The idea of early retirement seems foreign to lot of people around me. They either never heard of it before or don’t believe it can be done. Not surprisingly, most of my young friend never heard of that idea, and most of my mature friends do not believe it can be done.
Flipping through my life so far, I saw a clear pattern how the “system” want us to live our life, I concludes them into the 9 items as below:
1. Get a student loan
2. Get a degree
3. Get a job
4. Get a house (it is really a mortgage)
5. Get a /some credit cards
6. (Maybe) get a partner
7. (Maybe) raise a kid
8. Get a lot of stuff
9. Get frustrated with life
Most of us have our own share from the list above. Some of us might have the opportunity to obtain a degree, so they avoided item 1 and 2. Some of us might choose to be single and skip item 6 and 7. But I think most of us still take up item 3, 4 and 8, and hopefully not 9.
So, what should we do? Do you want to follow the trend and receive item 9 as your final gift at the end of your career life or you willing to make some changes now to avoid that?
Before the change, there are some questions I took out from the book “ Early Retirement Extreme” which I think we need to ponder them ourselves.
1. Are you completely happy with your life?
Are you completely happy with your life? Person who has a perfect life style rarely embraces the idea of change (I also don’t see why will they do so). But, how about you? Any part of your life you are not happy with? A boring job that doesn’t give you the sense of fulfillment? Lack of time to spend with your partner or your children? Give it some thought.
2. Do you want to live on a solid foundation?
Are you making your end meet every month? Struggles though your bill at the end of every month? Are you worried about your future? If you want to live on a solid foundation, you will have to build it yourself (or with your partner). Many people started their career life not on a solid foundation; it usually started with a student loan and as the time go by, more and more debt commitment (a new car every few years, or a expensive designer bag every quarter) stack up on their back, and these are the same people that complain they can never retire. But this is not you; you will take up responsibility of your financial future by tracks expense, clear your debt, and make investment.
3. Do you want to start a business?
What is your passion? Do you have some interest that you have no time to pursue? Are you care about certain group of people in the society and you like to do more for them? Do you have a business idea that you think it will benefit many people?
With a solid financial foundation, you can focus on building your business without worry about the day-to-day expense is piling up. If you business manage to take off, it is even better. You benefit more people by bringing a beneficial product to the market, strengthen your own financial tower and give others an opportunity to build theirs.
4. Do you dream of doing instead having things?
Do you own a lot of stuff right now? Do you still feel the excitement when you made that purchase now? How long does that excitement lasts? Do you want to spend your life paying off that 30 years mortgage and leave nothing behind after your finite time in this world?
Does your job help you on your inspiration to do something or build something for the world? Will it help if you can have more time to do the thing you want, whatever it is?
5. Do you believe life is an adventure?
I will say most of us lead quite a predictable or boring lifestyle. 5 days a week, we wake up in the morning, rush through the peak hour traffic, finish up as much work as we can at office, totally out of energy by the end of the day.
Do you think life is an adventure? Do you want to build something based on your creativity? Young people nowadays are getting creative in designing their life; they don’t opt in to the traditional retirement planning anymore. They started a creative business; build up online income stream to support themselves rather than working for decades.
6. Do you want to make a difference?
There are a lot of problem in out society right now. Whatever haven been discovered so far is just a tip of the iceberg. Society needs more people to take part in caring for our disadvantaged group, reduce wastage of food and lower down the level of pollution.
Do you have issue that you care about but unable to contribute more because you were drag down by your financial commitment or your spending habit?
So, what do your think? Do you think you want to start planning for your own early retirement now? I hope I have given you enough belief in the idea of early retirement in this post and enough courage to take this path of less traveled.