The Internet Retirement Police

Beware they are watching you everywhere: early retirees or even those planning an early retirement. They enforce their narrow views by shouting from the rooftops…”You can’t do that.” or “Your really not going to be retired.”  They are the Internet Retirement Police (IRP) and have offices in every major newspaper and most forums.

I’m very familiar with their policies and procedures since everyone of my articles on the Toronto Star has seen enforcement action.  Well apparently I’m not the only one that is getting sick of them during a post recently on Mr Money Mustache, he cut into IRP and the insane ideas they have.

In general the problem seem to be that the IRP consider that any one who isn’t playing golf or sitting on a beach possible can’t be retired if they do anything that brings in income.  This narrow view point I think comes from a generation gap on what people what people consider retirement.

The older generations have been brainwashed by those Freedom 55 commercials to have a very specific dream of what retirement should be, but seem to miss the main point of those commercials: it is all about the freedom.

So yes you can work in ‘retirement’ on a contract, part time, small business basis or well anything you feel like.  The point of freedom is to do anything you want…even things that you personally won’t consider doing in retirement.  So your version or vision of retirement could be completely different than mine.  Well I certainly hope so since you are not me!

So here is my idea for the IRP…grow up.  You are acting like a five year old who can’t realize that not everyone wants to play the exactly same way as you and then has a fit over it.  The rest of us do try to listen to alternative points of view, but this bashing other people’s dreams because you can’t retire early isn’t helping anyone.  Go to your room and step away from the keyboard until you can play nice with the other kids.

So have you ever had seen enforcement action from the IRP, if so please share the story in the comments.  Perhaps we can all have a good laugh over them in the end.

18 thoughts on “The Internet Retirement Police”

  1. Add to IRP actions the unshakable belief that one must retire at a certain age. My psychology prof in university was finally, in his 70’s, hounded into retirement. His family threw him a lovely party to celebrate and the next week he went back to his three part time jobs, seeing patients out of his home office a couple times a week, teaching university psychology, and consulting on a text book that was being written. All of which he absolutely loved doing. But for the record he is officially retired.

  2. Mine are in real life.
    I’m always being told that I will always have debt, that it’s no use trying, that I may as well spend and be happy now. I don’t talk about my plans much any more.

    I remember while in my late teens, talking about what I was going to do when I “grew up”. I was told it was a pipe dream. I was told it often enough that I believed it. I started doing what every one else did, believing that my dreams of financial control couldn’t be done.

    I think I was smarter as a teen than I was in my 20’s and 30’s. I’ve been going back to some things I liked doing back then that I stopped because I was “supposed” to. I have a better life when I don’t listen to anyone else, lol.

  3. In the MMM article it states that ““Retired” means you no longer have to work for money…”

    This is my view as well. If you “retire”, but you still need part time income to live, you are not retired at all.

    All these 30 and 40 somethings you see on the net, calling themselves semi-retired amuses me – no, people, you are part time workers. Am I wrong here?

  4. I don’t really know what these things are called, it’s semantics and I don’t much care and am frankly surprised that most contrarians would care what other people thought so much. Call me the goddess of saving if that turns your crank.

    I could call my present state “I-think-I-was-financially-independent-and-could-retire-about-2-years-ago-but-decided-to-not-count-my-RRSP’s-since-I’m-saving-them-for-when-I’m-closer-to-60ish-and-the-LIRA-for-when-I’m-50-55-and-maybe-I’m-just-a-bit-of-a-scaredy-pants-expecting-a-sideways-market-and-would-like-to-beef-things-up-a-bit-anyway-since-I-think-I-might-want-to-do-more-and-travel-more-when-the-kids-are-grown-up-or-at-least-have-the-option.”

    I don’t think of myself right this minute as retired by any stretch even though hypothetically I don’t need the money according to living expenses. Because I’m going in to work every freaking day.

    So no, I don’t think Jon is wrong that they’re part time workers, just like I’m a contract worker right now for my own reasons, and that’s okay.

    I’ve wondered myself about a few people like Derek Foster or Ernie Zelinski. I enjoyed their books, but is it exactly retirement if a big portion of your income (that you spend, not save-assuming that they do) is from being an author? I guess it sells books to the unhappy masses.

