Sunday, May 19, 2024

Better alternatives to Early Retirement


I had much to think about this weekend because we just had a secondary school reunion. I did not intend to attend the event initially because I didn't know how to pitch my "lifestyle choice" within such a short timeframe. I need to use mathematics to explain how I could foot off the pedal 10 years ago, and it might get as awkward as the last family gathering I had. But because my cohort over-ordered table tickets and folks talked about sharing the cost of unsold seats, I threw my hat into the ring because I was free that evening. I should catch up with my secondary school classmates entering their 50s this year. 

As it turns out, quite a few folks follow me on this blog, CNA's Money Mind, and my material on YouTube, so there's no need to explain it to them. Still, folks in their 50s are now contemplating whether they can just stop work, so I had to tell them not to do anything rash unless their investments exceed 300 multiplied by their monthly expenses. Even so, I told them about the awkwardness and the loss of personal identity I faced when I gave up on regular employment, and even turning myself into a lawyer did not fully solve that issue. 

But I did not prescribe too many specifics. My classmates are successful in the corporate world but stuck with the skillsets they have honed over the years. If they need to get out, I suggest they find something passionate about first. 

This brings me full circle to what I am currently doing with my life.

I'm actually doing some kind of reverse FIRE. 

In the past, I struggled hard to get my passive income to exceed my expenses with some legroom so that I could do something else with my life instead of just accepting what my workplace offered me. But I stayed on for 7 years after financial independence because I enjoyed my work. It took a stint out of the public sector work to make me throw in the towel, and by then, my dividends had exceeded my take-home pay. 

As business is terrible, I'm struggling to do the opposite.

I'm seeking part-time gig opportunities to supplement my business income and live on my earned income. This number is below my family expenses, including mortgage payments, so I must use up a small part of my passive income to keep everything sustainable.

Of course, I have set some ground rules for my work. 
  • It has to work where, psychologically, the positives of work outweigh the negatives. 
  • It should also not touch weekday office hours because I consider my daily afternoon nap and swim one of the biggest positives in my life. 
As it stands, this is a challenging goal. 

If I succeed, I can pay all my expenses with passive or active income. My active income will only be earned at night or over weekends, and my engagement with clients and stakeholders must be positive and make me look forward to doing the work.

So, I think I might be able to make this arrangement work if interest rates start going down before the end of the year and I add another gig to my current list of engagements. 

If rates stay higher and longer, I might have to bite the bullet and start selling my weekday time to meet my objective.

But I will miss the afternoon naps if I do that.


  1. I always have a good laugh when i read your blog with punch points like your afternoon nap...

    Ayiah, at 50s - your classmates will soon be joining you . Probably , some may not expect to do so voluntary while some may be moved by similiar experiences like you. either way, more will be coming your way so hopefully you can still have afternoons naps instead of more and more catchups !

    1. I sure hope for them that they will not join me involuntarily. It's shocking to know people who earned 50% above my highest pay when their net worth is less than a quarter of mine. Retrenchment is really bad for mental health !