What if I told you that retirement for anyone who is in their early 30’s, leaves you with about 35 more years until you retire. In my case, this is for when I turn 65, so 33 more years. Imagine it, 12,000 more days, 288,000 more hours, 1,721 weeks left of grinding it out at your job.
Jump in your car, grab your coffee at Starbucks, sit in front of a computer for 8+ hours, oops don’t forget to get lunch, still the highlight of most people’s day. Jump back in your car, face the long drive, killer traffic, angry road raging drivers(maybe it’s you, calm down it’s going to be ok), to go home, relax for a little while or not if you have kids.
Hit repeat 11, 999 more times. You know what I’ll cut you a break, let’s cut out the Weekends, Holidays, and Vacations, and now it’s 8,280 more days of work left…………………..Depressing for most of us, myself included.
Wait there’s another option. For the love of God, there has to be. Who would make it through that every day? My Grandfather did, rest in peace, but that was the old days before computers, pensions disappeared, and credit cards and student loans punched us straight in the baby maker.
So what if there was an alternative to the remaining 35 years of cubicles? Here is a little Secret, there is.
You would probably laugh or wish me luck with some sarcasm behind that response, that’s what I get when I tell friends and family my plan, so don’t feel bad laugh away, most people don’t think it’s possible.
I was skeptical of others who had achieved this so-called “Financial Independence”. When I first read Mr. Money Mustache I said BS, I hate that guy, blame Canada I don’t believe he rode his bike everywhere and stopped working.
Then I started reading some more, one of the first early retirement bloggers Early Retirement Extreme, I started to think a little more ok, well sure you can retire early if you only need $7,000 year, what does this guy do camp out in a forest and hunt his own food. So yeah skeptical might be the first place I started at.
All of this stuff seemed too good to be true, this guy and that guy had already retired early, while it’s great to have someone who did it, I needed to read and research someone who was on this journey.
I came across a couple of people and one that stood out was 1500Days his “The Awakening” and started to think, this might be possible. His sunset of Kauai had me thinking of my “Why” and beyond that, he made a commitment and has a plan to retire in, you guessed it 1500 days, but I’m not sure if his plan is for me.
That’s when it hit me Captain Obvious took his Obvious Stick and knocked me right up the head with it. Everyone’s situation is different. Oh captain obvious, you are the best.
That’s when I really started looking at this and my own financial situation and put together some numbers and realized I can retire early. My approach isn’t going to be 100% the same as Mr. Money Mustache or 1500 Days, but it’s certainly going to include some of their tactics.
Because in the end, it’s going to come down to this: Savings and Passive Income>Expenses, seems “Captain Obvious Easy” but it’s going to take hard work and dedication to my plan.
Let’s never talk about 12,000 days again.
This post was originally featured on Rockstar Finance and published here on May 7, 2014. In this updated January 28, 2019 version I also included a follow-up on my thoughts today and what has changed over time. Trust me when I say SO MUCH has changed!
In 2014 I was 3 years into my marriage, my new career at US Bank, and 2 years into our house hack in Chicago. The plan to retire early from work in late 2020 seems like such an arbitrary goal date today.
When I look at what happened along the “clear path” to retire early is a change of the focus. The acronym for FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early. Somewhere along the way, my shift changed to the Financial Independence portion almost solely rather than Retire Early.
One of my issues with the Retire Early is my personality and always looking ahead. I do this with vacations, purchases, and retirement. My focus over time has shifted towards living in the now. It’s very cliche but I am adopting the “live your best life now” #LYBLN I highly doubt this hashtag every catches on, it’s so long!
Along the way I paid off all of my personal debt aka debt free but somewhere before financial independence (FI), we reached financial freedom. After paying off our rental home in Miami, I really thought the next step was to pay off our Chicago home and reach financial independence.
I didn’t realize that the pursuit of FI would lead me to financial freedom. I didn’t plan to pay off our rental home and make a shift in an entirely new direction. The talks we had were always directed towards moving closer to family in Miami, but I wanted to be in a better place financially first.
When I realized that my wife’s happiness was more important to me than financial independence is when financial freedom came to the forefront.
The plan to sell the Chicago home was a choice of my wife’s happiness over the immediate satisfaction of retiring in less than 7 years. I don’t think this took us off the path to financial independence but it certainly took us away from the retire early portion something that naturally occurred during our financial journey.
Theoretically selling our Chicago home and moving into our Miami rental slowed down the path to FI. I say in theory only because the major switch that occurred was instead of receiving rental income specifically from the Chicago home we are deciding how to proceed with the profits from the sale.
Financial freedom turned to my wife working remotely and living close to her family. Financial freedom ended my 12,000 day journey of the 9-5 job and put me squarely in the driver’s seat of my own business as a money coach helping others on their path to financial freedom.
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