Everyone looks forward to their retirement. And many people want to retire as early as possible but hesitate and wonder, is it boring to retire early?
It is NOT boring to retire early for people with an active lifestyle outside their job (e.g. personal interests, hobbies, long-term pursuits, social life). They have something to retire to and are often busier in retirement. People who have nothing to retire to will find early retirement boring (at first).
Let’s dive deeper into the truth of early retirement and boredom. This truth guide will answer why early retirement is NOT boring for many people, why retiring early can be boring, how to avoid boredom, and why boredom can be a good thing. So continue reading below.
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10 Reasons Why Early Retirement Is Boring
Let’s start with the definition of retirement. What does it mean to retire?
This is what the dictionary says about retirement:
“the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work”
But this means many things for different people.
For some people, retirement means quit working and start living the life they want. Spend time with their loved ones, have fun with (new) hobbies/ interests, pursue dreams, and travel.
For some people retirement means, quitting a job they hate and starting their own business or second career.
For other people, it means relaxing and doing nothing, because they enjoy not having anything to do and a totally free agenda.
And for people from the FIRE movement, retiring early means you’re financially independent at an early age.
Most people retire when they reach the retirement age. But what does it mean to retire early and can it be boring? Well, let’s find out!
As grandmothers used to say: “If you’re easily bored before retirement, you’ll likely get bored during retirement.”
This will tell you a lot but let’s look at some real obstacles that can cause boredom when you retire early.
1) Your Friends Are Not Retired
When you retire early you have to take into consideration that you might be the only one of your friends that retires. Practically this means that everyone is at work, while you are at home. For some people, this can feel lonely and is a reason why they get bored easily, because they need others to be entertained and can’t stand the thought of spending too much time alone. It’s a very common flight method to run away from yourself.
So when you retire early you need to expect to be on your own a lot more often. And be happy with yourself. This can take some time to get used to. Other people need to work and earn money to be able to get to the point where you are: retired. When you can be your own best friend, you’re going to be fine.
2) You Don’t Have A Fun Plan
Most retirees regret not having a fun plan ready for their retirement.
As everyone plans for retirement, the first thing that comes to mind is a financial plan. And yes it is important to be financially ready for retirement, but most people forget that a fun plan is equally important. Because why did you want to retire in the first place? What did you want to retire to? What are you going to do?
So if you don’t have anything planned or you have no hobbies or personal interests to spend time on, the chances of you getting bored when you retire early are significantly bigger compared to people who have something to retire to. And that is why when you do plan to retire early, make sure you have ideas on what things you like to do in retirement. And incorporated into your financial plan as well. Because if you want to travel you need a lot more money than if you stay at home by the pool.
3) You Do Extra Boring House Chores
As you retire from a well-paid and eventful job with many stimulations on all kinds of levels, you go to a life that is mostly staying at home and doing house chores (because your spouse asked you to). And for many people, this can feel boring. You go from being the hot shot at work to a simple housewife kind of lifestyle, which is a big gap to overcome (at first).
Also, when people retire early and their spouse is still working it is very normal for the one being retired, to do more tasks in the house. And some people (especially men) didn’t expect to retire and be in charge of cleaning the house etc.
It can be wise to discuss the timing of your retirement with your spouse. You can read my article: Should Couples Retire At The Same Time? | 10 Essential Tips for more tips on that.
4) You Have To Cut Back On Spending To Save Money
As less or no money is coming in, you need to cut back on spending money. This means that you need to do a lifestyle change as you have to think more consciously about how you spend your money. This can mean you can’t go out for dinner every week or go to the movies, theater, or sports games like other people can because they’re still working and have a steady income.
And yes, that can be boring. But with some adjusting time and minimal lifestyle changes, you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save. And how much you’ll enjoy the cheaper things in life.
Read more: 30 Smart Ways To Save Money In Retirement
5) You Lose Your Daily Routine
When you retire you lose many things, and one of the main things is your daily routine.
A routine gives you something to hold onto—a sense of normality to root yourself in those retirement days with endless free time.
And also morning routines help you limit wasting your retirement days and feeling bored.
Many retirees sit around until noon basically doing nothing: send some emails and scroll the internet aimlessly. And before they know it. Half the day is gone, and for the rest of the day, they’ll be angry at themselves for wasting the first half of their day and can’t get anything done.
6) You Lose A Sense Of Purpose
The biggest purpose of going to work is to earn money to pay the bills and save for retirement. So when you retire early you don’t have that purpose anymore. The feeling of not having a purpose can sneak up on you and makes you feel bored.
