For those of you who've been on the job for 20-30+ years, I've been where you are, walked in your shoes, and made the decision that I'd worked for others long enough. I was blessed with a very rewarding corporate job that allowed me freedom to create marketing partnerships nationwide and travel to some fabulous destinations while doing it.
I had no complaints, except that I was unable create the freedom I needed to put my talents to use for my own business. In making the decision that I was done with corporate and became a cubicle escapee, I'm now able to travel to California to see my family and stay for weeks at a time. Or traverse over to the UK for conferences, training, and meetups. Or just take the time off to spend time with my grandson. And I want this for everyone who feels like life is getting shorter as well.
It's important to note that my decision to start making income by running my own business did not happen suddenly.
There were two distinct "a-ha" moments
The first one was when I decided I wanted to live a freedom lifestyle when I was on a business trip in 2014, and the one when I was ready to give my notice in 2018 (more about that a-ha moment below). That's five years of learning the entrepreneurial ropes, hiring mentors and taking courses, creating my online business, boosting my finances, and preparing for retirement.
Did I think I was ready when I pulled the plug and gave notice? Heck, no. But I kept hearing the voices within saying "you're not getting any younger so quit putting it off," and "just take the leap and start building your wings on the way down."
The second a-ha moment was the moment I'd decided I was ready to leave my 33 years of service to my employer and become a cubicle escapee. It was a phone call with someone who knew an answer to a question, but wanted to hear me confirm that he was right.
What? Sounds like no big deal -- why was that my trigger? Because he was the 5th or 6th person to do that in a 24-hour period. Because I felt a little like a man-child babysitter, and less like a manager. Because at that point it wouldn't have taken very much at all to push me into wanting something new and different.
So I did it. I was 61 at the time and gave up a six-figure job and health benefits. I would've done it sooner, but making sure I was financially stable for a few years was important to me (and should be to you, too, as you transition into becoming your own boss).
Saying goodbye was bittersweet. I'd made some lifelong friends during my tenure there. But moving to the next phase of life was exciting, and that's what motivated me to give it a shot. I have no regrets.
The question about retiring early is asked by a lot of people who are curious to know more. It's different for everyone, but some of the basic thoughts are the same.
Here's the four categories I see each person nearing retirement falling into (no solid data, just my opinion from what I've learned speaking with students):
- 20% would like to pull the plug on the day job, but are too scared and risk-averse. They keep up the daily routine and commute and feel comfortable having a steady paycheck and benefits.
UNINTERESTED OR UNMOTIVATED
- 20% don't want to be bothered to do the prep work. The prep work is what I call the hunting and gathering stage - listening, learning, minor investments into self-education, and laying the groundwork. While they're not necessarily happy on the job, there isn't a great enough drive to push them into action.
- 40% -- the highest category with a very large number -- are watching intently, especially in these times of The Great Resignation. Most folks have had a newer taste of working at home and meeting via Zoom calls, which is highly representative of an entrepreneurial lifestyle and they like it.
- 20% have put their plans in motion to retire from the day job and start their journey. They've done the prep work and have either started on building an online business with a day job "expiration date" or have already pulled the plug and are working for themselves full time.
I know that you probably saw yourself in one of those 4 buckets, right? I'm a sucker for self-analyzation. Let me know where you are in your transitional retirement journey.