“Retiring Early” REALLY Means “Being Financially Free”

by J. Money on Friday, October 17, 2014

new $100 bill

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..

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Prudence Debtfree October 17, 2014 at 6:13 am

As a former money-dufus, this post makes me psyched! The very good news is that it’s never too late to change things around. Too late for me to retire in my 30s or 40s. But with the debt-reducing, and plans-for-investing track we’re on now, we’ll be in a position to retire in our 50s:) Many people we know say, “Well, we love our jobs, so we’ll never retire.” We love our jobs too. But once we hit financial freedom, we’ll have the choice to pursue our work as we choose – or not. Really looking forward to it!


2 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:17 am

Way to turn things around, no-longer-dufus :)


3 Chris @ Flipping a Dollar October 17, 2014 at 6:30 am

Exactly. People focus on the retirement word only. I always liked the financially independent phrase a little better. On another note, people will be jealous, incredulous, depressed about it because they followed a cookie cutter outlined by everyone else and it wasn’t all hunky dory! Working till X is super stressful and I’d love to minimize that time!


4 Mrs. Frugalwoods October 17, 2014 at 6:49 am

YES! Thank you! The “bored” question drives me up the wall. I’m like, “are you freaking kidding me?! I’m bored at work now!” The whole point of retiring early for us is to NOT slog through life as bored, drone-esque office workers. The end.
P.S. Hooray for frugal weirdos (well, and Mustachians too. And greyhounds while we’re at it.)


5 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

Haha… I forgot that people are usually bored at work too – more ammunition for my future responses to these people! :)


6 Autumn October 17, 2014 at 7:02 am

Welll….Mrs. Frugalwoods pretty much said exactly what I was going to say. I’m bored at work now. Most of my days look exactly the same and I don’t get a lot of input because I’m answering to someone else instead of myself. Even freelancers have to answer to clients, etc. to get paid. Early retirement gives you freedom. And you don’t have to live like a monk to get there – another huge misconception.


7 Shannon @ Financially Blonde October 17, 2014 at 7:02 am

I used to have the “old school” view of retirement in my mind i.e. stop working, move to Florida and await the inevitable passing of life. A few years ago, I heard the concept of financial freedom and it changed my life. I say that it’s the point where you can say “f-you” to the man, your job, whoever. It’s so much more fun to work when you know you don’t have to and you don’t have to wait for your 60s to do it. I am a little behind the game on this and have a college education to afford, but I am hoping to be free in about 10 years; which is much better than 30.


8 Aldo @ Million Dollar Ninja October 17, 2014 at 7:48 am

I never understood how people can saw that you’ll be bored when you retire. More bored than being at work? I’m not bored at work when I’m busy, but I get tired. And when I’m not busy, I’m extremely bored because I can’t leave or do what I want.

Let me reach early retirement and I’ll worry about being bored… you stay here at work until you’re 80.


9 jestjack October 17, 2014 at 8:11 am

I too am a fan of “Money Mustache” and have followed his blog for a while. Though I don’t agree with some of his stuff…he is the REAL deal. Couple of things that have stuck with me recenly on his blog. That he is more concerned about his gas degrading in his vehicle from non use than the price of gas because he combines trips and bikes every where. That he is gonna be getting out of the landlord biz and directing his energies elsewhere. As a LL I certainly see the wisdom there …it’s getting really crazy…REALLY ….CRAZY. And that he is always thinking ….changing the plan in his “retirement”….(ie). just “downsized” selling his generous sized home to move to a smaller place with less $ for utilities, taxes and upkeep. AND investing the proceeds of the sale. But due to his planning he has the FREEDOM to do that…Every day is his own…Pretty “slick” from where I’m sitting. Good article…


10 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:22 am

Exactly. Even when you’re “retired” you’re still moving and shaking and adapting towards an improved lifestyle. And that sometimes includes going back to a “real” job if the desire perks back up! Which is what Jacob from ERE did, and what Mad Fientist continues to do even though he can quit any day he wants. The ball just shifts into your corner and you’re holding all the power.


