The Missing Ingredient in Early Retirement: Community

Many people are confused, challenged, and put-off by the idea of early retirement. Many people don’t understand the drive for financial independence. I believe many of the naysayers may be missing a key ingredient in their lives: community.

Some people see virtue in exiting the rat race early to focus on family; while I recognize this motivation, I am driven by something similar but not exactly the same. My motivation comes from what I think is a wider perspective – the idea that my community has amazing potential and that I can and should help cultivate and nurture it.

On a smaller scale your family is your core community. Maybe your motivation for a better work/life balance is to spend more time with your loved ones? My driving motivation is the idea that I can connect with and spend more time with all of the amazing like-minded people of my community. Without a full time job I believe I would spend a good amount of my time making new friends, attempting to solve problems, and helping build an amazing place to live each day.

While family and friends are most people’s top priority, why not continue caring beyond that familial line? Embrace your wider community, however you want to define it, and work to make the lives of everyone around you better. Some people are motivated to have children and start a family so there will be someone around who cares about them when they’re older – wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone in your community cared for and checked in on you in your old age?

Many of my other motivations for a FIRE‘d life are directly related to having a strong and varied community: play, entrepreneurship, creative endeavors, and exploration – not only of the physical world, but also the humanity around me.

I can tell you right now that as long as I have built a strong and vibrant community around myself I will never easily find boredom, loneliness, or a desire to return to work after I’ve reached my goal of early retirement.

[featured image: jeff_golden]

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  • Buck

    Hi Kudy – just stumbled upon your blog and am glad I did. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. I have similar aspirations and think often about the type of ‘community’ I’ll be a part of once FIRE’d.

    I imagine being ‘retired’ for a lot of folks can be terrifying if their community is largely limited to immediate family and work circles.

    Just thought I’d say I appreciate the way you articulated this notion of the greater community and how you feel you can be a part of it.

    • Hey Buck! Thanks for the feedback – it’s always good to know that my writing isn’t just rambling nonsense :) I think the world would be a better place if more people focused more on fostering community.

      • Agreed. In my simple mind, the “meaning of life” can be defined as creating real, meaningful relationships with others and finding ways to be of help/service to them. I’ve found nothing gives me greater satisfaction or fulfillment than doing these kinds of things.