Have You Done Your Time?

When I first got my part time job and had to work all nights and weekends, I remember talking to someone who had been with the company for more than a decade and saying how it would be nice to have weekends off like them.

Their response was that they had “done their time”, in essence they had worked long enough to no longer be required to work the shifts no one wanted to.

In a way the same mindset is with finances.

People think that you can’t retire early because you haven’t “done your time”, you haven’t worked 30 plus years to be able to retire.

Is that really required to retire? Is retiring really no longer working? Should I continue working until I’m 65 just to “do my time”.

Typical person works how long?

Lets say you start your career at 22 and you retire at 62 (the US average) that means that you will have worked for 40 years.

Let’s say you work 40 hours a week with 4 weeks of vacation a year and another week for holidays throughout the year.

That means that every year you are working 1,880 or 32% (assuming 8 hours of sleep a night).

One third or your life every year for 40 years will be dedicated to working and making money, more if you work overtime or more than one job.

How long are people retired for?

When you reach retirement age of 62 (and now people are retireing later and later) how long do you get to enjoy it?

The average retirement is 18 years (source), that’s all you get. For giving up a third of your life for 40 years or more you get 18 years to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

All so that you can “do your time”

A Different Option

It’s because of this, and many other reasons, that so many now are deciding to retire early.

For some this seems like a dream, a mear fantasy, but it can be a reality if you want it to be.

If you are willing to get out of debt, or never get into it in the first place. Work hard on side hustles, and live frugaly than you can retire early.

How early is too early to retire?

Is there such a thing as “too early”? There are many things to consider when picking your retirement age. Sam over at Financial Samurai talks in detail about it here.

The basics are this, do it for the right reasons, and make sure you really do have enough saved to do it.

How Long Till I’ve Done “My Time”

With the concept of retiring early it really gets rid of the thought of doing your time.

You have to make sacrifices, but if you are willing to make them early than you can have what none of the others do.

You can retire early, and enjoy life well they are still working hard.

You also may never actually stop working. Some who have retired still work on side projects, or start side projects. For those who have the ability to retire early odds are that you also can create something useful in the world.

Even once I reach financial independence I probably won’t retire in the traditional sense. It will be more of a work when I want on what I want instead of now taking whatever work I can find.


So are you set to “do your time” or are you working hard now to make sure that your time really is your time.

That you get to enjoy the health of being young, the time you would spend working but instead have time to yourself.

If you choose to work till 65 it should be just that a choice, not something you have to do.

What do you think, do you have to do “your time”? Or, should you be able to set when you will retire?

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

12 thoughts on “Have You Done Your Time?”

  1. My husband and I personally are “doing our time” with side hustling so we can retire early. I don’t think there is anything wrong with working your butt off so you get to enjoy early retirement. I personally can’t imagine a life where I have to work 30 years. That is just me though. I am sure there are people who love their jobs and are willing to spend their life working at their jobs. Either way is perfectly ok. I just think it depends on if your purpose in life is aligned with your job or not.

    1. So true, I think if I had a job that was fulfilling and made me feel good when I left it than things would be different. And I’m the same way with the side hustles I spend as much if not more time on them then I do my 9 to 5, not to become a millionaire or live a materialistic life, just to stop needing to work asap.

  2. Perhaps instead of “Have you done your time?” We need to change it to “Have you done your effort?” The whole concept of ‘time’ is a 9-5 person’s mentality. People who are willing to do side hustles, etc see effort instead of time!

    1. True, and not only that but the 9 to 5 mindset is just to be physically present for 8 hours, odds are that you aren’t actually doing 8 hours of work. Whereas people who put in that much effort do so much more, get the promotions, the raises, etc. that allow them to get to financially independent that much faster.

  3. I “did my time” and retired at 62, mainly because I didn’t realize there were other options. It took me until my forties before I started getting out of debt and living frugally, and even then I just did enough to live a simple life and be happy, not enough to retire early. I think it’s amazing that so many young people have the drive to do what needs to be done to become financially independent at a younger age. Perhaps they should change “done your time” to “done your effort” because if you put in the effort, then the time is all yours.

    1. You and Bill seem to agree on this. It’s effort in two ways as well. First, you have to cut your expenses with a balance of still being able to enjoy life as well as being able to save for the future. Second, you put the “effort” in to increase your income, that could come from doing more work at your 9 to 5, creating side hustles, or a combination of both.

  4. ‘Doing your time’ implicates that you’re convicted to something. By society, I guess, in this case. That’s just how it’s done, you earn your right to retire by working for 40 years.

    I love how the FI/RE movement seems to question all those things.

    1. Well I don’t know about you but sometimes well I’m at my 9 to 5 I feel like I must have been convicted of something. It’s so great that we have options all we have to do is be willing to work for them.

  5. The concept of “doing your time” always seems terribly ageist to me. If I put in twice as much effort as the next guy, should he get promoted just because he’s “done his time”?

    I had a coworker at a previous job who used to spend a fair portion of his day watching YouTube videos, so he had to stay in the office late every evening to finish his assigned work for the day. Our boss lauded his dedication and “putting in the hours.”

    I think we can do better, at work, and towards any other goals we have. Dedicated, persistent effort towards our goals is what counts. For a cheesier phrase – quality time, not quantity time.

    1. I like it quality is the goal. I had a job where I would get the same amount of work in 2 hours as most of the others did all day. And I kept getting passed up for promotions and the like because they had more time with the company than me. Seemed unfair to me so I left. Now I work mostly for myself and soon completely for myself where the amount of effort put in means more income not more stress.

  6. I’m in an interesting place now. I work my day job part-time, with no more nights or holidays. We’ve saved and value frugality and experiences over stuff. However, my coworkers who are 20-30 years older still work the grueling hours and don’t exactly love it that the (relatively) new kid has already put in enough time to do this.

    1. I’m kind of in the same boat. I literally just took almost 3 weeks off from my 9 to 5 because my side hustles are producing enough that I can, not only that but I did have a lot of vacation time saved up as I almost never take any time off.
      But from now on even though I’m still working there it’s only 3 to 4 days a week and some of them not even 8 full hours. It has massively improved my life, and though I could use the extra money from working more to pay the debt down faster my mental health can’t take it.

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