While listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Listen Money Matters, I realized something that makes me unique from a lot of the personal finance bloggers out there. One of the questions Andrew and Thomas answered was regarding early retirement and how to invest for that type of situation. It then dawned on me…
I don’t want to retire early. I don’t even want to retire at 59 1/2.
At the age of 30 I’m just in the beginning of a career that I find an enormous amount of fulfillment in. The mentors that I look up to have been in their field for 20-30-40+ years and continue to be challenged every single day. The scientific community is full of people who dedicate their life’s work to a single hypothesis or theory, and that pursuit fuels them to work incredibly hard to discover something new about the world we live in. I love my job and the further I progress through my career the more I realize this is the right fit for me.
One of the downsides of being a graduate student with the hopes of pursuing an academic career is that the pay can be somewhat abysmal. Right now we’re focused on graduating, paying down loans, and trying to save a teeny tiny bit for a house, but are hoping that even a slight bump in our salaries will make our monthly budget not seem so tight. Unfortunately, the average post-doc salary is $45,000 and that is after 5+ years of higher education. The good news is that we are getting paid to go to school and make a decent stipend that allows us to live comfortably as DINKs (dual income no kids) for the time being. Retirement isn’t even on our radar yet, but I also think that we as millennials are going to be viewing retirement very differently than our parent’s generation.
When we talk about retirement most of us think of one of two outcomes: sitting on a beach or pursuing your passion. Well, I’m pursuing my passion right now (albeit with little pay), and I don’t have a desire to sit on a beach for the rest of my life (although lots of vacation time is welcome!) so I’m pretty happy with working as long as I can. That doesn’t mean that I won’t contribute to retirement, but I think that I will probably re-frame it to match my goals. I want to live comfortably, provide a wonderful home and education for my children, and get to enjoy life to the fullest. Early retirement may be the dream for some, but for me, well, I’m content just where I am.
Do you want to retire early? What does that look like for you?