The following post comes from MyMoneyDesign.com, a personal finance blog that is all about making the most of your money and opportunities.
It wasn’t all that long ago that I made a simple observation.
I was a young man just starting out my career as an engineer. I had a wife and my first child on the way. My starting compensation was roughly about one-third of what I receive now.
All around me I found myself in the company of people who were much older than me and by all rights should have been happily retired by now. But instead of waking up next to the shores of Florida, they were still working cold, hard hours in the unforgiving auto industry.
Why were they doing that? Because of money, of course.
They were still being forced to work because they depended on their order checks to get them by, and they would do anything their bosses told them to do in order to keep receiving them.
Retirement? It wasn’t even something they dared to think of. It was like a thing they were promised but unfortunately realized they would never receive. They were mad, and they blamed their employers, the government, and just about anyone else they could point a finger at.
(Everyone except themselves that is.)
I felt like I was looking into the future, and the future was NOT good. Unless I was going to make some sort of change, my fate would be the same as theirs.
That’s when the question of how can I retire early first popped into my head.
From then on it became something of obsession for me. It became a singular goal to which I am constantly trying to improve my speed to reach.
At first my goal was age 55. Then it became 50. Now it’s 45.
If you’ve ever felt the same way about your future or desire to retire long before everyone else you know, you’re not alone. Early retirement has been one of the central themes of my blog and a common goal for all my money making /money saving activities.
But How Can I Retire Early?
For starters: You could copy what I’m doing. If you’d like to have a look at my complete plan for becoming financially independent, then follow the link and you can see it all for yourself.
But there’s one thing you won’t see in the plan that was extremely critical: All the passion and planning that went into it.
You see each time I asked myself how can I retire early and then ran into some kind of problem, I didn’t let it stop me there. Instead I just kept on looking for the answer.
For example: When I learned that you couldn’t take money out of your 401k until after age 59-1/2, I was stumped for a while because I thought it meant that my money was frozen. But then I got to learn more about the 401k withdrawal rules and found out that there are actually a number of ways you can get access to your money long before then (such as a SEPP).
When I wasn’t making enough money, you want to know what I did? I just made more! I:
- I worked harder at work which resulted in several promotions and bigger profit sharing checks over the years.
- I looked for ways to turn my current savings into more money. I found out that basic investing was a great way to grow my money way beyond what any bank could ever offer me.
- I tried my hand at being an entrepreneur. I started a blog and have continued to learn the ropes ever since. I’m far from being successful but yet still have managed to add five extra figures of income to our family compensation each year.
Family and Budget:
You might ask: But what about kids? What about all my bills every month?
My answer: Lots of people live very happily on less than what you make. Set a budget and learn to deal with it!
I know – easier said than done. But there’s something that really helped me to put things in perspective: I had to keep asking myself what my priorities are? How badly do we need those “things” that other people have?
A bigger house? A new car? Lots of other toys?
Do any of these things actually compare to how badly I want my family to escape the bleak fate I painted earlier? Of course not.
A funny thing happens when you filter your purchases against something like your early retirement plan: You learn to simply appreciate the little things in life. As cheesy as it may sound, there are lots of days where a rented movie, day at the park, evening board-game, or any other similar activity completely outshines waiting 2 hours to get into some fancy restaurant to spend $100 on dinner.
As I’m sure you know – it’s your budget. How you prioritize it is your business. But just make sure you do it in a way that benefits your family. Make sure you do it in a way that will help you retire early and find financial freedom. No one’s going to want that more than you!
Readers – What makes you want to retire early? At what point in your financial journey did you decide to prioritize your retirement savings over other ways you could have spent your dough?
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net