The problem with retiring is that the numbers in any properly populated spreadsheet will nearly always point to staying longer.
Certainly, every calculation I ran signaled that staying for another year (or two) would buy down risk and make life easier—safer.
“Dave, if you stay a little longer, you’ll be able to afford that lake house you and Sue have always dreamed about. And what if you need a nursing home? You don’t want to be a burden on your kids, do you?”
That little voice is cancer in retirement planning, and it won’t shut up!
“Dave, people are living longer than ever. What are you going to do all day? Isn’t retiring at 56 selfish? None of your friends are doing it this early. And what’s so bad about a stable government job when SpaceX is doing most of the heavy lifting these days?”
“Yeah, Dave, you’re probably better off staying for one more year. Maybe two.”
The unknown almost always seems riskier than the known.
If you’ve found your purpose through your current job, by all means, stay until the very end. But I’m guessing a lot of folks haven’t.
Maybe I’m crazy for retiring so early. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone’s accused me of thinking big. More on that later.
* This article originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of the “Make NASA Great” series.