Save. Spend. Splurge.

Early Retirement: Is it all it is cracked up to be?

So my partner retired recently.

When people ask what he does, he smiles and say:

I just retired.

My only job now is to take care of our son.

People are usually shocked at how young he is to retire although he isn’t as young as I am, he is still well under the 65 age mark.

They also give him props for taking care of our son and are always swooning over him — (HUGE EYE ROLL HERE FOR ALL THE MOTHERS OUT THERE who do this daily and get ZERO oohs and aahs for doing it).

It’s not that I don’t love that he now has time to basically handle everything in Little Bun’s school life (he will be in charge of ALL the papers, newsletters, school purchases and the like), it is more that when a man does it, he is elevated to superhero status but a woman gets penalized for it.


I know that retiring early is a privilege only the top 10% can afford, and I have only recently come to terms that we are in fact not middle class as I have always firmly thought I was, but in the top 1% or at least, top 5%.

That still boggles my mind that I am considered upper-class but I digress.

So, is it all it is cracked up to be?

Well we are in the early stages of it, and he said it took about a month before he really accepted that he would no longer work in this field, and “wound his brain down”.

He now has no schedule to adhere to.

He is far more relaxed with everything and our son, and is very flexible on waking up, sleeping and so on.

He has loosened up in general. Less stress about waking up, dressing to go to work to face these people for money…

His whole demeanour has changed.

The spending still hasn’t changed — he has cut back a bit in general in spending and is a little more careful than before with money, but our lifestyle has not changed.

Just check out the fancy $5 lemon tarts we have been scarfing down. We have been getting ONE EACH, which means a $15 treat each time.

This is partly due to a few factors:

1. He knows he can always pick up part-time contract work if he truly needs to

2. He knows I am still working so I can help in a pinch but I’d make him go back to work sooner than I would pick up the money slack — I made this very very clear

3. He is starting his second career which will likely pay 6-figures as well in a few years.

So, spending stress? Out the window.

I wouldn’t call what he is doing ‘early retirement’, mostly because he is just changing careers, but it makes him very VERY happy to verbalize that he has officially retired, and he has reached his personal goal to do so by the age he wanted.

FIRE? No thank you

I personally am not a fan of this FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement setting all these PF bloggers ablaze (PUN INTENDED!), because my partner is the perfect example of what happens — they work (in many cases like mad) until the end, and then they “retire”, and end up either going back to work or picking up another career (like my partner).

That’s not retirement!

Retirement is not working. Period.

No active income, and you just draw on your savings.

This is why I think I won’t really retire, in the truest sense of the word. I can’t imagine what I would do if I just spent money and didn’t work.

Even blogging, would be active income, so I guess I’ll never retire.

Also, I am not really sure if these folks have a plan in place when they do retire. I think I am going to probably want to quit working around 50, maybe 55?

The workplace seems to penalize older workers

Who knows if I will or not, but maybe that decision has nothing to do with my desire to stop working, but that the workplace no longer wants me any more past the age of 50, 55, max.

Maybe the workplace, makes the decision for me and doesn’t really want to hire me any more because I am not young, relevant and fresh at 50 – 55 (horse #%(# but … I know how it goes.)

It is like past the age of 50 – 55, perhaps they think your brain “goes” and you can’t work as hard or have the memory of someone younger. (Again, horse #%#(*%)…

Would you retire early? Or just basically want to save enough money to decide whether or not to do so?


  • SarahN

    I’ve not worked til Feb, so six/seven months ‘retired’ but I’ll take on a new job soon, in a new industry. But it’s been a stress free time due to savings. But it makes me realise a few things
    – I’m bored, and whilst I haven’t signed up to routine voluntary opportunities, knowing I’ll go back to work, but I have ad hoc volunteered
    – most of those around me work full time, so it’s social isolating unless I ‘go out’ for lots of lunches and coffees (and I’m focusing on my health and diet, so I do this less and less)
    I suppose, is it really retirement, or like you, he’s taking a protracted break before working again? IN the alternative career you hint at?

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I totally missed the first post on this last year! He’s been “retired”/transitioned for a little bit? That’s cool! Does he have a set time in mind for how long he’ll hang out before picking up career 2?

