Monday, April 7, 2014

What Are You Going to Do When You Retire?

That's the big question I eventually get whenever I share the idea of retiring at forty with friends or family. What am I going to do with all that time? What am I going to do with my day? And my answers are really unsatisfying to them. I can tell, because they tell me they'd be bored (and if they're especially blunt, that I will, too). Instead of doing what I want to do (which would be crazy), they suggest that I should volunteer full time somewhere, or write a book, or go back into teaching. Basically, the assumption is that I should trade fifty hours a week of one activity for fifty hours a week of some other, singular, lower-paying or non-paying activity that I would like more.

Going back to the question: what am I going to do with my days? I usually tell them that instead of doing any one activity for a lot of my time, I'll do a lot of little things, like spending a few hours playing with my future kids, or helping them with homework, and then blogging a bit, and exercising for an hour, and picking up new hobbies, and probably just being lazy a lot of the time, too. This last one drives them crazy. But, if I am being truthful, if you give me ten extra hours of free time every day, on some days I'm going to spend a couple of them watching a bad movie. And you know what? Then I'm going to take a nap, dude. And I will love it. Naps are the best.

But back to the main point: the thing I want to gain with my early retirement is activity diversity. I want to divide my time more evenly between a lot of things that are important to me. I'm only awake for seventeen hours every day. Because I work from home now, only eight of those weekday hours (47%) are devoted to work. That's still a lot. Worse though, in most of my working situations, another two hours would be needed just for getting ready each morning and commuting in traffic, bumping my hours devoted to work up to ten (59%).

Here's what my weekday looked like, when I include the commute that's typically been part of my job:

What Are You Going to Do When You Retire?

And here is the kind of weekday I'm hoping to achieve in an early retirement:

What Are You Going to Do When You Retire?

Even though I'm great at my job and I enjoy it, there isn't a thing in the world I love enough to devote almost sixty percent of my life to. When we consider the weekends, it lowers that percentage down considerably (from 59%, to only 42% of all waking hours). But still, forty two percent of my time for just one thing is still way too much, and that's assuming I never work more than forty hours in a week. This is a pipe dream in most corporate environments. I refuse to try to squeeze the time with my wife, future kids, friends, God, hobbies, and alone time into the remaining half of my day. If I view all these hours as equally important and assume they are intentionally allocated, when I live like I do in the first pie chart, I am saying that work, all by itself, is worth more to me than my family, friends, God, personal interests, and everything else in my life, combined. There is no way that can be true. As noble as a career can be, at least for me, it's probably at the bottom of that list in terms of what is important.

Quick disclaimer: This kind of conclusion is not going to be applicable for a lot of people, and that's okay. For some people, their career is a key part of their identity and might even be the foundation for their life's purpose. I do not mean to say that you are in any way shirking your other duties or roles by working a fifty or sixty hour week. People can be wonderful spouses, parents, and friends without devoting several hours to those roles every day. I only mean to say that the kind of life I desire for myself needs to make the work "slice" of the pie more equal to the others; and it's currently taking up more than half of my pie.

Of course, the kind of day I actually have in early retirement is probably not going to look like that pie chart most of the time. It's a bit naive to think I can have that kind of balance on the regular. But the concept itself is still pretty foreign: my take is that a lot of us want to have a singular sort of purpose to devote our lives to. If it's not a career, then we might devote ourselves to being the best parent we can be, or the best spouse, or volunteer. You know, maybe get a plaque with our names on it. But what if I want to be a jack of all trades with my life. Is that so bad?


*Photo is from das911s at Flickr Creative Commons.

98 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this article, especially the concepts of activity diversity and that no matter how much you like your job you wouldn't want to spend that percentage of your life doing it!

    I don't know why, but I keep laughing when I see "Wife(3)" in your chart above...

    It's funny because I just published a very similar article on my site yesterday; let me know what you think of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Yeah, I didn't really clarify if I meant 3 hours with one wife, or one hour each with three wives. :)

      Thanks for the kind words, Brad. I'm way behind on all my blog reading, but will head over and check out your article. Cheers!

