Facing Your Fear

This might sound odd but I am grateful for 2018 being a crappy investment year.  Yes, you may now say: WTF?!?!

I think perhaps my greatest fear about my early retirement was the markets would go the hell after I retired and then I would be forced to go crawling back to my old workplace and beg for a job.  Yet after that partly coming true in 2018: the bad stock markets part.  I realized that I don’t have to go back to my old work at all.  I still have a lot of money saved up, I can still live my life and find other means of making money that don’t involve my old job.

In short, I faced down perhaps my biggest fear about my early retirement and realized the greatest gift about early retirement isn’t really about having all this time off.  The greatest gift is the choices that come from having financial stability.  I have time to consider my options and try other things to make money.  I don’t have to reach for my old career for a solution if I don’t want to.  Simply put: I’m not limited by my previous choices in life.

Most of our adult lives we end up bound by our previous choices.  If you buy a car you end up bound by your payments for it.  Or if you buy a big house, you also end up bound by your payments for decades.  And so very slowly you bind yourself to all these chains of monthly obligations that keep you at your job.  You can’t quit without having another job lined up because your payments consume so much of your money each month and you don’t have much for savings.

Yet going for financial independence you in fact create the inverse of that situation.  You pay off your consumer debt and you get more choices.  You can invest a hobby like beer making  to help save more in the future and still enjoy life. Then you pay off your mortgage and get more choices.  Do you want to go part time instead of full time now your mortgage is gone?  You save and invest your money and you get more choices. Do I really want to apply for a job in another industry?  Until one day your investments earn enough you don’t have to go to work each day and your choices explode into a millions of pathways for you to choose.

Now this sense of freedom can be terrifying at first but over time you choose the life you want to live.  I choose to write on this blog because I enjoy helping others get closer to early retirement and help those to adjust to life after retirement.  I choose to help out at my kids school library because I get to spend an afternoon each week in a room just full of books.  I choose my life one thing at a time because I enjoy them not because I need to pay my bills and I’m not afraid anymore.

So what is your greatest fear about early retirement?

7 thoughts on “Facing Your Fear”

  1. 29 months out from pulling the trigger barring my back telling me otherwise . I guess my biggest fear is feeling bored and not having enough to do . Sure there are some grand plans for trips and excursions but those are not the end all to be all. Its the everyday life in between that scares me, as outside of exercise , I don’t have any real hobbies.

  2. No fear…retired since 2004. Life is good. Cancelled an appointment today, because the weather sucks. Staying home with coffee and a blanket on my lap. Let it snow, enjoying the “polar vortex”.

  3. No, it can be real for sure. I started about 1 yr ago and the Summer was fine – outdoors with lots to do. But the Winter has been harder. I’ve volunteered at 3 different agencies a few times but although many find this great, it didn’t really fulfill me as I hoped it would. I wasn;t identified by my job at all (I changed them every 5 years like clock work) but something is lacking and I can;t seem to find “it”……..

  4. I think we are also bound by the people in our lives, family, traditions, putting “X” children through universities, and also fear of the unknown (which could be many things).
    Sometimes we can’t do the FIRE plan because of responsibilities to others. Your priorities may be different than your spouses. One wants to retire and explore, the other may not want to, but rather carry on in a traditional format of living their daily lives.” Oh I have to stay local”, so I’m always on call to be a Grandma and babysit, and do birthdays, and thanksgivings, and so on…

    It’s tough to let go of all that stuff for some. Then your time simply runs out and the option is gone.

  5. Started making a list of concerns “fears” and realized that many of the same concerns exist currently. (Perhaps too busy to see it or getting a false sense of security having an existing job). There are no guarantees in live – except death. I fully anticipate that when I make the decision to pull the trigger my concerns will slam me in face and at that point I will need to confront them or else they will consume me. Isn’t life wonderful.

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