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Should you retire early?
June 02, 2024

Should you retire early?

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This newsletter focuses on whether you should plan for an early retirement. I also summarize our recent trip to visit family I didn't know I had, in Finland!


Early retirement is a complex topic. Here I list some quotes about both the PROS and CONS of early retirement . . .


Benefits of Early Retirement:

"The joy of retirement comes in those everyday pursuits that embrace the simple joys of life." - Catherine Pulsifer

Freedom and Time:

"Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials: much to live on and much to live for." - Unknown

Personal Growth and Leisure:

"Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway." - Unknown

Health and Well-being:

"To retire early is to give yourself the gift of time, health, and freedom." - Unknown


Financial Concerns:

"The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off." - Abe Lemons

Loss of Purpose:

"Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did." - Malcolm Forbes

Social and Mental Health:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away." - Neil Young

My reasons for early retirement

My wife Kathy and I both made the decision during the COVID period that we would retire early, in our mid fifties. She was 55 and I was 57. Traditional retirement age in Canada where we live is 65.

We both had long careers. Kathy worked for the same employer in the restaurant industry for over 30 years. I worked for an aerospace/defence company, WESCAM for 25 years.

We worked hard throughout our life with our two good careers, while raising our family and while also building up our real-estate portfolio, owning four homes on our street. This came with lots of hard work, maintaining good relationships with our tenants and dealing with maintaining the heritage homes that we invested in, all while raising a family.

We both decided that we wanted to reap the benefits of long careers and smart financial decisions to start enjoying an early retirement. In my case, my satisfaction with my employment was decreasing as a result of major structural changes at my company due to change of ownership and how the company was being run and managed.

Retirement insights

Three years into our retirement, I can offer the following insights:

We have lots more time to put into enjoying things in life that we were short on time before!

We have more time to put into enjoying our morning routines, walking and our fitness blender youtube workouts, with out the rush of preparing for work.

We are spending more time with our parents, family and friends.

We are travelling more frequently and for longer durations. Since retiring, we have made 5 major trips of ~ 3 week durations . . . Portugal, Hawaii and French Polynesia, Trans-Atlantic and a Baltic Cruise / Finland (see below). We are aiming for 2 major trips per year. If you ask our children what we do, they say it's full time "Trip Planning".

We have more time to put into making desired and necessary improvements to our cottage / property, one hour away on Lake Erie.

BUT, retiring early should not be a goal for everyone and is not the only way to plan your life . . .

I wouldn't recommend early retirement for people unless you meet the following requirements:

1. You've met or exceeded your financial targets and net worth to retire

2. You've tapped out your career / employment objectives and goals.

3. You have developed hobbies and passions to keep you busy in retirement.

4. You have other relationships and people in your life that you'll have time to be with (all of them can't still be working)

Retirement can be boring and a down hill spiral for some people if you are not suited or prepared for it.

Overall, we are HAPPY to have retired when we did and are enjoying our new life!

Retirement insights from Chat GPT

Planning for early retirement is an ambitious goal that requires meticulous planning and disciplined execution. For a young person aiming to retire early, understanding the pros and cons is crucial to making an informed decision.


Financial Independence: Achieving early retirement means gaining financial independence at a younger age. This allows individuals to live life on their own terms without being bound by the need to earn a paycheck.

Time for Personal Pursuits: Early retirement provides the freedom to pursue passions, hobbies, and interests that might have been sidelined due to work commitments. This can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Health Benefits: Stress from long-term employment can take a toll on health. Early retirement can alleviate work-related stress, potentially leading to better mental and physical well-being.

Flexibility to Travel and Explore: With more free time, early retirees can travel extensively and explore new cultures and experiences that might not be possible with a traditional work schedule.


Financial Risks: One of the significant risks is outliving one's savings. Early retirees need to ensure that they have sufficient funds to last through an extended retirement period, which can be challenging to calculate accurately.

Healthcare Costs: Retiring before being eligible for Medicare (in the U.S.) can result in high healthcare expenses. Private health insurance can be costly, and unexpected medical issues can quickly deplete savings.

