Why you shouldn't retire super early even if you can

The FIRE concept is lit, but it’s not always worth it.

By Alessandra Malito, MarketWatch

Sam Dogen, a San Francisco blogger at the Financial Samurai, retired in 2012 when he was 34. Despite the many perks of early retirement — waking up whenever you want, for example — it wasn’t the easiest decision.

Dogen said he suffered an identity crisis after giving up his title as executive director at an investment firm. He also doubted himself for the first few years of early retirement. He stopped telling people that he had retired early because he worried they just wouldn’t understand. He was disappointed he didn’t feel happier with his supposedly carefree life. “I’m an extrovert who enjoys constant human interaction,” he told MarketWatch. “Losing the constant camaraderie of colleagues, competitors and clients was the most difficult to deal with. So much of my social network revolved around my job because I consistently worked 12 hour days.”

Dogen didn’t give in to the doubt though, and feels that his perseverance has paid off. Not a day goes by that he and his wife are not thankful for retiring early, he said. “There’s always another dollar to be made, but never another second to create,” he said. “Once you have enough money to live comfortably, having more money won’t bring about any more happiness.” Still, he acknowledges this lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

Even knowing how good early retirement can feel in the end, others feel the jitters while taking the leap. Jay, who is becoming a stay-at-home dad later this year after deciding to retire early at the age of 41, is one of them. He has been saving and has a wife who will keep her full-time job as a professor — but he’s still a little unsure about the big lifestyle change.

Jay — who didn’t want his full name to appear in this article because he doesn’t want his current employer to know he’s planning to leave — is fearful of retiring early for a few reasons. He’s worried about the loss of income, even if his family will be supported by passive income and his wife’s salary. He’s also suffering from the fear of the unknown and a potential loss of identity, he said. What if there’s a devastating market downturn, or he gets a medical diagnosis for an expensive-to-treat disease? “These things could all happen if I’m still working but I have a steady paycheck coming in and don’t care if my brokerage accounts lose 60% of their value,” he said.


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Business News: Why you shouldn't retire super early even if you can
Why you shouldn't retire super early even if you can
The FIRE concept is lit, but it’s not always worth it.
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