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Do You Really Want to Retire Early? New Research Suggests It May Not Be as Fun as You Think

Jessica Stillman
4 min readSep 19, 2023


Some people work to improve their communities, feel more in control of their lives, or build a product they’re passionate about. But many want to make, as the kids say, FU money.

The idea is to have enough in the bank that you can do whatever you want, and the appeal of reaching this position is obvious. No more nagging bosses, demanding customers, and frantic rush periods. If you’re rich enough, you can just say — and I am putting this politely — “get lost” to any opportunity or commitment that doesn’t tickle your fancy. Who wouldn’t want to be independently wealthy and semi-retired in this way?

Apparently, plenty of folks who have already done it, at least according to new research from a pair of Insead professors and their collaborator.

Being a ski bum is less fun than it looks

Insead’s Winnie Jiang and her research partner, coach Claire Harbour, recently set out their findings from interviewing the financially independent about life after FU money in Insead Knowledge. The article probably isn’t going to convince many people still working for a paycheck that being rich isn’t a sweet deal, but it should serve as a warning that a big financial score isn’t a guaranteed ticket to ease and…