    (But I think it’s way more cool to quit your normal work, take a chance on yourself and be an author / investor / entrepreneur and not label yourself “retired”.)

  5. Greetings! By the way Author, Ernie Zelinski lives in the same hometown as me. What a guy! When Ernie was writing his books I was bouncing around in 9 different in private industry and public service. When I was reading some of Ernie’s books I dreamed of writing a 150 page non-fiction book.

    Personally, I was downsized and carried out in a body bag from my last job as a contract Purchasing Agent. Well from this point at the age of 45 to the present I haven’t really had what is defined as a real job. Freedom is definitiely a great word for retirement. My first year was spent 4-hours per day for a whole year in the river valley the largest urban park in North America.

    Recently I have written a new book (approx. 150 pages as per my Dream) titled, Encore! Encore! Seniors (50 Plus) As Entrepreneurs: Their Time Has Come. The bigger picture is empowering older adults to become more active, creative, and productive in their pre-retirement and retirement life. And, my social mission is to help eradicate Seniors’ Poverty around the World.

    Joe W.

  6. Why do we need to classify ourselves at all? I am 41 and my spouse is 50. We “retired” last year. Most people have the same reaction… You’re too young to retire! In response I would say that in our combined histories of working multiple jobs for years and saving, that we have forgone the fast cars, designer clothes and eat out lifestyles of most and as a result we now have the freedom to do what we want. If that isn’t retired, then what is?
    That’s not to say that we do nothing. We have properties and investments and spend time managing those. We haven’t ruled out project work in the future. There simply isn’t a category that fits being retired and young. But now, a year later, I still struggle with what to say when people react to our retired status…

  7. This is a wonderful post! I hope it gets shared, discussed and internalized all over the place.
    But the us-against-them tone worries me a bit. While it brilliantly illustrates the small-mindedness of staunch defenders of old-time retirement ideas, it does, very cleverly, contribute to painting traditional retirees as a useless and unimaginitive bunch, who should be scorned for their stodgy ideas AND lifestyle.
    In the end, we’ve each got our own ideas about what to do with our freedom. But I don’t want to be told how to live my life by the IRP or the We’re Way Cooler Than The Stuffy Previous Generation Police (WWCTTSPGP).

  8. I sometimes refer to myself as a retired stay at home mom since all the kids are now out of the nest. I struggled with what I should do and finally realized that if I take a job which I don’t need or want then someone else won’t have the job they need. Instead I have become a bit of a fitness guru and I’m either working out, reading or planning adventurous trips. When my husband retires soon we will manage our investments, travel the world and search for where we where we want to live for the net 30 years. I plan to say he is an investor when people ask. I guess I should title myself fitness and adventure planner. Who cares what people think I am loving my life!

  9. We are not quite at the point of calling ourselves retired yet. We hope to be financially independent by or late thirties, but I expect that we would still do some kind of work or projects at least part time – but because it’s enjoyable, not because we needed the money.

  10. @ LorriC I too struggled with what to say for awhile and then stuck with “retired” followed with “I got a GREAT package” – that shuts down most sticky beaks (love that Aussie phrase – I’m not aussie though) and for the others who cares (stony silence works) – its nobody’s business but your own.

    btw I didn’t get a great package I built the nestegg myself having worked on contract my entire career – this also afforded me big chunks (multi-months) of travel time in 20s, 30s and 40s (and 50s too, now that I’m “retired”), which I’m sure bend a few beaks, and also allowed me to build up an agreeable nestegg.

    Surprisingly nobody has ever asked how I did it – I guess they thought I was racking up debt or got an inheritance (NO!!! on both counts).

    Tim states most clearly its about the FREEDOM to do whatever you want to do not some preconceived notion of labeling – to much focusing on “what you do is what you are” claptrap. Jon_snow please note!

    I also read the MMM blog – stirred quite a hornet’s nest. I may adopt one of the suggested “labels” – Whim-rider

  11. Just went through all the comments on the MMM “IRP” thread… Indeed epic… MMM didn’t at all like the suggestion that some questioned his “retired” status because he works on houses and brings in income from his blog. I don’t have a problem with it because I choose to believe him when he says he doesn’t NEED this income to live.