      Delete
    2. LOL, I didn't get Brad's comment until I read your reply - FUNNY! :-)

      Delete
    3. Yes they do! I haven't taken one in weeks, but maybe today's the day. :)

      Delete
  2. I love your allocation of your anticipated retired hours. Like you, I don't have a particular activity that I'm passionate enough to spend the majority of my day; I have too short of an attention span.

    Naps are awesome. When I'm retired, I'd nap every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah! Another napper in the audience...I knew I had smart readers.

      Thanks, Emily, and I'll head over to check out your blog in a bit.

      Delete
  3. "Activity diversity" I like that phrase! I used to think that retiring early meant having nothing to do...but nowadays, especially with a baby, I feel like my time is jam packed. Oh what I could do with an additional 50 some odd hours unrelated to work! And yes, I'd take naps too...who doesn't love a good nap. I wanted to take one this past weekend but there was too much to do and a nap would be somewhat unproductive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine how time gets consumed once a baby is in the mix, Andrew. Maybe kids will end up taking up the "work" slice when Mrs. DB40 and I have some little ones. :)

      I wasn't able to take a nap this weekend either. Here's to hoping we can find a way next Saturday!

      Delete
  4. I'm curious what will comprise "God stuff"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kurt! It'll be things like reading my bible and praying, helping out at the church, going to my small group regularly, stuff like that.

      Delete
  5. I'm on the bandwagon of loving the phrase "activity diversity". It's so true. What does my day look like? I get up, go to work, come home from work, eat dinner, have about 2-3 hours, and then go to bed. It means some nights I feel very disconnected from my fiance because we're trying to cram a lot of stuff into just an hour or two.

    Regarding naps: I haven't figured out the proper ratio of sleep time to not feeling horrible when I wake up. I usually wake up with a headache and an upset tummy. I think it means I shouldn't be napping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the same problem with naps sometimes, Alicia. I have a pet theory that it's because I'm dehydrated, and not just sleepy...and that lack of hydration is the reason I sometimes wake up feeling worse. Let me know if a drink of water helps out.

      Agreed on the sometimes havoc that our worklife plays on our homelife. A lot of time, my wife and I spend the entire day in the same house, and feel like we barely saw each other...

      Delete
  6. The truth is I really don't know for sure, as so many things could be different in my life, but I can tell you this...if I could retire now, I would be so freaking happy. I could fill up my day easily, and yes some of that would include work...but work that I enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right! I have a feeling that boredom isn't going to be my biggest problem, either. But if it is, I can always find more traditional work.

      Delete
  7. As long as you have a curious nature you will always find ways to fill your time. I work with a lot of older people and know several who have retired at various ages. The ones that I consider "boring" worked as long as they could, and have trouble finding ways to spend their time. The ones who retired early usually did so because they were motivated to try new things, and had no trouble finding them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a pretty cool comment CC, I think my ER path is to 'decompress' a bit, but then soon get moving in a new direction. Every year between 40 and 50 is a golden opportunity to 'figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life', and also years with my kids before they are off to college. I'll be disappointed with myself if I let life pass me by, since I worked so hard from 20 to 40 for this opportunity! I think having a 'self directed life' will give me much more energy to hop out of bed every day.

      Delete
    2. Great insight, Chattanooga Cheapster. It's a bit like that scene in the Shawshank Redemption. After doing the same routine in prison for so many decades, Brooks couldn't adjust to the freedom.

      Steve: are you financial independent now? I'll have to read some of your blog to learn more. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. I LOVE this post! I can never understand the people who think that early retirement would lead to boredom. All I can think is that they must be really boring people! I retired early at age 39 - but for me at least, "retirement" is defined as having passive income sources. Of course "passive" is a relative term. I still have to make sure that my servers are up and functioning, and there is the occasional day/week of crazy when there's a problem. And it's not like I NEVER do any work... I just do much less of it and unless there's an emergency I do it on my terms.

