It’s true that if you work until you are 65 years old and beyond, you’re more likely to have a lot more financial stability than if you retire at age 50.  However, you won’t have much freedom left.  Typically, people start slowing down at age 75 so if you wait to retire at age 65, you might only have ten years to cram in all of the traveling, exploring, and other physical activities you want to do.  Granted, there are individuals and couples that stay very physically active well into their 80’s but the norm is to start slowing down around age 75.

It’s a trade-off.  If you retire at age 50, then you’ll have plenty of freedom, but you may not be as financially stable.  If you retire at 65, you’re more financially stable but have less freedom. Neither path is wrong. I run across people all of the time who love their job, have a great work/life balance and have created a life that they can’t imagine changing.  For these folks, working until age 65 is really not an issue.  Matter of fact, often times they will continue to work into their 70’s.

I figured out a few years ago that I don’t like feeling trapped. Trapped is what I felt in my career and was one of main reasons I walked away from it last year forever.  When you really think about it, nobody likes to feel trapped in anything they do.  So when you go back to the people who absolutely love their jobs and life, they are not trapped at all rather they are free and happy even as they continue to work.

My guess is that most people who want to retire early are seeking their freedom and they have a sense of being trapped as well.  Doing the same routine over and over again for years just got old to me.  It’s what I call the “rinse and repeat lifestyle” which is get up, do your morning routine, go to work, do the same blah blah blah work every day, come home, do your same evening routine, go to bed and do it all over again the next day.  That was my life for years.  When you fall into this routine, weeks, months and years seem to fly by.  I was trapped by my routine and I was trapped by a job and career that I had fallen out of love with.

Fifty-two weekends a year was just not enough freedom or time for me to do what I want to do.

So, what pulls you?  Some people are pulled and motivated to make more money and keep their head down until they are 65 years old.  Others are pulled towards freedom and having a “free range” lifestyle that allows them to do what they want, when they want.  Money is great but as I’ve always said, “There is no benefit to being the richest person in the graveyard.”

Is it worth it to work ourselves silly to a ripe old age to gain financial stability with little freedom?  Or do you take the leap, gain your freedom at a younger age and start a new chapter in your life’s story?

Only you can answer what pulls you…