Personal Development

Looking Back, Racing Toward Retirement Was a BIG Mistake

Expertise: Personal Development, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate News & Commentary, Landlording & Rental Properties
69 Articles Written
sad woman sitting and looking out the window

I never dreamed I’d retire before I hit 34. But I did.

My Backstory

After graduating with an engineering degree and then an MBA, I worked at Ford Motor Company in Detroit for five years. Then I had the good fortune to team up with Barry, the top student in my Ohio State MBA class, to launch our own company. Barry had also gone to Ford, but out of boredom with the corporate world, he only lasted 13 months.

My First Business Venture

Barry and I launched a staffing firm that provided outsourced HR services for lots of small companies in metro Detroit. Also known as a PEO (professional employer organization), our clients loved us since we took many of the burdens of payroll, taxes, benefits, and insurance off their shoulders.

One of our clients nominated me for Ernst & Young’s Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year, and I was a finalist for that award in 1996 and 1997.

Wall Street was enamored with the PEO business in 1996 through 1998, and many companies went public. We caught the attention of one that was awash in cash, and suddenly, in Fall 1997, I had a few million dollars in my bank account and the freedom to go anywhere I wanted—and to do whatever my wife and I chose.

We had two young children, and we lived 2.4 miles from the Detroit border (on 8-Mile Road. Did you see the movie?). Detroit was imploding, and we were tired of seeing our kids’ toys get stolen from the yard and having our car stereos removed at night. We wanted something different for our two (eventually four) children.

man with blue geans and sneaker shoes in stair

My Next Business Venture

In a perhaps knee-jerk reaction, we acquired 120 mountaintop acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. We built a new home and invited quite a few friends to do the same. Many eventually built nearby.

I was gonna be living the dream.

I was always troubled by the long hours I worked, and I knew I could be a much better husband, father, and friend if I could find a way to slow down. But I had been living by an entrepreneurial mantra:

Entrepreneurs are free! We have the freedom to work any 80 hours per week we choose.

While I don’t recommend this to anyone, that was my reality up to that time, and when we moved to Virginia, I truly was free from that daily grind.

We started a non-profit organization to reach out to international students studying in the U.S., but that was low pressure and low time commitment. Now I was free to become the best version of myself.

The best husband. The best father. The best friend.

But that’s not how it worked out. I became the worst version of myself. 

The worst husband. The worst father. The worst friend.

Oh, and I told people, “I’m an investor now.”

Yeah, right.

My First Stab at Being an Investor

I didn’t know the first thing about investing. I was a speculator, and my bank account paid a dear price for my folly.

What’s the difference between investing and speculating?

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Investing: When your principal is generally safe, and you have the chance to make a return.

Speculating: When your principal is not at all safe, and you have the chance to make a return.

But that’s another story.

Anyway, what went wrong? Why did my ambition to be the best version of myself turn out so poorly? And what did I learn in the process?

Related: How to Become a Billionaire by Being “Approximately Right”

Why I Think Retirement Is Overrated

OK, so I didn’t necessarily retire in the traditional sense. But I did get a taste of what it could be like. And trust me, it was miserable. For me at least.

Yes, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. Freedom of time. Freedom to travel. Freedom to sleep in. Freedom to invest (or speculate). Freedom to move to a mountaintop.

(By the way, as I’ve often shared, I wasn’t a bit happier the day after selling the company than the day before. Money really doesn’t bring happiness. For this reason, I recommend that everyone have a big “why” that they are living for. But that’s another story for another day.)

People crossing the busy intersection between traffic on 3rd Avenue and 10th Street in Manhattan in New York City with the glow of sun light in the background

Anyway, I wasn’t created for all of that freedom. Yes, I was designed to be free. But I got really bored. Really quick.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to be bored (who told me that anyway?), so I had to act happy. I had to act like I was enjoying my freedom.

But I was a high energy entrepreneur. And to go from 100 miles per hour to just above zero was no fun at all.