7) You Lose Your Identity
Besides losing a sense of purpose you also lose your identity. And that can be a problem for people whose total identity is tied to their job position. Because who are they, when they retire?
Many retirees go into an identity crisis when they retire. This is not something bad, because you are forced into the process to get to know yourself on a much deeper level. And that is priceless. But it is a struggle, that some can’t get out of.
8) You Feel Overwhelmed With Your Free Time
When you retire you don’t get decades of free time as a gift on your first day of retirement. Instead, you get 8-10 hours each day where you don’t have to go to work. So how are you going to fill in this time?
For many, this free agenda can feel daunting and overwhelming. And what do many people do when they feel overwhelmed? They stay inactive. As a result, you feel bored because you’re not doing anything (you love).
People have the need to be productive all the time. Because that is what most jobs asked from you: to be as productive and efficient as possible. This is also tied to our self-worth. We are happy with ourselves when we accomplished something. And if aren’t productive we feel worthless. And when you have more free time you’ll have more chances of not being productive all the time. Which can feel boring.
9) You Feel Disappointed About Not Feeling Happier
People think that once they retire they instantly feel happy and stay that way 24/7. But this is a common misconception. You are still human with emotions and highs and lows. And when reality hits in that is where people feel disappointed about retirement and expected more from it. They expected an ecstatic feeling constantly and the lack of it gives them the perspective that retirement is boring.
10) You Don’t Know What You Love Doing
Most people spend decades building up their careers, raising children, etc, and go on a holiday for a maximum of 10 days per year until they retire. And then when retirement comes they have no idea what to do or what they love doing. And that isn’t strange at all, because we’re so conditioned on focusing on the outer world that we forget what goes on internally. What makes us excited about life. And that is why people have forgotten what they loved doing (as a kid). Hobbies and other interests weren’t as important as getting promoted or developing professionally. And that is where boredom hits in.
Why Early Retirement Is NOT Boring
It’s all about perspective. You can make your retirement boring if you want it to be boring. But you can also create it into the best chapter of your life. It is always a choice.
As I mentioned in the introduction of this article is that people who have an active lifestyle outside their job are less likely to feel bored when they retire early. Their life didn’t only revolve around their job, there is more to life. They have hobbies and thriving social life. Plus they know who they are and what they love. So the transition into early retirement is smoother.
People who identified themselves with their job position will need time to get to know themselves once they lose their job position title at early retirement. For some people, this comes easy; ,and for others it takes a bit of time to process and do some self-discovery. People with a the-glass-is-always-half full-kind of mindset will see the opportunities that come with early retirement no matter what.
Let’s dive deeper into why retiring early is NOT boring at all:
1) You Are In Control
You’re in charge of what your daily life looks like. That also means you need to take responsibility for your life too and be active. But that is the most fun about retirement: you’re in charge, you’re in control, and get to decide how you spend your money, time, and energy. And with whom. You are free! You can do whatever you want, when, where, how, etc.
2) You Can Finally Relax
When you retire you’ll experience less stress that came with the job. You can finally relax, read a good book, treat yourself to a spa day, and not get worried about the little stuff. Being away from the job gives you also a new perspective and you’ll question yourself, why did I worry so much? Enjoy the little things and take it easy. And you don’t have to be of retirement age to enjoy a bit of relaxation. You’re allowed to take life easy no matter your age.
3) You Have More Quality Time
With the extra 8-10 hours in the day, you have enough quality time to spend on all the things you love. From hobbies, sports, following classes you’ve always wanted, spending time with friends, and family, and watching your (grand)children grow up in front of your eyes. Many retirees say: “I am busier than before retirement” and “how did I have the time to work?”. When you retire early you have even more time than the average person to spend it on all the things you love. Because you’re not here on earth to be miserable. You are here to learn and enjoy life.
4) You Can Try Out New Things
You’ve probably had the thought: “I’ve always wanted to do… or I’ve always wanted to learn…”.
Retirement is the ultimate opportunity to do the things you’ve always wanted to do or dreamed about doing. And no matter your spending budget there is always something affordable to do that matches your dreams. Or if it seems impossible just manifest it by focusing on it every single day and it will come to you somewhere in the future.
And even if you don’t have any dreams to pursue at the moment, you can always challenge yourself to do something new and different every day, week or month. It keeps things fun and interesting, because the place outside your comfortzone is where the magic happens. How can that be boring?!
