3 min read

Early Retirement Experiment: Daydreams vs. Dawn Realities

When the world stopped for the pandemic, I took a leap into early retirement. It felt like endless possibilities at first, but the magic faded. Discover my journey into early retirement's twists and turns.
Early Retirement Experiment: Daydreams vs. Dawn Realities
Photo by Max Harlynking / Unsplash

How I Happened To Retire Yearly

I've just landed a nice remote contract in Canada and started to work on it. Managed to onboard to project and got used to the new team.

I'd been working for a couple of months when the pandemic started. My client's business was significantly dependent on offline shops worldwide, so the lockdown hit my clients very hard, and we had to halt all the work.

It was the beginning of April when pandemic panic swept the world, and financial markets hit the bottom. For anyone who was still sane at the moment, it was time to pause any hiring. For me, it was not the worst imaginable time to seek a new freelance project.

I considered it to be a good chance to switch to my side projects full-time and try to live the life of a young retiree indie developer.

Furthermore, I didn't want to see how all my friends, who worked offline would party at home, Netflix, and chill. While I would have to work at home all day long without even the ability to relax and switch contexts.

It could be even worse than falling ill during school vacations.

Much worse.

I imagined I was retired and tried to relax and work on the things I'd been postponing for years.

How Does It Feel to Retire Early?

At first, I had a feeling that I just made a step aside, and the time suddenly got frozen. A feeling of immeasurable lightness, as if you've just graduated from university the entire life is ahead, and you can do anything.

Do what you want. Work is not essential. That kind of thoughts were filling me up.
As if I dived into a Twitter bubble of motivational bullshit.

I started working on my side project, and I was feeling super excited about it.

Unfortunately, It didn't last long.

A few weeks later everything turned back: time sped up. I started to not have enough of it for anything. Just like it had always been.

Then I slowly started to get fed up with my side project as it happens with boring work.

The magic has gone.

My Net Balance During Early Retirement

My personal finance felt surprisingly well all the way up.

I'd been investing in different asset classes for the last several years before my early retirement beta test. Luckily my portfolio performed pretty well during that time.

At the peak of the pandemic panic my portfolio had still enough free-float cash so I just tapped the "BUY" button at the bottom.

Thanks to that move my portfolio recovered very fast and went beyond its previous high watermark.

Here is the compound chart of my net worth balance:

Here is the compound chart of my net worth balance:

I Didn't Like Being Retired

Although the numbers were good, the whole process of early retirement was rather uncomfortable in many ways. Purchasing non-essential things, or even resting and chilling felt literally disgusting.

The problem is that I cannot afford an infinite early retirement. A sudden lucky growth of assets that covered my expenses is not a thing to rely on in the long term.

That's why it all felt like a waste of time and money. It was a slow process of destroying my own safety through financial security that had been built for years. All instead of doing interesting things, like earning more money.

It has a lot to do with neurobiology.

During the normal work-life process, I'm happy to work hard, earn money, and then reward myself with some pleasant thing, like some brand new gadget or travel somewhere. In order to receive a full dose of dopamine.

During early retirement, the normal effort-reward process is getting broken.

I couldn't get rid of a feeling that is not moving forward anymore. It all felt just wrong and was making me unhappy.