11 Rich Uncle EL October 17, 2014 at 8:38 am

Great post J. I know you are getting darn close to that finish line. I just laugh when people tell me I cant do it, because they are not yet on my financial level of thinking. I cant wait till I reach Early retirement.


12 Christa@objectwealth October 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

I actually love being a pharmacist and can’t imagine giving that up. I have always said, even if I won the lotto, I still wouldn’t want to quit my job. I would just go part time.

My dream is to work part time once my kids are out of college, maybe even when they are stil in college. I will have my student loans paid off, my house paid off, some nice investment accounts. Then I can work two days a week at a job that I love, which would still bring me in a significant income to be able to enjoy things like travel.

But really, who knows. Maybe my blog and podcast will take off and I’ll need to focus my energy there.


13 Dee @ Color Me Frugal October 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

It makes me laugh every time I hear the “won’t you be bored?” question. How could you possibly become bored getting to do exactly what you want to do every day? You would always have the freedom to do something else if you wanted to. But in my opinion that would always be a million times better than being slave to your job, your boss, etc!


14 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

I’ve come to the conclusion that people just don’t take the time to imagine what a true – free – life would be, and thus it’s always shocking to them when they come into “crazy” ideas like this. Either that, or they’re just too lazy/uncreative.


15 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life October 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

Oh yeah, the playing the cards your dealt thing doesn’t work for me either. I’m all about reshuffling that shit as much as I need to make it work for me- even if it takes a lot of extra effort. The more opportunities and chances you create, the luckier you get.


16 Brian @ Debt Discipline October 17, 2014 at 8:57 am

This is one of the big concepts I’m teaching my 3 kids, I wanted them to be aware that you just don’t have to get a job and work until you are 65. That ER is an option if you work towards it.


17 Ahalya October 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

I am 40 and just went through a huge mid life crisis. I am stuck at a job I don’t love and have ZERO in savings. I do have about $10K in investments and about $9K in a pension plan. I have $10K in credit card debt that I will get rid of in less than 1 yr.

I am still trying to figure out the whole “financial independence” thing. In some ways I feel like I can start over and in some ways I feel like it is too late. I would love to ‘retire’ early and work in the travel/hospitality industry and travel the world. I am single with no children but 3 pets.

My goal is to be financially free by 60. I would love to be financially free in my 50s but I don’t think it is possible. I work full time and applying for a part time job now as I don’t want to work till I am 65.

This blog and your comments are so inspiring. I kick myself for not starting earlier as I was a financial ditz since my early 20s but it is never too late right? :$ :$


18 Prudence Debtfree October 17, 2014 at 9:59 pm

It is never too late, Ahalya! You are right about that. There are step-by-step get-out-of debt programs out there. We’re using Dave Ramsey’s, as outlined in The Total Money Makeover. It’s not the only way out of debt, but it’s the one that’s worked for us. I recommend it to you because, like you, I was a “financial ditz” for years. I had no idea how to get my financial act together. Ramsey managed to break through the fog of denial that was my financial brain. I wish you well as you start your journey towards financial independence. You’re actually starting at a younger age than I was when my husband and I started ours. Just take it from here and don’t be burdened by regrets. All the best!


19 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:28 am

Thanks for chiming in Prudence :) And Ahalya – I’m SO PROUD of you for coming around now and just being on blogs like this to begin with. It’s hard enough to come to terms with junk from the past, but to then *take action* and TELL PEOPLE about it like you just did here shows that you’re serious and ready to really get this shit on lock.

So way to go. As both you and Prudence said, it’s most definitely not too late and it’s now just about finding the paths that work best for you. I hope you’ll stick around and keep us updated as time (and successes) go on :)


20 Iron Mike Sharpe October 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

It’s never too late to change. I pissed away all of my 20’s and most of my 30’s. I started saving money for a house when I was 38 and finally kicked the alcohol and tobacco habits.

I finally bought a house when I was close to 41 and began to kick up my retirement savings then too. I think I’ll have enough to “retire” when I pay my last house payment a month before my 56th birthday. Though I will work for myself then playing poker to bring in some money in my retirement. I might also try and get a part-time job at an airline just to get the free travel perks.

