A year after retirement at 48 – Changes & Learnings

Nov 7th, 2017 –  I completed a year after I left the corporate world.

A year back I had written this blog https://vak1969.com/2016/11/12/is-48-the-new-58-the-growing-trend-of-early-retirement/ – and a lot of people came back asking how the last one year has been.

How do you spend your time ? Did you have second thoughts after a few months ? Are you feeling restless ? Are you bugging your wife staying at home all the time ? Etc Etc …. So I felt its time to share how the last 12 months have been  on what have I gained and lost.

In Summary : Its been a breeze – I have had no second thoughts and have been recommending to one and all to pull the plug. Now lets look at some of the key Learnings & Changes

TIME no longer manages me – I am the BOSS 

TIME – Most challenges in life come because TIME dictates us. All our stress, tension , spoilt relationships is because TIME is in total control of us . The day has 24 hrs and you need to do a lot – so you start the day getting irritated in chaotic traffic and all thru the day you fight with TIME and its a losing battle. TIME is your ultimate boss and trying to constantly catch up with TIME wrecks your life.

I am now in control of TIME – I am the boss. The world looks very different when you don’t have multiple deadlines and time pressure. There is no stress – you look around when you drive , you stop by small stores in the neighbourhood , you talk to people in the stores, you admire the flowers in the garden , you observe the birds in the morning walk , you see things you never saw before  – that is a Big Big WIN .


William Shakespeare,4 stages of human life,Early Retirement ,Tips for Early Retirement,A few good peopleYou have very few TRUE Friends 

You may have over 500 FB contacts and over 1000 Linked in connects – but if you have a few genuine friends consider yourself lucky. When you are in a position to help people a lot of people keep in touch . For Employee discounts on Apple products , jobs and internships , special deals , references – that translates into 100’s of Diwali , New Year & Birthday greetings. All that vanished- and a few good people kept in touch , to be specific 3, and I am thankful to those 3 people (they know who they are).  So your phone bill comes down – I downgraded from a 1599 Airtel plan to a 799 plan and I am good. I get worried when the phone rings and keep it in DND most of the time as the only people calling me are those wanting to sell insurance products or credit cards or Orphanages wanting charity

A Rupee saved is a Rupee earned 

I was a flamboyant spender – never counted the pennies. But suddenly even if you have enough and more you become very cautious when the monthly pay check stops. It all started one day at the grocery store when I was buying butter and realised that Nadini , Amul and Britannia were priced Rs 40 , Rs 42 & Rs 44 – thats a 10% difference – all 3 brands work fine. The same veggies in two shops 100 m away could be priced differently by as much as 25%. I always had a cup of filter coffee at Adyar Anand Bhawan during my visits to Axis bank – now I drink the same coffee at Udupi Vihar next door – Adayar Anand Bhawan Coffe was Rs 15/- while the one at Udupi Vihar was Rs 10/-.   Same goes with eating out – earlier a family Dinner was in the 4 – 5 K /meal range , we have now discovered lovely places with great food and ambience where it costs us 1000 – 1250 / meal. I never flinched while working paying 30 K / night for a hotel room – we now discover lovely hotels for 5 K / night.

William Shakespeare,4 stages of human life,Early Retirement ,Tips for Early Retirement,A few good people,simple things in life,

Hotel Rooms , travel , dress , food – you name it – if you have the time to check out a few places there are amazing savings around the corner and without too much of an effort we were able to bring our annual expenses down by 25%.

Do it Yourself. 

Indians are bad at DIY. Our parents were great – as kids we banged nails in the walls , took an entire cycle apart (and fixed it successfully), changed the scooters punctured tyres , and most households managed with 1 maid.

This week I saw in our building Whats App group a lady complaining that the electrician needs to be changed – she has not been able to change her fused tube light for 3 weeks since he did not come. Another  complained that the laundry guy doesn’t come and pick up clothes for ironing. A very good friend calls up HDFC bank to deliver cash at home – we have lost it. And I had lost it too. But now I am starting the DIY journey – and its linked to both TIME and MONEY.

