Anxiety appears for many who are nearing or at their Financial Independence Retire Early target. Being a little afraid to retire early is normal. I certainly felt something hidden behind all of my excitement. But anyone reaching this FIRE milestone has an incredible asset. It is an asset that grows regardless of market conditions. Once it’s recognized it should ease any sleepless nights about pulling the early retirement trigger. Yet it is an asset nobody really talks about. The best part is it’s a retirement fear-erasing asset that we already own. I only found out about it after my first early retirement. Having this knowledge gives me a lot of early retirement confidence.
Being at Least a Little Afraid to Retire Early Is Only Natural
Here is what I believe based on my own early retirement experience. With all the planning, budgeting, debt elimination, saving and investing, we only really KNOW one thing. That one thing is living our life as a worker bee, living the taught and traditional career-driven, job oriented existence. We create a frugal lifestyle focused on all the right things but it is alongside needed salary producing work.
Even after running our portfolio numbers through retirement calculators with successful funding results, we can still hesitate making the leap. For me, even though I longed for rat race escape, I still only really knew that one way of living.
I did take into account all of my many vacations from that career oriented way of living. I figured it gave me a taste of rat race freedom which certainly provided excitement about making my escape. Yet with all my positive calculations and retirement lifestyle planning there was still some hesitation to ditch worker bee life.
There are also anti-early retirement advice and articles from so-called retirement experts to feed anyone’s early retirement anxieties. Headlines like: Early retirees regret retiring or Long Life spans means people should delay retirement are attention grabbers.
All of it is of course great advice for most people. It is certainly something to consider in our early retirement planning by having counter-strategies to avoid regrets. But for those of us on FIRE, the unspoken asset we have provides a retirement advantage over the average consumerist retiree.