5) You Can Be Spontaneous
You can’t use the excuse anymore that you have to leave early or can’t come because you have to work the next day. You can be spontaneous and go for a swim in the lake during the day or at night, you can hop in the car and go in a road trip just because you feel like it. Or stay extra late at a dinner party because its just that much fun, without having to worry about how little sleep you’ll have.
6) You Can Follow Your Dreams
Retirement is the only time to pursue your dreams before you kick the bucket. And when you retire early you have more time and energy to pursue these dreams. Also, you are in better health because you are younger. Some older retiree regret that they didn’t retire earlier because they feel that they need to rush through life, because they feel they’re getting older and can’t do certain things anymore.
Even if dreams seem impossible, working on it everyday gives you a satisfying feeling. It’s the power of cutting your dream into manageable pieces that you can accomplish every day/ week. Before you know it you are on your way to pursue your dreams.
7) You Avoid Annoying And Boring Commutes
The benefits of being retired is you don’t have to be stuck in boring traffic jams. You make up your own schedule so you can avoid these annoying commutes every day.
8) You Sleep Whenever You Want
Throw away the alarmclock and go to sleep whenever you want and sleep in whenever you feel like it.
Altough having structure and good sleep hygiene helps you to not waist your days and be bored. But having the freedom to choose not to wake up early when your body doesn’t feel like it is a peaceful feeling.
I know many retirees who introduced a nap/ siesta during the day. Even when they not live in warming areas such as Mexico.
There are so many more reasons I can come up with why early retirement is not boring. I’ve been retired from the ratrace a couple of years ago and I can say: I haven’t been bored since.
But let’s look at boredom from another perspective.
Why Boredom In Retirement Is Good For You
Many retirees experience boredom. Some more than others.
And they see it as a big problem.
But boredom doesn’t have to be a problem at all.
According to this article on Harvard Health Publishing, letting boredom work for you is one of the best remedies to find new creativity and things to do.
Basically, you’ll need to question yourself and explore why you’re bored. This is a good way to get a better understanding of yourself and fuel yourself with creativity to explore new things to do.
- a great opportunity to get to know yourself more and dive within.
- the pain of unused potential; it’s a disconnection to everything we can offer the world and vice versa.
- a powerful tool that invites you to rethink your relationship with the world.
Also, according to Psychology Today, boredom has many benefits:
- Boredom can improve our mental health
- Boredom can increase creativity
- Boredom motivates a search for novelty
- Boredom motivates the pursuit of new goals
- Boredom affects the ability to focus and pay attention
So whenever you get bored, consider it a good thing. Enjoy while it last and be curious and excited about where it will bring you.
How To Avoid Boredom When You Retire Early
Now that we’ve covered almost everything, let’s share some tips on how you can avoid boredom.
– > Know That Retiring Is A Process of Five Stages
Retiring is a mental process that not a lot of people are aware of. You’ll go through five stages to finally reach a point where you’re happy and satisfied with where you’re at in life. For some people this takes a couple of weeks and for others it can take years. If you want to know more about these five stages you can read my article: Complete Guide Through The 5 Stages Of Retirement.
– > Create A Morning Routine
How you start your day is crucial for your mood for the rest of the day.
If you win the morning, you in win the day!
And here is the science behind it:
If you wake up by doing positive activities, you will help your mindset in staying positive for the rest of the day. This is called the endowment effect, discovered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky during their research on prospect theory.
According to the endowment effect, if you start the day by moving your life forward, you have established positive momentum. And you’re more likely to keep doing positive things.
Also, another research by Steve Key, a professor at the University of Southern California, shows that most adults perform best in the late morning when it comes to doing cognitive work.
Also, morning routines create momentum. And momentum is a crucial part of psychology. In goal pursuit and achievement, psychological momentum plays a critical role. Momentum is a vehicle of performance that will lead to future success and goal achievement. If you facilitate a morning routine that creates a psychological momentum on a conscious level frequently, it will become nonconscious automatic behavior. On average, it takes about two months before a new habit or routine becomes automatic.
– > Find Your Passion
When you have something to look forward to everyday when you wake up, like a passion. You can’t get bored, because a passion is something you love doing and makes you forget to eat or sleep.
-> Keep Setting Goals
Okay maybe you didn’t like the targets or deadlines from your job, setting goals is actually very important in life. Nothing having a goal makes you feel aimless, useless, etc. Having a goal gives your life direction and helps you to prioritize your time better.