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What’s Your Definition of Retirement?

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From time to time, I chat with other readers and bloggers. The other day, I had an interesting chat with Steve from Brip Blap. While we chatted about a number of topics, two really stuck through in my mind... blogging and retirement.

For the last two and half months, I have not worked a steady day job. I thought I'd take a shot at staying at home, being a good house husband, and explore ways to make income on the side. Though it takes an extraordinarily large amount of my time, it's slowly starting to approach a portion of what I made at my day job. I consider myself very fortunate. My health site is lucky to bring in $10 in cash for the month. I suspect this is what many bloggers experience.

Many bloggers recognize this and even go out of their way to spread the message that blogging is not the answer to coping with unemployment. Brip Blap pointed that blogging is "not a road to retiring at age 40."

I couldn't help but take a few hours and roll that thought in my head. In the traditional sense of retirement, I have no doubt that it's true. I'd be hard pressed to convince anyone that I'm going to get to my goal of a 2.25M net worth by blogging. On the other hand, if you are a little liberal with your definition of retirement perhaps it can be a road to retiring at age 40.

When I imagine my retirement, I don't envision that I'll stop working. I think I would be missing a higher purpose of making my life mean something - leaving a legacy behind if you will. I took a little time and thought about what my ideal retirement job would include. It would surely have the following:

  • Ability to work on projects that I enjoy
  • Flexibility to working as much (or as little) as I want to
  • Flexibility to when I want to
  • Flexibility to work from wherever I want to
  • Freedom from having to take orders (which I might disagree with) from others

Take a step back and look at that list. Doesn't blogging seems to fit as a good retirement job? Is blogging going to be able to bring in enough money and be consistent enough to rely on? If you can answer those two questions in the affirmative, you are on your way to "retiring" in a sense. Right now, I can't do that, but maybe in a few years I will be able to.

Steve quickly agreed that in some ways, profitably blogging could be considered a form of retirement. However, he noted that his idea of retirement requires investments that are more passive in nature (investments and royalties for example).

It's hard for me to imagine blogging 35 years from now and beyond. Who knows where technology will take us in that time? I do imagine there will always be money for those willing to share quality ideas and spread their knowledge. Perhaps that's all I've ever wanted to do. As Lloyd Dobbler once said, "I don't know, I can't figure it all out tonight."

Last updated on November 30, 2011.

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9 Responses to “What’s Your Definition of Retirement?”

  1. I think retirement should be seen in conjunction with financial independence. My definition of FI would be in having enough assets to generate income to satisfy all of my needs and most of my wants until I expire. Reaching FI I certainly found myself to be a lot more picky about what I do with my time, yet I’m busier than ever. Whereas retirement is becoming fuzzier and fuzzier I think FI is fairly clear cut. You either are or you aren’t. Financial independence is the new retirement.

    BTW I am a bit curious as to your $2.25M goal. You’re currently generating $1800 while having a net around $225k. Do you see yourself as spending ten times as much in retirement e.g. close to $20k/month? 8-)

  2. fathersez says:

    Yes, I am also aiming for FI.

    Then the choices available will be very different.

    So shooting for FI is what I am doing now.

  3. There’s something to be said about not having a full-time job. I do the blogging thing and do a lot of web-development work on a contract basis and it suits me just fine. I make more than enough to pay for life and college, and I get by just fine.

  4. Harrison says:

    Financial Freedom is my goal for retirement. So as long as I hit this, I’m considered as a retiree. Yes I agree with you that this doesn’t means that I will stop working and hanging around without doing anything. Instead, my plan is I want to travel around the world, do what I like to do, spend my time and energy in society contribution and of course, at the same time I still make more and more money.

  5. MoneyNing says:

    Retirement for me is when I have enough assets/wealth to quit my day job anytime without worry of money.

  6. I think you should make an effort to quote Lloyd Dobler in at least one post a week! To me, THAT is the definition of retirement! :-)

  7. Brip Blap says:

    Lazy Man’s done a good job of representing my position here. My idea of “retirement” – a very dated word for what I’m thinking of – is that work is optional for basic needs. If I have “living costs” of $2000 per month (utilities, rent/mortgage, taxes, food) then if my investment income (or other ‘passive’ income) covers that, I’m retired. I could then pursue blogging, or alpaca raising, or professional poker playing without worrying about basic needs. The extra income would pay for non-essentials: netflix, travel, etc. So I’d still need income for the ‘fun’ part of life, but if I felt like hanging things up for a few months after I built up some savings I could.

    That’s different than still needing income from work. I guess it’s just a question of whether a blog would continue to generate income if you stopped posting for a while. Mine sure wouldn’t :)

    Interesting post on one of the central questions of most people’s financial lives…

  8. That’s exactly what I consider retirement. That I can quit my dayjob and do what I like, for however long I like, when and where I like. Essentially, I’ll still be working but working for myself instead of for someone else.

    By the time I’m 40, I’m still going to be able to do a great deal of things, such as volunteer work, charity work and of course, still keep things ticking over so I can keep getting that passive income.

  9. marci says:

    I agree with MoneyNing – Retirement: having enough assets/wealth to quit my day job anytime without worry of money. I’m there.

    However, I chose to work an easy parttime job for the free health insurance – as I am too frugal to pay for it!

    Ability to work on projects that I enjoy – I can do this at work now – I just have to keep the doors open and answer a few phone calls. Not hard – lots of free time :)

    Flexibility to working as much (or as little) as I want to – I have a lot of free time, and can divide my 30 hrs up as I wish. I can babysit the grandkids here and take time off for their school activities.
    Flexibility to when I want to – I have to be in the office, but I don’t have to be working for the boss all that time…
    Flexibility to work from wherever I want to – not an option yet…..
    Freedom from having to take orders (which I might disagree with) from others – I’m the boss here – and only person here :)

    For me, this job IS mental retirement…While I might need to show up, once there most of the day is mine to do with as I please during the work time. It’s 10 minutes from home, I get free gas and free cell phone and free internet at work. I just take plenty of activities along with me – sewing,scrapbooking, reading, blogging :) I even have a garden here at work to tend to :)

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