Like I said, for me at least, and for others I’ve spoken to, retirement is overrated.

Now, I know that many of our loyal BiggerPockets readers have a goal to create a passive income stream so you can retire early. So I hope this doesn’t offend you. But this is my experience, and from what I’ve heard, the experience of many others.

Do Early Retirees Really Live Longer?

When I was at Ford, my boss told me that the company statisticians calculated these figures:

  • Those who retire at 65 have a life expectancy of 11 months.
  • Those who retire at 64 are expected to live 5 more years.
  • Those who retire at 63 are expected to live another decade.

So I took his counsel and retired at 28. (That should give me 150-year or so lifespan, right?)

Just kidding.

But seriously, this rumor about those retiring early has made its rounds throughout American culture. It originated with a supposed study by Boeing. There’s only one problem with this study…

Boeing says it’s not true. [1]

Why Is Retirement Overrated?

Here are some reasons that retirement is overrated:

1. It can lead to unnecessarily deferred dreams. Some people plan their lives around a future someday, and they defer their fun and enjoyment of life ’til then. But we have no guarantee of tomorrow. We don’t know about the future of our health, economy, or relationships.

I was talking to the wife of a good friend yesterday. They have always been role models of scrimping and saving and penny-pinching. She’s often told my wife how she goes to three grocery stores to shop (in one day!) to make sure she gets all the best deals. My friend, her husband Doug, was a highly paid consultant—until he got dementia in his mid-50s. Now she’s checking him into a memory care facility, which will pillage their finances. And she’s looking at an uncertain, lonely future.

A wise man once said: “Why do you boast about tomorrow? You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. You are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (This is paraphrased from St. James.)

2. Not working just doesn’t work for many people. I admit I haven’t done an exhaustive search of history, but as far as I can see, the concept of and obsession with retirement is a recent Western phenomenon. It is not something that our forefathers over thousands of years of earth history seemed familiar with.

So it makes me question whether it is even part of our design. Were we designed and programmed to retire at all? You logic scholars can probably destroy my argument, but I really do question this concept. Personally, I never plan to retire—but I do plan to shift my focus as I grow older. Perhaps this is why it doesn’t work for so many people.

Sad businessman leaning on glass

3. Most people aren’t prepared for retirement. Did you know that 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day? But up to half of those have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. With the average Social Security check running under $1,500 per month and the prospect that the system will go broke within a few decades, many have not counted the cost to prepare. (This is one of the reasons we invest in mobile home parks.)

Would you build a house without calculating the construction costs? Yet many people give more thought to the cost of their upcoming vacation than the cost of their decades-long retirement.

I know that is not the readers of BiggerPockets, of course, because you all are the smartest, most ambitious people I know in terms of planning for your futures—seriously. That is why you are here. I wish I would have had BiggerPockets when I sort of tried to retire 22 years ago.

Related: 7 Habits Employed by the World’s Top Entrepreneurs

4. The convergence principle. Each one of us has unique DNA. But it’s clear that we’re more than just physical beings. What if there is programming in your soul that defines the ideal course of your life? Your destiny? What you are supposed to be doing with the best years of your life?

Some researchers and teachers call this The Convergence Zone. It is based on the principle of convergence. I learned this from an interesting teacher named Dr. Lance Wallnau.

Convergence is when you’ve reached the place in your life where all of your strengths, all of your successes, all of your talents and abilities and gifts, all of your education and training align. All of your history, passions, desires, and dreams, your employment and your recreation, all that you have a knack for align.

This is the place where you find out what you were called to do.

When You Reach Your Full Potential

When you’ve reached that place, you find yourself saying things like:

  • I’m in “The Zone.”
  • I’ve found my sweet spot.
  • This is too much fun to be called work.
  • I constantly lose track of time.
  • Those around me are really benefitting from the fruit of my labors.
  • I feel so fulfilled. Finally!
  • I feel fully authentic. I don’t have to wear a mask anymore.
  • I feel 100% alive!

