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?
19 thoughts on “Ideal Day of Retirement<span class="wtr-time-wrap block after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">8</span> min read</span>”
Doesn't sound like too bad of a schedule! 🙂
I hear you on the night owl part—I'm in a constant battle to pull my bed time back 10-20 minutes a night, aiming to get in bed closer to 10 or 11pm. Then, something happens, I'm up until 2-3am and the whole cycle repeats.
At least I don't have to worry about getting into work on time these days!
Ha! I understand, I've been caught in that vicious cycle many times before! Your early retirement journey has motivated me to achieve financial freedom even faster.
Thanks for stopping by, Chris. Really appreciate what you do with your Reader's Fund. You've inspired me to also donate during this holiday season.
Tomorrow. Thanks my ideal day of retirement. Haha! Retirement for me though doesn’t mean a life of leisure. It just means a life doing exactly what I want to do. So it would be easy to fill my time because hopefully I’d then be doing what I love. I certainly daydream about it quarts frequently. I think that’s important exercise as you have pointed out because you have to envision it then make it happen.
Love it, Sean! It sounds like you really just want to be your own boss and be in the driver seat of your life. I feel the same way. You know what you want and I highly commend you for that.
Likewise, more of a night owl here when left to my own devices. I love the idea of mapping out your day like that. Gets you one step closer to the reality of early retirement. I think it's something I'll need to keep myself on track–I've realized during this pandemic how much I rely on routine. Your day doesn't look too different to how I'd map mine out, but I want to join my fellow retirees and learn to play golf (good walking activity!). Great post!
Welcome to the night owl club, IF! I'm an avid golfer myself – the walking really does burn more calories than you would think.
I’m an early bird. I blame it on the Navy. Unless I’m hungover (which doesn’t happen these days) I’m up by 6 on my days off. I think this is a great exercise, especially to estimate what kind of expenses you might incur in retirement and to ground ourselves. It’s easy to daydream an idea, quite another to map it out in detail. I’m still a few years out from FI, but I imagine it’s waking early, meditating, writing, reading and spending time with the kids—if they still want to hang out with me.
I started out my career as a nuclear engineer working for the Navy too. I was on 1st shift, waking up at 3-4am every morning, and I can tell you that still did not change me into a morning person. Thanks for reading Noel – I like your schedule. Right on par with mine. I'm sure your kids will never get tired of their own personal superhero.
Hi FLA, It's great that you have actually outlined your dream day in a post like this. It should really keep you motivated!
When this day does arrive, I would love you to compare what you have written here with what you end up doing!
Would be great to see if anything changes between now and then.
Keep up the good work :}
Thanks for the comment, Matt! That's actually a great idea – I will remember to make comparison (whether in a new post or internally). Humans are creatures of habit!
Sounds like a wonderful day! I always enjoy going for a walk as well. Unlike you I am a morning person. I like getting up before everyone else and getting stuff done e.g. a blog post. Even in retirement I would still do that. Then when everyone wakes up I would take more time for breakfast. We already eat breakfast together but it is rushed. One thing I know I would do more of is spend time with the kids. They grow up so fast! In retirement I don't think I would be bored but I do think I would still work at stuff just not as much as I do today. I would still eat supper with the family as well. I am looking forward to those days, thanks for sharing!
Family time is so important. It was a pleasure reading about your priorities, Fred. I also prioritize health and family over most things in life. Enjoy each and every day, you deserve it!
Happy to hear that, FLA! Makes it worth the writing we do on that topic when we can motivate others to give, even if it's not a terribly popular topic 🙂
In the past couple of years I have had two extended medical leaves from work. I have found that it is not at all hard to fill a day. I think, after a few months of retirement, I might eventually get a little bored. At that time I will try something new. There is much to try. Who knows, one day we might even get to travel again!
Health is always a priority. Hope you are in good health and hope we can travel again soon!
This is a great post and I especially enjoyed the segment about performing analytical and writing tasks in the morning, all that brain power heavy type work is best after a cup of coffee! (Brewed at home of course, save that money!)
Keep up the good work!
Thank you Tony! It's best to get the mentally draining work done first while you enjoy your coffee.
You're all set and ready for early retirement! I LOVE your schedule–my husband Dragon Guy loves a schedule too. I don't like having schedules to follow (nessarily), but I find that I often have a natural rhythm to my days in early retirement. What I do believe in is knowing how you would like to spend your days when you quit full time work. I also love that you are considering volunteering. That has been a very rewarding part of my early retirement and has been a great way for me to meet new people. All the best! Dragon Gal
Thank you for sharing your first-hand early retirement experience, Dragon Gal! This helps to confirm that volunteering will be a gratifying activity.