1600 days to go
1020 working days
87 school plays, sporting events and award ceremonies
1 mid-life crisis
Then, trade wars and nuclear showdowns aside, we’ll be financially independent and retired.
Finally, I will be able to pursue my life-long ambition to travel the world, visit exotic places and stack up rocks.
Early Retirement Update
Usually, these update posts are a quick progress report. But having just put in place our final investment, the rest of the journey to financial independence is about waiting for those investments to grow.
So, we thought we’d talk about the three big lessons we’ve learned about how to FIRE – financial independence to retire early.
Lesson One: Retire Early, Really?
As early as you can, take a time-out from all the exciting FIRE talk and the retirement porn (like the pic below) and ask yourself if you really want to retire.
Okay, um, maybe I shouldn’t have asked that question then immediately posted that photo.
What I’m trying to get at is do you really want retirement at this stage? Or do you just want a holiday?
Retirement is not a permanent holiday – it’s a phase of life. And for many it’s surprisingly boring.
Because retirement takes away two of the main attractions of holidays. You see, holidays are fun because they contrast with normal life. Retirement can take away that contrast.
So you may find yourself needing a holiday from your permanent holiday. Which means restoring that contrast, which means your new holiday might actually be going back to work!
Didn’t see that coming did you!
The other thing that makes holidays fun is, well, fun. Holidays usually involve some form of indulgence.
But don’t forget that humans are remarkable at ‘normalising’. So even fun becomes normal after a while.
If you sit on a beach for a month, you’ll love it. Sit there for a year, it’ll be a chore.
It becomes normal. Your endorphins don’t even bother getting out of bed anymore for that old beach.
That’s why rock stars always look bored – because even rocking out stadiums then burying your face in a bag full of coke before shagging a line-up of fans gets boring when you do it every night.
Think hard about retiring early.
Lesson Two: What’s Your FIRE Style?
You’re retired for a long time, so it pays to think about the style of retirement you want.
With Generation X life spans stretching to 90+ years, early retirees are often horrified at the thought of sitting on a beach for 40-odd years.
Early retirees rarely opt for the traditional three-stage life (learn, earn, retire).
They tend to adopt one of the many alternatives, like starting a hobby business or passion project or community service.
FIRE is also perfect for those creative arts ventures, except without the financial pressure of having to succeed because you have to earn a living. FIRE means you are free to fail!
Many FIRE-ees move in and out of retirement. They take a few years off, then return to work for as long as it stays interesting. Then leave again.
Once you think along these lines, you’ll quickly realise that FIRE is more about freedom than retiring.
Lesson Three: Plan & Act
Last one of the big lessons is to plan well.
Financial independence isn’t hard, but it takes time.
There’s no shortcuts. Forget bitcoin or day trading or currency speculation.
Make sensible investments and get your money working now so it works longer.
The best investment you’ll ever make is on good financial advice. Don’t be frugal when it comes to financial advice – you’ll easily earn that money back.
And educate yourself on money management. It’s free! There’s tons of info on the web and your local library will be brimming with well-read books on making money.
Once you’ve educated yourself and have good financial advice, you need to act. This means saving, investing and sticking to your plan.
Easy in theory, tougher in the heat of day-to-day life. Try to win 90% of the time.
Keep yourself motivated by regularly reading about FIRE. Be part of the FIRE community. And keep yourself busy with other self improvement projects – because they’re interesting, helpful and free.
There you have it. Three top tips we’ve learned about setting yourself up to retire early.
The final word:
We’ve linked a lot our FIRE posts in the update above. There’s some great entry-level reading on FIRE, which also contains links to sites that explore FIRE more deeply.
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