While researching for safe withdrawal rates I came up with an article of how parents can contribute to a separate investment to provide for free tuition for their kids; while I decided early in life that having kids wasn’t a good idea for me I completely subscribe to the idea of helping the young ones pay for the high costs of secondary education. I did not receive help from my parents which made my life a lot harder while I was studying.
This got me thinking; well, now that my path to early retirement ended (or my path to early retirement just started, since I just retired) do I have any regrets? I find myself thinking that I should be looking for a job but when these thoughts start to circulate around my head I invariably start signing in to my five different brokerage accounts and see zeroes and zeroes on the right of whole positive numbers; this normally calms me down until I realize I have way more than I can reasonably expect to spend in my lifetime.
The constant searching for a job
I start to think; why are we preconditioned to always look for a job? Why the first thing we do when we lose a job is start firing resumes frantically? Is the filling that we need to make money to survive the reason why we commit to find another job or some other ulterior motive? This is what I have learned:
Not having a job and deciding not to find another job increases your creativity and your entrepreneurship, I find myself thinking of ways to make money, often forgetting the big numbers I mentioned in my brokerage accounts. I assume that human beings are programmed to produce or to be productive, perhaps an unconscious propagation of our evolutionary makeup. Probably we are programmed to always look for more food as our ancestors often needed to constantly hunt to meet their needs. Whatever the reason I believe that once you decide to follow the early retirement path you will rarely just sit in the couch watching TV.
When I was still working, I would often fantasize of sleeping until late, not waking up to an alarm and spending considerable amounts of time sitting in my balcony. To my surprise I have a hard time sleeping past 6 am, I get bored of sitting in the balcony and while I have been exercising every day since I retired early, I just cannot exercise all day. I have found myself learning things I did not even know I liked in the past; like making cheese (never thought I was even minimally interested in this hobby), making websites, building structures and learning how to trade options. These last two months have been eye openers of how many thinks I like.
I am going to be honest; I used to think I was an average boring person with little interests but now I understand that the reason why I didn’t have any interests is because work sucked up all my energy. If I had something to say to someone who is planning to retire early is this: Do no let the lack of interests or things to do in your life be the reason why you are still working; believe me, once you find yourself not needing to work for a living you will develop skills and interests that otherwise would not even realized you were interested on.
Find out how much you need for early retirement and nothing more.
Another important reflection of early retirement is my realization that perhaps I saved a little too much. I live an awesome simple life with my HBMT in five acres of land in North Texas, I grow some of my own organic food, harvest my own honey, my electricity bills are to laugh about, taxes are super low thanks to an agricultural exemption, no kids (fortunately), no dependents, little to nonexistent expensive tastes. I realize that having more than $1MM in investments is way above what I could possible spend in my lifetime and this fact upsets me; I get to think about my idiotic bosses giving me orders, the countless hours sitting in a chair pleasing others, the humiliation I endured as one of my former bosses found out that the dirty Mexican (me) owned four rental units while he had a family of four and the health of a deaf leprous donkey with no limbs; he was constantly struggling for money and he would envy me and treated me like trash… and the worst thing is that I allowed those situations. Today that guy is still working 6:00 to 6:00 struggling financially after one more back surgery caused by yet another car accident that he caused.
Previous experiences with bad bosses
Anyway, I endured racism and narcissistic behaviors by some of my bosses. In my very last job at the engineering firm my boss; the head of the process engineering department, would explain to me how to use Excel goal seek to isolate variables. It turns out that my boss did not know how to isolate variables, this revelation that I quickly caught up after spending some time “learning from him” made me feel ashamed of myself. Let that sink in… the head of Engineering does not know what a PreAlgebra student knows. I felt insulted whenever he would ask me to do something, this is the equivalent of a surgeon not knowing how to make an incision or a truck drive with no eyes. I felt more insulted when he finally told me that he could no longer justify my salary after the Pandemic dried out all the field engineering jobs, (I did have good bosses though, right now I am bitching about my last two which there was a lot of room for improvement).
Reflecting on my previous profession I feel I was a good element, I had a better than average math knowledge and good foundations, I perhaps lacked on the leadership side of things but I could have probably developed the skill had I got a chance and a good mentor. The thing is, it does not really matter anymore, I have enough to live happy ever after. I can choose what to do and what not to do. Thinking in the past brings me grief and unnecessary worries.
Assets upon death
Last; it is likely that I will leave this world with significant assets; in other words, I worked more than I had to. I sacrificed my time longer than the strictly necessary to be happy and for that I am sorry. Please don’t fall for this mistake, make sure you have enough to have a happy life and just stop working; the surplus you make will stay here when you pass away. One day more spent with your loved ones is worth much more than a big number in your bank account upon your death; I assure you that.