You’ve certainly experienced moments like these, right?

The problem is that most people don’t get to the place of convergence until they are in their 50s—or even their 60s. Do you see the problem with this?

If you retire early, you may be robbing the world and yourself of your very best, most productive, and most fulfilling years. I think—actually I’m sure—that would have happened to me if I had not made so many investing, errrr speculating, mistakes in my 30s and if I would have stayed in my so-called retirement.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be talking to so many of you and to be writing, podcasting, and managing two commercial real estate investment funds.

And now that I’ve traveled the world, with my mid-50’s lens, I have seen the massive pain on this planet. Pain that I have vowed to do something about, as long as my heart is beating and I have air in my lungs. (You can read my profile for more details.)

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sources

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18952037

ad-bookstore

What about you? Have you really thought through this retirement thing? Are you sure you’re on a path that will lead to you enjoying life to the fullest and making the maximum possible contribution to this planet?

Let’s chat in the comment section below. 

After graduating with an engineering degree and then an MBA from Ohio State, Paul started on the management development track at Ford Motor Company in Detroit. After five years, he departed to start a staffing company with a partner. They sold it to a publicly traded firm for $2.9 million five years later. Along the way, Paul was Finalist for Ernst & Young's Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year two years straight. Paul later entered the real estate sector, where he completed 85 real estate investments and exits, appeared on an HGTV Special, rehabbed and managed dozens of rental properties, developed a waterfront subdivision, and started two successful online real estate marketing firms. Three successful developments, including assisting with development of a Hyatt hotel and a multifamily housing project, led him into the multifamily investment arena. Paul co-hosts a wealth-building podcast called How to Lose Money and is a frequent contributor to BiggerPockets, producing live video and blog content on a weekly basis. Paul is the author of The Perfect Investment—Create Enduring Wealth from the Historic Shift to Multifamily Housing (2016) and is the Managing Director of two commercial real estate funds at Wellings Capital.

