When I was in my 30s, I planned to retire in my 40s. I’ve been working since my 20s and the first 8 years were spent in corporate so I had savings and EPF.

I began my own business in 2008, and it wasn’t easy and still isn’t easy. In 2019, I found a co-founder to lighten the burden. However, our business kinda grew with more responsibilities and unsteady income.

The events world is a challenging one if you don’t have deep pockets and that’s why relying on one business alone, especially one that needs customisation isn’t a wise one. 

In my 30s, I signed up for an insurance plan that I would be able to cash out in my 60s so I know there’s something to look forward to help sustain my monthly expenses and cover my medical bills.

I’ve always looked for multiple income streams hence why I’m involved in invoice factoring, and investments while still in the creative field writing, drawing, painting and building an art platform. My investments would be the only passive income stream for now though I’m planning two more passive income streams involving  the art platform and a publication.

Now that I’m in my 40s, I’m still not ready to retire. I might slow down on the number of projects I work on but I’m not feeling confident about having enough to not work and have enough savings to last me a few more decades (God willing I have a long and healthy life.)

Besides the savings, I don’t think I’m ready to be away from the hustle and bustle and the opportunity to meet people from different ecosystems.

Speaking with my relatives who have retired, there have been some regrets along the way when unprepared.

 Here are four of them:

1. Healthcare. As you get older, you might start to experience some health issues that require regular check-ups and medication.

If you’ve not put aside money for healthcare or have insurance to cover some medical bills, paying for dental care, eye care, and other preventive services can be painful. A visit to a private clinic for a fever can cost you close to RM300 nowadays.

2. Taxes. Even though you might not be earning any income, you still have to pay taxes on investments. The tax rates and rules vary depending on the type of account and the amount of withdrawal, but they can be quite complicated and confusing. You might need to hire an accountant or finance advisor to help file your tax returns and optimize your tax strategy. 

3. Inflation. The cost of living in Malaysia has been rising steadily over the years, especially for food, housing, and transportation. Your savings might losing its purchasing power as inflation erodes its value. You might have to adjust your spending habits and lifestyle to cope with the rising prices. 

4. Loneliness. One of the biggest challenges of early retirement was the lack of social interaction and connection. Most of your friends and former colleagues might still be working. You might feel isolated and bored at home, with no one to talk to or share your thoughts and feelings with. At some point, if you have grown up kids, they might have their own families to tend to. 

Of course, there are also some benefits and joys of early retirement, such as having more time and flexibility to pursue your passions and hobbies, being able to spend more time with your family and loved ones, and being free from the stress and pressure of work.

Even if you don’t need the money, you might still want to work a few more years before retiring, or at least have a part-time or freelance job to supplement your income and keep you engaged.

If you are thinking about retiring early, make sure you are prepared for these expenses and challenges that may come your way. Early retirement is not for everyone, and it is not as easy or glamorous as it may seem. It requires careful planning, discipline, and adaptation. It is a big decision that will affect your life in many ways, so think twice before you take the plunge.

To reach the My Money Insights editorial team on your feedback, story ideas and pitches, contact us here.

Get smart money tips in your inbox
We respect your privacy.