45-year-old “fake retiree” shares the most surprising lessons he learned when trying to retire early

In June 2012, at 34 and after 13 years of working in investment banking, I wanted to leave. So I decided to negotiate a liquidation, retire early and live on passive income through my rental properties, stock dividends and e-book sales.

But just a year later, I realized that the life of travel and recreation that I thought I wanted was not for me. I got bored and felt a loss of identity. I needed an outlet and wanted to do a job in which I was personally invested.

Even though it’s been over 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 taking a few side chores to fill my time.

Here are six surprising lessons I learned after 10 years of “fake retirement”:

1. There is no shame in being “false retirees”.

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

This is a fair point, which is why I think more people should embrace the term “false retirement”. Many of us early retirees write blog posts, record videos, create e-courses, write books or sale of art. I still run my financial Samurai blog and have just spent two years working on my personal finance book, “Buy This, Not That”.

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

By proclaiming myself a “fake pensioner”, I accept the criticism. Yes, I could sit on the beach and drink piƱa coladas all day if I wanted. But not me. I want to work and be productive during the week, which for me is about two or three hours a day.

2. Your financial needs will evolve and are likely to grow over time.

3. You may still feel the attraction of traditional work.

Since 2012 I have fought several times the urge to return to full-time work. The first time was less than six months after I quit my job. I found myself lacking the camaraderie of working as a team towards a shared mission.

The second time was after the birth of our son. I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough money to take care of our family. I was also struggling with how difficult it was to be a stay-at-home parent. I thought having an office to go to could act as a “break” from the stress of being a new dad.

The third time was a year after the pandemic began. So many friends who worked from home seemed to have a work-life balance that made them happy.

But eventually, I realized that even if I had a remote job that allowed me to hit the beach in the middle of the day, I’d still have to answer someone.

4. You can express your mind more freely.

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

One of the biggest advantages of being financially independent and not having to follow company rules is being able to fully express yourself.

Plus, you can confidently talk about people who might be using your support. For example, when a producer approached me to record an audiobook version of my book, he was adamant about choosing between three white men for the storytelling.

But as an Asian-American, I wanted someone who looked and sounded like me. Eventually we ran into 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 left me more time to be alone with my thoughts. When I was no longer limited to a 40-hour workweek, I was able to reflect on what really mattered to me and what legacy I’d like to leave behind.

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

The only thing that kept me going once the pandemic blockade started was knowing that one day my children would bring my book to show and tell.

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 flourish.

6. It is better to think in terms of probabilities, not absolute.

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