    I have left go of thinking much about what we’d do in early retirement because I am not sure that we’ll actually get there any time soon. Small things come up – I’d like to enjoy some gardening, a heck of a lot more reading, writing, creating. I don’t think creating things that also make money necessarily constitutes being un-retired but that’s because I have a vested interest in always earning some money even if I don’t feel like I’m working hard at it. Especially if I’m not working hard at it but rather actually enjoying the work of creating. That’s just daydreaming though, I’m not that good at creating things ;D It’s a hobby like that blog.

  • Flo

    You are comfortable (and only in Montreal, maybe Toronto but not so sure in Vancouver) but not upper class.
    Upper class are the 1% (or 0.5%) that are multi-millionaires and who can easily sponsor a hospital or a museum…

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I suspect you’re just making up what you think is upper class to you, but I am basing it on facts – Globe and Mail who is Canada’s 1%

      “Across the country, you were in the top 1 per cent of all earners in 2015 if your employment income was at least $225,409.”

      My income is $240,000 a year alone. My partner made about the same amount. We are easily in the 1% range.

      As a woman, I also only needed $160,000 to be in the 1%.

      Lastly, between the two of us, we are multi-millionaires. We don’t have tens of hundreds of millions but those are the 1% of the 1%.

      • Flo

        The article’s title is Canada’s 1 per cent highest paid workers, emphasis on ‘workers’.
        So yes, you are in the 1% of the workers but that it’s not the definition of upper class which is the 1% (or less) of the whole population.
        Of course the term has evolved and it continues to evolve…

        The upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the wealthiest members of society, and wield the greatest political power.[1] According to this view, the upper class is generally distinguished by immense wealth which is passed on from generation to generation.[2]

        According to the book Who Rules America? by William Domhoff, the distribution of wealth in America is the primary highlight of the influence of the upper class. The top 1% of Americans own around 34% of the wealth in the U.S.
        In 1998, Bob Herbert of The New York Times referred to modern American plutocrats as “The Donor Class”[18][19] (list of top donors)[20] and defined the class, for the first time,[21] as “a tiny group – just one-quarter of 1 percent of the population

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          “A class of people above the middle class, having the highest social rank or standing based on wealth, family connections, and the like.”

          I am not middle class. I am the class above. In the broadest of terms, financially speaking, I am upper class.

          I do belong in the highest social rank based on wealth, amongst the people whom I live in a community with. I go into neighbourhoods, and am acutely aware that they barely make $20,000 a year, let alone a month. I think that alone qualifies.

          Let’s agree that we have our own definitions and leave it at that. People are ragging on me for not being middle class because I have too much money, and now people are telling me I am not upper class either because I don’t have enough.

          Frankly, I don’t really care either way it is my money and not anyone else’s. I am making a point for the post, not arguing over dictionary definitions.

  • Anne

    I wouldn’t and I couldn’t – unless I won the lottery or something. In my early twenties I almost died in an accident and realised that I might not live to enjoy retirement. I wanted to have a life that I like living every day and chose my career accordingly. I don’t earn huge amounts of money, but I also don’t work long hours. I can afford to do things I enjoy and have time for it.

    Even though I have savings, it is not enough to stop working all together. My husband, who is older than I am, is considering early retirement. We probably could both manage by with (mostly) his and my (small) savings, but I know anything can happen. That is why I want to keep my skills up to date. I don’t want at 50 or 55 have to try find a job with an outdated competence.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I can relate to that. I have met plenty of people who have said the same thing, or retired and ended up regretting it, or wishing they had not worked so much only to race to “the end”…

      I like the lifestyle I have now – just half working, half off.

  • liteadventurer

    Working part time is a good compromise if you still enjoy what you do but don’t necessarily need the big money. I cut back to around 30 hours per week a couple of years ago, and it made a huge improvement in life satisfaction. It’s unfortunate that many professions frown upon the idea of working reduced hours.

    • mia

      Yes, and experienced part-timers can be a win-win for companies and the employee.

      We have some very experienced part-timers who are semi-retired and do great work in niche areas. It has been beneficial from a business standpoint for my company because they do work in areas where we really need someone with their many years of experience and expertise, but we don’t really have 40 to 50 hours a week of work for them to do.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Agreed — working less, would be ideal for me, not stopping completely. I don’t like this “all or nothing” approach to be honest. It’s why I am happy just working, taking time off, then working again when I get bored, after I finish doing all of my projects. I do get bored extremely easily, so I can’t retire fully.. maybe my views will change once I age.

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