Soul Searching and Goals

Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of retirement planning is getting to know yourself specifically your wants and needs to plan a successful retirement.  Often we plan our retirement to the last dime and forget about fill those extra 2000 hours a year when our job is gone.

I’ve personally had a dream of writing more in retirement, but recently I’ve come to an interesting conclusion about myself.  Despite writing this blog daily for nearly two years and writing four novellas and a pile of short stories I don’t consider myself a writer.  Say what?  Yes I know strange isn’t it.  I will say “I like to write” or any other wording possible to avoid the terms writer or author.

Interesting isn’t it?  So as I played around with this idea in my head and wondered why.   I discovered an interesting fact about myself: I’m terrified of being successful at writing.  Why?  I’m afraid is I do really well and I’m actually making enough money to quit my day job.  If that occurs I won’t likely be saving anywhere near the same amount and I will give up my dream to retire early.

Yet if you think about it if I’m writing for a career do I even care if I retire early anymore?  I was just planning on writing anyway, so who cares if I won’t be about to ‘retire’ at 45.  I’m going to be doing something I love anyways.

So that is why my subconscious likes to sabotage my efforts.  Hence why I often publish my first drafts of posts, which is really not a great idea when I know I always need an edit to turn out anything decent.

So what is the goal in life: living your dream or financial independence?   Which do we try for?  Or can we do both?  Where does living for today start and living in a dream of tomorrow end?  What is the present value of future happiness?  What’s your thoughts on this idea?

10 thoughts on “Soul Searching and Goals”

  1. An excellent point and one I seem to be grappling with myself. I’m a well paid engineer who had dreams of retiring very early. Engineering is not my passion and I find it difficult to imagine doing it for much longer, but I know that any alternative career that I do for the love if it will mean I won’t be retiring as quickly. In my case, the solution I’m considering at the moment is working part-time at the well paid job, and the rest of the time on things I’m passionate about. It seems like this might give me the best of both worlds.

  2. You should really read that book ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ by Timothy Ferris. It talks a lot about living mini-retirements throught your life, and not just saving it all up ‘for the end’.

  3. I was just going to mention Ferriss–I’m waiting to read it, but one tag line I’ve read is “creating a life you don’t want to retire from”. I’m really thinking about what that might look like…how would I structure my life after FI, if I ever get there? And is FI really a worthwhile goal if I can have that life now?

  4. Interesting that you don’t consider yourself “a writer”. Who are you writing for? Perhaps a “writer” has an audience in mind and is catering to that audience.

    It’s true that you target an audience within the context of your blog, and you do a fantastic job. I would argue that creative (ie. fictional) writing is a much more personal process and is more difficult to share with others. Especially strangers.

    I like to write for pleasure. It is rare that someone other than myself or a couple close friends will read my creations. I don’t consider myself a writer, for one thing I’m not at all prolific. Maybe four or five short stories in the past year.

  5. That’s so funny, my husband and I were just talking about this. I’m a freelance writer working for local newspapers and magazines, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing for them. I really enjoy it and it makes decent money.

    Our goal is to get my husband “retired” by 40 or 45, and use my part-time writing work to supplement our investments. You’re right – who really does care about retiring when you’re in control of your own schedule and love your work?

  6. My Dad drove my Mum crazy for the first year untill he adjusted to not working. Today he’s had to adjust again since my Mum died and he lives in an appartment.

  7. Mia,

    Not a bad plan. Depending where your passions are, it could work.


    I’ve actually read the book. I rather like the overall idea of lifestyle design. I’m just still working out how to apply some of it to my own life.


    My exact thinking. Do you plan for now or later? In my ideal world I would like to jump to writing full time when I’m at least partly FI. So I’ve got some back up income while doing something else with variable income.

    Cash Canuck,

    Actually it sounds like your the classic blocked writer. You don’t want to share your creations to the light of day. You might want to find a book called: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a great read on how to be creative and unblock ourselves.


  8. Thank you for the book recommendations!

    I would like to believe that it is possible to do both but I grapple with how to clear enough “space” to allow creativity to flow. I seem to need a certain level of mental emotional peace.

    I started by cutting back my work week. Though it means decrease income, I felt better and combined with increased awareness of savings, frugality, evened things out financially. In a few more years, I hope to create even more space in my life to explore.

    I anticipate that eventually I’ll end somewhere in between.

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