    But the thing is that no two days really look the same. In the past week I've done a whole myriad of things. I spent a day with my parents helping them with a bunch of issues. CatMan and I took a 45 mile bike ride yesterday - and a 35 mile one a few days before that. He and I spent a day watching Netflix, eating lasagna and downing a bottle of wine. I spent one morning pulling weeds and working on my xeriscape - which might be done by the time I'm 90 at the rate I'm currently going. I took a walk to the grocery store one afternoon. Another, I went over to the bike shop and bought some parts do do some maintenance on my bike. I taught myself how to use the video feature on my camera and downloaded some software to edit it (Smoky has aspirations of becoming an internet sensation.) I wrote a few blog posts. I dealt with the IRS, and the bank, and my health insurance company. I fixed the side door on the garage which had been sticking. CatMan and I read a few chapters of our current Spanish book. Yadda, yadda, yadda...

    It seems to me that there are just endless things to do in today's world. And having the "freedom to futz" is just priceless as far as I am concerned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EcoCatLady, your ER sounds just fantastic. I want that. As we get closer to making the transition, I might need to pick your brain a lot. Maybe a trip to Colorado is in order...

      I love "freedom to futz", too -- fantastic phrase!

      Delete
  9. Well for what it's worth, I *do* agree you should write a book, but only because your mindset is an anomaly and you have great, innovative, and insightful knowledge to share. I love your concept of activity diversity! While early retirement might not be in my cards, I do hope for an earlier than 'normal' retirement so I could have more time for personal interests, as well. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you so much for that kind comment, Anna! That just made my evening. I like that you own not wanting an early retirement, too. It's awesome that we have so many approaches to the concept of retirement, and when the right time to take it is.

      Delete
  10. I don't think wanting to be a jack of all trades is bad at all! I share your sentiments here. For the most part, I would love to travel and spend more time with family. My loved ones take top priority. I'd also like to volunteer, continue learning by taking online classes, reading a lot, and simply enjoying what life has to offer. Work does consume a lot of our hours, and when I realized that I'm around my coworkers more often than my boyfriend, it was kind of depressing. If I find a career that I love, though, then maybe I wouldn't mind. Jury's still out on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, I totally hear you on the realization that we spend so much more time with our bosses and coworkers than our loved ones. I mean, coworkers are great and all...

      I totally left out travel in my post, but that's absolutely something we want to do more of in ER as well. Slow travel intrigues me to no end...

      Delete
  11. It's crazy to see how much time is actually being spent on work when looking at your first graph, and it's probably even higher for other people. Between the time spent getting ready and commuting, many others might be at 75% of their day! Seems like even if you aren't trying to retire early, everyone can benefit from moving closer to their work at least. And we can always hope for self-driving cars to give us some of that time back on the commute part?

    I'm still young and retirement is far off for me so I haven't detailed any plans like that, but I do agree having a diverse set of activities is important in staying active during retirement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point about minimizing our commutes, Debt Hater. That is a documented source of a lot of unhappiness, and is a huge, repetitive waste of time. While I haven't used public transportation in a while, when I did, I remember loving how I could read or even take a cat nap on the way to and from work.

      It's great that you're already thinking about personal finance while you're young. That alone should put you on whatever path you want to take.

      Delete
  12. I retired at 39 in 1997 and haven't had an issue with being bored. You will just spend the majority of your time on the things you love to do. It took me a couple of years just to calm down because you are so used to the rat race (running on the hamster wheel). When I first reached FI people would ask me what I did for a living and I would tell them I was retired. I would get comments like: You can't do that, your too young, or I would be bored if I didn't work. These are just reflexive defensive answers. It's called the your OK I'm not OK principle. It is a response by people to help them feel better about themselves. Now I just tell people I'm an investor. FI is great. Come on in, the water's fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, congratulations on such an early retirement! I love hearing from people who've made the leap and lived to tell the tale: it's really inspiring to me.

      Fantastic point about the motivations other people may have for asking these questions. It's just a defense mechanism. And I think I'm going to steal your ER occupation of investor and use it as my own. I bet that helps you avoid the same stream of odd questions over and over!

