Retirement Conversations

Just a random post to share a few recent conversations I’ve had about retirement:

Conversation #1

I had a routine medical appointment the other day and was attended by the same nurse I’ve been seeing for a while.

When I saw her, I made a comment about her not wearing her usual glasses.

She proceeded to tell me how she had finally gotten round to having a minor operation on her eyes, which meant that she no longer needed her glasses.

The reason why she was able to have the time to have the operation and recover from it? She’d dropped to part-time hours, or as she revealed in our ensuing conversation, she’d gone into semi-retirement (Is there a difference? I don’t know, I’m just repeating what she said).

I realised then that she didn’t look different just because she wasn’t wearing her glasses, it was because she looked a lot happier and relaxed!

She told me that after a 30-year career with the NHS, she still wasn’t mentally ready for full retirement but that at age 55, she was drawing on part of her pension and that this, coupled with her part-time wages was enough for her to live on and pay for her holidays and hobbies.

Conversation #2

One of my neighbours semi-retired a year ago when she was 53.

The last time we spoke, she was working part-time for a non-profit organisation.

I hadn’t seen her in a while so when I spotted her unpacking some shopping from her car the other day, I stopped for a chat and asked her how things were going.

“Oh I’ve jacked in my part-time hours,” she told me.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“I’m too busy to work! Too much to do, too many places to visit!” she replied.

Work/Semi-Retire/Early Retire

So that’s just two examples of people who are very happy with the decision they’d made as regards retirement/semi-retirement, and although not extremely early retirement, still early in that state pension won’t be available til they are 65.

However, I wonder how easy it was for them to make that decision? Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that it was something I could ask either of them!

Which brings me to all the kerfuffle going on about early retirees changing their minds (nicely put in this excellent post by Monevator).

Who really knows what they will do when the time comes (unless you absolutely hate your job, in which case it’s clear what you will do!) and you reach your financial goals?

Jim from SMHD tried the early retirement thing and decided to go back to work.

Early retirement is not for everyone,  even for those planning for it!

There’s every chance that instead of going for early retirement when I reach my FI number, that I may choose to work reduced hours. However, like my neighbour, I may find that even part-time hours will get in the way of me enjoying my new found freedom properly!

Or I may actually go for full retirement, which sounds very appealing when I’ve had a tough week at work and wish every weekend was a bank holiday weekend.

Or I might continue working (one more year?), which is how I feel when I’ve had a good day at work, had a great laugh and felt like I’ve achieved and contributed loads. (Yes really, I do have good days!).

I have no idea how I will feel when the time comes to pull that retirement trigger but the most important thing is that I will get to choose what I want to do.

There was a third conversation I had:

Conversation #3

Bumped into an ex-colleague at the gym. She’s still at the company which made me redundant and things seem to be going well for her.

While we were chatting, she revealed that her husband had retired some months earlier.

“When will you be retiring?” I asked her, knowing that she was in her mid-50s.

“I’m not,” she replied, “It would do my head in sitting at home with him all day! I go to work to get away from him, the weekends are enough!”

She was joking…I think!

And Another Thing

The nurse and my neighbour? Both single (one divorced) which cements in my mind that I’m fine going it alone, since it appears that most people aiming for FI are married or with significant others, helping them build their FI pot, sharing expenses.

Not that I’m intentionally staying single (or plan to stay single for long…ooooh!) but if things don’t work out on that front, I’ll be just fine! 😉

And on that note, have a great weekend all!

Where you’ll probably find me at some point on Saturday night…

34 thoughts on “Retirement Conversations

  1. It’s an interesting topic for the few (I suspect) who have been fortunate to accumulate enough to have the option to retire before state pension age. For those who can save and have a plan they can see through to the end, it must be very satisfying to reach the goal however the bigger question then looms ‘what now’?

    After working hard for a good degree followed by 30+ years of well-paid work, the prospect of ‘retiring’ at 50 or 55 must inevitably appear a daunting prospect…the certainty of what is known can often outweigh the fear of the unknown when a big decision has to be made.

    Personally, I ‘retired’ at the age of 55 and I am perfectly content to ‘potter’ around, update the blog, write and update my books, spend time with grandchildren and am generally busy doing not very much most days. This is what suits me but I know for many others it would be a big waste of time.

    This year I officially become a state pensioner so now I can properly RETIRE!

    • Hi DIY

      “What now?” is a tough question, yet hopefully, I’ll get more certainty the closer I get to my goal.

      I do envisage keeping myself busy with activities and hobbies, but I too am perfectly content ‘pottering’ around since this is what I do already in my spare time! I don’t get bored of it but can see how many others would see it as not how they would want to be spending their time once they are FI or retired.

