In 2001, the US Social Security Administration quietly released research that I wish I never read.
They discovered that the sooner you retire, the sooner you die. Another study confirmed that one-third of retirees are clinically depressed.
Wait a minute—isn’t retirement the ultimate goal?!
You sacrifice your health, freedom, and family to discover a poisoned pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?! 😵
That’s a hard truth, and I hate to hear it… but I also believe it, and I think I understand.
You and I are hungry for paradise.
We put up with long hours because “one day” we’ll get to live a rich life and enjoy the fruits of all our hard work.
The average person thinks that paradise means saving enough money to go from a 40-hour work week to a ZERO hour work week and retire.
But then they face a new dilemma: there is no paradise without purpose.
Think about the story of the Garden of Eden, where God created Adam in a perfect paradise with all his needs met.
What did God tell Adam, again? Relax? Enjoy the hot springs and palm trees? Take a nap?
Nope. God’s instructions were explicit to Adam:
“Get to work."
Infinite vacation is fun for a little while, but the top reason unretirement is on the rise is because retired people "needed something to do."
Retirement Rebranded: “Quiet Quitting” or FIRE
Millennials are so clever. Think about it, we took “skipping breakfast” and renamed it “Intermittent Fasting” so it sounds healthy and cool 😂
I must admit, I’ve been drawn to the warm glow of FIRE—a group of people who work hard and save hard (while spending little) to achieve Financial Independence & Retire Early.
I will continue to build my wealth through strategic investments (using Qube Money to stay on a budget) but I’m no longer chasing early retirement any more than I’m chasing an early death.
“Quiet quitting” is another name which sounds much cooler than "doing the minimum your job requires" or "checking out at work."
Disengagement from work has always been a subconscious response to a loss of meaning in one's work life. I think embracing disengagement as a path to greater work/life balance and meaning is short sighted.
Asking the question "why am I going above and beyond at work?" is very helpful. We should think about our limits and have principles that prevent us from spending too much time working at the expense of other values.
However, some of our meaning comes from doing good work. For many people, disengagement at work will bleed into discontentment generally, even if you have more time to spend with family, friends or on leisure.
So in short, it is a helpful reaction to the assumption we should 'work hard', but not a great pathway to a more 'whole' life.
An Alternative to Early Death / Retirement
Whether you are 3 years or 30 years from retirement… what is your end goal? What are you building, and working towards? What's next?
I believe the purpose-filled path to paradise (on this planet) is the good work of building a profitable business you enjoy.
Still, when I'm helping entrepreneurs the first thing I focus on is not sales or marketing—it’s purpose.
With clear purpose, you get to create a real solution to a real problem for real people, and make the world a better place.
With clear purpose, you can see the meaning through the mess (and maybe even whistle while you work).
My purpose is that I help experts turn their wisdom into wealth by building a thriving online education business. What about you?