      Delete
  13. I really liked it when I first read you articulate this concept so thanks for expanding it into a post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Emily! I forget where I first talked about it, but it's good to put pen to paper.

      Delete
  14. "Activity diversity" - you need to trademark this term right meow Mr. Done by Forty! :) And naps? They rock my world too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Super Troopers! I love it.

      I may try to expand that idea a bit. Maybe I'll actually write that book and prove those naysayers right. :)

      Delete
  15. I'm going to invest time in myself. Learning a trade. Volunteering myself for free if someone teaches me carpentry, home maintenance, languages, an instrument and gardening. That's what I'm looking forward to. Money is useful, but more or less intangible - an idea. Being able to grow your own crops, repair your own home, play music for your friends and kids - is valuable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are in MN, I would teach you how to work on apartments.... And manage renters and property.

      Delete
    2. Wallet Engineers: really wise comment there. Money's just a means. What we choose to do with the time and freedom it buys is the real key.

      No Nonsense Landlord: that's a fantastic offer to Wallet Engineers. The next time I'm in MN (2-3 times a year), I'll have to hit you up to see if I can pick your brain about rentals.

      Delete
    3. It would be great! I live right next to the airport, so I am close to most of the metro.

      Delete
  16. DB40,

    Really enjoyed this post!

    And I'm totally with you in regards to inactivity and naps. Naps rock! :)

    I actually want to get around to reading some of Tom Hodgkinson's stuff sooner rather than later.

    I really like the idea of diversifying activities. That's exactly what I'm after. I read an article somewhere a while ago that basically shows that people tend to stretch out current activities more when they don't have one particular time drain. So, for instance you might spend a little more time eating, exercising, talking with your children, etc. until your free time has all been filled. You basically just fill the space with what you've already been doing, but just more of it all. And then you wonder how you ever got by with a job!

    Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jason! Your comment about our activities filling the time allowed makes sense. We do the things we like until, well, we run out of time. I've noticed, for better or worse, the same tendency of my stuff to fill the space I allow it to as well.

      Delete
  17. I'm not 100% sure what our time will look like, but I think it's going to change over the course of time. I think the first year or so will be a lot of naps, extended reading, and long term decompression. After that it wouldn't surprise me if we end up with smaller chunks of our days more structured through building a business or something similar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With you guys planning on possibly buying a business, I could see how a more structured routine could emerge. Maybe after a few years of regular napping, I might want something more meaningful, too. :)

      Delete
  18. If I could retire early, I think of the film About a Boy, where the lead lives on the royalties of a super popular Christmas song that his father wrote. He claims that he doesn't know how people could have a job during the day because it takes so much time to just get ready and do errand. It's the truth, though. There is not enough time to spend with loved ones and enjoy live all while working. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great movie! I really loved that one. I think they're turning it into a show now, too, which is weird to me.

      Delete
  19. I'm with Mrs PoP - I think the first year (maybe more) will be decompression and basically "nothing" - although truthfully, that phase might last a week or two, then we'll get into a more regular schedule of "activity diversity" (love that phrase!). I think the key is feeling like you have control of your time - if you *want* to spend 60+ hours/week at your job - go for it, if you don't - then you have that choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right, Three is Plenty! The best part of financial independence will be the independence part. If working that much makes me happy, why not have a 60 hour week and just do so because that's actually, organically, what I want to do?

      Delete
  20. I am going to do the RV thing for a while, in a 5th wheel. 6-8 week trips. Different route every time, ending back home. Bringing the dog along too.

    Two more years, then wait a couple more for the GF to retire. She is 11 years younger, so she needs just a few more years after I retire.

    I plan on only working half days then, so I can get a break from what I put in now. Only 12 hours will feel like a vacation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sister wants to do some of that same RV living, and we went to a show last year to check out all the 5th wheels and RVs. It's amazing how they tap into that part of you that wants to just live differently, to live an adventure.

      Best of luck with your future trips!

