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Early Retirement - is working allowed?

Early retirement is like riding a unicorn?

One of the questions I'm often asked is whether I think I'll work again.

Perhaps it's a trick question. If I say yes, will they retort "aha, so you haven't really retired then, have you".

It matched much of my own thinking, including this part about work:

Beware of the retirement police

"To the retirement police, you can’t be retired if you’re making money by doing work. Doing work, after all, is what people do “for a living”, and therefore, if you do something post-retirement that generates cash, you’re not actually retired. Because you’re still making a living.

As most of us in the financial independence and early retirement community know, our lives don’t simply stop once we reach retirement (in many cases, it’s quite the opposite). We don’t sit and stare out the window. Many of us still choose to “work” after we’ve quit our jobs."

My post last week was about Andrew, who retired from his banking job and moved to Thailand at the age forty seven. It was interesting to hear Andrew talk about a "momentary lapse in judgement" when he briefly returned to the corporate world.

He's happily back into full time early retirement now, but it did remind me that I have my own work thoughts from time to time.

Personally, I feel that I've retired from corporate life, and I don't think I'll change my mind on this. But in terms of "work", maybe there is a place for this in my future.

Possible job plans

First off, I like my early retirement, particularly the freedom that it gives me to do what I want, when I want. And then there's the job stress that I left behind the day I walked away from the office. I don't want to lose these upsides, which will limit the options for working.

If I were to work, I'd want it to be time and location flexible. I also don't feel any draw to do something related to my pre-retirement career in finance. I've been there, done that, and don't need to do it any more.

Remote working, which makes me think internet based, sounds like it should fit the bill, but I'm not sure that this matches my talents. I read about bloggers who make income from their blogs, but it's a very small minority, and even if it were an option I'd be nervous it would reduce the enjoyment I get from blogging.

That restricts the options, but these are the ideas I've come up with so far:

House renovations

Early retirement work - renovation property

Actually it's Sally's idea (on her bucket list) but it would be a joint effort. Buy a house, possibly at auction, renovate it, and then either sell it on or add it to our rental portfolio.

Why does this idea make sense? Most obviously, because Sally told me it does, and having forgotten our wedding anniversary earlier this week, I'm trying to get back in the good books!

But more seriously, we like property so it would be a combination of interest and work. We would look to pick a property that wasn't too big or difficult for the first one. Perhaps something like the house in the picture, quite small, but where value can be added.

The benefits are that we can set our own schedule, take breaks mid renovation if we want. When we've finished the renovation, we can take time off for as long or short a period as we like and, provided we've enjoyed it, can do another as and when it suits us.

Cycling, hiking or running guide

The French Alps are a wonderful place for cycling, hiking and trail running and, if we spend longer periods living in our soon (end of this year)to be finished apartment in the French Alps, maybe there are some opportunities for me.

The plus side would be doing something that I enjoy with likeminded people. However, I may need certain qualifications that I hear may not be easy to get for non-French nationals (I need to do some research).

My thought is for a gentle introduction. Perhaps there are weeks that are particularly busy where an extra pair of hands is needed - I could be the equivalent of a supply teacher or supply teaching assistant. That would get me involved, and still give me plenty of time to continue with my other interests.


Sally is still working her teaching job until the end of June before she takes a year off. Her current plan is to return to teaching in September 2019. Assuming she does, the location could be anywhere.

If it involves a move to a new part of the world I would like to investigate some volunteering. I have no idea what this might comprise, but the idea is rattling around in my mind.

At the moment, I'm still in the stage where I want the retirement part of my early retirement to come first, and any potential work ideas to be flexible to fit around the fun stuff. That makes it much more difficult.

There must be some other ideas that I should be thinking of so let me know in the comments if you have some good ones.

By the way, and completely unrelated...the picture of the unicorn was made by my friend. He's thirty one, and I teased him for doing My Little Pony drawings. Well, evidently it isn't My Little Pony, it's a unicorn, and he's drawn one with me on it. I think he meant it as an insult, but I quite like it 🦄


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