For most of us, we’ve been engrained to believe that retirement is decades away, and nearly impossible to reach successfully. Its no surprise that people think like that, its what we’ve grown up hearing in public schools and from our parents.
What if I told you all of that retirement information is far from the truth? I believe that its not true, and that there is so much more to life than waiting till your “golden years” to enjoy this wonderful planet we live on.
My perspective on retirement is a little different than most because I enjoy working, and taking on various side hustles. I don’t plan on reaching retirement at age 27 and sitting on a beach for the rest of my life. In fact, some of the most satisfying things I do have to do with work. They are related to my passions. I believe that when you spend time working on your passion, it will hardly ever feel like work, which is the premise of this post.
My idea of retirement (at least at this point in my life) is to be able to quit my job, spend ample amount of time with my family, and travel at my leisure without the restriction of an employer. None of that includes quitting working forever, but it does include quitting my day job, and creating income on my own through my investments and various side hustles. Reaching this level of freedom is actually much easier than most people think, which is part of why I am here sharing my journey to financial freedom.
One of the reasons most think reaching that level of freedom is so hard, is because they get sucked into the rat race lifestyle of their “career” and and they become dependent on a paycheck. They sell themselves and their time, for a restricting life of “security”. I use quotes on the word security, because I don’t believe that you are providing yourself or your family security by depending on your corporate job with benefits. This creates a false sense of security and literally ties up all your eggs in one basket. People think its secure, but they couldn’t be far from the truth.
With every raise and bump in pay they upgrade their cars, homes, and lifestyle. Rendering them stuck in the endless cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. It makes us hopelessly tied to our jobs, which most of Americans dislike, and keeps us away from the important things like our family and experiences. How could you even explore the idea of working for yourself or retiring, if you are so tied down to your mortgage, car payments, and credit card debt? You cant.
However, I believe you can live the life you want, by adapting just a few ideals to your day to day life.
- You’ve got to get out of debt. Unless its being invested, which is an entirely different topic for another day. Anyways, your debt is draining you, and it WILL take you till you are 65 to retire if you decide to live your life with consumer debt, and car payments. You will get stuck in that lifestyle of keeping up with everyone else, and living a life to try and impress others. Its an unsatisfying lifestyle to keep up with.
2. Minimizing your expenses will be your best friend. When you finally become debt free, your expenses begin to rapidly dwindle. When that happens, freedom becomes much more attainable.
3. Start buying assets and not liabilities. Change your focus from buying things, to buying assets. This will free you up faster than you can ever imagine. How about the next time you have 5-10k dollars (or whatever amount), spend it on something that generates money, instead of spending it on things that take money out of your pocket. These assets could be things like dividend stocks, P2P lending, index funds, even real estate. Any income producing activities you can think of. Remember, you have to change your mindset, and unlearn the “spend your paycheck” mentality. Spend your earned income on things that generate income not take money out of your pocket. If you practice this, you won’t be disappointed.
4. Something I like to do is calculate exactly what it cost me per month to live. For me right now, its only around 3,500$ a month, and that is to live comfortably. That magic number pays all my bills, taxes, and adventures myself and my family choose to go on. That number frees me and my wife to quit our jobs and spend time on our passions and family.
Maybe you can get to the point where you are generating $1,500 a month in passive income, and you need $3,000 a month to be completely free. Start some kind of side hustle! There is no shame in working a little bit to get to your number. Lets say to get the remainder of the $1,500 for the month, which would cover all of your expenses and fun, you flip a couple of cars on craigslist or drive for uber a day or two a week. Or maybe you and your family move to Belize, and you become a part-time scuba instructor for 2 days a week. Whatever it takes to not be tied down to a job you don’t love. Folks, it is extremely easy, but people make it way too complicated.
The fact of the matter is you don’t need $1M nest egg to “retire” and live the way you want to live. I encourage you to find your “magic number” and see what it takes for you to live freely without a paycheck from an employer. What would you do if you reached your number?