your friendship and support are what makes this whole blogging journey so special x

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  9. Hi Leanne, so happy to see that you are settling into retirement and appreciating the benefits. I struggled when I retired early and took to blogging as a way to cope. I am now enjoying the best of all worlds with some blogging, spending time each week with my grandsons, travelling and keeping healthy and active. I think the flexibility is the best part of retirement. You are in charge of your own schedule although after years of living with a schedule that can be a challenge to change our way of thinking. Off to another great start to #MLSTL and can you believe we are at #90? Have a great week and have shared on SM. x

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    1. Hi Sue - I think we all have to go through a process to accept this change of pace and lifestyle, especially when it comes earlier than we anticipated. Maybe people who have planned for it for 10 years adjust better? I'm just so grateful to be in a place where I don't have to find another job and I can savour the freedom and doing life on my terms instead of catering to the whims of a demanding boss.

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  10. Hi Leanne - I've also chosen early retirement and have been enjoying it very much. The five benefits that you mentioned can't be beat and yes, retirement is another phase of life and is what you make it. Lovely photo of you and your granddaughters. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - I don't think early retirement is given enough air space. Everyone is so busy trying to accumulate as much cash as possible to tide them over their retirement so they can live life at a level they think is necessary. I can't believe how wonderful it is to step back a little, leave the daily grind behind, adjust my thinking a little, and then just getting on with having all this precious time to myself and for my family.

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  11. I love everything about this Leanne, the choices, flexibility, freedom, fun, travel, grand-parenting, community engagement, volunteering..... the list is endless. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which are mine too. Sharing for #mlstl

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    1. Hi Deb - I think we're both walking a very similar path - pushed out of jobs we loved by people who had a different agenda....but then realizing that all that worked out for our good and we're reaping benefits we didn't know were there. It's definitely about finding acceptance and peace, choosing our mindset, and then just getting on with enjoying the ride.

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  12. That last bit is really important - retirement is what you make it. As is work, and life in general. Good post #MLSTL

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    1. You're right Lydia - I spent 40 years in the workforce and enjoyed the majority of it. Now that I've stepped away, it's been a lovely wake up call to realize that I can make a whole new life for myself - a new season of life I think.

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  13. Leanne this pist makes me feel like retiring right here and right now. I’m loving my job so happy to keep going. But when the time comes that I don’t live going to work, then I will very quickly retire. I’m not concerned about filling my days in retirement. I know there is more than enough that I will be doing. Unfortunately it’s too late for me to take ‘early retirement’. #MLSTL Sharing

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    1. Hi Jennifer - if I'd had a job that I loved and where I felt valued and appreciated, I'd still be working too. Unfortunately those boxes aren't always easy to tick (especially when it comes to choosing your workmates!) I think we approach life with the idea that when the signs say "time for a change" we embrace it and stop fighting for things to remain the same. Life is fluid and I'm coming to like that more and more.

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  14. Hi Leanne,

    This is one of those posts of yours that I can closely relate to. There is a little more than 5 years for me to retire, and I have been wondering when should I call it a day. In my case, while I love the job I do, what puts stress on me is the crazy working hours.

    All the five points you have listed are spot on. Of course, it's a personal call, and the compulsions to work or not to, depends on the particular individual.

    However, as you have rightly said, if one has managed the budget prudently, it should not be too difficult a decision.

    Thanks for sharing those insights.

    #MLSTL. I have shared on my social media.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - I think we are all under a fair amount of stress when we're working for someone else - whether it's travel time, difficult workmates/bosses, time pressure etc. As long as the good outweighs the bad then I think we keep pushing through, but when the bad starts to colour everything then maybe it's time for a re-think?
      When I left my job, I thought I'd move onto something else, but all that thinking brought me to an entirely different conclusion - one I'm thankful for every day! It would take a LOT to get me back into the 9-5 grind again.

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  15. I will be forever grateful that we took early retirement. Now that my husband has bone marrow cancer we won't be spending our old age together. As Jo mentioned it is good to be able to help out elderly parents and most of all to have the freedom and energy to do what we can with our time. I have found doing voluntary work for Waipuna Hospice a real bonus as I have met so many wonderful women. Leanne, it does sounds like you have now accepted the positives of early retirement.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - I'm so sorry about your husband's cancer and the fallout from that. We always expect that we'll grow old together don't we? I am so grateful for the fact that I've been given this backhanded blessing of leaving my job - I would never have done it without a big push, and it's the BEST decision - now I look back I don't know how I survived for so long. What I have now is absolute joy in comparison.

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  16. Though I'm not 'officially' retired as yet I am still enjoying many of the benefits such as you are. It is my choice how I spend my time. I have freedom and flexibility and availability if need be. I don't have grandchildren yet (but gee I hope I do some day) but I have an aging mother who I am very pleased to have the availability for whenever the need arises. xo

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    1. I'm not sure when we see ourselves as 'officially' retired Min - and I think that's one of the things I struggled with at first when I left work. Is it a time thing? Or a lack of jobs to apply for? Or a mindset? It's a tricky one. I think a lot of us would be open to finding the perfect job but when the options are so limited then choosing to be retired is so much nicer than other terms - maybe "gainfully unemployed" is still the way some look at it?