      Delete
  21. I think if I actually end up going the route of early retirement and someone asks me what I would do with my time, as if that's a freaking problem, I would give them a blank stare. Like, are you freaking kidding me! If there was 100 hours in the day I could fill every freaking hour. I need to cut this comment off early because I'm getting worked up even thinking of someone asking me that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I'm right there with you, David. As you can tell, it irks me that someone will openly question the decision to obtain more freedom. But as the poster above noted, those questions are probably just reflexive, defensive responses. The concept is so foreign that the first reaction is just to reject it.

      Delete
  22. I think you really managed to highlight the reasons why I'd like to pretire too: having more diversity and being able to do more enjoyable things for longer. Right now, even though I am running on a pretty loose schedule at home, I still am in a race to spend time with my baby. And since I started to exercise, the days seem shorter and really that day when I go to the gym seems to have way under 24 hours because I don't seem to have time for anything.

    And looking at percentages is pretty scary too: who would like to give up at least 42% of their adult life for work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something sobering about seeing the numbers like that or, for a visual person like me, a pie chart. I had to double check my math to make sure I wasn't way off base.

      It's great to hear you have your priorities right, C. Time with your baby and your personal health are two of the most important things to spend your hours on.

      Delete
  23. I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this article. I must say, it is one terrific food for thought and I like the idea behind the second pie chart. I would say, that is how I would like my retirement spent, too, except the friends percentage would bereduced and I'd add it to hobbies. I have so much love for my hobbies that are shelved for the time being, awaiting my retirement. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, Jen. I spend far too little time on my hobbies, except for blogging, of course!

      Delete
  24. The word diversity is a really good fit for what to do during retirement. Even though I'm far away from it, I really would like to spend my time working on a variety of projects and expanding my knowledge in many different ways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you, Amanda. We're only 7 years out but it sure feels like a long ways off!

      Delete
  25. LOVE this, DB40. I do not understand why people don't "get" early retirement. Why on earth, as you mentioned, would you want to devote so much of your time to work when you can have your entire day available to manage as you please? Hmmmm.... :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't get it either, Laurie. I think part of it is just that traditional work until your sixties is considered normal, so that by itself keeps a lot of us on that track. Plus, early retirement is a dream unless you're a good saver, so I'm sure for a lot of Americans with 1-2% savings rates, it's always going to seem like a foreign concept.

      Delete
  26. Such a great article and so many thoughtful comments. I now know how to answer people who ask 'what do you do' - investor, as 'Anonymous' above says. My answers to date of 'retired' or 'whatever I want to do' have not been acceptable to many and met with similar responses as some others have experienced, such as 'I'd be bored', 'oh, don't worry, you'll find some work', or even worse, 'you should: volunteer at 'x', write a book/blog, teach, protest gov't actions etc.' I also don't have children, so that seems to make my chosen lifestyle even less 'acceptable' or 'legitimate' at my age and gender. On top of all this, my husband still works because he loves his job, and I did not love mine, but now it just looks as if I am living off of him! To be honest, I've been having trouble owning this new freedom from work too. I worry about the judgement and about not being out there 'achieving something', and sometimes I think I should be finding my 'life-purpose'. After all I spent a lot of time at school working towards my career, and shouldn't I be contributing to the greater good? I envy your clarity, and knowing yourself so well. I have to learn to own my decision!

    I've been 'retired' (at 42 years old) for 1 year and 8 months and have not been bored once. I did do the decompression thing for about the first year - lots of naps and reading, and interesting enough, sickness. I seem to catch every cold or flu going! Maybe just a fluke or maybe the stress leaving my body. Now, I seem to not have enough time in each day to do what I want to do! I have to watch how much I add to the to-do list.

    On the subject of naps, I've read that a nap should be no longer than 30 minutes because any longer you'll go from REM sleep into a deeper sleep, but not long enough to be restorative. This is why you'll wake feeling groggy and horrible. I tried shortening my naps to 20 - 30 min. and no issues now! Ah, science :)

    On the subject of science, a recent study indicated that sleep per night less than 8-8.5 hours is not healthy. I noticed you only budgeted 7 hours - better take 2-3 naps per day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, we have so many of the same concerns. I, too, am a little anxious (and frustrated) by the possibility of others having snarky responses if I am retired, but my wife is still working (and assuming she is just supporting me). Then I'm faced with either letting them assume incorrectly, or correcting them and revealing more about our finances than I'm comfortable with. No bueno. There isn't proper context or precedent for this sort of early retirement in most cases.

