How to Work More Years instead of Retiring Early and Enjoy Your Life More Now While You Are Still Working

You may need to know how to work more years, maybe many more years into your aging years. 

You could have gone through a financially crippling divorce or made a number of massive financial mistakes or been wiped out in the recession or been in a dying industry or just had some really bad luck.

Most of these things happened to me.  And I'm still happy and fine.

Lots of people have suffered financially for a variety of reasons and when they look at their bank accounts and investments, there is not much there.  Certainly not the millions the financial industry says we are supposed to have to fund a lavish early retirement or give your children a ton of money when we die.

One solution is to just keep working.  Work longer.  Work more years or maybe a lot more years. Think in terms of late 60's or early 70's rather than early 60's or late 50's..

A well-funded early retirement might not be in the cards for you.

Retiring in your 50's will be a pipe dream unless you have an incredible mountain of cash, a reliable maxed out government pension, minimal expenses, great luck and maybe even a spouse who wants to keep working.

Retiring at 62 with just a social security check and no health insurance until you make it to 65 and the safety of Medicare, will not work unless you dramatically cut your expenses to the bone or make some extremely radical changes.

I absolutely love stories of people living in vans on public land out west, rolling the dice without health insurance or moving to an inexpensive foreign country.  I can sit and read these stories and watch these videos for hours and dream of doing this myself...someday.

But not now.

I'm not ready for those extreme radical solutions. 

I like my comfortable apartment, good health insurance and being close to my family and friends.

If you don't want to go all in with massive changes in your lifestyle you need to know how to work more years, keep making a good income with some quality of life benefits, pay down your debts, enjoy your life now and put a little money away for the future you.

The Major Reasons You Want to Retire Early Instead of Trying to Work More Years

The reasons most people do not want to work more years and retire early is that they:

  • Hate their job
  • Don't feel well
  • Need more free time

If you can find a way to avoid all these extremely serious issues, you will give yourself a chance to work more years and in the process, enjoy your life now. 

First Step to Work More Years is Not Hating Your Job

Hating Your Job Equals Hating Your Life

You are working a lot of hours a week.  If you hate being there, your life will suck big time.

I don't hate my job.  In fact, I just recently started my dream job and am really happy at work.

I have not really hated any of my other jobs that much.  Maybe just a bit of hating from time to time. I fully realized that making a good income is the key to a good life and think any job with a decent income and some benefits is better than no job and no income.

Part of my job requires that I get out in the field and look at the projects. I love that part too and will like to work more years to enjoy this part.

I am a civil engineer and find the field enormously rewarding.  I can use my mind and creativity to create a better world for myself  my family and the world. 

Of course, I have had some jobs that were very far from ideal.  But once I determined that the job was not right for me, I kept moving toward something better. 

And that is the key to liking your work, don't stagnate in a job that is not right for you.  Once you determine it is wrong, start making changes.  There is no sense toughing it out for years on end.  You are torturing yourself for no good reason.

Hating or tolerating a job that is not right for you, just to hang on because you think you can retire early is a massive mistake.

You are postponing your happiness now for the future you.  This future you is someone else.  It is like doing everything for someone else.  Bending over backwards for someone else is always a mistake.  Even if the someone else is you in the future.

Think in terms of how to work more years and enjoy your life now.

Yes, you should do some things now so you in the future won't suffer.  Stop the bad habits so your body is in better condition.  Put aside some money so there is a bit of a surplus.  Take care of issues as they come up so they don't nag at you later.

But all of this is really you doing good things for you now.

Some people hate their job because they are not very good at it.  Each day is incredibly difficult and overly challenging.  Work shouldn't be so blasted hard every day. 

Yes, some days and tasks are very difficult.  You work like a fiend, rushing around all day and collapse exhausted at the end of the day.  I've had countless days like that.  But that should not be the norm.  The norm should be you working at a steady pace, engaged with your work without sweating and straining.

Work more years by doing more things at work. Whenever I can I sign up for out of the office trainings and conferences. In addition to learning a lot in a short time, they are usually exciting and fun. There is usually an opportunity to socialize with co-workers and colleagues.

Some people hate their jobs because of their managers.  You need to pick your managers wisely.  If the stress of working for your manager is not good for you, you need to move on. 

Expecting anyone to change for your benefit never works.  You only have control over yourself.

Your time working should not be filled with that type of stress if you need to work more years, or any years for that matter.

I've found that managers can be quite prickly to people who are not good at their jobs or who fool around too much at work.

I am extremely good at my job.  This creates enormous discretion in how I do my work.  I do what needs to be done and rarely feel any pressure.

Obviously, if you fool around all day at work, that isn't good.  As much fun as fooling around is, it just does not work at work.  Real work is not like the sit-coms on TV, you can only get away with an extremely small amount of fooling around.

Some people hate their jobs because they're bored.  They do the same thing all day every day and go to the same place every day.  You need to shift positions, or move up the ladder to more challenging work or find a different job.