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  17. Hi Leanne. I'm so glad you are enjoying your retirement. You are right. It does take a while to adjust and realize you don't have to be so scheduled. It's absolute heaven! The only time now, that we have to get up at a scheduled time is when we have a trip planned. Thanks for sharing another great post!

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    1. Hi Christina - I love that I only set my alarm now and then for things I want to do rather than things I "have" to do. Not getting up in those dark Winter mornings this year was an absolute joy! I'm looking forward to seeing how Summer goes without it revolving around a few weeks holiday and the rest of the time being stuck inside in an office - I think it's going to be amazing!

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  18. Hi Leanne
    I love my job. It's crazy and stressful sometimes, but it also affords me the opportunity to work remotely so I can still travel and do my thing. My husband will be retiring in the next few months and that will be an adjustment, but that's even better for me because I'm hoping he will take care of the household stuff. But I'm sure we are both in for quite an adjustment period. I'm envious of all your free time and that you don't have to account to anyone and the stress has been removed from your life! I'm probably going to stay put for at least another 5 years.
    Visiting from #MSTL

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    1. Hi Theresa - it I'd had a job I loved and could have done some of it from home (and not in an office with a crazy person!) I'd have stayed working too. I think it's good for us to be mixing with other people and having our minds stimulated by working, but when all of that is outweighed by drama and stress, then that changes the playing field.
      My husband still works, but works from home and that's a nice balance - I don't feel like I'm alone during the day, and I like that he's available if I need him (but out of sight and mind when I don't!) It's different for all of us and it'll be a whole new ball game when your husband is home all the time! Good luck :)

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  19. Each of your five points above, Leanne, rejoice Freedom! and I agree whole-heartedly. "Retirement" is being redefined daily - I love your definition and I love how you rejoice in your retirement.

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    1. I find retirement changes from week to week too Agnes - but it still has so much to offer that being stuck in the regiment of a job doesn't. The freedom and flexibility are huge positives - but also the ability to spend time with the people I love whenever the chance comes along - that's just gold!

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  20. Congratulations on #90 link up. Thank you both for this. I have retired 3 times. The first was because of ill-health (work burnout as a principal) and my employer was inflexible about paying my lump sum super out at 3 years before it was due). I literally had to fight a huge mental game (with my teachers union lawyers) to get the money. I "wished" I had the mental strength and capacity back then I have now as I would not have left. But in terms of my mental health it was the only option. Retirement has meant major adjustments for us as we lived with a large mortgage (the risk/benefit) as we helped our adult kids get housing. It did not work well and we still "pay the price" of our generosity. I could go on but I won't. The diagnosis of cancer gave me a different life perspective back when I was 67 and I appreciate that our private health fund was there for me and that we have enough money to live on. Not to buy a house (yet) but that will come. I think you have done this early retirement thing so well! Congratulations. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Hi Denyse - I don't think any of us would choose to retire because we've been stressed and bullied into a near breakdown - but that's often what happens. When we've recovered we wonder how we let it happen, but at the time it's a gradual decline that ends up with us in a puddle of misery and having to leave. I'm sorry you also had to fight the lawyers on top of things.
      I'm also sorry that your generosity caused you to lose your family home, that's one of the sad things with family - you do things with the best intentions, but sometimes they backfire. I'm being careful with what we have and how much we give away because I'm aware that both our children have excellent jobs and they earn more than we do. I think there comes a point when children need to stand alone and not be 'helped' or to pay back that help when they know they should (but tha't just my humble opinion - and we know that I've had my family dramas so I'm no expert!)

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  21. The flexibility of retirement is one of the main things I am looking forward to. My husband and I have made sure we are debt-free, so that when our turn comes, we can retire without financial worry--at least no more than anyone else who has prepared. I love traveling, so I'm hoping we will have planned sufficiently to allow for that expense. Enjoy this time! I hope to join you before too much longer. #MLSTL

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    1. Christie being debt free is the number one key to being able to leave work. Not having mortgage repayments hanging over our heads means that we only have our day to day living expenses and bills to cover (and we aren't big spenders so that's a benefit too). I love that we have more than enough and actually we seem to have more than I anticipated! You're going to love it when your time comes - especially with all your family to spend your time with!

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  22. Retirement has proven to be the best time of my life. Getting married at 59 and retiring at 60 made me a little nervous at first, but I was financially prepared. I was lucky to leave my 38 year job with a good pension which I know puts me a step ahead of a lot of people. I love my quiet days and controlling my schedule. (My husband is still working.). Once he retires, things will change but we’ll have that flexibility and availability you talk about. I’m thankful to have that now as my parents age.

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    1. Hi Linda - I think there are several factors that have to come into play for early retirement to work - one is low/no debt, also to have a nest egg or pension, and having a partner who still works takes some of the stress out of it too. I hadn't realized how lovely retirement would be - maybe that's a good thing or I'd have wanted to leap in much earlier!

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