The key for you is to now acquire enough information on how you can reach your own goals. There are a lot of good ideas on this blog. But also check out Mr. Money Mustache. I recommend to everyone to read the entire blog from beginning to end. You should be able to find a lot of good ideas to reducing your current spending so you have more to invest. The forums on that site are also a good source of information.

Keep learning and keep thinking about ways to improve your finances. Challenge everything in life to determine if there is a better way of doing things.

For me, one of the best ways to improve my finances was to get rid of brainwashing advertising. I got rid of TV a year and a half ago. If I want to watch something I will watch Netflix or a movie I got from the library — and even then I maybe watch 2 hours a week. I don’t listen to the radio; I listen to my own music collection. I have ad blocker installed on my internet browser. It’s amazing how little you really “want” things once you eliminate the brainwashing from your life.


21 J. Money October 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Smart man :)


22 Kathy October 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

My husband and I retired at age 55 and 53 respectively and have never regretted it for even an instant. The freedom is magnificent. The financial freedom is obviously wonderful, but I think even better is the freedom we have with our time. For example, we are building a custom home and the time it takes to select flooring, cabinets, windows, etc. would never have been available if we were still working. People who ask if early retirees get bored are the ones who have no life outside of work. Or perhaps they use that excuse to justify not retiring when the real reason is they can’t afford to. I pity them.


23 Tiffany A. October 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

YES YES YES! J, I *LOVE* that you’re blogging on this topic! It’s been one that I’ve been literally obsessing over recently, haha… And I don’t tell my “early retirement” plans to anyone except a few in my life who are uber-bad asses themselves because I know I will get looks like I’ve just been released from the looney bin! As a millenial, my friends are still choosing to live in ritzy areas, buy brand new cars now that they have new jobs, etc. even though they *still* have student loans! It boggles my mind.

Anyway, FI and especially the “I” part of that equation is the name of the game. Independence!!! I want to take a vacation whenever I damn well want to! I want to be able to go on mission trips to Guatemala & not be told that I can’t by someone else because all of a sudden since I work for them they can tell me what I can and can’t do (this actually happened). There’s so much world out there to discover and so much to do. It was Audrey Hepburn who said — “You have two hands, one for helping yourself, one for helping others” — I want to LIVE that. You gotta help yourself first – in this case get to FI. Then you can focus on doing good and being a positive influence to others around you… Not that this is mutually exclusive either, but it’s sooo much easier when you don’t have money worries floating around.

Anyway. Another great post, my friend!!


24 Ahalya October 17, 2014 at 11:28 am

Oh wow Tiffany! Would love to learn more about your path to financial independence. Do you have a blog?


25 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

“You have two hands, one for helping yourself, one for helping others”



26 Kim October 17, 2014 at 11:16 am

I think most people don’t want to work forever, but they aren’t sure how to stop sabotaging themselves. I have know so many people who have buckled down to pay off a debt of save up for a house, and as soon as they do it, they go out and buy a new car or a boat or something stupid instead of pouring those efforts into actually leaving the rat race. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to think about today’s purchases and how they are putting your future on hold. I guess I’m one to talk because we used to live that way. Maybe everyone just needs to read more PF blogs!


27 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

I think *everyone* is that way until something gets them to shift. For me it was in my mid-twenties when I came across blogs, for others it’s a health scare or financial rock bottom, and then a select few are geniuses right out the gate. The trick is stumbling across this paradigm shift sooner than later! So I feel many of us just got lucky that it DID occur when it did… I could easily have not started this blog and been living paycheck to paycheck still without a clue in the world… Makes you stop and be thankful, eh? :)


28 Kassandra October 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

After reading ERE and MMM I too became sold on the idea of early retirement and financial independence. We have 12 years or less to achieve this as we are committed to saving 50% of our income. This topic came up last night during a dinner I attended and one person looked shocked when I mentioned I would be retiring early. Then again the person in question also makes a good income but spends faster than water coming out of a faucet! So cool you are giving away a coin from the Canadian mint :)


29 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:37 am

Makes sure to enter if you haven’t already! The funniest part to that giveaway is that we can’t ship to Canadians, haha… #FAIL


30 Charles@gettingarichlife.com October 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

Having financial freedom makes you a better employee as you can be much more productive without worries of losing your job. A better family man as you can choose to spend time with family over having to get ahead at work. A healthier life as money stress is the biggest reason for divorce and health problems. Most of us will have 29000 days, why spend 18000 of it worrying about money.


