Recently there has been a lot of talk about financial independence and retiring early. FIRE for short it seems. I know plenty of people around me who have achieved FI but are not RE simply because they are not geared that way. They want to be mentally stimulated at their jobs or businesses and they continue everyday despite being able to tell their bosses to FO.
My ex boss who was retrenched from the bank when he was in his 40s could have RE years ago. He had a world class education from USA, worked in a big shot investment bank in USA and then came back to SG as his parents are here. His house was fully paid up, he had multiple investment properties but he was a man I respected for many reasons.
He was highly intelligent but never stingy in mentoring me although he wasn't my mentor as my senior was supposed to do that instead. He was very frugal as he drives a second hand van, dresses simply and his wallet was falling apart but yet he doesn't change it at all. Yet, he treated us to meals and does charity work every week.
After the shock retrenchment at the bank, he didn't RE although he could have but instead he started his own business and is more successful than before. In fact, I remembered asking him why not RE once he told me how rich he was. But he said he would be bored to death which was when I told him that he should go and date somebody and get married!
Besides him, I know of another gentleman who could also RE at 40 after selling off his businesses. Instead he chose to invest and trade in equities which he has done for the past 30 years and counting, just to continue to have things to do on a daily basis, keep his mind active etc. He has pioneered a breakthrough methodology to make money on a consistent basis with minimal risk.
From the two of them, I learnt that being frugal is important and so is being mentally challenged or active as you would have so much time in a day and without some sort of routine or tasks that you have lined up for you, you tend to be bored after a while. There are many ways to become FI whether through career or business, it depends on the individual but you could surprise yourself when you have become FI as you may no longer want to RE.