    Lisa Hutto
    Replied 3 months ago
    Very interesting read! I have most of Lance Wallnau teachings and will have to get them out of storage and review.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hi Lisa. That's great to hear. His stuff is always thought-provoking!
    Drew Kessler from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
    Replied 3 months ago
    I think most are in search of the freedom to live their best life, whatever that may entail. For some it may be living off the grid, for others it may be starting a new business they have a passion for. I would most likely work in real estate because I find it fun but I am perplexed how some are bored in retirement. There is more to life.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Agreed! Thanks for commenting, Drew.
    Marty Summers from Newburgh, Indiana
    Replied 3 months ago
    Ok I'll make you a deal you can't refuse then. Give me just 1 million dollars so that I can have freedom from corporate America and in return, I'll train you to have my position. It makes me sick hearing your story! Sounds like you worked so hard and never knew what you were doing it for? What were your dreams? Sounds like you worked so hard to make money that it actually kept you busy from your true unhappiness! Miserable both ways....you're just selling yourself that being busy and not bored somehow makes you feel alive. I totally disagree!! If you want to be busy and are searching for pain....I suggest you train for a marathon and go do that!!
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hi Marty! There is a lot of truth in that. I wish I could go back and tell me late 20-something self what I know now! I have learned a lot and I'm hopeful this post will help others learn sooner than later. Thanks for reading and commenting.
    Michael McEwan
    Replied 3 months ago
    I am one of those individuals who've just peeked through the doorway and discovered this whole new world called "real estate investing." Personally, I have made it my goal to develop enough passive income in a relatively short time to so-called "retire," but what I really just want is financial freedom. I don't really want to just stop living my life and truly go into retirement once I reach that goal. At least, what I envision for myself is the ability to truly choose any career I want and do it for as long as I want. I'm not really trying to get rich off of real estate, but it would be nice if losing/quitting my day job didn't mean that I suddenly cannot pay the bills. Everything I have written here is totally open to criticism. I guess in summary what I am saying is I want to achieve that goal of having a portfolio of property pay me, so that I can move into other ventures, be they more real estate or something new entirely. I definitely want to travel more, and I want to be able to take my family with me to go see the world they've never seen.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Michael. That's a great goal! I'm with you... a real estate portfolio that pays me and provides freedom with low hassle and risk.
    Robbie Goldstein
    Replied 3 months ago
    I stopped my car on a side street to look at email text and breathe. I found your article.. I retired without a clue what to do did not have money saved up, but my industry was on the skids I had a demanding job,. And only had Social Security and A pension..I did get an inheritance, but blew through that by being a speculator in 2007 and 2008. But after a few years of golf, wine. Diabetes, boredom, and a more delibating disease but a cure ... This could not go on,. So on a lighter note I found a passion, I am working at making money, and my other occupation is clearing up my debt.. Sounds really bleak when pút down in black and white line this.,. Retire.. can't would I NO.. but alive standing perpendicular and knocking down debt..Probably more to come I just latched onto your article and learned others are like me,.,thanks
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Robbie. Right! You're certainly not alone. Glad you're on the other side of the worst of it.
    Sarah A. Investor from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    Replied 3 months ago
    I like the way you think, Paul, and I love me some Lance! Thanks for sharing your insights. 👍🏻
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks Sarah! Glad you enjoyed it.
    Paul Gottshall Real Estate Investor from washington, il
    Replied 3 months ago
    After 38yrs as an engineer in the corporate world, I retired at age 57, the best move ever! Now I’m working to finish up projects I never completed, spending more time with the grandkids. I can’t say I really miss my job as a manager, although I loved being an engineer. Do whatever supports your “why”. If it’s working, ok. If it’s investing, ok too. But don’t try to tell me retiring early was a mistake, because it’s right for me :)
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hey Paul! Yes - there is a big difference b/w retiring at 33 and 57. Thanks!
    Rebecca Jackson Rental Property Investor from Dallas, TX
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you for sharing! The important thing to remember is that each day is a gift, so use it well. Personally, I love my work, gives me new challenges and creative freedom, and I get to do it from home with my doggies. That’s convergence :)
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    That's wonderful, Rebecca! Great to hear when someone is enjoying their life and work.
    Keith Burnett
    Replied 3 months ago