31 Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I would have NOOOO problem filling up my time if I was financially free and wanted to do whatever I wanted. Most likely I’d still be “working,” but on passion projects. And my blog of course. :)


32 Nicola October 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I would have no problem filling up my days – you could even still work in it’s basic sense and do something you truly believe in and enjoy :) Just got to find a way to get there….


33 Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom October 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I’m a stay at home mom, so I get to do anything I want all day already (yes, watching my kid play with play doh is pretty great). I’ve been working hard to get my husband to WANT to retire early. In the mean time, we’re living off half his income so even if he doesn’t retire early we can be financially free earlier and have more choices.


34 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

Sounds like a beautiful life :) As someone who just spent the last hour snuggling with his 5 month old, I can tell appreciate that more than ever.


35 Steve October 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I’m a weirdo, I’m just good at being a stealth-weirdo :)


36 Sarah October 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Great read!! I can’t wait until the day comes when my husband and I can officially retire and do as we please (our goal is age 45 for him, I will be 41). Bored?!?! There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored! If anything, life is too short. I couldn’t imagine ever being bored!!

Hope you have a nice weekend! :)


37 Pauline October 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

There is always something to do with free time thankfully. Lounging in a hammock for 40 years would indeed be boring. But there are lots of 65 yo retirees who are unable to function once they recover freedom of time, it is too unsettling.


38 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

And YOU are a prime example of living life and doing what you want too. And even better so that you make $$$$ with it all :) Always astonished with your stories about coconut and land development hustles. You are ROCKING it girl.


39 Sarah October 17, 2014 at 2:58 pm

This definition of early retirement isn’t really retirement. I would consider this financial freedom as opposed to retiring early. Or maybe early semi-retirement. I think people who “retire” early actually work a lot harder sometimes than the 9-5ers.


40 Travis @debtchronicles October 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I still don’t get the whole “retiring early” thing. So, I should save like a mofo so I can quit the career I spent years building in order to do things I want to do when I want to do them. But what if what I really want to do is continue the awesome career I just spent decades building but quit because everyone tells me that’s the “cool” thing to do? Why wouldn’t I keep going with my career, continue saving, and then retire when I’m ready? Honestly, my opinion is that people that want to retire early picked the wrong career path.


41 Prudence Debtfree October 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm

It’s great that you love your job, Travis. I don’t think that anyone would advise you to quit it so that you can be cool. You already are cool! You hit the nail on the head when you said, “retire when I’m ready”. The thing is, you can’t predict when that will be. It might not be at the typical age of 65. It could be much later – or much earlier. Some people choose to stop their careers because of health; others stop because something else grabs their interest. Whatever the reason, and whether or not you choose to retire early, it’s great to have the freedom of choice to do so.


42 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:49 am

Travis – are you saying I should quit blogging since that’s my career path and I want financial freedom? :)

I kid of course, and you know that I love and respect you, but you’ll notice I mentioned still keeping and rocking your job multiple times in this article – which I specifically put in for you (as your previous comments on this subject have always stuck with me).

I’m not sure if there’s miscommunication here or I’m just dumb, but I don’t see why anyone would *not* want to be financially free. Since all that means is “you have enough money to live for the rest of your life?”

How would that make your position now with your career any different? No one is saying stop working your job you love and worked hard for your entire life, we’re (I’m) just saying you choose what you get to do, only with enough money to secure your future forever.

