What To Do When You Retire Early – Here Are My Plans

What to Do When You Retire EarlyAnswer me honestly: If you never went to work again, what would you do with the rest of your life?

It’s a simple question.  But one where the answer is probably more complex than you realize.

You see recently I’ve been giving the matter of what to do when you retire early some serious thought.

I don’t there’s anyone out there who hasn’t fantasized about the day when they finally have enough money to call it “quits” at work and do whatever it is they want from that point forward.

Designing your financial freedom.  It’s what this blog is all about.

But recently I’ve been asking myself what happens AFTER you get there?  What is it that is truly so wonderful and waiting for me on the other side of the early retirement gates?  Can I put a face to it?


Why Do We Want to Retire Early Anyways?

Is it for bragging rights?  Is because I’m so unhappy with what I’m doing now?  Won’t I be bored?

The answer of course to each of those things is “no”.

As I’ve mentioned many times, early retirement or financial freedom has less to do with the actual act of “being retired” and more about simply having the choice of whether or not to be.

It gets down to the basic question of whether you control money or money controls you.

What’s funny is that even after I reach financial freedom or retire I very well might consider doing the same job (as a consultant) or working doing something else!

No matter what I decide, it will be a decision that comes from the heart.  It won’t be because I have a mortgage payment or the kids’ tuition bills due.

Unfortunately many of us (including myself currently) have little choice but to let outside financial influences such as that guide our daily priorities.  Money is what makes you work late, do assignments you don’t want to do, miss your kids’ soccer games, etc.

That’s what everything I do on this blog is trying to change.  I’m trying to take back control.


What to Do When You Retire Early?

So let’s say I get there.  Let’s say I get to a point where money is no object and I my assets can sustain my lifestyle without employment.  What would I do with myself for the rest of my life?

1) Become a financial coach:

It’s one of my personal philosophies that helping other people is one of the highest and valuable things you can do with your time and money.

There are lots of things you could do to fulfill that statement.  But for me I like to help people with their money situation.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m at work or a family event – People always seem to be asking me for some sort of advice with their money and they are always happy with whatever I have to tell them.  I’ve spent a lot of time developing my plan for financial independence (click on the link to see what it is) and I think it would be extremely beneficial to others if they knew how to use it too.

Not to toot my own horn, but I feel I have a particular knack for striping away all the complicated B.S. that usually accompanies money, and can break the information down into bits and pieces that virtually anyone can understand.

Here’s my problem with this goal: How does one become a financial coach or accepted as a financial mentor without having any certification whatsoever?  Readers – I’m honestly asking.  Does anyone know?

I’ve read about becoming a certified financial planner (CFP) or certified financial advisor (CFA).  However I think both involved some pretty heavy logging of work experience (something like five years?)

Let’s be clear: I’m NOT interested in leaving my current job only to go back to work full-time for another five years.  That’s not really my idea of what to do when you retire early – I might as well keep working if I do that!  I also don’t really want to go work for some big name firm like Edward Jones and push sales of a bunch of stocks that some corporate monster dictates I push on to my clients.  That’s not the kind of financial assistance I want to provide.

My vision is much, much more simple: One-on-one coaching to help struggling working class people  improve their overall situation so that don’t have to work beyond their 50’s.

One other small detail: I’d like for the coaching to be completely free.  I’m not sure if that will be possible, but it’s certainly something I’d like to try.  I might take on only one client a month for all I know (isn’t it great when money is not a factor?)

2) Speaking Events:

Along the same lines of providing financial coaching, I’d like to broaden my reach while I’m at it.

I realize that one-on-one coaching is pretty inefficient when you consider just how many people and families there are out there that struggle with their finances.  That’s why I’d also like to offer a series of speeches that appeals more to the masses / something that a group of people can relate to.

Again, my struggle is how to be accepted as someone with financial clout.  Sure I’m a financial blogger, but again having a lack of work experience or title may be an obstacle.

This activity may or may not be something I’d like to be compensated for.  It really depends on how successful I am at it and what kind of pressures it puts on me (both financially and physically) to do it.

I find this one to be a very ironic thing to land on my bucket list – I’m actually terrified of public speaking!  But throughout my job I’ve had to get up in front of groups more and more to do presentations, and each time it has gotten a little easier.  Plus I’ve found that I really like teaching and doing classroom style sessions with my younger, less knowing peers.

