45-year-old ‘fake retiree’ shares the most surprising lessons he learned when he tried to retire early

In June 2012, at the age of 34 and after working 13 years in investment banking, I wanted to move out. So I decided to negotiate a severance, retire earlyand live passive income my . Through rental property, Stock Dividends and E-Book Sales,

But in just one year, I realized that the life of travel and leisure I thought I wanted was just not for me. I found myself bored and felt loss of identity, I needed an outlet and wanted to do something I was personally invested in.

While it’s been more than 10 years since I stopped working full-time, I wouldn’t say I’m retired. Instead, I refer to myself as a “fake retiree” because I ended up doing some side hustle to fill my time.

Here are six surprising lessons I’ve learned after 10 years of “fake retirees”:

1. There’s no shame in being a “fake retiree.”

I’ve shared a lot about my early retirement journey, and one of the biggest pushbacks I get from readers goes something like this: “You’re still doing some sort of work and getting money in return. , so you’re not really retired.”

It’s a fair point, so I think more people should adopt the term “fake retirement”. Many of us early retirees are writing blog posts, recording videos, creating e-courses, writing books or selling art, i still run my blog financial samuraiAnd I just spent two years working my personal finance book, “Buy this, not that.”

Many early retirees are working harder than ever by building their online business, even if it’s only a short-term passion project. The extra money they earn may not be a necessity, but it is a nice bonus.

By declaring myself a “fake retiree”, I own the criticism. Yes, I could sit on the beach and drink pia coladas all day if I wanted to. But I don’t. I want to work and be productive during the week, which for me is about two to three hours a day.

2. Your financial needs will evolve and potentially increase over time.

When I retired, I was happy with my $80,000 per year passive income, But in 2015, my wife joined me in early retirement. We calculated that we would need to generate $160,000 in annual passive income to cover his loss of income.

We too were planning to start a family. Our son was born in 2017 and our daughter in 2019, so our financial needs kept increasing. Paying $2,200 a month in unsubsidized health care premiums — plus $5,000 a month for preschool — adds up.

with Inflation running at the highest level of 40 years, we have to generate more income once again. These are three major changes in our budget in just 10 years. To keep up, we bought more rental properties and invested in properties that continue to gain value in times of inflation, such as health care stocks.

3. You can still feel the vibe of traditional work.

Since 2012, I have struggled with the desire to return to work full time several times. The first time was less than six months after I left my job. I found myself missing working as a team towards a common mission.

It was the second time after the birth of our son. I was worried that we would not have enough money to take care of our family. I also struggled with how hard it was to be a stay-at-home parent. I thought going to the office could act as a “break” from the stress of being a new dad.

The third time happened a year into the pandemic. Many friends who were working from home seemed to have a work-life balance that made them happy.

But eventually, I realized that even if I could find a remote job that would allow me to go to the beach in the middle of the day, I would still have someone to answer for.

4. You can speak your mind freely.

Think about all the times you’ve had to hold your tongue at work because you didn’t want to jeopardize your growth, promotion, or reputation with your employer.

One of the biggest benefits of being financially independent and not following company rules is being able to express yourself fully.

Additionally, you can confidently speak up for others who could use your support. For example, when a producer approached me to record an audiobook version of my book, he was adamant to choose from three white men to narrate.

But as an Asian-American, I wanted someone who looked and sounded like me. We eventually landed on a Chinese-American storyteller. If I didn’t feel confident enough to speak, that narrator wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

5. Your legacy will become more important to you.

Early retirement has given me more time to be alone with my thoughts. When I wasn’t confined to a 40-hour work-week, I was able to reflect on what really mattered to me—and what legacy I wanted to leave behind.

For some people, this could be providing a scholarship to their alma mater or making an impact with charity. For me, it’s sharing financial advice that can help other people achieve their life goals.

One thing that struck me once the pandemic lockdown started was knowing that one day my kids would get to show and tell my book.

I have found that if you support the causes that are most important to you, share your blessings and act as a mentor to others, your legacy will prosper.

6. You are better off thinking in terms of possibilities, not absolutes.

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