I read an interesting article by Paul Farrell the other day which changed my perspective on retirement and how to prepare for it.
Contrary to popular belief, happiness does not necessarily revolve around money. Before we work ourselves to the ground in the pursuit of fat bank accounts, we have to be very clear about what our dreams are and re-engineer our action plans towards the attainment of those dreams. Work to live, don't live to work.
Paul Farrell said, "You can have health, friends, family, total security and all the money you'll ever need, but unless your life has "meaning," nothing matters. And no one can give "meaning" to your life except you. Not a million-dollar portfolio, not being debt-free, nor tight abs, low cholesterol, nor a famous guru, evangelist or yoga instructor. All that's irrelevant if you don't know deep in your soul the meaning of your life. Only you can ever know whether you're living a meaningful life or one of quiet desperation."
There's a TV commercial which says "there is no age limit on dreams. The thing about dreams is, they don't retire." Don't be guilty about not following the "norm". As Bon Jovi belted out... "It's your life. It's now or never." Now is the perfect time for life planning.
My main reason for shifting employers was because the work-life imbalance was becoming untenable. I wanted to create memories with my family, especially with my son. I wanted him to be able to say (as I can) "Mommy and Daddy told me stories when they put me to sleep". I still can't afford to pursue my dream to being one of the ladies who lunch... but at least I can say that I'm one of the mommies who can go home for lunch. I've also stepped up the ante in taking baby steps towards the fulfillment of the many things I want to do before I die.