Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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Retire early? or Never retire?

January 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

"Do you know Investment Banking is really cut-throat, and you won’t have a life for a long time?"

"I know, I know. My plan is to work really hard for 10 years, make a lot of money, and then retire. I’ll work really hard."

I had this conversation with several of my classmates when I was in business school. Working really hard and then retiring to the beach was the goal for many people I know.

The funny thing is when I ask them if they know anyone who is retired and living happily, most of them cannot give me a name.

They have a imaginary role model who has made a lot of money, retired early, and just hang out at the beach.

I happened to know a few friends who sold their businesses in their early-to-mid 30’s. All of them planned to retire. But, they got bored after three months. In fact, most of them went though boredom, confusion, or even depression. Eventually, they decided to start another business, go back to school to get a PHD, or go to work for a company.

Larry King interviewed "Team Oprah" the other night. Oprah is a billionaire, and one of the most influential people in the world. She has everything one could ask for. But, she is mad at herself to become overweighed again. Her personal trainer (Bob Greene) suggested to her that she might have depression.

Money, fame, and early retirement won’t give you the happiness you’ve been seeking.

Do you know anyone who tap-dances to work everyday for the past 40+ years? That’s Warren Buffet. He is the second richest person on the planet. He is still working at age 78, and he has no plan to retire.

Do you know someone who at age 85 arises around 5:30 a.m and spends two hours reading (and two more each night), still has a hand-on role in all activities at Dole and Castle & Cooke, exercises like a much younger person nearly every day? That’s David Murdock.

Do you know someone who at age 89 still light up when he talks about science, and continue to produce excellent science writing? That’s veteran science reporter David Perlman of San Francisco Chronicle.

It seems to me "never retire" is a better option — if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing.

Tags: Frustration@Work · Work/Life Balance

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 May // Jan 18, 2009 at 2:48 am

    I totally agree…. In a few months, I would have enough years at my company to leave with retirement benefits. I still plan on working as long as I can – elsewhere . Heck there are so fields I’m fascinated about…so many things yet to learn , why retire?

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