I think we need to sit down with some beers one day and talk it out :)


43 Travis @debtchronicles October 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

When it comes down to it, I understand the concept – be smart with your money, save, invest, achieve the ability to do what you want to do. If I want to be a software engineer until I’m 110, maybe I will. Or, maybe the company will show me the door at 55. or maybe one day I’ll walk in, survey my cubicle farm and say, “You know what? Screw this,” and call it a career. The point you’re trying to make is to be able to do what we want to do *because* we want to do it (whatever that may be). If that means trying something new every year, so be it. If that means sticking with what you’re doing until 65, so be that as well. I was being a bit forceful with my tongue a little in my cheek…..I just want to make sure there’s at least one voice saying not everyone wants to quit their job at 35 and sit on a beach in Tahiti – although that will sound really nice about January in Minnesota. :)


44 Iron Mike Sharpe October 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Most people hate their jobs. If you have a career you love, GREAT, consider yourself lucky and work it as long as you love it.

Me? I’m out the door once I am FI. I will probably try and get a part-time job with an airline for 5 years after I retire for the travel perks. And I will also increase the number of hours a week I play poker. I could probably quit my career earlier to do these, but I want to have a situation where I am completely financially independent first and then these extra jobs will provide a buffer and / or ability to fund more “extras”.


45 Early Retirement Extreme October 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Thanks for clearing that up ;)

That one has to be in the top 3 of all misunderstandings/complaints of all time.

Another one is the false impression that somehow one needs to engage in an act of extreme sacrificial budgeting to pull it up and then need to remain on that budget for the rest of one’s life. That’s like saying that an obese person needs to get and stay on an extreme diet for the rest of their life which they then deem completely unrealistic. Not true, all they need to do is to adopt a healthier relationship with the junk food and start moving more and eating better (not more) like a normal weight person. Then the rest automatically follows.


46 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 8:59 am

Why fancy seeing you here, sir! Long time man- always nice when you stop by :)

Truth be told, I never appreciated what you and your blog/now movement stood for back in the day when you used to read/comment here. As you can see, this little grasshopper is learning though, which makes the fact you took a few moments to not only read this article – but to approve! – makes it an easy highlight of my day.

So thank you so much, my man. I shall join you in this wonderful world you’ve helped enlighten us on one day, and when our paths cross I shall come bearing gifts (i.e. beers). Thanks for making this journey easier for us!


47 Dr. Sheba October 17, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Excellent post! I’m motivated, now!


48 Anton Ivanov October 17, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Definitely agree with you, my friend. I’d rather have the financial freedom to live my life on my terms, then spend 40 days a week until I’m 60 following somebody’s orders. But if that’s what you’re into, go right ahead and join the 99% of everyone else…


49 Scott October 18, 2014 at 12:52 am

Great post J Money! That fired me up! Best post since the Baby Tracker days. I know that was tough sledding, but if you could have kept that going until Baby Money was 18 then that would have ruled the internet for all time! Anyway, thanks for the inspiring post. I hope you plan to keep going with this blog even after you reach Financial Independence; don’t leave us hanging!


50 J. Money October 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

Haha, thanks man. That tracker would probably be into the $30k range now with an additional chunk to be tacked on by baby #2 :) It was a fun project, but I find paying attention to the kids now trumps geeky spreadsheeting… But I’m sure I’ll find something else to start tracking soon, haha…

Glad you enjoyed the post – it felt good getting out of my head :)


51 Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet October 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I think early retirement can mean different things for different people. For some it means sitting around watching soap operas and being bored. For others it means doing what they want to do (as you mentioned) and not having to worry about money. Obviously Im with most people in that I plan on the latter


52 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank October 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm

The thought “early retirement” is hard to achieve. It takes a lot of determination and “money” to settle with and to spend for the rest of our lives without going back to work again ever. When you early retire, it means for me you are now done working and in the stage of just having fun in life. :D


53 B Simple October 19, 2014 at 10:54 am

Love it. That’s what I working towards. Thanks for the reminder.


54 Gregorio October 20, 2014 at 9:42 am

Great article. I retired last year at 41 and am now living in Costa Rica. I often get asked, “what do you do all day” and its brother, “don’t you get bored”. My standard reply is – only boring people get bored.