3) Writing:

Along the same lines of reaching out to the masses and helping people with their finances, I doubt I’ll ever stop writing.

If blogging is still relevant, than I’ll probably keep doing it.

Whatever form books are in when I retire early, I’d also like to be more active with writing eBooks or even published books.

4) Family Time:

run on the beachIt’s absolutely amazing to me how much more attentive and appreciative I am of my family when I’m on vacation or Christmas break.  Throughout the regular work weeks I’m so distracted by the meaningless activities I “have to do” because they are part of my job.  But take all that away and I find that I just like being a Dad or being a Husband.

My wife and I plan to retire early at the same time, and I think that will be important for our marriage.  Retiring early at different times poses some relationship challenges.

For sure I’d love to travel more with my wife.  The two of us love going to new places and seeing new things.   Her big vision for our post-career days are to live on the water.  That doesn’t sound too bad to me!

I’d also love to be extremely present in both my kids’ (and even their children’s) lives.  When I think about all the events we do now where our parents have to miss because of work or other things that get in their way, it makes me feel good to know that our early retirement will help overcome most of those challenges.

5) Health:

One of my biggest fears when I finally retire early is that I’ll get ultra comfortable and ultra lazy way too easily.  That’s something I totally can’t let happen!

Exercise and staying healthy is something that I would make mandatory for myself no matter what.   At least one hour per day of cardio, stretching, and weights.

For the mind I’d make sure I pick at least one book at a time to read, keep playing the guitar, and do any of the other arts I love doing.  After all – aren’t I supposed to have a little fun?

Readers – How many of you have given any thought as to what to do when you retire early and reach financial freedom?   How strongly does that motivate what you’re doing now to get there?


Related Posts:

1) Could Early Retirement Planning Be Ruining Me?

2) The Ultimate Guide to How to Have a Tax Free Retirement

3) Traditional vs Roth 401k – Is the Roth Really the Better Deal? Maybe Not!

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


    • says

      I’m sorry to hear about your retirement fund. Mine got cut in half back in 2008-09, but it has since bounced back. Hopefully the blogging thing does bring in more than a few extra bucks to make up for it.

    • says

      The family time thing will be extremely important – definitely a first priority. Most of the other things I have on my list here will be so that I still feel productive and like a contributing member of society.

    • says

      I like that term – funemployment! I certainly think that anyone who gets a taste of the freelance or early retirement lifestyle will thirst only for that from hence forth.

  1. says

    We would like to retire early as well. We are hoping for sometime in our 30s. However, we are more aiming for financial independence because like you, I don’t see myself ever fully not working. Instead, I want to focus on things I enjoy (like everything related to the blogging world, family, travel, etc.).
    Michelle recently posted..Expensive Wedding Regret and Weekly UpdateMy Profile

    • says

      I’m a little jealous because your freelance lifestyle is already kind of like how I imagine my early retirement days to be like.

  2. says

    I’ve been strongly considering being a money coach as well. In fact, just blogged about it on Friday!


    There are many ways to do it without any certification, you just have to stick with the basics and avoid the no-no topics like investing/investment advice. At least if you’re getting paid. If your goal is to not to, I’m not sure if it’s then a-okay? I mean, anyone’s allowed to help anyone in life no matter what it’s about, right?

    I think I’m gonna give it a shot for pay now, and then if I love it and grow a nice hustle out of it (and help tons of people on the way!) then I’d like to go the gratis way too down the line. Perhaps in celebration of early retirement :)

    Have a great week over there.
    J. Money recently posted..The Rule of 72 – By a “Good Looking, But Not Quite Sexy, Budgeter”My Profile

    • says

      Thanks for the advice and for the link to your post. You’d make an outstanding money coach! I’m definitely interested in finding out more about it. You make it sound right up my alley – no pushing of investment advice, just throwing out the options.

  3. says

    I can think of a load of things I would like to do if I didn’t have a clock in – clock off job as i do now.

    Like you, I would also like to become something like a financial mentor and I have thought about becoming a volunteer at a debt charity once I have more time on my hands.

    The main thing is that I just want to be able to spend more time with my family and not be tired from work all the time.
    MrsFinancialFreedom recently posted..Fixing My Leaky Money Bucket: Part OneMy Profile

  4. says

    As far as the coaching, you might try to become a certified life coach with an emphasis on finances. Less time and investment, and focuses more on the emotions behind spending. Just a thought. It’s funny when it comes to retirement and exercise, I’d be excited because I’d have time for MORE! :) But other than that we have the same idea in mind in that it offers you flexibility to do whatever you want, even if that decision means continuing to work.