      Ooh, it’ll be interesting to see if your investment strategies change when you officially become retired and get the government giving you some spending money! 🙂

  2. People I have conversations with are in one of two camps:

    1. Already retired, busier than ever, no idea how they ever managed to fit a job in

    2. Still working, some loving it, some hating it but the only conversation seems to be “but what will you do all day?”.

    It makes me think – maybe some people need that time and space that comes with retirement before they have the headroom to even imagine what they will do with their time. Not the case for us, thankfully

    All credit to you for going it alone! I am too and I agree, most people writing about FI seem to be in couples. Upsides and downsides to both I think, but you’re on great track – you’re definitely fine going it alone if that’s the way it turns out

    • I always thought with my dad who was a chief exec hed never retired but he hated every minute of the last few years. Thats another thing i guess you cant really go part time in some roles like very senior management. Unless you become s non exec maybe

      • Hi FBA

        You’re right, some jobs you can’t go part time with. I’m nowhere near exec level yet I’m not sure the company I work for would give me reduced hour. I would just ask for them anyway and if they said no, would see if I wanted to do OMY.

    • Hey FIREthe9to5

      One of my friends once asked me question 2, and I replied that I could stay in bed all day if I wanted, haha!

      It’s a big decision to make so you do need the headroom and time to consider (and double check the numbers!).

      As for going it alone, there’s just me to look after though, you’ve got two teenagers in tow so massive respect with what you’re achieving, with less than 3 years to go!

  3. I think I might have caused that kerfuffle…

    “There’s every chance that instead of going for early retirement when I reach my FI number, that I may choose to work reduced hours… Or I may actually go for full retirement… Or I might continue working (one more year?)…” I won’t waffle on as plenty of my thoughts are already out there but where I’m ending up is that I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional change that came from just being FI vs FIRE. In hindsight I thought I’d go from can’t FIRE to can FIRE and didn’t give much thought to the in between. What I’m fast learning is that at least for me the in between is pretty darn good.

    Good luck with your continued journey weenie. I can’t recommend FI and FIRE enough.

    • Hi RIT, aka ‘Mr Kerfuffle’ 🙂

      Your posts have highlighted the emotional side of FIRE when often, we just concentrate on the financial side. With your financial goal met, other aspects come into play!

      Presented with an opportunity such as the one you’re faced with, I can’t believe that anyone would find it an easy decision to make.

      Thanks for your continued support.

  4. Hi Weenie, thanks for the reference! I’m still in full time employment and enjoying it with my 55 retirement date approaching this year. I think I’m going to continue in the job, as long as I still enjoy it, but I would like to go to four days. I’m going to ask for that when pensionable age comes and, depending on the response, that might force my hand a bit – i.e. if it’s a downright “No”, then I might just say, “Okay, I’m out!” Or I might choose to stay. That’s the thing though, as you point out: choices. That’s what saving for the future can bring you.

    • Hey Jim

      Your story is a great one and I know some people still don’t understand why you went back to work. I’m not one of them because I know for a fact that there will be many aspects of work I will miss and I will need to fill those ‘voids’ with something else.

      Good luck with getting down to four days!

  5. In my mid forties, FI – and planning to go part-time this year. I never planned to retire this early, but equally I told myself that if I ever lost my current job – I’d never look for another. My plan has been to start tapering off in my forties and build up my interests and hobbies and see what I enjoy more.

    • Hi Chris

      All the best with going part-time and well done for getting to this position in your forties. Are the hobbies you are building up new ones or old ones you had to drop due to work getting in the way?

  6. If you are single with no dependents, the FI calculation is much clearer, and the decision much cleaner. Its just harder to amass the money

    • Hi John B

      Totally agree – I only have to think of myself with my calculation.

      I have no idea how those with children are able to plan FI and have massive respect for what they are doing.

  7. I left my job 3 months ago now when I turned 55 and am finding it a bit strange. I worked in a high pressured environment teaching professional accountancy exams for 15 years and got to the point where I had to get out. Teaching 5 days a week to classes of up to 40 students was losing its attraction.
    I’m now doing freelance teaching one, two or zero days a week and have found this to be a good compromise so far. What is good about it is that I can say no to things, take blocks of time off and still earn a fairly good rate.
    I think I need to wind down gradually over the next few years and slowly grow to appreciate a different pace of life

    • Hi Binoch

      Well done for getting into the position to be able to walk away from a stressful job and now you get to choose the work you do, the hours you work! I hope you continue to enjoy your different pace of life more!

  8. Some good thoughts and conversations there Weenie. I firmly believe there is no one size fits all approach, and we should all be free to pick what works for us, and be able to change our minds.

