What does your ideal day of retirement look like? What’s the perfect day of leisure that you envision?
Early retirement, and retirement in general for that matter, is the dream we fantasize about every so often. Some even obsess over it. Guilty as charged…
The underlying idea is that we may be trying to escape from reality. Maybe it’s that soul-crushing 9-5 job or that abusive relationship or even that condescending boss. Whatever the case may be, you’ve most likely thought about retirement.
It’s human nature to stress over the future. We ultimately want to be happy, each and every single one of us.
But we generally overlook the present. If you were to retire right now, what would it look like? Yes, walk through the scenario with me:
- You’ve just handed in your resignation letter to your boss [yes, in this hypothetical you’ve already given your 2 weeks’ notice].
- Your coworkers celebrated with cake [yes, they enjoyed the cake more than the speeches about you].
- You’ve said your final goodbyes [yes, you’ll only keep in touch with the people who truly matter to you].
Really take a second to imagine. What would your ideal day of retirement look like? Most have the cliché fantasy of lavish vacations to the Bahamas or extravagant parties on yachts. If you can actually afford those without putting yourself into debt, then you certainly do not need to be reading this blog.
A perfect day doesn’t actually cost millions to achieve or require much to make it happen. Contrary to popular belief and how most of the lottery-hungry population makes it out to be, you don’t need to spend money to be happy.
How would you spend your first day of early retirement? You’ve worked so hard in preparation for your financial freedom.
What’s My Ideal Day of Retirement?
Before we start, I’d like to disclose that I’m a night owl. 80% of the population find themselves as intermediate with minor preference for mornings or evenings while the remaining 20% of the population are either true morning people or true night owls. Night owls habitually get a bad rap for being lazy for sleeping in. To my fellow night owls, this is disparaging criticism does not hold much merit because night owls are awake just as long as morning people. The only difference is our body clocks are shifted a couple of hours behind. This stems from genetics, age, and environment.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
10:00 AM – Wake up after a full night’s sleep.
10:00 AM to 10:20 AM – Mediate and repeat some positive affirmations. Journal and jot down some goals for the day (i.e. write a new blog post). And of course, make my bed. This small accomplishment always propels the momentum for the day into full swing.
10:20 AM to 11:00 AM – I’m a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I routinely rotate between French toast, eggs, and oatmeal with fruit.
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Cross off a couple of goals by crafting new FLA blog posts. My mind will be energized from a hearty breakfast so this should be relatively fulfilling.
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – Work out. I enjoy weightlifting 4-5 times per week, even with a full time job. Without a full time job, I’ll be able to sleep and recover more to build stronger muscles. On this blog, we talk about money a lot… At the end of the day, money doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t healthy enough to live long and enjoy your luxurious life. Make your health a priority.
1:00 PM to 1:30 PM – As you’ve noticed, I eat quickly just by force of habit. I would take this time to eat an enjoyable lunch. Besides the quintessential bodybuilding chicken, broccoli, and brown rice meal, I frequently like to switch out the proteins and carbs for alternatives like salmon, tuna, steak, and sweet potato, butternut squash, chickpeas and black beans, respectively.
1:30 PM to 2:00 PM – I’ve really never been a big proponent of napping throughout my life. But I’ve come to learn the human body was meant to have a midafternoon nap, according to a new consensus among sleep researchers who are studying the biological rhythms of sleep and alertness. This stems from evolution, where our ancestors would take turns sleeping to always allow someone to be awake to keep the tribe safe from predators. Theoretically, I will be sleeping much more during early retirement, but I’ll just have to experiment to see if naps improve my quality of life.
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM – While the sun’s still out, I’ll go for a walk. Walking is an extremely underrated activity. Recent studies show that walking as little as two hours per week can help you live longer and reduce the risk of disease. You’ll clear your head, enjoy nature, and also burn calories without even breaking a sweat.
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM – Free time! I will most likely snack on some kind of fruit like an apple, banana, or kiwi while challenging my mind to a puzzle, game of chess, or even Sudoku. Whether it’s learning a new language, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or playing an instrument, I’d like to reserve this time slot for self-improvement.
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – I enjoy cooking and would love to try out recipes I’ve read about in various cook books. A cook follows a recipe, while a chef creates a meal on the fly. I’d work on transitioning from a cook to a chef. This hour would be solely dedicated to dinner.
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM – As readers of FLA know, I’m a movie buff. I’ve seen over 100 movies in 2020 alone with newfound quarantine time. My favorite genre of movies is thrillers, but I’m always open to seeing obscure titles most people would never think of viewing. This would be classified as time to unwind.
10:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Some of the smartest people on the planet attribute to their success to the books they’ve read. This last hour of the day would be dedicated to reading anything off my book shelf. Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep ironically helps put me to sleep.
Will every day look like this? No, of course not. But it’s a day I am proud of and would be happy to live many times.
When I reveal my plan for early retirement, the number one response I hear from friends, family, and strangers is:
“Wow, I could never retire early. I would be so bored.”
Well, take a look at my ideal day. I don’t see any boredom. In fact, I see days filled with opportunity and freedom.
When I think of boredom, I think of number-filled spreadsheets, monotonous status update meetings, and microwaved lunches. This is synonymous with the 9-5 corporate life.
Hey, maybe the daily grind is for you. No judgement whatsoever. But I know for a fact that it’s not for me.
Cost of Ideal Day of Retirement
Did you notice how little I spent in my hypothetical perfect day of early retirement?
The small things in life consistently make us the happiest. Those mansions, yachts, and fancy cars will inevitably leave you empty on the inside. We wonder why celebrities develop drug addictions and have messy divorces. That’s another story, but the ones we idolize don’t have it figured out. I’m here to remind you to try different things in your own life to make you happy.
I started a list of all the things I would do with unlimited time and some money. I’m always baffled by people who say they are bored. Even with unlimited freedom, I still feel like I wouldn’t have enough time to do everything I want.
Here are some ideas to fill your early retirement days:
- Teach your kids everything – math, science, finance, programming, hardware, woodworking, cooking, hunting, writing, art, music, etc.
- Build businesses partner, friends, or even with your kids [I know what you’re thinking – No, I do not condone child labor.]
- Vacation with your partner – luxurious ones that he or she deserves
- Act in a play
- Camp in the outdoors
- Canoe trips
- Start a band – try out a new instrument whether it be guitar, piano, or clarinet
- Volunteer to help disadvantaged youth
- Get into woodworking
- Build and ride old motorcycles
- Try Brazilian jiu-jitsu – it’s never too late to procure a black belt
- Work out every day
- Enter a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition
- Complete a triathlon
- Take surfing lessons
- Become a part time Little League Coach
- Help any family that is struggling with your time, give them a leg up, but also stick around to guide them
Whatever happens after you achieve financial freedom is ultimately up to you.
It’s a tough question to ask yourself but absolutely necessary:
What will you do during your ideal day of early retirement?