Will Your Ambition Beat You?

Posted by 25 September, 2008


I recently read an article by Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme entitled Quo Vadis? He briefly mentioned issues with retiring early and the lack of social opportunities. Jacob discusses that a lot of the people who are able to achieve financial independence are really ambitious and will continue onto the next project instead of “enjoying retirement”.

Financial independence, in my opinion, is a state at which one has the option for paid employment or not and still has the ability to meet his or her financial obligations excluding welfare recipients. That being said…

If you had the opportunity to retire early and be financially independent, would your ambition beat you? Would you continue working and starting yet another business or career to continue challenging yourself and feeding your desire to succeed? This is a topic my wife and I have spoken about. She contends that even if we were able to “retire”, that I would try to start some business or start a new career. I’m not going to disagree. For example, as a little kid at a skating party, instead of having fun with the other kids I would skate as fast as I could around the roller ring to make sure I did the most laps. I look forward to the opportunity to be in such a position, but I have a lot of work to do before that is a reality.

If you are the ambitious type and are lucky enough to be financially independent, or maybe just looking for something to do, here are a few suggested possible outlets outside of starting a business or career.


1. Help Others Reach Financial Independence

If I were financially independent, this is one of the areas I would target. I would want to help other people achieve the same goal. You would not only be helping other people, but it would most likely make you feel good.


2. Volunteer

There is a tremendous need for volunteers around the US and the world. You could fulfill your ambition by taking on any number of understaffed volunteer projects that would surely challenge your ability to succeed. A lot of people volunteer their time to very noteworthy causes, but I think there is another level of success that one can achieve if they are not worrying about money and financial obligations.

If you are interested in volunteering, here are a list of websites that may be of interest:

Transition Abroad



Volunteer Connection

International or Overseas Volunteer Opportunities

Directory of Volunteer Centers


By the numbers, it appears as if people in the US are volunteering less and less (Bureau of Labor Statistics) so whether you are financially free or not, volunteering is certainly a good thing to do.


3. Become Part-Time Teacher

I’ve never taught, but have always heard that teaching can be very fulfilling. I know when I was in school, I had some good teachers and some not so good teachers. Teaching is not known for being a high income or flashy profession. I contend that it would be much easier to become a good teacher if you are not worried about making financial ends meet.

If you were not exchanging your time for money and you were set financially, what would you do with your life?

Photo by Greencolander

Photo by Wandering Angel

Photo by WWFCanada’s

Photo by Striatic

Financial Independence (FI) Articles Around the Web:

FI Articles by Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme

FI Article by Nathalie at Billionairewoman

FI Articles by Trent at The Simple Dollar

FI Article by J.D. at Get Rich Slowly


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September 25, 2008

I can certainly see how it would be difficult to stop just because I reach a certain age. However, as you suggest here, I anticipate being able to devote my time to things of greater significance when earning money is no longer an issue. Great read!

September 25, 2008

Good points. Everyone talks about how to get to retirement but nothing once there.

September 26, 2008

Great ideas! It is my intent to do more volunteer work when I “retire”.

Posted by Evelyn Lim
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