    Paul: A great article indeed. The convergence principle is new to me. I'm 61 and I've built a successful business over the last ten years--it took me 50 years to figure out how to do it. The first seven years of building this business have been the most fun that I've ever had; these were my salad days. I plowed every penny back into the business and lived frugally. The business really took off three years ago. Consequently, my income has skyrocketed and I've made more money that I ever imagined. I have a problem. I'm not hungry anymore. I've considered selling (or giving) the business to my employees, throwing them the keys to the shop and walking off into the sunset. My fear is that I have no clue what to do next.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Keith, Thanks for your reply. You're in an enviable position for sure. One that most readers here would love to be in. Can you elaborate on what you're feeling daily? I'm curious about what is causing your lack of motivation specifically. Can you turn your business over to your employees to generate a passive income stream and start a new business? I just read the book "Clockwork" by Mike Michalowicz and he explains how to get your business to essentially run without you. Check it out!
    Matt Pastier Rental Property Investor from Youngstown, OH
    Replied 3 months ago
    This was a great article, Paul! I appreciate you sharing these insights. I’m in my late 30’s and when I started investing a couple years ago the goal was to retire early because of my “why” - having more time with my family. My current job pays well, but requires travel and can be very stressful. My thinking started shifting a while back and your article confirms what I thought. I don’t need to fully retire to get where I want to be. My new goal is use my investing to help choose my work. What I mean is, with the extra money I really won’t need my current job in a year or two. I can take a job that I enjoy more, perhaps pays less, and has less responsibility (another way to get to my “why”). So in a sense, it will be semi-retirement in that I’ll no longer be chained to an intense job because I want a certain income level to live the way we want. Sacrificing things we enjoy won’t be necessary. It was great to finally realize it’s not all or nothing. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience!
    Marcello Oliveri Investor from Paso Robles, California
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article! Marty are you kidding me. The dude was just telling people about his journey. Doesn’t mean it is specific to everyone else. My suggestion is let the guy tell his side. Take it easy.
    Medha Nanal Rental Property Investor
    Replied 3 months ago
    Very apt. I've seen time and again that the way to be the best and well-respected parent to your kids is to be busy working on something while they grow up. It's not necessary to be working excruciating hours, but just sleeping in each day and appearing to have nothing particular to do does not spell a good role model to your kids. That is why, I think, if you are planning a family, then it's all the more reason to not fully retire even if you have money in the bank. If you don't want to work long hours, then take up teaching or something that helps you feel fulfilled and stay active.
    Zach Block from Los Angeles, California
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great article Paul. I'm going to hit my stride next year!!!
    Patricia Bowler Rental Property Investor from Richmond, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you, Paul, and hello from Richmond, VA - just down the street from you! As I inch closer to leaving my 9-5, my friends keep telling me I have to have a Plan B, something to occupy my time. I always thought it was bunk but, the closer I get, I realize it is true. However, I’m excited for a new chapter!
    Dustin Nygard from El Paso, Tx
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thank you Paul. This leads us to really ponder the Why behind the things we are trying to accomplish. I've been really pondering my own life directions greatly in the past year and hoping to continue to find my Why for doing the things I am doing.
    William C. Rental Property Investor from Souderton, Pennsylvania
    Replied 3 months ago
    Early retirement, financial freedom, or money in general won’t make anyone happy, not matter how bad you think it is on the other side of the coin. I’m 34, and Iv been planning my “retirement” since the day I took my first job delivering news papers. Ever since then Iv been an entrepreneur trying to build business’ and passive income that would allow me to quit any type of day job and “do what I want” much like the rest of the commenters have said. Having just wrapped up another rental property that has put me over my passive monthly income goal, I literally don’t feel an ounce happier, free’er, or less stressed. Humans simply need a purpose in life. When you don’t need to work, and then choose not to work, you start waking up each day without a purpose, the thought of it sounds like freedom but it’s actually more like prison than a day job in my opinion. Money is a strange thing. I get more excited winning $50 at the poker table than I do making $50k on a flip. I won’t even begin to guess why that is, but it’s really opened my eyes to the fact that money can’t be the goal or I’ll live my life chasing a ghost.
    Mike S. Rental Property Investor from Pacific Grove CA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Yeah....but retiring early is still better than not. It's like how rich people say money can't buy happiness. It's true, but you need to have the money first to have the wisdom to say such things. What a luxury it is to critique our luxuries!
