Some people who follow the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) path are seemingly lucky to quit the workforce early. But do they end up regretting it? FIRE retirees took to the internet to share their experiences.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Too Good To Be True
One person had a hard time seeing their dad, who was FIRE decades before it was a thing, retire early. “He talked so giddily about how he looked forward to sitting around and doing nothing. And that’s what he did,” they said. “It wrecked his physical and mental health. He aged so quickly, and prematurely, it really messed with me as a kid.”
2: Not Soon Enough
Not only does one 55-year-old not regret retiring early, but they say they wish they had done it five years earlier. “I’m 55 and have been retired for a year,” they say. “I’m not going back to work. I do the occasional couple hours consulting, but I won’t take a gig over 10 hours.”
3: Get a Hobby
One commenter finds it strange if a person isn’t chomping at the bit to retire. “Unless you’re in the small percentage of people that actually love the work they do, I would find it sad if people can’t find happiness in retirement without work.”
4: More Getaways
One person, who retired at 35, has been living their dream life since then. “The extra income allows me to go on a few high-end vacations each year that my original FIRE budget limited to just 1 or 2 modest ones. All in all, it’s a win-win for me.”
5: True Friends
One early retiree misses working just about as much as one would expect. “When you leave a job, you find out who your true friends and people who love you will reach out to, and those that don’t you will never hear from again.” So, what do they miss? “The only thing I miss about work is the extra money, but when you have enough, I can’t think of a single thing work provides for me anymore.”
6: Great Escape
Early retirement is going smoothly for this commenter. “Retired eight years, no regrets. Getting off the hamster wheel is the best thing ever.”
7: Living Large
There seems to be a consensus that regrets are slim among early retirees. “I’m 50,” says one person. “I know a lot of retired people. I don’t know a single person that regrets retiring.” They know of some people who ultimately returned to work part-time, acknowledging, “I would regret [retiring] if I was broke or would be broke years later. Be sure to plan and take action.”
8: Starting Fresh
One person who retired at 41 has less money, all the time in the world, and zero regrets. “I’m having the time of my life. I have started many new hobbies, found new friends, and can contribute to society in other ways. I actually stay very busy, finding purpose in new ways. But I rarely set an alarm.”
9: Find Fun
One early retiree warns that you could end up in a rough spot if you don’t fill your time. “I’m not gonna go and start pushing boxes around a warehouse for 40 hours a week, but you definitely need some type of goal or pursuit that’s not just hobbies IMO.” Their recommendation? “You have to make yourself disciplined and keep a schedule, or really time just stops mattering, and you get depressed.”
10: There Was an Attempt
One commenter tried retiring early with their wife and realized it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “We are heading back to work soon but for a low-stress part-time job. We don’t regret it; we definitely needed the sabbatical, and that’s the great thing about being FI [financial independence], but we weren’t in the right place nor had enough to be permanently RE [retire early].”
11: Too Much Time
One commenter was semi-retired but returned to the workforce after realizing it enhanced their PTSD symptoms. “My depression and anxiety got terrible. Turns out if I have too much downtime, I get intrusive thoughts all day.” Needless to say, retirement wasn’t their thing.
12: Quit Your Side Hustle
“I kept holding on to the stupid job for insurance reasons, but I also had a side hustle that was making me much more than my job,” says one commenter, whose only retirement regret is that they should’ve done it sooner. “If people regret it and say they are bored, that’s their fault!”
13: Jumping Back In
One active retiree is starting to worry about their decision. “My husband is concerned, so we are considering maybe contracting or doing some remote work. I have a four-year-old, so I’ll have things to do regardless.”
14: Find A Hobby
One commenter talked to their 78-year-old coworker about retiring early, saying you won’t regret it if you find something valuable to fill your time. “He was so used to doing nothing but work, he didn’t know what to do in retirement, and he’s a millionaire. He got into hobbies and such, but his body is about to break down now.”
15: Goodbye Monday Blues
After running into their ex-colleagues, one retired commenter feels lucky. “Many people in my circles are still working, and all complain about Monday morning blues and so on. I have an enjoyable side hustle, but sometimes I don’t feel retired enough. I never feel too retired, though.”
Most to Least Expensive States to Retire
Are you looking to move state borders during retirement? From Medicare contributions to taxes and housing costs, these are the best (and worst) states to retire from a financial perspective.
Younger Baby Boomers Are Poorer Than Their Older Boomer Peers
Are you a younger baby boomer who feels financially behind where your older boomer peers were at your age? Statistically, that’s true. Here’s why.
50 Best Cities for Retirement
Your Golden Years should be your best years. But according to research by U.S. News & World Report, that may not be the case depending on where you choose to retire.
Are You a Top 10% Earner in Your State?
Whether earning income in the top 10% of your state feels like a pipe dream or a plausible reality, one thing is certain: What constitutes a 10% earner varies wildly by state.
21 Travel Bucket List Ideas for Retirees
Stay young at heart by exploring the world with these 21 must-see destinations during retirement. Options for active and low-impact travelers.