      Congratulations on your retirement, too! That's so awesome. I'd love to learn from you if you're open to an email conversation (donebyforty at gmail dot com).

      And yes, hooray for nap science!

      Delete
  27. I find that even now, on my days off, I have trouble striking the balance. By the time I get up and exercise and make food, the day is almost over. I don't know how I do it all when I'm working.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine how hectic life is for an actress in NYC, Stefanie. It's amazing what we do accomplish with the days we work in. I'm sure my productivity will drop through the floor when I stop working...

      Delete
  28. I run across people who think my early retirement goals are crazy. They say I will be bored. I totally think not. I'll finally have enough time to do all the things around the house that needt o be done plus some volunteer work. I can't wait!

    ~D
    http://bmorebungalow.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, just a lovely house there, Bmore Bungalow. It almost makes this Steeler fan tempted to move to the Charm City...almost.

      I also doubt you (or anyone else) will be that bored in early retirement. If we are, we can just choose to go back to work. No big deal.

      Delete
  29. I don't know why people think you have to DO something every day after you retire. Here is an analogy: If you go sit on the bank of a river and go to sleep in the shade of a tree, people think you are lazy. If you sit on the bank of a river and go to sleep in the shade of a tree, and have a fishing pole in your hand, or propped up nearby, people think you are a provider.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's just fantastic, Bryce. Maybe I need something like that fishing pole to let people make better assumptions about what I'm doing with my time. Like, I could walk around with an iPhone always set to Vanguard.com, and I can just tell people I'm investing...

      Delete
  30. Oh man, my pie chart would be so skewed towards massive TV watching at the start of my retirement. It's nice that you have a solid retort for your "retirement trolls" if you will. The FI journey just isn't for me right now, mostly because I like city living and unless I get some sort of insane book deal or creating a company that gets acquired then I don't see being able to sock away enough of my income to continue living in a city with no steady income flow after age 40. But who knows, maybe I'll make some killer investments and have enough passive income streams!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you, Broke Millennial. I'm a big fan of city living, too (no house in the country for me). But NYC is another animal altogether. It would have been harder to make this happen in your city than mine, for sure! I thought that last MMM post provided a cool look into how early retirement/FI worked for one couple in New York, though.

      Delete
  31. Hmmm... Not sure I'd want to look at my pie chart right now, there definitely wouldn't be much napping time in there :)

    I've always been a jack of all trades (and master of none perhaps?!). Which is why I think early FI appeals so much.

    To get paid decently to do most activities you need to either do it full time (simpler activities to master), or have lots of experience (more complex ones).

    This doesn't suit as if I'm honest I get bored of things pretty quickly and as soon as I feel I've remotely mastered something I generally want to move onto the next thing!

    Once FI you can indulge in a number of activities you find enjoyable, if you decide half way to give up it doesn't matter as you've no financial interests vested in said activity. If you end up getting to a point where you can earn a bit of side cash from it, you still get to choose exactly how much time you want to spend doing it anyway, as the money isn't really needed and is just a bonus or safety net on your savings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a lot of the same tendencies, FIREStarter. I'm quick to move from thing to thing, rather than devoting years and decades to one activity. I've made peace with it, especially since I just enjoy that sort of activity mobility more.

      Delete
  32. I really like your thinking here. Work, although a priority, sure does keep us from participating in activities we might enjoy more. I think we end up missing much of the richness of life because we get so bogged down in work-related activities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To take a little bit of a religious take on it, career is the primary idol for a lot of us Americans, especially American men. Everything comes second to work.

