“Minor” benefits of early retirement

You might think freedom is the major benefit to achieving financial independence and early retirement.

BUT…

Have you thought about what that freedom means in terms of daily life?

I’m betting your answer is, “I won’t have to go to work.” Well, sure…and I’ll further bet you have a good idea what you’d rather be doing. However, there are many many many “minor” practical-type benefits of being retired and having your days free?

I’ve gathered three of these benefits from my own experience. Mind you: this isn’t some stupid humblebrag. I want these smidgets to inspire you instead; to serve as one more source of motivation pushing you onwards towards that final day at work. Please accept that and read accordingly.

You’ll shop before 5:00 on weekdays.

One of the best perks of having my weekdays free is that I get to do my shopping when many people are at work; hence I spend less time spent battling crowds at the grocery store and other establishments.

But listen: life pro tip. Every few years where I live the flu will get out of hand and enough kids may be out of school for the schools to go ahead and close for a few days. It just happened a few weeks ago.

In such times do NOT repeat NOT be the FI/ER parent who goes out daytime shopping, because guess where all the little infected asymptomatic rugrat petri dishes end up? That’s right. Sam’s and Wegman’s and The Home Depot and so forth, being dragged around by the parent who had to take the day off work to mind them yet is determined to salvage the day.

And even if you’ve had the flu shot, the mutated shit those kids carry will lay you right down and stomp on your squeeges. Trust me on this; I learned it the hard way.

Waiting rooms won’t piss you off.

At least not so much, and hopefully not at all.

I’ll never forget this: on my last day of work—as of this writing, eleven years ago—I left the office before noon, likely had a drink to celebrate, and I’m guessing I spent the rest of the day sitting around my apartment in a state of shock.

But I don’t remember for sure. My last memory of my last day is leaving the office and walking the couple of blocks to train station. All the while I was watching buisinesspeople in suits and nice skirts and such running around downtown, and—this is going to make me sound like an asshole—pitying them. And then I was in the train station waiting for the 11:20 to take me home.

Waiting. Suddenly it didn’t matter so much.

The next morning I took my truck to the mechanic to get a minor mechanical issue fixed. The receptionist was beside herself apologetic because somebody had called in sick and consequently everything was running at least an hour behind schedule.

I remember telling her, “No worries; it’s no big deal. Do what you gotta do.”

The look of disbelief on her face was priceless. She gaped at me like I was a Martian. And it hit me that she must’ve been expecting me to flash ignite into some sort of grownup temper tantrum. But instead I found a decently comfortable chair in the waiting room, sat down and opened the sci-fi novel I’d brought, and read until my truck was ready.

Not a care in the world. Simply enjoying the moment.

When she finally called me to the desk to settle up, she thanked me for the flexibility and handed me my keys. I smiled, slid my credit card across the counter, and that was it. But I still find it remarkable to remember a waiting room experience for the absence of stress rather than the presence of it.

Petty workplace dynamics will evaporate.

You and your friends will no longer be standing around the friggety water cooler bitching about your coworkers.

No more rumor mill.

You know how most of the people in your office are pretty good at keeping their jobs in the proper context of their lives? Showing up and doing their thing and working as a means rather than an end? But there’s always that guy who’s completely guzzled the Kool-Aid and lives/breathes/eats/sleeps the company. You won’t miss that guy one bit.

When you pack a lunch it’ll largely be recreational, but even if it’s only a matter of convenience you’ll have time to make food you’ll actually savor rather than just use for fuel.

That Jack Welch bullshit Rank & Yank carrot-and-stick approach to management service reviews, peer reviews, promotions, and layoffs will be left in your far distant past.

Assuming you had one, you can finally burn your copy of Who Moved My Cheese.*

Anyway…

Again, by presenting these daily-life smidgets I’m trying to inspire you. If you haven’t thought about financial independence and early retirement in this context, I encourage you to do so if for no other reason than to wear a smile when you think about making your escape.

And—mark my words—after you’ve hit the office door for the last time, you’ll be amazed by how major these, quote, minor benefits will seem.


*Footnote about Who Moved My Cheese? 

If you like the book I kindheartedly suggest that your bullshit detector needs a tune-up. It’s a demeaning metaphor. I’m not a mouse, nobody’s in control of my cheese except me, and rather than live my life in a maze, I climbed up and over the outside wall and scurried off in my own direction.

And to add insult to it, it was required reading in my department. On your own time, naturally.

Author: ER Dude

Sick of your job? After a thirteen-year career, Early Retirement Dude fled corporate America for good. You can do it too! Visit http://EarlyRetirementDude.com or email EarlyRetirementDude@gmail.com.

3 thoughts

  1. This is awesome and very relevant to me right now, as I type this comment from my work desk. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t read one ER blogger, yet, who longs for the days of corporate America. I do have to wonder, though, if this isn’t so much a difference of being a wage slave vs. self employed. I think owning one’s own business has to be far more satisfying than working in a big corporation, like I do.

  2. ERD,

    I had the good fortune to stumble upon your blog today. I LOVE olde skool ranty blogs (hey, I’m a Gen Xer). You make MMM look like a choir boy. Love the fresh perspective and down-to-earth vibe. Although not officially retired, I have enough “FU money” that I have been able to basically “avoid all meetings” for several years. I just delete them from my calendar and/or disable the Microsoft Teams settings, and then shrug and say “I was busy” if I’m ever confronted (rare).

    I’m in my early 40’s, but hope to pull the plug at age 45 (haven’t told the wife yet, so that’ll be fun).

    You’re an inspiration to us all.

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    1. Thanks! Comments like this make my day. GenXer here as well, and my taste for stream-of-consciousness writing arises directly from the GenX appreciation for meta humor.

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