When Does One Retire?
November 4, 2022
In my mid-thirties, I harbored a romantic notion that I would earn some pot money by the time I was forty-five or fifty, and then I would retire. Retirement seemed synonymous with freedom, where I was not obligated to anyone, where I didn’t have to go to work to earn money or solve problems, and where I could do whatever I felt like at any time without feeling constrained.
How am I placed today?
The pot of money, or the wealth, I had imagined I would like to earn when I was in my mid-thirties, I have mostly achieved that objective. However, I am mortified today by the thought of retiring without the need to do anything. The desire to retire has been replaced by a desire to stay intellectually alert and active, doing productive work for as long as possible.
A lot of people ask me this question often. What is your plan in life? How long would you like to keep working?
When anyone asks me these questions, they are in some way implying that there is a line that needs to be drawn in the sand, where one stops working to do something else, which is non-work.
My response to myself and them today is more nuanced.
It’s important for me to remain fit, healthy, and working for as long as I physically can. To be physically fit and healthy, I must be physically active. In the same way, I want to be mentally active in order to be mentally healthy and fit. My ambition today is to live a life that is not an empty calendar, but one filled with challenges and obligations that I enjoy. The role of money and wealth is to buy the freedom to choose the kind of work I wish to do without feeling encumbered.