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Unorthodox Early Retirement

We wrapped up the Central Wyoming Fair & Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming and headed off to Lander where we will visit friends and make repairs until the Park County Fair starts in Powell, Wyoming on the 27th of July.

As I drive our motorhome through the incredible landscape towards Lander and pass all the motorhomes pulling boats and ATV’s after a fun filled weekend on their way home, I can’t help but think of the concept of retirement.

I’ve touched on this topic in the past and it still both haunts and mystifies me. I have a cousin who served his cousin well and recently retired. What happened next? He had to get a job of course.

The lounging around, world traveling, living the high life concept is out of reach for the majority of people. Only the privileged few can enjoy the stereotypical and outdated image of retirement most Americans remember.

What about the rest of us? Either you can downsize your life and survive with a much lower standard of living you were used to while working or you have to get a job.

Since, in all likelihood, you’re going to have to work anyways, why not retire early?

How?

Take a few months off every year and travel, explore hobbies, advance yourself in ways you’ve dreamed of doing your whole life. Forget the dogmatic ‘work until 65’ generalization and accept we’ll work at something the better part of our active lives. Only now, you’re healthy (hopefully) and active (hopefully) and you can reap the fruit of your energy.

This won’t work for everyone. There are Oaks and Albatrosses. The Oaks like to nestle and lay roots- not easily broken! The Oaks might have to be more creative in how to formulate a plan to NOT work full time, and take a few months off every year to work in their garden, donate time and energy to favorite charities, or simply enjoy their home and friends without the burden and stress of the average work week for a few months.

One way would be to take additional time off without pay. But many employers frown on this request because of the long term projects that require attention and completion.

Another way would be to become a contract employee. The hard part of being a contractor, you can easily fall into the ‘feast or famine’ routine and work all year round or worry about working when you’re not working.

But there are ways.

For the Albatross, it is much simpler. By divesting yourself of the burdens of a mortgage, property taxes, utility bills, etc… you can actually increase your standard of living while earning less. Sometimes, MUCH LESS!

I just turned 40 a few weeks ago and while I certainly fit the DAD profile, I still feel strong and capable of strenuous exercise (maybe after a little warm up). I’m not sure I will feel the same way at 65 or later.

Unless you have excessive income, and I mean EXCESSIVE income that you can sock away cash, most folks (like 90% of the population) won’t have adequate savings to carry them from 65 till death do us part. So why kill yourself working to 65 so you then can get a part time job to make ends meet?

We like living on a sailboat. That may change or maybe evolve is a better way to put it. Everything moves SLOWLY on a sailboat- even the sailboat only moves 6-7 mph! As a result two weeks just doesn’t get you very far. The hard work, travel, and ‘alternative’ lifestyle we’re experiencing all justify the time we get to spend on the boat and exploring.

Time stops for no man. The best we can hope, fill our lives with meaningful and satisfying experiences.

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