What does “retiring” mean? Would you do your job for free?
But why do you think it’s referred to as “early retirement?”
Could it be because of the emotions associated with the word? Or the scenarios that people imagine when they see the term?
As Seth Godin has taught us, every good brand invokes an emotional response from their customers.
These early retirement guys are no different. They’ve hijacked the word, and then they’re trying to change the definition to better suit their message.
No matter how many times you say it, an apple pie will never be a brownie.
Okay so this isn’t an American Apple Pie, but it’s a French Apple Pie of sorts called Tarte Tatin.
It made me wonder two things.
1. Why is Nelson so obsessed with apple pies?
I wonder if it has something to do with the movie American Pie…………………..
2. What would I consider a ‘retirement’?
As usual, I don’t really care what you want to call your life as long as you are satisfied with it, but I will agree that a lot of what I read on the internet is partly all about marketing, even if the intentions are different (my blog included).
Here are some options for what people call “retirement”, “work” and “hobby”.
PEOPLE THINK A JOB HAS TO BE HORRIBLE AND TEDIOUS
I have a
job career that I don’t find horrible or tedious.
Can I still call it a job if I enjoy doing it about 90% of the time?
I’d do my job for free just to avoid being bored.
(But I won’t, because I like money too much.)
Staying at home getting fat off bonbons was never really my thing.
SO WHAT’S A HOBBY?
Technically speaking, a hobby is something you DO NOT make money from.
If you have a hobby that makes money, it’s “work”, but perhaps we can add a little extra to that and say that it is still a hobby if you are making less than you would than if you worked minimum wage.
If your hobby brings in just about (or more) than minimum wage for the hours put in, it’s not a hobby any longer.
So that brings us to this question: What’s retirement?
OPTION #1: RETIRING FROM YOUR DAY JOB WHICH YOU PROBABLY HATED WITH A PASSION
As mentioned above, I think most people deem ‘retirement’ to be stopping work altogether from a job which you hate with a passion.
However it becomes a grey area as a single rule because you could just as easily pick up another job you love, but would that now classify you as being ‘retired’?
Is retirement really so black and white?
Stopping work altogether.
No waking up, going to a job, and most importantly, collecting an income.
The argument that could be made here is what about freelancers like myself? When I wait in between projects, am I temporarily retired?
I haven’t really worked in the past 2 years (took a break), but not because I can afford to stop working.
I’ve just changed the way I work to suit my life and my priorities have lain in another direction (namely loafing off and traveling).
This t-shirt was made for me:
OPTION #2: NO ACTIVE INCOME COMING IN (ONLY PASSIVE)
So you stop working completely, and you sit around all day.
The argument that could be made here is that if your ‘passive’ income is from investments, such as dividends being paid out by stocks, you still need to work to some extent to make sure your invested capital (the stock purchase itself) doesn’t tank.
It isn’t a set-it-and-go sort of deal.
Is that still acceptable as “retirement”?
I mean, technically you’re making an income, and if picking stocks and managing your investments is a hobby….. wouldn’t that be a job?
Or is a job something that OTHER people pay you to do?
But what happens if you work for yourself?
Are you your own boss or is it that your boss is technically the CFO at the company cutting your cheque?
OPTION #3: NOT NEEDING TO WORK AT ALL – YOU CAN AFFORD TO STOP WORKING
What about folks who don’t need to work at all, but do it anyway because it’s an activity?
Would they be considered “retired” and blogging for fun, with the added side benefit of making some money on the side?
I think I might fall into this category as I get older.
I can’t imagine sitting around doing nothing all day.
I’ve done that for about 2 years, give or take. It’s BORING as a young person. If I were older, I’d be less bored because I’m tired, but still..!!
There are only so many books to read, places to visit, TV shows to watch, people to see, and plants to grow.
Also, would we also put heirs and heiresses under this, and call them “retired”?
Billion-dollar young adults who just spend their inherited money, but don’t need to work?
This is an interesting question of what “retirement” means. I think whatever you choose to make it, my retirement would be a mix between option #2 and #3.
I’d probably never stop “working” to some extent.
Even though blogging is a hobby that doesn’t pay the bills (aside from the bills it generates on its own such as web hosting), it is still “working” to me, and it’s a bit a grey area to not call it a job of sorts.
THE ANSWER: IT’S JUST SEMANTICS
I think the conclusion I’ve reached for my own definitions of what a job is, which led me to think about what a hobby was and retirement.
A job is something that you make an regular (but not necessarily steady) income from (no matter how little) that other people pay you for.
This includes freelancing because I can’t pay myself to do nothing. I need SOMEONE ELSE’s money to make an income as a freelancer, namely a company’s.
This ALSO includes blogging, even as a ‘hobby’.
You still work to some extent at things you love to do, and if you’re making money off it that is at or more than minimum wage, then it’s a job.
Otherwise, a hobby like playing hockey or scrapbooking, will cost a lot of money but not make you any in the process.
Therefore, retirement, is when you stop working completely and don’t have a job (by my definition above).
You technically cannot call yourself “retired” if you are still working (and collecting an income that other people pay you for), but there’s no shame in it.
I mean, who really cares what you call it?
It’s just semantics if you think about it.
I’D RATHER BE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT
If you can stop working completely for the rest of your life and never lift a finger again, you are truly financially independent, which is better than being retired but trying to stay on a budget of $500 a month, in my opinion.
So can we just say that you’re financially independent instead of “retired”?
I’d rather buy that story and marketing angle than trying to retire and live on $500 a month, only to be able to say I’ve “retired early”, but I am blogging about it, making an income from advertising, and/or selling books and seminars on the side as well.