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Mike: Well said! I agree with both of your points. Thanks for commenting.
    Steve Ryan from Hazleton, PA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Great wisdom, Paul, thanks so much for sharing! I think we may have hit peak FIRE. Not because people have stopped aspiring to (or blogging about) early retirement, but because many who have achieved it have realized just what this article says. I just finished "Quit Like a Millionaire," and the authors (like most everyone in the FIRE community) emphasize that the goal of FI should be self-direction, not the absence of all direction. Even if you continue working for someone else, simply knowing you're doing it by choice is incredibly liberating. I did raise an eyebrow at the section on Convergence. First, because I'd like to explore it further, but I'm coming up empty on the library website. Second, I'm not sure about the assertion that "most people don’t get to the place of convergence until they are in their 50s—or even their 60s." I work in manufacturing with many 50- and 60-somethings who only seem to get more bitter with each passing year. In fact, I honestly haven't met a single one who would characterize their profession as anything close to fulfilling or fun. So while it's not a good idea to retire from a job you hate without something to retire "to," it's safe to say you'll never find your "to" by continuing to work for work's sake.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hi Steve. I love what you shared here. Thanks! I really like: "the goal of FI should be self-direction, not the absence of all direction." I saw the same thing in my 6 years in the manufacturing sector, by the way. But I've seen a different group of folks since I've been in the REI world. Thankfully. I interact with happy, healthy investors daily and I love it.
    Steve Hiltabiddle from Philadelphia and suburbs
    Replied 3 months ago
    Paul, you share a wealth of experience here. Beware what you wish for. Rest it and you rust it. Find something, what ever it is, to keep your body mind and soul active. For those interested in living to 100 and beyond, read The Blue Zones. To good health and a better life.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks, Steve! I need to check that out. That is my plan.
    Chad McLeod
    Replied 3 months ago
    I think in our society people are told they "need" to work until 65, 67, etc. So much so that most people don't even question it. I think retiring early when you're not ready could be a big mistake, but I also cringe at the people who are on auto-pilot and work a lot longer than they need to simply because that's the norm. If they want to, more power to them. But I think for many it's not a want. Like most, I want to get out early just so I can dictate how my time is spent. And truth be told, there isn't a job on this Earth I would enjoy more than being able to do whatever I want, when I want.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Chad: Well said! I love what I'm doing and plan to do it till I die.
    Ed Gamble Realtor from Ocala, FL
    Replied 3 months ago
    Paul, I agree with you. At least for myself. I’m 68, and have no intention of retiring. In fact, I am in the process of changing jobs yet again. This time I am changing from truck driver to real estate agent. But I think it’s different strokes for different folks. I enjoy trucking, but it takes up a lot of my time and after 20 years it’s taking a lot out of me physically. I love real estate and I work hard but I enjoy it. I would be bored doing nothing.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hey Ed! Congrats! I wish you 32 successful years as a Realtor.
    Jon Neal
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks so much for this article Paul! As a millennial and pastor, I interact with quite a few people in the FIRE movement. Much of it I think is really good, but when we get to the questions of "why" it's interesting how quickly it unravels some. Many want freedom, but don't really know why. I'm surprised in many of the conversations on how negatively people view "work". I always joke that as humans we're like old pickups - we all drive a little straighter with a bit of a load in the back. :)
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Jon. I love that analogy. Thanks for sharing this. We all really need a big WHY to drive us forward. And thanks for what you do! Pastor and real estate entrepreneur. I love it!
    Micah Miller Investor from Northern Virginia
    Replied 3 months ago
    I can't find the article now, but last week I read that a few recent studies have show several negative effects of retiring early including depression, loss of mental sharpness, and increased mortality rates. Studies also indicate a 40% higher chance of heart attack in the first year and indicate that retirement is one of the most stressful life events. I absolutely agree with this writeup @Paul Moore! I would love to have freedom and flexibility while continuing to challenge myself... and no plan to stop https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-retirement-good-for-health-or-bad-for-it-201212105625 https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-case-against-early-retirement-11555899000 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0047272717302037
