Should people living their life purpose ever retire early?

In this report I ask the question, Should people living their life purpose ever retire early?

Most people do not feel like they are living their life’s purpose during their working years. Even if they are excited about their work during the first few years, many eventually get bored or tired. But they keep doing it because they need to feed themselves and their family.

But there are a few people that find their life’s purpose along the way. There are obvious examples like Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Theresa. They just kept following their life’s purpose until the end with no thoughts of retirement.

I even knew a doctor that would have kept working into his 80s if allowed to. But he eventually gave up helping people because he was required to spend more time on red tape than helping patients and the malpractice insurance costs became prohibitive.

But there are people that find their life’s purpose from time to time that keep doing it without ever seriously thinking about retirement. They would have no reason to retire because they love what they are doing regardless of the money. They almost never retire early so long as they remain able.

Many others would love to retire early if they had the financial resources to do so. They may like certain things about their job or business but overall would prefer to drop out of the rat race and start enjoying an early retirement.

If you have contemplating retiring early and you don’t believe you are presently fulfilling your life’s purpose, then what I am about to share may be eye-opening for you.

I just finished listening to a Ted Talk on one of the greatest unspoken challenges during retirement. After summarizing what I learned from the Ted Talk (link provided below), I will answer the question, Should people living their life purpose ever retire early?

In the Ted Talk, Dr. Riley Moynes shared that he had started becoming depressed around his second year of retirement. He then interviewed hundreds of retirees in order to determine what made some retirees successful and happy and why others had become depressed.

His research showed that there are 4 phases of retirement.

Phase 1: Vacation. In the first year of retirement, people are just happy to have exited the Rat Race and love the lack of routine and increased freedom.

Phase 2: Loss of the Big 5. Sometime in the second year or so, people begin to ask themselves, “Is this all there is to retirement?” They miss the Big 5 from their working years–routine, identity, work relationships, loss of purpose, and loss of power. It is so traumatic for some that it leads to divorce, depression, and a decline in physical and mental capacity.

Phase 3: Trial and Error. Some decide they can’t go on living like this. So they go through a period of trial and error where they try different things to find something meaningful to them. They may try school, new hobbies, helping others, and traveling. Many join charities.

Phase 4: Reinvent Yourself. The ones that keep experimenting until they find meaning in their life are able to squeeze the juice out of their retirement years. Often they end up doing something that they really love that is in service to others. They find a true purpose for their life in retirement.

Dr. Moynes gives a Phase 4 example where a man named Bill organizes a way for retired people to achieve Phase 4 by teaching others what they love most in life. They find their true purpose in life teaching others what they love. Like cooking, language, instruments, gardening, etc. In the first year Bill had 9 courses with 200 students, in the second year they had 45 courses with 700 students, and in the third year, they had 90 courses with 2100 students.

The people that were able to squeeze the most out of their retirement years were the ones that were able to keep experimenting until they were able to reinvent themselves in Phase 3 and start living a life of purpose in retirement. 

After watching the video, I started thinking about Dr. Moynes. His retirement research started because he was depressed in Phase 2 over the loss of the Big 5–routine, identity, work relationships, loss of purpose, and loss of power.

And he found his life purpose in helping others get to Phase 4–a meaningful retirement. So that is when I started thinking. Since Dr.Moynes is finding meaning in helping other people, shouldn’t he just keep doing what he loves now?

So, Should people living their life purpose ever retire early? It is up to them, but for me, the answer is no. I am going to keep doing what I love as long as I am able.

I suspect many people will keep doing their life’s purpose even if for selfish reasons because they feel good about themselves again and they are helping other people. They could slow down or adjust to a pace that works for them now that they are at retirement age. But they are otherwise likely to continue a life of meaning and purpose.

But that raises a more fundamental question. Why are we waiting until our retirement years to find and create our life’s purpose? Is it really just about the money? Is it really just because we don’t have the free time to find our purpose in life until we are no longer working?

We spend our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, doing things we are not excited about until we finally have the time and resources in our late 60s and 70s to experiment until we find a meaningful purpose in our lives.

Better late than never I suppose, but is there a better way? Maybe we should use Dr. Moynes’ research a little more proactively and find meaning and purpose earlier in our lives than in retirement.

Then when we finally reach retirement age, we could just keep doing what we love at a slower pace so long as we are physically and mentally able. In effect, we would be setting ourselves up for an easier transition as we age without ever going through the retirement depression phase.

Remember Bill in the above example? They started having retirees teach what they love so they could start squeezing the juice out of life in retirement. But can’t we start doing that earlier in life?

That is what happened to me. I got fired and decide to see if there was a way I could retire early and do something I really loved. I started teaching what I loved on Youtube. The thing I love most in the world is traveling around the world and exploring different cultures.

So I just started sharing what I loved most on Youtube, my travel hobby. Eventually, Youtube started paying me and I started making even more money selling eBook memberships on my webpage which teaches people how they can live a better life overseas on less money.

People really appreciated what I was teaching online and they started sharing it with others.  Eventually, I was making more money teaching online what I loved than I had been making in my normal job.

I am still only 62 years old and I haven’t had a normal job since 2018. Yet my online teaching income just steadily keeps growing. My courses and videos made $18,875.14 two months ago in December 2022 and $10,324 in January 2023, last month.

My courses and videos teach people how to retire on less money overseas. This means they can often live a better life overseas than they could have in their home country. I also teach people how to slow travel the world.

A few years ago, a few of my members, said they were not yet making enough income to retire early overseas. They asked me to teach a course about how to make money online. So, I set up my hobby income course. The hobby income course teaches how I set up my WordPress site and memberships to help people learn what I know about overseas retirement. 

Since my existing members had made all of my world travel dreams come true by joining my membership community, I decided to give the hobby income course to my paid members at no additional charge. 

Teaching my favorite hobby online worked for me. That is why I believe in retiring as early as possible from normal life so you can live your life’s purpose much sooner.

But how do you begin creating your life’s purpose by teaching what you love to others?

Dr. Moynes gave us the answer to that also. Just use his example of Bill from his Ted Talk. Bill just had retirees start teaching something they loved. That is all there is to it.

In fact, that is exactly how I found my life’s purpose. I left the United States in 2007 and I have lived in and visited 67 countries so far. As I travel, I make videos about the world and people started watching them.

This is why I believe in retiring as early as possible from normal life so you can live your life’s purpose much sooner. And if you would like to teach what you love online, you can join my community today and take the hobby income course. I teach how I set up the systems I use to teach what I know over the Internet.

I love what I do and I will keep doing it as long as I am able. I may slow down a little as I get older, but I will keep teaching so long as you are willing to listen and learn. That is why I think the answer to the question, Should people living their life purpose ever retire early, is NO!

Thanks for reviewing my report, Should people living their life purpose ever retire early?

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This is Dan of Vagabond Awake, the Youtube channel for Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?