Other reasons you might hate your job

  • It is physically exhausting
  • You work in terrible weather
  • Your chair is uncomfortable
  • You have to be in a small cube all day, every day
  • You hurt from doing the work
  • It is mentally draining
  • It is boring
  • It is too hard for your capacity
  • It requires too many hours
  • You have to be available 24/7
  • You get paid for 40 hours but have to work a lot more than that
  • Your co-workers are obnoxious
  • It is in a bad part of town
  • It takes a long time to get to work
  • You don't make enough money
  • The benefits suck

All these are real reasons you need to assess critically and make whatever changes are necessary so you like going to work.

Make lists and plans on how you are going to get through this.  This is your life.  You need to determine what it will take to make your work life happier.

Work More Years - Rethink Your Money
Enjoy Your Money Now and Save Less (But some) for the Future

Many people get caught up in saving as much money as possible for the future.  This creates a severe lack in your now. 

It is YOUR money you are earning now.  You can enjoy your life a bit NOW in addition to saving some for the future.

I am enjoying my life now while I am working.  Of course, I am trying to set aside money for a future me that is retired and not earning a normal paycheck.  But this is a more modest amount so I can fully enjoy today also.

It is wise to be responsible.  But being responsible for the future is really being responsible for you NOW.

So, While You Work More Years and Enjoy Your Life Now, You Should

  • Pay off old bills
  • Create some savings for near future fun
  • Take care of deferred needs and wants
  • Pay people to do things you hate doing
  • Buy upgrades of things you truly love
  • Pay your current bills early
  • Give your children a boost
  • Help those in need a tiny bit
  • Create a future you fund
  • Look better and feel better by buying the types of comfortable, stylish clothes, shoes and furniture you really want now.
  • Do what you would love to do, but haven't.  It is not going to be easier to do when you are older.  By the time you are older, you won't feel like doing that much anyway.
ahappierman.comTry to have fun while you work more years.

Top Things to Do to Take Care of Yourself to Help You Work More Years So You Feel Great Now and to Help You Feel Better as You Age

Feeling well is critical.  It is not going to get easier when you retire.  Start making positive steps to feel well now.

If you don't feel well with illnesses or injuries, keep at them.  They will heal in time, attention and the desire to feel well again.  Don't tolerate feeling bad.  Keep making changes to feel good.

Sleeping well

Enough hours, usually 8.  And uninterrupted.  A lot of the problems from aging is not being able to sleep straight through the night.  I will say that if you cannot sleep 7 or 8 hours straight on most nights a week, your health will suffer and your capacity to work well will suffer.

Eat right

Some people have a very difficult time eating enough protein as they age. Some of this is teeth related having a hard time chewing meat.  Some of this is due to horrible advice to minimize meat intake. Sometimes this is from not having enough money to afford enough meat.  These are all big problems for sure.

You should reduce the bad eating habits for sure...excessive drinking, sugar, excessive carbs, processed food and unnatural food.


Even if you are sleeping well most nights, you will get run down from time to time.  Everyone performs better with some naps. I believe there is some anecdotal evidence of 2 naps a week equating to a longer life.  At least you will feel better.


It is good to supplement your diet strategically.  Do your own research on this and experiment.  The main supplements seems to be Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Fish Oil.


Relaxing is more than just sleeping and napping.  You need to create plenty of time for yourself to sit around with your feet up and just enjoy life.  I love to sit around with my feet up at every opportunity.


The sun is your friend.  It seems like the older people who get some sun and color by living in a warmer climate live longer.  You certainly feel better being outside long enough to get a little color without overdoing it.


This is a very inexpensive, rewarding activity that relaxes you, recharges you and allows you to learn something new.  You need to keep your brain capacity working at maximum.

Weight training

Getting stronger or at least keeping your strength is vital as you age.  Getting up early, getting ready for work, hustling to work, working hard all day and then getting home takes quite a bit of strength.   So does taking care of all the errands and chores quickly so you have more time for fun.

Avoid Stress

Constantly evaluate your life to keep minimizing stress.  What can you change?  What can you avoid?  How can you do things differently?  Can you think differently about it?  Can you reach out to others for help?

Are you in a bad marriage?

Keep Your Energy High, Feel Good and Work More Years

Low energy is a serious sign that something is not right in your life.  If you cannot get up in the morning, get ready for work and put in a full day of work and enjoy your free time you know your energy is low and you need to focus on all the things above to make corrections. 

You also may need to realize that as you age, you will have less energy than when you were younger.  Just accept it.

Reorganize Your Life to Make Work Less Difficult, Work More Years and Create the Free Time You Need

People want to retire early, in their 50's even, because they they crave more free time.

Often this is because they made a series of bad misjudgements and created an extremely difficult lifestyle and they do want to go to the effort of undoing this mistake or a series of compounded mistakes.

Some of the more common lifestyle mistakes

  • An expensive home requiring overtime hours to make the normal payments
  • An older home requiring tons of expensive maintenance and upgrades
  • A high end home in a high end location so you feel enormous pressure to keep up with the Jones
  • A less expensive home a long way from work with an extremely long commute
  • A second home
  • A boat
  • High maintenance pets
  • A lot of children
  • Excessive commitments

These things can be great if you can easily pay for them and easily work them into your life with minimal stress and strain.