    I think after a year or two of not working, I may be drawn back……but you never know!

    • Hey Ms ZiYou

      Yes, we are all entitled to change our minds and exactly, who knows, you or I might retire, hate it (unlikely but…) and want to go back to the 9 to 5!

  9. I think what’s lost in this whole “kerfuffle” has been that these people now have a choice. A choice that those of us who are stuck in wage slavery do not have. I don’t know what we will do when we achieve FI, but at least we will have a choice. That is in itself a liberation.

    • Hi QT

      Absolutely – the goal is to get into a position so you can choose to do something or choose to do nothing, which will be win-win.

  10. Hi Weenie,

    I wear glasses every day (am blind as a bat without!) but no way could I get laser eye surgery! That said I like the way she has done it – if you can get the DB pension and enjoy the lower hours, why not – fair play to her!
    I also love the “Im too busy to work” – I look forward to finding that out as and when I can! And does help on my concern of what will I do when (or if?) I quit work..

    I’ve often wondered what I would do if/when I retire (have a few posts on it in fact!) and right now I just don’t know!

    On the going it alone – always best to make sure you are ok – look after yourself and make sure – but it makes it easier with two, provided of course you are both aiming for the same thing!

    • Hey FiL
      I wear glasses and contacts but no, I could never get laser eye surgery either!

      Yes, I too love the ‘I’m too busy to work’ and can’t wait to be able to say it myself haha!

      Look forward to reading what you will be planning when you retire!

      Yeah, gotta find someone who’s got similar goals to me, or at least not the opposite of me!

  11. re Convo #3: A wise wag once told me that “Marriage is for life, but not for lunch”!

    While I’m here just a quick note to say that I really enjoy your blog and your various contributions across the blogosphere. You are a very valuable member of the FIRE/etc space so please keep it up! Always making thoughtful points and bringing a unique, useful perspective. I really appreciate it.

    • Haha! Thanks very much for your kind words, FvL – just trying to do my bit in the way I know how, just as you are! I still read and follow your blog regularly to see how things are going “that end of the spectrum!” 🙂

  12. Hi weenie,

    Always interesting to have / hear these sorts of real life conversations. Great idea to write them up into a post! 🙂

    Re: the single/couple/kids thing, my opinion is that most the advantages (with regards to finance and FI type stuff) and disadvantages probably just equal each other out so it is just up to the person or people involved to make a plan that works for them and then see it through. There are loads of excuses anyone can make about their current situation on why they could never achieve FI but I’d guess that 90% of them are just mental barriers and not actually based on reality.

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Hey TFS

      Yeah, re the single v couple thing, I guess there are pros and cons to both and it is all about just making it work individually or as a couple. Again, agree with the mental thing, which is so important when most people just focus on the money! 🙂

  13. Hi weenie, it’s very interesting to see people different views on retirement in general. I am the same as you in that I am not entirely sure what I will do when I reach FI but ultimately being in the position to choose whether I stop working, work part time or take a year off will be mine to make. I have no rigid plans currently.


    • Hi Chris

      Yes, the plan has to be flexible so you can change your mind if you wish (or not) – as you say, it’s to get to the position so you can choose what to do.

  14. Hi Weenie,
    You’ve raised some really good points here and Its a really good idea to use these conversations as a post!
    I now live in a very affluent area where very few people need to work (Of course we are the opposite at the moment) and Its strange to say that everyone is happier and more friendly. I really do think this is due to FI. Where we lived previously, everyone was scrambling for money and a lot were also on benefits. Crime was high and everyone was so irritable and nasty.
    As for your FI journey, I think being single can be really good for your finances (I’m sure my partner would reach FI really quickly if he didn’t have me and the little one to support!) It means you have total control on your path.

    Little Miss Fire x

    • Hi LMF

      As mentioned earlier, there are pros and cons with aiming for FIRE single or as part of a couple. You’re right though, there is the total control factor and it’s easy to focus just one me and what I’m doing.

  15. Hey Weenie,

    Great post, I love hearing different people’s stories about retirement/financial independence.

    My Dad retired (not early), a couple of years back and he has been busier than ever with his own projects, golf and bowls. I think it really depends on the mindset of the person retiring. As for me, I have a pretty good idea that I will be one of the ones saying “I’m too busy to work”!

    I can’t wait to have enough amassed to be FI…if only I could get there sooner!


    • Hi Corinna

      Yes, the mental outlook and mindset is very important, and often overlooked for the financial aspects of retiring/stopping working.

      Right now, I have loads of hobbies and interests I’d love to get into/get back into but I don’t have the time to do all of them, only some of them. Work gets in the way but work pays me so I’ll just crack on for now!

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