      Delete
  33. Activity diversity is the name of the game. There's a lot of hobbies that I'd love to get more involved with but I just don't have the time when I have to commit so much of it to my income source. Blogging is obviously going to stay a part of the daily regimen, but there's so many more ideas and interests that I have than just work. If the average person would switch their mindset to thinking about what they actually want to do with their time, hopefully some of them would change their mindset towards money as well. My daily time breakdown is nowhere near in relation to what my priorities are, and that's a shame, but I'm doing my best to get to my ideal day as quickly as possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're going to be where you want to be pretty quickly, I'd say, Passive Income Pursuit. With the track you're on, you'll be able to spend your days as you like before too long.

      Delete
  34. DB40,
    I've thought about this same topic. I'm 43 and hope to retire in my early 50s (my spouse is 9 years older.) I think I will be okay, but it will be an adjustment. I have interests now (training for distance running) that I make a priority, but feel like I'm "living for the weekends" alot. I think that retirement will be an opportunity to pick up a few more things that I haven't been able to do without the stress of being on the clock.

    I sort of have this vision that retirement may end up being a little bit like my perfect Saturday: wake up without an alarm, go running, listen to NPR and cook new recipes in the kitchen, walk downtown (no car! no hurry!) to do errands, visit friends...

    I've been re-prioritizing my life lately and have chosen to give up on some of the committees I'm involved in, because I don't find the work that fulfilling and find myself getting annoyed trying to pack it in on my limited schedule. I have chosen instead to travel to see family more, to run more (take care of my health) and to call more friends to do things. I sometimes feel that this is criticized for being shallow and not "goal-oriented" enough. Also, many of the activities I've given up are church committees. But, I realized I wasn't doing those things for love, but for obligation. My new mantra is, "Don't regret the things you do for love." When I call a friend to go to dinner, or invite someone into my home, or even when I take time for myself (especially to devote to my health and well-being) I'm doing it for love (of others, and self). I also feel this way about my money. For the most part, I'm frugal. But -- especially when buying "experiences" -- someone shouldn't regret the things they do to spend time with those they love. Because someday you'll look back and say, "I'm really glad I did that."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have really similar outlooks on money & experiences, Janeen. We're also living for the weekends right now, like everyone else it seems. But good on you for being able to retire so early!

      Great insight on having to give some things up in order to enjoy others. We all seem to have some low value activities in our lives. Mine might be television, unfortunately. Giving it up is hard. It's bad for me, but really entertaining.

      Delete
  35. DBF,
    You'll drink beers with me on the beach in Hawaii. I know you'll be much busier doing what you want,hopeto see you at the finish line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I need to add a big slice of beer drinking with you into that pie. :)

      Delete
    2. Can I join you guys? You know how much I love Hawaii ;)

      Delete
    3. Absolutely. See you guys on the beach in 7 years...

      Delete
  36. "And you know what? Then I'm going to take a nap, dude. And I will love it. Naps are the best."

    LOL! I feel the same way. Once you get to FI, it's your rules all the time. Do what you want! How does life really get any better than that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, FI Fighter. If we can't relax and do things our way sometimes, then what's the point?

      Delete
    2. I'm with you guys on the naps! I think that should be another slice on the pie chart. Which I love that you made, by the way. Life just makes more sense the way you have it framed rather than the way we have become accustomed to living it.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Femme Frugality! I spent a few minutes searching for visual representations about what I was talking about, before giving up and breaking out the trusty spreadsheet. Somehow, even in my hypothetical future day, I still haven't worked in time for a nap though. Mo time, mo problems?

      Delete
  37. So many comments!

    I don't plan for FI or ER. For me, I get a lot of purpose and pride from my work. That being said, if I'm honest, I don't spend the full 40 hours at work on work, and I am honest about that. So in a way, that slice of pie for me isn't truly as big.

    I get bored on days off - I suppose I'm task orientated, I like my lists, and having things to do, and am known to find it hard to 'relax'. After about 5 hours of TV watching on Sat morning, I was itching to do the groceries - not out of need, but the desire to move, be out etc.

    I think what I find hard about the things I do, do, on my day off/weekends is that I don't feel many of them work towards something 'wow' or large. Cleaning up, and maintaining are as mundane as work in a lot of ways :p I even get sick of reading and TV watching. Suppose that says a lot about me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know yourself, and what works for you, Sarah. I think we all like to be busy and productive -- it's just a different balance and mix of activities for the individual.