  12. Without reading the other comments – I gotta say that I totally agree with this article. I’m not offended by the ‘IRP’, but wish that people would understand that “success” and what retirements means isn’t the same for everyone. I’m guessing most readers of this blog are like me and plan on retiring early by saving substantially and at the same time lowering how much we plan on spending in retirement. I’m a photographer and hobbyist at heart and don’t need much money to do that happily. I even plan on turning some profit in retirement.

    Great article – great blog. Keep it up.

  13. LorriC (commenter above) said it best:

    “We have forgone the fast cars, designer clothes, and eat out lifestyles of most and as a result we have the freedom to do what we want.”


  14. There always one out there I guess that’s me…

    I think there are a few different schools of thought here. It all depends on what message the financial blogger is trying to get out.

    Your post here today is pretty well the same post you wrote in slightly a different way about a year ago. I responded to that one as well.

    What is a so called IRP responding to? I’ll give you an example. If a PF blogger has a title such as Retire by (put age here) and has a message that you just have to make a budget, stick to it and put $100.00 a month and a balanced portfolio of ETF’s and by the time your 45 you can retire. It’s pretty boring and we know it won’t work unless you still can eat dog food & go live with your parents for free when you retire. So something has to be said so people don’t believe that method will work. Bring on the IRP.

    Also if your wife still works at a good paying job (free med/dental maybe other benefits)you have a 4 plex bringing in money, you are a micro banker (using prosper or similar online lending service) and you make money from your blog(s), and also your investments, does that mean you the PF blogger are retired? I don’t think so. You simply have alternative work from a mainstream 9-5 job. Also you are now a reverse variation of June Cleaver.

    You need to be a superintendent at the 6 plex, you need to manage your mini bank, you have to write your blog and maintain the site and think of new ideas. You need to manage your investments. How is that not “a” form of work? Call it retired if it makes you feel good or brings people to your blog to dream that they can… sigh retire too… magically. That is simply delusional. You simply have an assortment of part time jobs possibly freeing up more of your time but possibly at a price to your lifestyle. So that works for some people not everyone.

    So some peoples vision of retirement truly does mean absolute freedom. So if today I want to do nothing I will. Tomorrow if I want to drive to a property in Florida, I’m going to need gas for my cars and motorcycle, and jet ski to do so. Maybe I’ll restore another old car. I want to enjoy myself on my way so I won’t pack something I cooked and made 16 meals that I froze in the fridge to save money. I don’t want to live in a cramped RV. I’ll need money for car insurance, to upkeep two properties, for wonderful meals in nice restaurants, see a hockey game, go fishing, spend some time in other countries exploring, etc… If I can afford all that and not run out of money (and not spend 3-4 hours on my laptop working each day on -line), I’m retired to my retirement’s standards not yours.

    In the opinion of the “IRP” – If you do all that on “passive” investment income, and you don’t have to rely on several part time job’s and major lifestyle changes – your “traditionally” retired. It’s pretty simple and there is nothing wrong with having an opposite opinion. You have a public blog and by doing so you should invite people with other opinions to give them. I’m not sure labeling people for having a different concept of retirement is really appropriate. It’s silly, using your own words, “you are not me” and were both right.

    We are in a new age where people can sit in their underwear all day at home and make money on line and never leave their house. Could you not say in a way they are retired too, that could be some sharp 19 year old’s very first job? It’s the same thing… we are just playing with words and terms here to suit a theme.

  15. Ging Durch tedesco Kommentare zum MMM IcJust Discussione Epico “IRP” … In der Tat … MMM Nicht Wie der Hut überhaupt Vorschlag, dass. einige Wadenfänger stato “Ruhestand” Frage gestellt, weil. ersten Jahr Häusern Funktioniert Pedala ‘und im Ergebnis aus seinem Blog. Habe Ich Nicht Ein Problema put weil HMI. Ich HMI Glauben, Wenn Nicht zu leben er er braucht questo Einnahmen, sagt wählen.

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