Inevitably any time you mention you’re working on “retiring early” to someone, you’re met with comments like, “that’s not possible,” and “won’t you get bored???” (Gag me)
The first one I can understand because, well, it’s hard as $hit to pull off and you have to want it bad enough to accomplish it. The second, however, boggles my mind. You don’t have any interests or desires or goals in life to fill up 40 hours a week? What do you do in your free time? What do you do with your friends? What do you dream about when pretending to win the lottery???
“Retirement” in the general sense may mean you’re old and gray and don’t have to work for the rest of your life, but “early retirement” is a totally different beast. With ER you’re young and healthy(er) and full of spunk. Oh, and did I mention it means you’re FINANCIALLY FREE?? So you can work or not work or do whatever the f*ck you want because you no longer need to trade your time for money anymore?
*That’s* what early retirement means. Having enough money to live your days however you please. What you do with that time is completely up to you. You can be bored and sit around all day doing nothing if that’s what gets your gourd, or you can live a more productive and fun/healthy/exciting life paying attention to whatever it is that makes your heart go flutter.
That’s the part I wish people would understand. That’s retiring early isn’t about “doing nothing” anymore but doing “awesome things” forever and ever because you’ve set your life up financially to be able to do so. And really, isn’t that the ultimate dream we’re all striving for? To not have to worry about money anymore and spend our lives on the things that actually matter and are important to us?
Yes, the normal retire-at-65 type “retirement” sucks, but even that we can do something about today to help speed up the process and bring in joy quicker if we really want to. It’s called saving and investing and NOT SPENDING EVERY LAST PENNY YOU GET. And the more you want to retire early, the more you save and invest and not spend every last penny! ;)
In other words, you put it into massive overdrive and become “a weirdo.” Or, if you prefer the more modern, cooler term – a Mustachian. Everyone works for decades and decades because they need money and everyone else is doing the same thing so why not, right? Does that mean you have to follow suit though? Of course not. It’s a helluva lot easier and seems like a lot less effort but believe me it’s not. Here’s a riddle for you: what’s best – working for 15 years and living off (a lot) less or working for 45 years and living like a normal person?
My friend Nate sums all this up pretty well in an article which actually has nothing to do about money:
I like to win. Most people do. But most people also say ‘you play the cards you’re dealt,’ and I don’t quite believe in that. I believe in getting better cards. This is life, it’s not a game . . . and no one says you have to play by the rules.
Since I assume that most of you are trying to move up in the world, and not down, you’re going to be trying for the better job, the better school, the better location, the better whatever. And by doing so, you’re going to be competing against a number of people who are by skill or circumstance in a better position to get there before you.
If everyone plays the cards they’re dealt, that person beats you every time. But this is where you have the element of surprise. Most people, when they feel they have an advantage, will sit back and wait for what they assume is coming to them. But this is exactly when it’s ripe for the taking from someone like you – someone who’s not afraid to hustle, to put in the behind-the-scenes work necessary to make everything fall into place in a way that’s surprising to everyone but you . . . because you planned it all along.
“Because you planned it all along” – Wamo. It’s no accident you hear people like Jacob Fisker or Mr. $ Mustache, and soon The Mad Fientist, retiring in their 30’s as if it just fell out of the sky. They worked their asses off and strategized like a mother the whole way while everyone else was status quo.
This is most definitely not a game – this is our lives. And as Nate says, no one is forcing you to play by the rules and wait another 20, 30, 40 years ’til you can (hopefully) retire and start living the life you’ve always dreamed of. And that’s if you have enough saved by then and you’re still alive and social security is still around yada yada yada…
For some that may be okay. It’s comfortable, I get it. But for others – myself included – it’s definitely not. We want to wake up and work on whatever we’re excited about that day whether it’s our golf game, business, charity, leisure, binge reality show watching, reading, fishing, metal detecting (it’s cool, damn it!), or again – that 40 hr job you’re already doing now ‘cuz you’re fortunate enough to love it.
It doesn’t matter how you spend your time , just that *you’re* the one choosing it, not anyone else. You’re in charge and YOU own your future.
And that’s the takeaway today: knowing you have the potential to change your path if you really want it bad enough. There’s nothing wrong with retiring in your 60’s like your parents, and probably their parents before them (and then theirs before them), but realize there IS another option if you’re
crazy driven enough to go for it. It’s not easy or always fun in the least, but you can bet your sweet ass the future you will thank you for it when you have plenty of time to lay around and lollygag while you wait for the rest of the world to catch up to you.
The trick is getting down to business NOW and letting time work it’s magic for you while it’s still on your side. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that time goes on whether you’re a dufus with your money or not. And I’d like to think no dufuses read my blog, am I right?
Now go out and own your future. You non-dufuses you…
[UPDATE: If you want to see how much you’ll need to call it quits, and when that beautiful day will come, check out my new Early Retirement Spreadsheet I put together for y’all… I’m using it myself now to keep me on track and motivated!]
PS: That’s one of the new $100 bills up there I just scribbled all over ;)
PPS: If you like that sorta stuff (currency/coins) head over to my coin blog today – I’m giving away an exclusive coin made of pure silver from the Royal Canadian Mint.
PPPS: And, as random as this is going to sound, I’m also giving away a kick-ass free mattress over at Rockstar Finance if that’s your style instead… Something for everyone today, haha..