I read so many articles on the Internet each week. I don’t share many of them. I assume that everyone is drowning in information overload like I am.
However, once a month or so, I find a unique article. It hits me hard and I have to share it. Such was the case in reading What They Don’t Tell You About Retiring Early by Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks. Jim has a very unique story to tell:
“Jim retired at age 30 after selling his first massively successful first blog.”
It sounds like a dream come true right? There’s almost no way for anything negative to come from it, right? Well not quite…
“I had just been come into more money than I’d ever seen in my life but I felt a little empty. The thing that occupied my mind was no longer there… When people talk about how depression isn’t sadness but emptiness, I now understand. I was a little depressed in those weeks and months afterwards because I no longer had a drive. No reason to get up in the morning!”
You should read Jim’s story to get the full context.
One of the solutions for Jim was having an encore career. Never heard of an encore career? I’m not 100% sure I have either. I’ve heard things called a second act and I’ve talked about the “what happens next” when she retires from the military in a few years.
Wikipedia defines an encore career as:
“An encore career is work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. These jobs are paid positions often in public interest fields, such as education, the environment, health, the government sector, social services, and other nonprofits.”
A Blast from the Past: What is Your Definition of Retirement?
(This is rough transition, but work with me on this.)
In December of 2007, I asked the question What’s Your Definition of Retirement? (At the time I hadn’t separated the concept of financial independence and retirement.)
One of the great things about having a journal is that you can go back review what you thought way back then. I typically cringe at how bad writing was in the past, but I don’t mind this:
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?
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.
Welcome to My Encore Career
No, I didn’t sell a blog for millions of dollars. I didn’t win the lottery. I didn’t have the day Jim did where everything disappeared. Well, I did, but it was because I resigned as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. The company and the job wasn’t a good fit. In any case, it was the opposite day of Jim’s, they certainly didn’t give me a bottle of bubbly.
What I have is a blog that makes a reasonable amount of money. It has the freedoms above that allow me to pursue other opportunities like my dog sitting business. I am able to take care of the dog, kids, rental properties, housework, and financial management stuff. (In fairness, my wife does a lot of those things as well.)
When a lawsuit comes up, I often talk with many, many lawyers. When I explain how much I make on the blog, they seemed to be surprised it is so low. They ask, “Why would you work at something that makes so little money?”
Thanks to Jim’s illuminating article, I can simply point them to the Wikipedia page with the definition of an encore career.