Potential Boredom and Loss of Purpose: For some, work provides a sense of purpose and structure. Early retirement can lead to boredom and a loss of direction, which can negatively impact mental health.

Inflation and Economic Changes: Long-term economic changes, such as inflation, can erode the purchasing power of retirement savings. Early retirees need to have a robust investment strategy to mitigate these risks.

Importance of Preparing for a Successful Retirement Preparing for retirement is essential to ensure financial stability and a comfortable lifestyle. It requires a well-thought-out plan that includes saving aggressively, investing wisely, and managing expenses. Here’s what it takes:

Early and Consistent Saving: Start saving as early as possible and contribute consistently to retirement accounts. Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans and any matching contributions.

Investing Wisely: Develop a diversified investment portfolio that balances risk and return. Consider working with a financial advisor to create a strategy that aligns with retirement goals.

Budgeting and Expense Management: Live within your means and create a budget that prioritizes savings and investment. Avoid unnecessary debt and make conscious spending choices.

Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses without dipping into retirement savings.

Continual Education: Stay informed about financial planning and retirement strategies. The economic landscape changes, and staying updated can help in making informed decisions.

IS EARLY RETIREMENT A GOOD IDEA Whether early retirement is a good idea depends on individual circumstances, including financial readiness, personal goals, and lifestyle preferences. For some, the benefits of freedom and flexibility outweigh the risks, while for others, the financial and psychological challenges may make traditional retirement age a better option. Ultimately, the decision should be based on a thorough assessment of one's financial situation, health considerations, and personal aspirations.

Just back from Finland and . . .

Just back from an amazing 18-day adventure with my wife Kathy, 92 year old mother Gunnell Klodt, sister Laura and niece Emily. Took an 11-day cruise on MSC Poesia out of Stockholm Sweden, visiting 9 ports along the Baltic Sea, followed by a 5-day trip to Finland, to visit mom’s relatives. We were welcomed with open arms by both her mother’s and father’s families (numerous cousins, nieces and nephews), most of whom I was meeting for the first time. My mother’s parents were both born in Finland, met in Canada where she was born in Hamilton and later raised in Kirkland Lake before marrying my father and settling in Burlington Ontario. Her mother returned to Finland and raised mom’s two younger sisters, Barbro and Linda-May. Barbo’s daughter Ann-Luise came to Canada and attended our wedding in 1991, 33 years ago. She played a major part in hosting our trip, along with her cousin Patrik, and mom’s cousin Martin. We are so grateful to all the relatives for making this a trip of a lifetime.

Our Top 10 Memories from our Finland 2024 Trip

1. Meeting our many cousins and their families on both my mother’s mothers and fathers side and exploring the villages where my roots are from and grand parents were born

2. An authentic Sauna (Hot/Cold plunge x 3) experience at cousin Ann-Luise’s cottage on the Baltic Sea. Sauna’s are an important cultural experience in Finland, with virtually all homes having at least one sauna.

3. A canal cruise down the historic channel in Copenhagen Denmark, along side the longest series of bars in the world in historic buildings, and moving under 14 low bridges

4. Hop-on Hop Off open air bus tours in Stockholm Sweden and Helsinki Finland.

5. Enjoying breakfasts and dinners on the MSC POESIA with our family each day of our 11 day Baltic cruise

6. Our bus trip excursion to the Curonian Spit in Lithuania, hiking over sand dunes which buried villages

7. Exploring the grounds and lunch at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

8. Family hike through the woods near Vora Finland with our cousins and their daughter Agnes

9. Pushing mom’s transport chair through the many cobble stone streets of the historic downtown centres of the 9 baltic countries we visited!

10. Trying to remember the numerous cousins and families we met for the first time in Finland and remember their names and connections within our family ancestry!

This trip exceeded our expectations on many levels.

Next newsletter . . .

In my upcoming newsletter scheduled for July 1st, I'll discuss a topic that a reader submits. Please write me at to suggest next months topic!

Brian Klodt founder of the 100 Goals Club


P.S. If you haven't read my book "100 Life Goals", purchase it here . . .

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