If you think having a few million dollars in a bank is your path to early retirement you’re not going to do well in early retirement. Early retirement is a mind game. It is the desire to cease working at all costs regardless if you have a few million dollars in the bank or not. At least, that has been my experience. I retired at the age of fifty. I’d rather stick needles inside both my eyes than work at a job ever again.
Regardless of all the planning you have done to earn yourself an early retirement graveyard, unless you have the guts and determination to stay retired, the slightest dip in your pre-planning may cause you to run back into the workforce. In other words, IMHO, the only way a person can seek and stay early retired is because they want it more than anything else in the world. It’s a lot of sacrifice. You have to be quick-witted, extremely agile and be the most cost-conscious solution provider on the face of the earth.
Lots of things are going to go wrong and be contrary to your ridiculous pre-planning. You can read all the books you want, scour all the DIY YouTube videos, read all the early retirement blogs you want BUT your life is going to be different from any other life you devoured.
Remember Jacob of ‘Early Retirement Extreme‘? Jacob used to tout the wondrous miracles of early retirement till he eventually got offered a job he couldn’t refuse. Once Jacob, who used to live quite frugally with his wife (who worked a teaching job BTW) went back to work, all bets were off. Unless you have the badassity tenacity of Mr. Money Mustache (IMHO), early retirement for most is just nothing more than a pipe dream. Early retirement is hardcore. You have to be willing to live so beneath what you had become accustomed to (try $1500 to $2800 a month!) and you have to rely 1000% on yourself. No picking up the phone to call anyone to help fix or solve your problem. You have got to do everything by yourself. You have to choose to live so differently from any other human being that you may never know the meaning of the expression ‘normal life’.
Early retirement is fun while you are young. Nothing, however, can prepare you for your eventual old age, declining health problems and the outrageous health care expenses that go with the early retirement extreme. There is no way a 35 year old can experience and prepare for what a 65 year old is feeling. Maybe that’s why the recommended age for retirement is upping to 67? Apparently, at this age you’re starting to get a taste for what’s really ahead for you in your future. Mr. Money Mustache, although pleasantly retired at an early age still goes to work by taking on side jobs! Thus making one ponder, what the heck is early retirement and is it really possible to achieve it at an early age?
You have to understand that should you retire early, your future life will be the continual constant of change and downsizing. You’re life doesn’t expand in early retirement. To the contrary, your life, upon early retirement will decrease, diminish, lesson, be reduced, will shrink, will be curtailed, deflated, shortened, shriveled and become small. Mr. Money Mustache just reduced his square footage lifestyle down to 1000. Both he and his wife voluntarily agreed that they will only have one child, as a means to keeping their living costs in the downward trend. As I said, early retirement means your future life gets smaller. Not bigger.
Almost no one in America dies of ‘old age’. That’s according to the NCHS, which is the government agency responsible for collecting statistical information on how we die. In the NCHS’s instructions for filling out death certificates, “old age” is discouraged for use as a cause of death: “Terms such as senescence [the process of growing old], infirmity, old age, and advanced age have little value for public health or medical research.” Instead, physicians are told to list the immediate cause of death and any conditions that led up to it.
Nothing in early retirement is going to prepare you for your eventual end of life. You’re going to get sick and you’re going to need a lot of money to stay alive. Nothing is going to prepare you for this true fact of life.
Almost every single retired person that I know or have met, despite their massive so-called saving account balances, their ample pensions, social security benefits, interest income or passive incomes are hustling on the side making AND bringing in more money, more money, more money. In other words, what I am trying to say is this: there is NO such thing as early retirement.
You’re gonna work at something till the day you die.
Young people are continually asking Jacob if they can retire young? They confess to him how much money they have in the bank, their age and their future plans. Jacob’s reply is usually the same: The main question you should ask yourself is thus not whether you have enough money, but rather whether you can envision yourself living an unconventional life outside the boxes that most others live in. If this is the case, the money to do so can be earned fairly quickly. The challenge is mostly in the mind, and so this is the real question you should be asking yourself. Can you be happy without doing what everybody else is doing?
If you plan on living a life alone, inside some sparse hut or cave, devoid of other human beings and common human comforts, you’re gonna do just fine in early retirement.
If not, don’t be giving up your day job just yet. Life is very, very long.
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.