Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dreaming about Early Retirement

Originally written on 03 Sep 05

I have been dreaming about ‘early retirement’ for quite sometime. But over the last one year this dream is becoming more and more like a resolve. Mainly, the following factors are influencing my thinking along these lines :

Ø My investment decisions after leaving the Navy have resulted in my ‘nest egg’ growing to a decent (from my middle class / military officer standards) level. The stock market boom in India over the last few years has been a boon for me. With my small (but adequate) ancestral house in Jamshedpur, military pension and lifelong comprehensive medical cover thrown in, the financial comfort level appears even better.

Ø Both our daughters are more or less on their own. Jaya and I know how to keep our material needs in sync with what we can afford.

Ø I don’t find my present job sufficiently exciting / challenging. Switching to a new job and proving myself from scratch appears both daunting and unnecessary at this stage in my life.

Ø I feel I can ‘enjoy life’ much more once I have full control over how I spend my time.

So what is holding me back? Firstly, the opportunity cost of my pay and perks over the next seven and a half years (I’m almost 53 and the retirement age in my company is 60. Also, there is no ‘golden handshake’ scheme in force). Secondly, the fear of deviating from the beaten track (‘everybody’ retires at 60). Thirdly, and most importantly, the fear of regretting (for whatever reason) early retirement a year or two down the line.

Probably it all boils down to greed and fear. I’m readying myself to overcome these mental blocks sufficiently till I reach ‘escape velocity’. And I have set a deadline – mid 2006.

Whenever I discuss these thoughts with anyone, I’m invariably asked how I plan to spend my time after retirement or what precisely I mean by ‘enjoying life’. This maiden entry in my retirement blog won’t be complete without answering these questions. First of all, I must place on record that I’m pretty much enjoying life right now – one does not have to be ‘retired’ to enjoy life. But I believe that after freeing myself from the shackles of my job I’ll be able to enjoy life even more by devoting greater time to my hobbies like traveling, reading, photography, keeping in touch with friends and relatives, etc. And proactive control over my investments (mostly in the stock markets) will definitely be one of the mainstays of my retired life.

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