      Delete
  38. It really is about variety in life. I see myself continue to work on different projects during my retirement years. I'm not one of those where I'll just sit on the beach and do nothing. I do that often enough in my 20s and now 30s. I'll definitely keep my mind active

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that the lazy day on the beach retirement is probably not as ideal as it seems initially. Even steak tastes bad when you eat it every day for a month.

      Delete
  39. I see myself do a myriad of things in retirement. I certainly don't see myself just laying around and doing nothing - well maybe a day or two here and there. But I want to spend time doing the things I love and trying out the things that I just don't have the time for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy how little time we have for the things we really enjoy, Jon. It's normal, of course, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable when you step back and think about it.

      Delete
  40. I think after the initial Travel phase of being FI and retired, I like that you graphed it out. In my mind I still see myself doing some work here and there, but just to have the option to choose. I sometimes see the bored question pop up and my first thought is usually a 9-5 is boring. Naps, parks, traveling, these seem way less boring to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Even Steven. How can a nap be boring when I want to take one every day? The heart wants what the heart wants...in my case, it wants some mid-day rest.

      I'll probably be working a bit in retirement, too. Maybe that's this blog, or just one day a week somewhere part time.

      Delete
  41. I read this article over 2 weeks ago but I am so behind on commenting!

    I really like the second graph and I think that's the way it should be! Personally, I would have no trouble if I didn't have to work. I have so many things that I am passionate about but genuinely don't have a lot of time for. I like spending time with family/friends, travelling, jogging, cooking, blogging, learning Spanish, teaching English, watching films/series, volunteering and doing something meaningful, something that really counts (have yet to figure this one out)... and so much more! I am a very active person and I would be so much more productive if I had the opportunity to "stay at home". Yes, really! Instead, I get up every morning at 7 am, spend over an hour getting ready for work, 45 minutes commuting, 8-10 hours doing something I am not passionate about, another 45 minutes commuting back home... and when I finally get back home, I am exhausted. Yep! That's what my life has become. Sad, but true! This has got to change and I'm sorta working on it! ;) I'm sure you will have no trouble giving up work and adjusting to your new life. It will be awesome and I cannot wait to read about it when it happens for you! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a rough commute, Eva, though in really big cities like London I think that's a pretty common thing. I love your list of activities, too. I'm positive that you'll have no problem filling your days as you wish. :)

      Delete
  42. Interesting read and love the graphs. My workday currently consumes 50% of my day, with sleep consuming 30%, so that leaves me with roughly 20% for everything else. It feels like I'm at work more than I am at home and I hate that! My greatest motivation to achieve Financial Independence is to get my life back. For me to be able to decide how much of my day will go towards the things I want to do. Not have it already preset for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally hear you, Frugal Family's Journey. I think that's the thing we're all trying to 'buy' with our push to FI: a bit more of our own lives. Probably too dramatic a way to put it, but it gets to the point.

      Delete
  43. Hey! Other nappers! I thought with the invention of the internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc, we were a dying breed... This weekend was the first weekend I've gotten in my naps in months. For some reason a Sunday afternoon nap puts a seal on my weekend and lets me be ready for the week ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah! Another napper! I do think we're becoming a dying breed. With all the distractions, idle napping seems like a poor choice among our available options. But there's nothing quite as good as a tasty afternoon nap, right before a big dinner.

      Delete
  44. First off, your "early retirement" pie chart doesn't have naps in there anywhere :)

    I fully support nap time.

    The reason I want to reach early retirement is because it will give me the freedom of choice. I can choose to do what I want, when I want. I know that if people had a choice 95% or more would not spend over 8 hours a day at their job. They might spend some time if they really love it, but they would cut back their hours to when it was convenient for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doh! I totally forgot the nap slice!

      Well put on your final paragraph, Zee. If you gave people their days back and removed money from the equation, there is no chance they'd voluntarily work 60 hours a week (or, at least very few of us would).

      Delete