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Micah, Thanks for sharing this. I don't feel so alone! :-) Seriously, I am ALL for hanging up your 9-5 job if you can develop a great passive income stream and you have a big WHY to pursue. That is what my company helps people do all the time. I just wasn't mature enough to do that at 33-35.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Micah, Thanks for sharing this. I don't feel so alone! :-) Seriously, I am ALL for hanging up your 9-5 job if you can develop a great passive income stream and you have a big WHY to pursue. That is what my company helps people do all the time. I just wasn't mature enough to do that at 33-35.
    Seth M. Jones Rental Property Investor from Port Orange, FL
    Replied 3 months ago
    Does anyone have any recommended reading on the topic of "convergence"... very interesting concept that I'd like to investigate further.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Here is what I have, Seth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LrMA1qXCvM&list=PLxWKwKUyd_wxNpPhFA94rRSoue-MDjA9E . I hope this is helpful! Not sure of any books.
    Frankie Woods Investor from Albuquerque, NM
    Replied 3 months ago
    I initially scoffed at the title of this post, but after reading, you made some very good points (by the way, I enjoy your regular posts so keep it up!). The point I got is what has been said a lot recently: you need to retire INTO something rather then retiring out (e.g., getting away from a crappy job). I'm paving ahead on my path to financial independence, but I definitely do not want to retire early. Like you, I have too much energy and ambition for that. Something deep in me wants to have an impact on the world. Anyway, this was a good post so thanks for sharing. Continue the strong work!
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Frankie: Thanks for your comments. I totally agree. Impacting the world for good = our reason for being on the planet!
    Christin McKamey
    Replied 3 months ago
    Wow Paul, I was really blown away by this article. Thank you so much for your wise insight. I too think I would be bored "retiring early" so I'm like you- I don't want to retire and instead, find meaning in my work so it doesn't feel like work. I agree that many of us are chasing the dream for passive income, that "maybe in the future I'll happier if I could just...", that we are missing happiness now. I'm certainly guilty of this. So it's all about finding that balance I guess. It's a great reminder to live in the present. Also side note- I live in Royal Oak and my husband grew up at 7 and Greenfield during the riots. He mentioned the same deterioration of the neighborhoods and how it basically changed overnight. Crazy!
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Christin: Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed this post. Did I mention I was in Royal Oak for 5 years? Take Care!
    Nancy McK
    Replied 3 months ago
    We each have our own motives and purpose. Sometimes these take time to sort out, as Paul has expressed. We can be mistaken if stereotyping others. Many of the Finance/Real Estate speakers use the example of the "poor guy who didn't plan for the future and is now greeting at Wal-Mart." There are greeters who enjoy the job and are thankful to be there. I would rather have work with a purpose than "freedom" with none. Thank you, Paul, for the stimulating thoughts.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Thanks for your comments, Nancy! Ray Dalio says that people who make over about $90k are no happier for any increase. Meaning that someone at $400k is no happier than a $100k employee. I think the same principle probably works for a Wal-Mart greeter. In general. Some of the happiest people I've met have jobs that you would not think make someone happy.
    Robert Beaman
    Replied 3 months ago
    Some great thoughts here! I do believe that we were created to work! Some great biblical principles shining through! ;)
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hey Robert! Thanks for weighing in and I agree!
    Curt Todd Investor from Happy Valley, Oregon
    Replied 3 months ago
    Just retire from the things you no longer want to do. I'm done waking up to a M-F alarm just to play 'Traffic Tetris' to go to work and stress-out over someone else's agenda. My next alarm is set to take the g-kids fishing.
    Jordan Bennett
    Replied 3 months ago
    Just read this blog to my wife out loud on date night. Inspiring stuff. Going through a cross roads and this was perfect. Thanks for sharing.
    Cody Fields Rental Property Investor from Cincinnati, OH
    Replied 3 months ago
    I love that as a Christ Follower, you are "picking a fight" like ending sex slavery, and using your time talent and resources to make it happen. THAT is a story worth living. Keep running the race!!
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hi Cody! Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, I am glad I picked this fight and hope others will join.
    Bryan Danger Specialist from Nomadic
    Replied 3 months ago