William Shakespeare,4 stages of human life,Early Retirement ,Tips for Early Retirement,A few good people,simple things in life,

When the laundry guy increased his rate from Rs 5 – Rs 6 ( a whopping 20% increase) my monthly bill went up from 1250 to 1500. I started ironing clothes – 10 a day , most of them are easy to iron – in 20 minutes I can iron 10 clothes – and I am sure I will get better with time. Now you are no longer dependent on anyone and you have saved Rs 1500/- Same with the driver – he hardly had work for 3 hrs a day – his cost to me was Rs 18,000 / month – I let him go with a months notice. We now manage with UBER / OLA and we call in a driver for Rs 350 for 3.5 hrs twice a week – all of this put together costs us less than Rs 6000 /- month – a saving of Rs 12,000.One way of looking at it is I saved 1.44 Lacs – the other way is I just paid for 3 holidays in a year.

We live in comfort – but having a driver who is utilised for 3 hrs a day is unnecessary luxury. My next step is working on reducing our maids from three to two – lets hope that happens soon. For a start we are already washing over 100 utensils a day.

It takes time to change HABITS – but I guess my habits are changing , from becoming extravagant I am now thinking twice before spending money.

And now to answer the main question everyone had for me – How do you spend the day ? Its easy the day flies by – I have watched 3 movies and almost no TV this year. The day can be split into 3 clear sections

On an ideal day I wake up at 4 AM , meditate for an hr , Chant the Gayatri Mantra 108 times and do Yoga/ Walk  for an hr. That between 4AM – 8.30 AM.

We have an early lunch Ashram style piping hot freshly cooked at 9.30 AM. Then from 10 AM – 2.30 PM I have free time to check out mails , make some money on the stock market , read , go shopping , visit Chai point for a cup of tea, go to the bank etc etc

Before the kids come we make some snacks and then its pick up and drop to Tuiton classes , Music Classes , art classes etc – most days that keeps me busy till 5.30 PM. Then I run for 5 Kms (40 minutes) on the treadmill, come home , Chant the Mrityunjay Mantra 108 times , have dinner by 7 PM , spend time with kids and off to bed by 9 PM.

I travel every month to some place – this year has been great and have covered Binsar, Dunagiri , Andamans , Goa , Bandipur , Tiruchi , Chidambaram, Kanchipuram  – and I have Kodaikanal planned in early Dec and Cal / Bhubaneswar / Konark in end Dec. I completed a 10 day Vipassna program and went to Valley of Flowers for an amazing trek. Not just that we discovered 14 new places in and around Bangalore in our Fusion day trips. There is no dearth of things to see and do in India. I learnt swimming ( but got to practise more – Bangalore cold weather not helping) , tried my hand at learning Kannada and failed miserable. Spent a lot of time in doing the interiors for my Villa. Improved my cooking skills , perfected my vegetable chopping skills and with my dish washing ability I am now a great backup if the maid takes leave.

So its been a wonderful busy productive year – not a day have I sat back thinking ” so what do I do today ? ” And I am sure that the next year will be equally busy and productive.

I gained a lot – and I lost a lot – I have lost my anger ( most of the time) , lost my restlessness and have worked on the two most difficult things in life – reducing EGO and minimising DESIRES. I am healthy and fit , 6 kgs lighter and my Fatty Liver which used to erupt every month has troubled me only once this whole year. ( this will go down in history as the most expensive cure for fatty Liver and GERD)

My family sees me at home a lot – and I guess they are happy because they grumble when I say I am taking a few days off. My wife gets to travel more as now there is someone at home to look after the kids.

The essence of my new life is based on 3 fundamentals

  1. Nothing is permanent – everything will pass
  2. You are responsible for everything no one else
  3. My belief in destiny has got stronger – do good and good will happen to you

I am happy that I took the tough call to leave a high paying job at Apple at 48 – No Regrets at all. Its helping me inch forward in my quest for Truth.








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20 comments on “A year after retirement at 48 – Changes & Learnings

  • Eashwer , Direct link to comment

    Great read.

    I’m also curious about the aha moment that motivated you to take a bold decision to retire from corporate world and re-balance your priorities.

