How To Retire At 40

We were debating what the retirement age is in Australia the other day at work. I said 70, someone said 65, someone else said 60. Turns out we were all right given the difference between the pension age, the super age and some other detail I don’t recall. The point is they were all pretty depressed at the thought of having to work to such a ripe old age.

“I’m going to retire at 50,” my colleague piped up.

“I’m already semi retired,” I replied – to ripples of laughter.

It’s true. At 40 I am semi retired. So, how did I manage it? I’m not a trust fund, silver spoon fed girl. Neither do I have a sugar daddy of a husband. My retirement is all down to my own hard work and considered choices about how I want to live my life.

I’ve worked hard for twenty-odd years, over half of which were spent in the highly charged marketing and corporate world until I almost burned myself out. Now I freelance as a writer, bringing stories to life for businesses and magazines, and I teach yoga part-time.

In my spare time (which is plentiful) I ride my bike, walk my dogs by the beach, and write my labours of love: short stories, a memoir and a novel. I have to remind myself not to feel guilty about having down time. Being busy is worn like a badge; as a measure of success and importance.

But I don’t see either writing or yoga as actual ‘work’ in the gruelling, obligatory, monotonous sense. I see it as play, a hobby and a way I choose to live my life. See, I was writing and practicing yoga for years before I got paid for them. Now I just feel fortunate that I get paid for doing what I love.

So, it is possible to retire at 40. But only if you make a conscious choice; it means you may have to sacrifice material things. It’s not for everyone. It’s funny how those well-worn anecdotes like ‘life begins at 40’ play out, and how crystal certain things become when you stop and realise you are approximately half way through your life.

Choice is the definitive word – what life do you choose and how do you measure success? If money and reaching the top of the corporate ladder are your priorities then retiring at 40 is probably unrealistic.

Do you want to continue on the treadmill or to design and carve the life you dream of? I’m not encouraging laziness. Learn. Create. Evolve. Leave your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. But choose to follow your own path, not the one you’re conditioned to believe you should follow. That path might just, if you’re lucky, lead to retirement at 40.


6 thoughts on “How To Retire At 40

  1. Love this Tina – we should catch up. I’m getting my book published and presenting talks, very similar topic. Ax

    Consultant & Coach





    • Thanks Anne, I appreciate your comment.

      How exciting getting your book published. I’m well jel (as they say) but made up for you and can’t wait to read it.

      Let’s catch up, next week? Message me when. After that I’m overseas for three weeks. xx


  2. Hey Tina,
    I loved your article.
    I worked hard in my 20’s and 30’s and together my hubby and I made some good financial choices. We saved a lot! Put it into our mortgage and that made a good start.
    My hubby still works hard, we want to give the kids a good education and with that choice comes financial commitments. Its a conscious choice. Maddy is off to Vietnam and Cambodia next year with school, to build and help struggling communities.
    So I guess we are on the treadmill and making a conscious choice to be there. LOL.
    Sara xx


    • Hi Sara,

      This is such a familiar story, quite amazing really. It’s very admirable that you are working and sacrificing for your kids’ education. Maddie will have a great experience in Vietnam and Cambodia. I hope the yoga is going well, I checked out your site and I love it!

      T xxx


  3. Good article Tina.

    I ‘retired’ from corporate life, like you in marketing at 39 and went back to uni to study for 4 years, published a book and now work (admittedly like mad), in my chosen profession which I can do ’til I drop should I choose to.

    The difference is I have taken a 2 year sabbatical with permission from no-one and if I want to, I can – and do – take 10 week’s holiday a year. It no longer feels like work, the old adage ‘if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life’ is so true.

    The days of a job for life are over, we can change career, pursue interests, passions, create work from hobbies as we choose – should we not be wrapped up in having the biggest house, fanciest car, best possessions. I believe your life is rich when you fill it with joy, not with money and super.

    I hope you have a great holiday.

    Sheena x


    • Thanks Sheena,

      It seems I’ve surrounded myself with many like-minded people. Tell me about your book? That’s still a work in progress for me.

      I like the idea of a two year sabbatical, but after spending two years doing my masters at uni I’m putting it to good use. However, the idea of a year somewhere remote without distractions to finish my novel is tempting…

      Catch up with you when I get back from the UK. Still thinking about Rick Stein and Padstow…



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