    Wow. As much as I want to appreciate the background and experience that created this article... I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Don't get me wrong... I'm never going to be someone who wants to simply do "nothing" or who is looking for a day to wither away in a lazyboy recliner watching tv (far from it), but the very idea of retiring early or finding your own freedom as being "a big mistake" just seems like clickbait to me. Maybe you have always enjoyed your job(s) more than we did, or maybe you never found the other things you enjoyed MORE... but for us, walking away from our jobs in our mid-30s was hands down the best decision we ever made. I look back at the last 7 years, where we have lived nomadically traveling north america in an impossible amount of depth and now a year of living on a sailboat in the caribbean and teaching ourselves to sail... and I cant possibly imagine how we could regret a single second of the way we are living life and/or missing something at a job we left behind. Boredom seems like a physical impossibility and the freedom of not owing any explanation, timeline or really anything to anyone else is simply amazing. I can't help but read this story and think that maybe you were just doing it wrong (for the wrong reasons). Rather than retiring not to work... maybe it's worth checking in with yourself to ask what your biggest goals are, what your biggest dreams and passions are... then spend so much time and focus on each of them that you hardly realize at all that you aren't working at all.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Hey Bryan. Thanks for weighing in! I agree with you, actually. When I tried this, I was thoroughly unprepared. I had a plan.... but the two non-profit organizations that I was planning to work with/start did not materialize. And I just didn't manage things well. I am super-happy for you that you are enjoying life to the full, and I hope you continue to. I'm guessing you planned better and were more mature than my wife and I were in our 30s. Thanks again for your detailed reply!
    Kevin McGuire Rental Property Investor from Seattle, WA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Paul, as always I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your posts. There's a lot packed into this topic, as evidenced by the diversity of the responses. I love the fact that this post is starting to turn into a kind of self-help group :) Apparently, we need it! I think it helps to distinguish between financial security, financial independence, and retirement. What I've read is that until one has reached financial security, life can be pretty miserable; it's simply difficult to achieve self-actualization if you're worried about paying the rent and buying groceries. Below that level, lack of money inhibits happiness. But beyond that, adding more money doesn't add happiness, as your story tells so well. This is a well established fact from numerous studies. Financial independence then becomes a necessary but not sufficient condition for self-actualization that can lead to happiness. As many have responded, understanding purpose and making personal choices which attempt to align to that purpose is a worthwhile goal. On the retirement front, the model is completely broken. It's a hold-over from an agrarian and industrial age when you've kind of used up your body and can't plow the field or work in the factory anymore. You'd stop working because you couldn't anymore, and hang around for another 10 or 20 years. Today we're way healthier at 65 then that model, and we're going to live way longer too. We need to rethink the whole thing, and are now facing a grand experiment through the combination of longer life but with less institutional financial support (pensions, social security) for those longer years. There’s no play-book. To "retire" means to withdraw. What I've read above, and also believe, is if your goal is to withdraw you'll probably end up in an unhappy place due to lack of activity leading to physical and mental decline, and social isolation and boredom leading to depression. While the removal of pain (financial security) will allow for happiness, it does not grant happiness, and since adding more money doesn't add happiness, I think people find themselves at a kind of set-point of mediocre existence. Personally, I don't think the solution though is to simply keep “doing what I’ve always done” because I think that simply acts as a way to keep me busy and distracted from the much harder questions around purpose. While there's tons of easy to find learning material on how to achieve financial independence, it's not as easy to find material on achieving a life of purpose, with guidance scattered across religion, philosophy, mindfulness, and self-help books. We need a "Bigger Souls" website :) So I don't want to retire, but I do want the financial freedom to have more control over my most precious resource, time, and thus allow for the space to contemplate on and act on these topics. Of course doing so while living on a sailboat in the Caribbean sounds like a great combination!
    Kevin McGuire Rental Property Investor from Seattle, WA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Regarding my comment on "learning material for purposeful life", in thinking on it more I should've said we don't emphasize it as much as financial success. That's the real gap.
    Paul Moore Rental Property Investor from Lynchburg, VA
    Replied 3 months ago
    Kevin. Thanks for weighing in. Great to hear from you, and thanks for the thoughtful reply. A "Bigger Souls" website - I love it. You should start that! I'm glad for all of the FIRE blogs etc and all of the info on these types of topics these days. As I said, I wish I would have been more thoughtful and planned my exit and my investments better. On the other hand, I am thrilled to be doing what I do now and glad to be in a position to help a lot of others achieve financial independence. I would not have done that without the pressure caused by failing in my Retirement 1.0. Big thanks to you and everyone who commented these past several days. I have learned from your responses.