Like many people in this world, I dream to become financially independent and pretire (aka “retire before the legal age”). I am reading a lot of blogs written by people who are already there, or working hard to get there. Pretirement is not something that comes easy and a lot of planning and hard work is required.

Or is it? Maybe there are people out there who retired early and don’t even know that yet?

Probably anybody would hurry to say “that’s impossible”. But here is what happened yesterday, when I was talking to my mom. I said: “I was reading this (Romanian) blog about retiring early and reaching financial independence, and apparently the sum one would need to retire early and never work again is 380,000 Euros. And they are completely wrong, because pretirement doesn’t mean just that – having money to consume – it’s about getting passive income to cover all your expenses. Just like you: you are pretired and I don’t think that you have that sum in the bank!”

My mom looked at me as if I said the stupidest thing ever and corrected me: “But I am not pretired. You can’t call me financially independent.”

Three years ago, my mother stopped working. She didn’t retire and she has no pension coming her way – she’s still 4 years away from being allowed to legally retire. Since she stopped working, she’s living a pretty modest life, sharing a room with her mother who is pretty sick and taking care of her. And although in her mind this is work, she receives no money for this.

However, since the house she lives in is in a premium location, she rented out two rooms and gets enough rent to cover for her pretty modest lifestyle. And even though I don’t know exactly how much money she has saved up, she also has about 6 months of living in the bank.

So she’s pretired.

Not the best of the situations out there, because any problems with the renters would result in her not having enough money for the monthly expenses, but a situation that works for three years now and hopefully will work forever. And until that stops working – if it ever happens – she is pretired. And she didn’t know that!

For me, being able to pretire and especially reach financial independence as early as possible would mean the world and it’s the one thing at the top of my priorities list. Many people I know are in a similar situation and they’re working hard to get there. I was shocked to find out that my mother doesn’t know, and once she found out doesn’t agree with the fact that she’s pretired.

“But I’m still working all day, helping your grandma and cooking and cleaning,” she said. “It’s worse than having a real job!”

But is it really so? Pretirement isn’t all about traveling the world, doing nothing all day and playing golf with your friends. Pretirement is not having to wake up every morning knowing exactly how your day will look like: you’ll go to work, hate your colleagues and especially your boss, get back home and get stuck in traffic, be too tired to enjoy family time and go to sleep because the next day everything starts over.

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