It seemed like these were the thing to do at the time, but the longer you do them, the less you like them.  Excessive costs and commitments trap you.

But just as you put in the effort to take on these commitments, you put in the effort to unravel yourself from them.

How to Work More Years and Take Care of Someone Else

You may feel the need to retire to take care of your ailing spouse.  I get that.  You love your spouse, know them extremely well and feel that you are the most qualified to care for them.

That may be fine when you are in good shape.  But what if you are not?

I find it sad to see an older, frail person taking care of their own older, even more frail sick spouse.  This seems wrong to me.  Why do we as a society allow this?  Younger, healthier people can much more easily take care of elderly people in poor health allowing the older, frail spouse time to take care of themselves.

It might be better for you to keep working at something you are an expert in, rather than trying to become a nurse, and pay for someone else to take care of your spouse.

Make Changes To Get Closer to a Relaxed Work Life that Gives You Some Retired Type Benefits while You Work More Years

Don't Work So Much during the week to Work More Years

  • Have plenty of time off (holidays and vacations)
  • Take advantage of flexible schedules.  I usually have a very short lunch break to leave earlier.
  • I work four 9 hour days and 4 hours on Friday.  So I have what I call a retired Friday, every Friday.
  • Only work 40 hours a week

Your job should not involve working more than 40 hours a week on a consistent basis if you plan to work more years.  Maybe when you are younger, you can handle a lot of overtime or a second job.  I certainly pounded the hours for 7 years in a consulting engineering job.  I made a lot of overtime pay.  I got a lot of bonuses.  I became much better at my work with all that practice.  But all that money is spent. All that time is gone. I suffered with enormous stress.

This time of my life is not what I hope to recall on my death bed.  It was just a long, grind of excessive work and no real life.

It is not possible to have a lot of free time to enjoy your life and make progress on your other pursuits when you work a lot.

I think 40 hours is still a relic that will need to be reduced over the years as people realize it is too many hours of work on a week and still have a life.  I would think that as the population shrinks and there are less and less people, we will need to have older people work more years, but less hours a week,  just to keep the world going.

Another idea on the 40 hour work week.

The Real Reason for the 40 Hour Work Week

Favorite quotes -

Here in the West, a lifestyle of unnecessary spending has been deliberately cultivated and nurtured in the public by big business. Companies in all kinds of industries have a huge stake in the public’s penchant to be careless with their money. They will seek to encourage the public’s habit of casual or non-essential spending whenever they can.

The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.

Enjoy the Free Time You Do Have Now while you Work More Years

  • Enjoy your commute with the music you love, audio books or creating your own content.  I like to make videos in my truck while I drive.  See my You Tube Channel.
  • Walk to work and have an extremely easy stress-free commute and get a bit of exercise.  I moved into an apartment complex across the street from my dream job.  I can walk out my door, walk to work and be logged into my work computer in 10 minutes in good weather.
  • Organize your life so you don't waste time doing the normal things. Check out my Getting Organized Page if you need some good ideas.
  • Incorporate 2 or more things.  For example, sometimes I walk to the grocery store combining an errand and a workout.  I could add a third by listening to an audio book while I walk.
  • Do lots of things you enjoy EVERY and ALL weekend.  These things do not have to be expensive either.  Just puttering around, doing simple things in a relaxed manner is quite nice.  Your chores and errands get done, but you don't always have to do them at a frantic pace.
  • Relax your standards on how clean your home needs to be or how modernized it has to be.
  • Do things early in the morning before work that you love to do.  Instead of waiting until the last second to wake up and rush around to get to work, get up early, drink fresh coffee and read for an hour or two in the morning.
  • Do more of the things you love to do most evenings.  Yes, sometimes you will just need to do a bunch of errands or chores or collapse in exhaustion at night.  But not every night.
Enjoy Simpler, Less Time-Consuming (and expensive) Hobbies
  • Enjoy simple things and simple pleasures and that do not not take a long time to do.  Getting exhausted from your hobbies is not how to work longer.
  • De-emphasize time consuming hobbies like golf, hunting, fishing, boating, bowling, volleyball, a second home, a big yard and high-maintenance pets.  Unless doing these things make you extremely happy doing them, re-think them or at least re-think how often you need to do them.

How to Work More Years Wrap-Up

I know how tempting it is to try to retire as early as possible.  I've spent a lot of time marveling in envy of people who have retired very early and seem like they are really enjoying their lives.

But the reality for me is different than the reality they have created for themselves.

Things might change for me.  I might shift my life again to retire sooner rather than later.  But for now, I am going to continue to figure out how to work more years so I can fully enjoy my life now...while working.

› How to Work Longer

The only way I could become the happier man I am today was by leaving my wife.  You might be in the same situation I was in.  I suggest you take a look at my book - Leave Your Wife & Become a Happier Man with the 3 Step System.

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Thanks for the article - sometimes I agree with you, other times not so much. I guess civil engineers earn good money so here’s some advice for the …

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