    • says

      That’s a cool idea to try the life coach angle. I’ll check into it further.

      It would be incredible to spend 2-3 hours every morning working out and exercising without having to worry about my one hour commute or being late for work. Oh the joys of some day having enough money to do as you please!

  5. says

    i would love for my life to work out so that i can spend my later years figuring out how to spend money in the most efficient way possible to make a difference in the world…

    in other words.. i have no desire to be sitting at a casino, pumping my life savings into a slot machine!
    jefferson recently posted..Try Before You BuyMy Profile

  6. says

    I am 27 so we are still a long bit away retiring early… we (my wife and I) have kind of an interesting financial plan right now.

    I currently make a good income and we save quite a bit (around half of our income, give or take), but one thing we really want to do is quit our jobs and travel the world for a year.

    So our plan is to hopefully quit in 1.5 years or so, and have enough money saved to travel the world for a year (destinations TBD), and then potentially be in a position to buy a house when we get back (we really would like to be home-owners, but are renting right now since we are planning to be gone for a year). It is quite a challenge to save that much but the excitement of the goal helps! Another challenge is that I am still trying to prioritize our long-term financial future (max out roth IRA, contribute 9% to 401k) while at the same time making much attention to these shorter-term goals.

    Needless to say I love personal finance and “managing” all the accounts for all of our various goals. Long story short, it is so important to have everyone on the same page, and have plans and goals… so I really enjoyed your post!

  7. says

    I already know what I want to do when I reach FI. After the travel bug bites, and I settle down in a lower cost of living city. I will volunteer (Soup Kitchen), mentor others, various sports activities, spend time with family, manage my paper assets, and my real estate holdings. Great Post.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted..Pension Concerns are AlarmingMy Profile

  8. says

    MMD – great post that really helps visualize what you want to be doing with your time. I have not taken a lot of time to think about it, but that can be so important in terms of firming up in your own mind and creating a vision for “what’s next.” I like your idea of helping others and family time. I think my priorities would be along those lines. This is definitely something I need to devote more time to exploring – thanks for the inspiration!
    Derek @ MoneyAhoy.com recently posted..Yard Sale Arbitrage – Soccer CleatsMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Derek. We get so caught up in the race to quit our jobs. The “what’s next?” or “then what?” is such an important aspect that I think a lot of people forget about. I want to make sure I clearly understand and know what the next phase in my life is going to entail.

  9. Alana says

    I’m 27, so I’m a long way from retirement; however, my parents are reaching the age of retirement, and I’m seeing them worry and stress about money for it.

    I don’t want my story to be the same way. I will begin a location-independent (largely online) career this summer and should financially be able to invest in 2016. I hate taking big risks, so I’m not interested in the stock market, I don’t have a 401K, and I don’t anticipate there being much money in Social Security left for my generation when we reach retirement. We know we will most likely have to save independently for our retirements. I’m thinking Roth IRAs would be ideal for me.

    I’m seeing more and more Americans retiring overseas because it’s just too expensive to retire in the States, but one can live comfortably on $1000/month in many countries around the world. The downside of that is being farther from family, but with technological advancements (Internet) and options like Skype and FaceTime, we can at least communicate more often. And, let’s face it, the family will definitely want to come see stay at your house on the beaches of Mexico or the Philippines during summers.

    As far as being a financial coach, I agree that you can volunteer as one at churches or nonprofits. You could also advertise on social media, although people who don’t know you may ask what qualifications you have. If you helped your friends first, they could spread the word about your services through word of mouth. Good luck!

    • says

      Thanks and welcome to the site. That’s great that you’re already seeing the strain on the older generation and deciding to make a conscious effort to change your own path. The most important thing you can do is lay down the rungs to the ladder that will help you reach your goals. You might find some useful ideas at this post here.

      I think you’re going to see that trend of retiring overseas grow and grow. Like you said, the technology and methods for staying in communication are all there and getting better. My biggest worries (if I were to ever do this) would be suitable medical care and security. I’ve been outside the US a number of times and I can definitely say each part of the world has its own unique characteristics.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge