What to do When You Retire?

Welcome to Thought Experiment #5.

At the beginning of each second month, a thought experiment question will be tweeted under the hashtag #ThoughtExperiment and everyone is invited to participate with their own posts, these will then go live together on the 15th of the next month (you can still join in after this date). Below is the question asked for this Thought Experiment.

Life is good. You finally did it! You pulled the plug on your day job after reaching financial independence. You never have to work for money ever again. But, you’re bored. You need something to do… You need a project! You grab a piece of paper and a pen and start thinking. Now that you’re financially free, what projects do you want to complete? However ambitious, however small, you now have the time to pursue anything that you like, what will you accomplish?

As always tweet @SavingNinja if you have participated and I’ll add your post to the list below!

what to do when you retire

Thought Experiment #5


CaveMan @ DitchTheCave

A Way to Less

Cashflow Cop

Merely curious

Sam @ A Simple Life

Gentlemans Family Finances

Marc @ Finance Your Fire


The FIRE Shrink

Young FI Guy

Fretful Finance


What Life Could Be

Money For The Modern Girl

Reaching financial independence is a dream for you and me but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? A lot of people would quickly jump to the conclusion that it’s because they hate their job but when you dig into the root of it, you’d realise that it’s actually time that they desire most.

You always look back towards your former years with longing, missing the freedom and happiness that having more free time grants you. When you’re in school, you don’t realise how much free time you actually have, time that you can dedicate to whatever your heart desires. The leakage of your time gets progressively worse as you work your way through college, university, your career, and eventually; kids.

People long for that time back. They look back with misery at all of the free time that they wasted as a youth when they’ve undoubtedly collected so many dreams during their adult years but simply don’t have time to pursue any of them until they’re at the ripe old age of 68.

It’s sad to think that the majority of the world will never get to realise their dreams. They’ll never even get to begin their projects or deduce their ideal life. Since leaving adolescence people always tell you to kick your dreams to the kirb… “Get a real job that pays the bills,” they say. Our society is built off of these broken dreams, the broken dreams of a civilisation. Who would truly choose to work for 5 days a week, sat in front of a computer screen, if money wasn’t part of the equation?

That’s what makes our FIRE movement so special. We say F U to the norms of society. We will not wait around until we are grey and old to realise our dreams. We will realise them as soon as we can, we won’t fall prey to the materialistic propaganda.

So, what will I do once I am free, once my “real life” begins?

The Thrill of the Game

When growing up I always wanted to be a game developer. This type of job seemed so out of reach when I was in school, I felt that it was almost like saying that I wanted to be an astronaut or rocket scientist. I went to college to study Computer Science, knowing that I wanted to do something which involved computers. Then, to my delight, I found the perfect university course to pursue my passion: Computer Game Development.

Unfortunately, money took control after I left university and instead of going after the much more difficult (and lower paid) job titles such as game developer, I went into mobile application development. But I still knew that I wanted the thrill of making a game. Nothing quite beats the feeling that you get when you’ve made a game from a bunch of algorithms and then watch someone play it. I told myself that I would make games in my spare time whilst working in a higher paid job… But of course I haven’t, due to one thing…

Time – Or lack thereof.

Making a game is hard work, it would be incredibly difficult and stressful to do so whilst working a 9 till 5. But nothing would be more exciting than not working and dedicating a whole year or more to designing and developing a fully fledged indie game. Having a title on the Steam store (or maybe Project Stadia in the future?) would be a dream come true.


One of my favorite hobbies is reading and since starting this blog, I’ve started to quite like writing too! One of my retirement projects will definitely be to write a novel. Not just any novel, I want to write an epic fantasy.

Much like my desire to create a game, I’d love to sit down and design a huge character set and plot line and methodically write each chapter and sequence (see the Snowflake Method). It’s said that writing a fantasy novel is pretty darn difficult, but I’d have time on my side, and with that, I think I’d be OK!

Related posts:
What Would you do if you got Given £1 Million
If you Could Reset Your Life
If you Had 10 Years Left to Live

Mobile Applications

Throughout my long career as a mobile application developer I’ve released dozens of apps for Android and iOS but I’ve not yet had the time to create any apps for myself. I’ve started a bunch of them but seem to never finish! When retired I’d have to keep my skills up to date and I’d like to do so by creating my own applications.

These apps would probably start off with useful software that would help with my own life, I’ve already got a half built app that helps me keep track of my spending! I really should finish it soon…


This would be a more long term project and I think the most important one. I’ve always wanted to buy a big plot of land and build structures myself. I’d start off with a simple wood shed and eventually build my own sawmill, barn, and stables. Eventually I’d love to also be able to build my forever family home. Although it may run the risk of turning into a shanty shack!

Ultimately this project will be the Ranch project where I’d try and build a fully renewable living facility which includes its own power generator, waste disposal, water filtration and crops. I may be way too overambitious with this one, real life isn’t much like Minecraft! But with time on your hands, you can learn anything.

These are my main passion projects that I’ll pursue when I retire. I’d never realised before that all of my dream projects revolve around creating things. Each one involves building something and being able to share that creation with others. When I’m ever feeling low on my journey toward financial independence, I’ll refer back to this post as a reminder of why I’m doing all of this:

To take back my time and chase my dreams.

What will you do when you are retired?


32 thoughts on “What to do When You Retire?

  1. Looks like you’ve got some achievable and measurable goals there (to use performance review speak). My dad is also writing an epic fantasy novel. He’s a couple of years from retirement but can’t wait to be working on it full time. It’s definitely not something he’d have been bold enough to do if the mortgage and bills depended on it.

    I’m planning to post my response when I get in from work tonight.

      1. Not entirely sure of his method. I think he’s carefully plotted out a 5 novel arc and knows his character biographies in granular detail down to their favourite food and colour. Now I believe he’s taking the approach of just getting everything down on the page and worrying about chapter order etc later. Think he’s got about 10 chapters written or something but that pesky day job keeps getting in the way of progress. He does work 4 days a week though, so I think his extra day off is his main writing day. Difficult to get into the flow when you’re picking up the pen/laptop in the evening.

        1. That’s so awesome. I’d love to read it when he’s complete! If he ever needs any proof-readers, let me know 🙂

  2. Some great goals there, SN and as @Fretful Finance says, all pretty achievable.

    With regards to the writing thing, have you ever tried Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month)?


    In the month of November, you (amd all other registered peeps) attempt to write a 50k word ‘novel’. Perhaps this could be a half-way staget to you writing a full blown novel? As a fellow fantasy aficionado, I would read your book! 🙂

    BTW, I have attempted it before, many years ago but I wasn’t dedicated and only made it to 10k words before I gave up. Might consider it again in the future though.

    1. 10k words is a pretty hefty amount! I haven’t tried Nanowrimo, I’ll check it out tonight, thanks 😮

    1. Thanks 🙂 Yeah I feel like I’d need projects like this to be happy, I always have to be doing things!

  3. These thoughts experiments are great! I’d like one day to feel confident enough to be to write a post in English without spending loads of editing time editing
    , and still be readable. Hehe

  4. Big plans!! 🙂

    Love it, especially the idea of the game, that would be awesome.

    The idea of building my own house does sound cool, but actually doing it… I am not sure I could ever be bothered with that, it’s such a huge thing and to do everything yourself would take literally years*, so it would then be a choice of how much you end up outsourcing, I think. Then I’d get onto the point that if you are outsourcing some of it, might as well just outsource the rest and get someone else to build it for you 🙂

    My friend has just broken ground and leaving everything to the profesionals and it will take 12-18 months (i.e. definitely 18 months minimum, haha) so just imagine how long it would take one person to learn how to, and then build a whole house on their own, I’m not even sure it would be possible without help?!


    1. Thanks TFS!

      Yeah, I think I’d start off with an easier project like a chicken coup; then I’d move up to a barn of some sorts, theeen a house. Maybe I’d just renovate or extend a house that I bought.

      I just want a lot of land and no requirements for planning permission. Like one big game of Minecraft; If I can build a house on there, I can do it in real life… Right?

      Hopefully I’ll have enough time if I retire early enough 😉

  5. I think you hit the nail on the head – we need more time! After working 9-5, cooking and eating, and doing the necessary chores, we only really have a few hours per day in the evening to ourselves, if we’re lucky. I do wonder when the next Henry Ford will come along, and introduce a new work week. Surely with automation and the ability to work from home, the 9-5, 40-hour work week is outdated and long-overdue a rethink? Anyway, I’ve gotten sidetracked from the topic at hand…

    Those are some great ideas, Saving Ninja! Especially creating a game; I know what you mean, having a game that you created yourself on Steam would feel incredible. And if you had the time to truly dedicate to it, you could even create the next Minecraft or Stardew Valley!

    I agree with Weenie above, as a huge fan of fantasy I would certainly give your novel a try in the future. And thanks for linking to the Snowflake method, that looks extremely useful and interesting. I’ve bookmarked it for future use!

    Your ranch project reminds me of the Red Dead Redemption series of games. Very ambitious, but if you have the time and money (and the willpower!) I think it would be doable.

    1. That would be very cool, that’s what we’re all doing in this community, aren’t we? We’re taking back a fairer work/life balance the only way we know how.

      You wanna be my alpha tester? 🙂

  6. ooooh, buying a plot of land and building your own place you say? That’s definitely high on my list. Finding the land is the difficult part. Seems the easiest way through my research so far is to buy a home already with land and knock it down.

    Maybe I will find out where you end up buying so I can buy a plot next to you. We could then build our own little shanty town together with a network of underground tunnels for when the world ends.

    A tunnel to America might be difficult, but if I can get to FI, I can do anything I want. Watch me!

    1. Yes! That would be so cool. Everything is better when you’re doing it with friends 🙂 A lot more achievable too! We could call it Fireville?

  7. “One of my retirement projects will definitely be to write a novel. Not just any novel, I want to write an epic fantasy.”

    Shall we write one together? 😉 I absolutely love the idea to create a fantasy/sci-fi universe…

    Maybe we should organize a small writing competition… ask bloggers to submit/publish short stories… hmm… let me think a bit about this…

  8. I think the projects are great, but also possibly quite lonely ones. I reached FIRE +2 years ago. I found it very important to included something very social to my plan of projects. For me I became a dive instructor where I deal with nice and excited people. It’s fun and provides the social interaction that was cut when I left my office job.

    I also have the build my own house dream (still), that is why I learnt about various materials, piping and plumbing, electric wiring, and construction / building process by renovating 8 apartment units a year long. That is my stepping stone to build something bigger and hopefully with my own hands for the most part. Some of the these apartments I renovated provide my passive income stream today. Some I did for experience and fun for others because I had the time.

    Writing a novel: i also love creating and in my case I want to write an autobiography one day. So blogging is my step towards improving my writing. No where close with my current writing skills yet, but I hope I can improve over time 😉

    1. I didn’t think about loneliness 🙂 I guess I’ve always been a little bit of a hermit and normally just hang out with my partner, so I’ve always thought we’d be fine. Would probably need to add some kind of interaction with the outside world in there though 😛

      Awesome steps towards building your own house. I just lay down a new sub-floor and laminate for my hallways, it was muuuch more stressful than I thought it would be, so I may have to reconsider the building project (or have a go at some smaller projects before diving into the deep end!)

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