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      The age old adage – you leave managers not companies – so after 25 years my peer who became my manager gave me a nasty rating in a year where I felt I had stretched and achieved a lot – that was the Aha moment to say enough is enough

  • Ramesh , Direct link to comment

    Very honest … coming straight from the heart from a very straight person. May god bless you with happiness and total bliss. There is so much to learn from you both in professional and after-professional life. Wish I could gather some courage like you and hang up my boots some day. Easier said than done. One needs courage of conviction and honesty of purpose. Maybe I will get there…

  • Ajit Pol , Direct link to comment

    Great read! Kudos to your decision, follow through, and good outcome. Keep posting updates.

  • Vikee , Direct link to comment

    Awesome Anand. Experience and experiment
    have shown that when you spend more time on family and relationships you live a long and happy life. Really happy for you.

  • Sai , Direct link to comment

    Amazing and what a journey VAK! Absolute eye opener for all of us who still think that we are working hard with sleepless nights and not knowing where are we heading and what are we losing! Hats off! Your experience is the inspiration to relook at life though not sure how fast I can join 🙂

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      With a son graduating from Ivy League and after 30 years in Corporate – you can move any day Sai! Buy me the baby medu Vada at Bowring Club and I will help you chart the journey

  • Francis , Direct link to comment

    My case is a different one. I enjoyed life till fifty(50), thinking that retired life should be in youth. At 50, I started my carrier. Before two years, I started own business and next year, after 60, want to start a new Factory.

  • Anil Saxena , Direct link to comment

    Hi, I am Anil Saxena (I too studied at SVNIT nee SVR). I am 68. Still working full time. Have enough money to last more than my and spouse lifetime. So why i work (really slogging – more work than I ever did in before 60 years).. I find it very sinful to live off my money, when you have gainful work to do and your skills are useful to society. Depriving society your skills and experience is painful for me. I do not make much money from my job, (it is almost 10% of what I made 10 years ago, or now in a year I make about half (0.5) percent of my existing financial assets. Therefore financially it makes no sense to spend 10-11 hours, including two hours of commuting in public transport. I could do it free, but then my employer will misuse me (lie anything free is often misused). Your comments, if any…

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Thats your choice – every path is different – if this gives you happiness and peace stay with it

    • Rohini , Direct link to comment

      Skills and experience can be utilized not only by paid jobs but helping others who requires the most…Kids,aged,sick,poor and needy people.

  • Ananda , Direct link to comment

    Amazing and your story is a eye opener for many people who thinks money is the only way for happy life.

  • Sanjay Joshi , Direct link to comment

    Indeed a bold and correct decision for u dear.
    I think it all depend on case to case.
    If someone is confident and hv good financial condition as a result of the active life , one can.
    It is not in fate for all. There are our friends who can not afford the luxury which u r enjoying, even they wish to.
    My best of luck dear .

  • FIIndia , Direct link to comment

    Without sharing any specific numbers, would you be willing to talk about how did you decide you had “enough” saved/invested? eg. what is the ratio of your investible portfolio and annual expenses? There is a large amount of theoretical material available for US (eg. 25X expenses is generally considered “enough”), but I’m curious about someone who’s actually doing it in India. Cheers!

    • vak1969 , Direct link to comment

      Yes there was a lot of thought that I put into this before finalising a number – if you are interested send me a mail from your mail id – to vak_1969@yahoo.com , happy to share the rationale I followed

  • Sundar , Direct link to comment

    I can resonate with the feeling of nearly all of your contacts having forgotten you.Perhaps with a purpose, I guess. after over 30 years in Corporate life at the top, this revelation is the biggest aspect to hit me. I am glad I took the decision of scaling down with a niche legal practice

  • Nag , Direct link to comment

    Interesting blog indeed. I took a break for 2 years once I hit 20 years of work life and went back to work again and still doing it. May be I’ll call it a day in another 10 years, though, my current job lets me do lot of other stuff that I enjoy like reading. With that said, it’s perhaps easier to do in India than in countries like US, unless one makes money in start up. Anyway good luck

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