The big news in sports yesterday was the retirement of Andrew Luck from professional football at the age of 29. Here are two takes from The Ringer: Andrew Luck and the Afterburn of Early Retirement and Andrew Luck Gave Up Fame, Riches, and Football Because He Is Unapologetically Himself. He seems like a stand-up guy. The thing that struck me was the chorus of boos from Colts fans (some burning his jersey) and a few snarky remarks from some (supposedly) professional sports commentators.

That’s how I knew that Andrew Luck was doing justice to my definition of “retirement”. To me, retirement means:

  • You are NOT optimizing your time for money. Elite quarterbacks rarely retire early because they can make tens of millions of dollars just holding a clipboard as a backup until they are 40 years old. Luck is walking away from anywhere from $10 million to hundreds of millions.
  • You are NOT following other people’s expectations, and definitely not what random angry internet people think. I’m sure many Colts fans are disappointed, and even he admitted that the boos hurt. But Luck only gets one life and one body. The fans won’t be there when you can’t walk right for the rest of your life.
  • You may NOT be doing what you are most talented at. Sometimes things come easier to you than others, but that doesn’t mean you find joy in the act. I think it can be noble to keep working at something to support your family, but this is retirement. Retirement means that if you want, you can do the thing you are least talented at. He could switch to painting with boxing gloves.

That’s why I call myself “semi-retired”. Am I talented at raising small children? No. Probably below average. Am I good at it? No. Nobody would ever hire me to watch their kids. If I wanted to optimize for money, I would never have done this. If we both kept working full-time and paying for full-time daycare, we could have earned at least a million dollars more during their childhoods. I am spending half my time doing something that doesn’t make much sense, so I call that half-retired even though I am still exhausted at the end of every day. At the same time, I am grateful because I know that it took a lot of luck and the gracious support of my wife and family to even have this choice.

Let’s not forget why this is all possible. Luck combined his unique talents, hard work, family support, and some luck to earn over $100 million in his career. He is financially free, even if he hits a few bumps along the way. We don’t know all his struggles, and he never needs to explain it to us.


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Andrew Luck is Doing Early Retirement Perfectly from My Money Blog.


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