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Regret retiring early

Exactly one year, one month after retiring at the age of 38, Hung Tu applied to return to work even though his savings were enough for the whole family to spend several more decades.

“I can no longer stand a meaningless life, feeling that I am marginalized in society,” Nguyen Hung Tu, 42, an IT engineer in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, said of his decision to return to work. 2019.

He said he first heard the phrase FIRE – short for the concepts of financial freedom and early retirement – from 2015. Very quickly, Hung Tu realized he was qualified to follow this trend by working. IT in Vietnam has an advantage in terms of income, especially the older the age, the higher the experience. The people with the best incomes also use their knowledge to trade or invest in stocks, cryptocurrencies…

Anh Tu both work for foreign companies, run their own software outsourcing companies and invest in other fields. “At 38, I no longer need to make money,” he said.

In September 2018, he decided retirement, and his wife is still working. Her two children’s international school fees have been paid all at once until grade 12, so there’s no need to worry. The profit from the savings he had accumulated himself was more than double the annual household expenses.

In the early days of pouring busy rhythm of coming to the office every morning, no more plans, no more deadlines, he is very comfortable and enjoys. The family travels every month. Many hobbies that were previously impossible, now he freely spends his time such as studying piano, painting, reading classic novels, reading books. He also created a website to learn English through popular books.

The IT industry has a revenue advantage.  Quite a lot of early retirees in the world and Vietnam are working in this industry.  Artwork: FUNiX

The IT industry has a revenue advantage. Quite a lot of early retirees in the world and Vietnam are working in this industry. Illustration: FUNiX

But after only two months, Hung Tu began to miss the noisy atmosphere of the streets and his colleagues. To make up for this shortfall, she spends days sitting in coffee shops around her children’s school, from drop-off to pick-up. At the same time, he accepted to do several projects, create a website to teach IT processes… to pass the time.

But that still doesn’t satisfy the 38-year-old IT engineer, especially when friends share the difficulties they face in professional work. Many times Tu felt itchy hands and feet and wanted to return to the ranks. The days he sits in the cafe, he meets young people who are focused on learning to hack Facebook, increase interaction to make money quickly without developing background and capacity, he really wants to transfer his knowledge but can’t. know who you are.

“I applied for another job because I realized I was no different from young people who lacked life experience, wasting time making fancy coffee just to chat and play games,” he said.

Hung Tu’s story is not uncommon, especially for those looking forward to early retirement. Stocks like “Confused about whether to retire early?”, “What to do with early retirement?”, “Back to work after early retirement”… appear in many newspapers and magazines. recent forums.

An organizational study youGov a survey of nearly 10,000 Americans on the impact of Covid-19 on retirement planning, shows that 11% of people aged 45-54 are planning to retire later. Likewise, studies of Wise enoughA New York-based retirement planning firm also found that 44% of Americans would put off retirement and work if the market continued to crash, 18% of people would be working for at least 5 more years.

Financial expert Phan Dung Khanh, from Ho Chi Minh City, shared that the pandemic is having a huge impact on early retirees. The shares invested in stocks, land and cryptocurrencies… got rich quickly, allowing them to rest before plotting. But the other part is badly affected, making them worry about making money.

Mr Khanh cites the example of an acquaintance who retired years ago thanks to passive income from renting a house in the center of Saigon, which costs 8,000 USD per month, but translates to only 2,000 USD. His total income was down, so he recently had to sell his house and use the money to figure out how to start a business. One more ironic family when buying 17 billion dong land in 2019, for the past three years it has not been sold or rented out. If unfortunately the real estate market freezes, this will be “dead ground”. The couple is currently looking for another job.

Mr Khanh also witnessed a group of retirees but realized they were not happy. There was a man who stopped making money two years ago, now still has a passive income of 8,000-10,000 USD per month but is depressed because he always picks up children, limits his social contacts, and reduces his knowledge. “Mid last year, he leveraged his experience from when doing e-commerce, to introducing TikTok and YouTube products, so far it has brought him a very good income, but for him, he is doing it just for fun,” said the expert.

Doctor of education Chi Nguyen, a university lecturer in the US and researcher on the early retirement movement, says that this takes 5 steps, including the step of “making yourself a hobby” before retiring. When you’re busy with work, you’ll want to take a break, but when you do, you’ll feel bored and confused if you don’t have a clear hobby or plan.

Chi himself has been following this trend since he was a graduate student. “Once I achieve financial freedom, I will never retire from the traditional concept of fish farming, but will continue my passion as a content creator,” he said.

Share these thoughts, man from Nghe Thanh Tung Nguyen quit his job at the age of 30 when he achieved financial freedom. Passionate about travel and garden design, for the past two years, he has traveled to 20 countries and is a travel blogger. He bought a penthouse on the outskirts of town, spent 5 m2 as a lotus pond, 95 m2 as a koi pond and a garden to plant trees. In addition, he is constantly looking for investment opportunities.

“I don’t think the word ‘early retirement’ should be used because it would be misleading to give up everything and do nothing. It is a transition from one job to another, where I have the right to choose my time, my passion. .spirit without having to ask permission or pressure from superiors,” said Tung.

Thanh Tung on his way to Japan in late 2018. Photo: Provided by character

Thanh Tung on his way to Japan in late 2018. Photo: Characters provided

American psychologist Ken Dychtwald, an expert with 17 books on the topic of retirement, recently gained attention when introducing the concept. third life (third age of life) as uncharted territory.

According to him, we used to see retirement as a short time after a lifetime of hard work, and the sooner someone did it, the more successful it was. But as life expectancy increases and many people become financially free early on, the third stage of life – if only leisure – leads to boredom and disorientation. Ken Dychtwald believes that this period should not be entirely focused on recovery. Many parents continue to discover themselves and their lives, and many of them actually make it into retirement.

Meanwhile, Hung Tu admitted that he had experienced a “self-identity crisis” during his one year retirement. He felt bland, no happier than when he was at work. He is not interested in running, traveling, or exploring other hobbies. What has attracted him since graduating from college is the ever-changing technology. Despite having experience, when moving to another company or working on another project, there is always a lot to learn. And for IT engineers “the challenge is passion, not pressure”.

Therefore, in repeated interviews, he revealed that he wanted to work in an environment that contributed the most. If you’re doing this work but have other projects that need support, you’re good to go. So for Tu, retirement must be associated with enthusiasm and usefulness.

“After my missed retirement, I will work for another 20 years until the state grants me a new leave,” he said.

Phan Duong

* The names of some characters have been changed

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