retire early

Why retire early when I’m having fun kicking ass in the corporate world. I don’t want to spend less, I want an even bigger house and faster car.

Most people might think the why is obvious but you would be surprised how many people think retiring early is stupid and something they have no interest in doing. I believe these people are stuck on the common thought that retirement means moving to Florida and waiting to die while sitting on a beach for the rest of your days enjoying some fruity drinks. They also don’t understand the power that wealth can bring into their lives. No, I don’t mean to power to buy things or pay people off.

Some people really love what they do and love to work. Work is a very healthy part of life but what people are not understanding is what retirement / financial independence really is. It is power and control of your own life. Many of us work in jobs that we’re not entirely happy with but we need the money. Some of us are afraid to jump jobs or change careers because it may fail. I think most of us are afraid because we may already have well paying jobs and we may have a hard time getting back to that pay if the other career doesn’t work out. You could be caught in career and financial limbo. Imagine now if you remove the need for money, you have plenty of it, instantly these fears should disappear. As a bonus, even if what you jump into doesn’t make much money, who cares, you already have plenty and you’re happy. If I want to do fine carpentry for people as a small business but it only averages $10 or $15 an hour, who cares, I don’t need the money anyway and I love doing it.

If you were to no longer need money but still want to keep working that’s great, there are many people you see everyday on TV and in movies, for example, in that same position. They also have the financial power to choose only the work that peaks their interest. They often turn down multimillion dollar contacts because the project isn’t interesting to them. Some will choose to work for free for extended periods doing work that maybe sounds like a lot of fun or is for a good cause that they believe in.

That is exactly the kind of power that interests me. I’m not saving so I can be a beach bum and I will continue to work in various forms when I reach my goals but I will cherry pick work I’m interested in doing. I will also make more time for my hobbies, being with friends and family and just trying to take in more of life than what working 50 hours a week doing the same type of work can bring.

Retire early and prepare for future events

Another reason that’s less obvious to people because of shortsightedness is that you need to save while times are good, because there are always bad times. Rule of thumb, If you’re making any income, times are good and you should save what you can. I’ve met several people who tell me they used to make good money working in xyz for decades, company got bought out or job went obsolete and now they’re bartending for far less money. I knew another guy that made over $80,000 a year for several years until the company got bought out and he struggled for a while until he eventually found a job that paid half as much. I’ve seen my own family go through similar job and pay transitions. Athletes who make millions a year often end up going bankrupt after they are out of their league for several years. They didn’t save enough, if at all, and now are forced to do whatever work they can find. Companies fall, get bought out and shut down. Economies can crash and jobs can become obsolete. Plan accordingly for such events no matter what field you work.

When planning, people often take accurate predictions they can make of the near future and extrapolate them to inaccurate predictions of the far future. “I know I’ll have a good paying job tomorrow, and I’m highly confident it’ll be there in a couple weeks, months, years, decades down the road.” but you just can’t extrapolate that into years or decades, with more time comes more variables you can’t predict or even control and you too may one day find yourself scrambling for a lower paying job.