I’m in freaking Costa Rica – how could I get bored? Retirement (for me) is so much more than having a ton of money. In fact we are living on a third of what we lived on in the States – which is one of the reasons we moved to Central America.

It’s about TIME – we have time and I would rather have time to pursue my interests than to have, just about, any THING.


55 J. Money October 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

“Only boring people get bored.” – hah! I might have to steal that one from you :)


56 Mrs. WW October 20, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I’M not a weirdo. I’m wondrously weird. ; ) But yes, I agree with all of this. All of it! And it’s not that hard to stack the deck of life either. My husband had a 6th grade education and became an engineer in just three years. It’s amazing what a little bit of effort and some willingness to try can do!


57 Zee @ Work To Not Work October 21, 2014 at 12:19 am

I just don’t understand people who default to “I like to work, I would get bored.” well that’s great, why don’t you work for yourself then instead of someone else. I’m sure if you didn’t get paid to go to your job you probably wouldn’t be there for 40+ hours a week.


58 The LazyPanda October 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

Great Article, thanks.
I actually find that many times, what talking about ERE, the conversation is focused mostly about the HOW and not about the WHAT/WHY. I mean, for many people – the thought of “not doing anything” is terrifying on its own – even without going through the hard, long process of becoming financially free.
For us it might seem trivial that exchanging money for freedom is a great deal, but it might not be that obvious for the average joe.
I think that it’s very easy as a working person to dismiss the possible benefits of retired lifestyle, and thus making him/her less likely to work for it.
I tried to address the issue in my blog post:
It Hard To Be Lazy. Start Practicing Now (http://wp.me/p5ct3c-1h) and would love to hear your thoughts there.


59 Joe October 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Yeah, life is short. You have to find your own path. The traditional retirement is not a good fit for everyone. For the younger generation, it’s better to work your ass off in the beginning and then use your time to follow your dream.
Early retirement doesn’t mean you have to quit working. You just have a chance to do whatever you like.


60 Evan October 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Despite running a personal finance blog for years it took me a long time to differentiate between extreme early retirement and financial freedom. There is a difference that is often overlooked by most.


61 Kenny Schneider October 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

I agree that early retirement is having enough money to live your days however you please. However, I would add that it also encompasses doing work you enjoy that still pays the bills. Meaning, I don’t have to be independently wealthy, but I need to make enough working for myself to maintain a lifestyle I’m comfortable with. We don’t need to be millionaires to retire early, we just need to quit working for other people and start working for ourselves!


62 J. Money October 23, 2014 at 8:56 am

Enjoying your work is always a good thing :) I just read somewhere that 90-something percent of millionaires all love what they do (or what they “did” to get there) vs those who are poor or struggling (who hate their jobs). Kinda interesting to see.


63 Retiring Early February 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

You either suffer slowly, earlier, or later. It all depends on how you want to go about it. I would prefer to suffer earlier rather than later. When i’m old I dont want to suffer. At least in theroy and financially.


64 J. Money February 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm

And some times it’s not even really suffering :)


65 David February 14, 2015 at 10:50 pm

So many people want money to buy” things” and when they do not have the money, they buy “things” on credit. We buy “things” because we expect these “things” to bring us happiness, drown our grief, make us cool…because Madison Avenue does a great job brainwashing us. At the end of the day, we still are not cool, we are still sad and now we have a credit card to pay off.

Even if we are not aware of it, what we really long for is freedom. Freedom to chase our dreams, freedom to aid those around us, freedom from the world telling us what we have to do and freedom to kill the damn alarm clock. Freedom is the greatest use of our money. Other than the necessities, why spend one single dollar if it doesnot bring you closer to freedom.

Love your site,


66 J. Money February 15, 2015 at 1:05 pm

Amen, brother. Thanks for stopping by :)


67 Brian Robben August 5, 2015 at 11:37 pm

I agree there is a misconception out there that retirement is boring. Retirement will be sick if you’re financially free and can do whatever you please, at any time! I also could feel the passion of your opinion coming off the screen.


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