A Different Mindset

There has recently been a myriad of articles written stating that the new retirement age should be closer to 75 compared to 65 as people are living longer and not saving enough prior to their workplace exit.  Besides the money issue, and the risk that I will run out of it, there is always the question of what I will do with all my time .  I find this question somewhat odd – it’s not like all my time is spent at work, and when I’m at home I am definitely not thinking of work.  I get the following comments when I explain my plans for the future:


I don’t really associate the way I make money with what makes me who I am.  For the majority of people in my life, their job or career is an extension of a choice they made when they were 18 years old to go through some type of school or training and they have just carried this through to today.  I honestly have no idea what half my friends do for a living, and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t tell me what do either – we just don’t really care.  Because I don’t really associate myself with my job, a transition to having no job is not going to be a tremendous shift.

Social Life:

Additionally, I’m an introverted person – leaving the workforce would significantly reduce the number of people that  I would come across in a day as I don’t actively seek out people’s company, but I am somewhat indifferent to whether or not  I see anyone at the end of the day.  If I choose, I’m sure I can get involved in some kind of group (this summer I did join a kettlebell club in my city where I met several people).  Exiting the workforce will not have a significant bearing on my social life, as I don’t really have one.

Filling in time:

Some people chomp at the bit to get back to work at the end of their vacations – I am not that kind of person.  If I left the workforce today, other than not being able to afford my current lifestyle, I think I could find a ton of stuff to fill in my time.  My hobbies would expand to fill in the 9 hours I spend commuting and working during the day and as far as I can tell I would probably have a lot more fun than sitting at a desk.

It’s my belief that not everyone is made to get out of the workforce early, some people need the structure of a job with the forced interaction that goes along with it.  Additionally, some people just can’t figure out what they would do with all that free time.  I can’t see myself having any of these problems, which is why I think retirement at 45 is so attractive to me.

Besides saving enough money to get out of the workforce, what can you see as a hurdle?  Do you think you would be able to fill in the spare time that you’re now spending at work?

4 thoughts on “A Different Mindset”

  1. Dave,

    Good points. I would also note the fact that as your amount of free time expands the amount of time it takes to do something also increases. For example, during the week my morning coffee, eat breakfast and read the news can be done in 30 to 45 minutes. Yet the same set of tasks can take me up to 2 hours on the weekend. So while you might have 9 more hours in the day, I suspect you won’t be filling all of them.


  2. Entering my 3rd year of retirement after 39 years of grade school teaching, I’m still amazed at how much I don’t miss it! Still, however, I see myself as a retired teacher, though I tend to mention that less and less and just say (maybe) that I am retired.

    As for social life, I find that I am even more social than before, even though I also see myself as an introvert. With a wider range of recreational activities, I have more “playmates” (as opposed to “Playmates” 🙂 ) than previously.

    And filling in time is not a problem whatsoever. But it’s important to note that filling in (leisure) time never was a problem – the problem was actually finding time to do that stuff. I figure that if you were a couch potato before retirement, then that’s what you’ve programmed yourself to be after retirement.

  3. My parents are so busy in retirement that they often say they wonder how they ever had time to work. I am not very worried about filling up my time, and my identity and social life is not at all tied to my job. I would most likely choose to volunteer at an organization that meant something to me for 10-20 hours a week if I was feeling bored.

  4. Yes Tim, my breakfast can take up to 2 hours too, I thought I was weird!! Thank you for writing that!! And as Tara suggests, I do some volunteer work (only 8 hours), and I also take up some short courses. You will be amazed how time flies by when you retire!

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