Retiring early in life may sound new to a lot of people. But this has been happening for many people around the world, such that the concept has even given birth to the “FIRE” movement.
The FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement is about positioning yourself to achieve financial independence and retiring early—because the truth is that, the current set up of life and retirement sucks.
Life is too short to spend it all working. As such, early retirement is not an option for the new smart, it is a necessity. Imagine not having to work with no financial worries? You can spend time with your family, travel or do the things you really love to do.
For me, retiring early isn’t about not working, but having the option not to work—and being in charge of your time and life. Deciding, if you want to work or not, and having a choice in these matters unlike under the current system because if you don’t work, you can’t live.
First of all, let me explain to you how the current set up of work and retirement really looks like and then consider the new alternative of retiring early.
Current Work and Retirement Culture
The work and retirement set up of the world we live in is completely absurd and outdated—no wonder a lot of the smart people in the world today are departing from it. While this has existed for many years, it has become worse as technology and innovation should have totally changed our approach to the work-life balance.
We’ve somehow bought into a handed down way of doing things without subjecting it to personal reviews and the needed evaluation.
Under the current scheme, you are expected to work 8 to 12 hours a day, for 5 or 6 days a week—and repeat this painful routine all your life, until you are between 60 to 65 years and then you can retire to go and die.
If you have not considered it properly, the above set up means, you spend your entire life working and retiring when you are old and cannot really do much with any free time, or even really enjoy your existence.
Why must you work to 65 years before retiring, if you can retire at let’s say 40—with the same or better level of financial security and independence?
Currently, you have to work your entire life to make money to live on, and per the system’s calculation, when you are 65 years, you should have saved enough money such that you don’t need to work anymore until you die. Even at the stage, you can’t really be effective at work—and therefore you are compelled to retire by the system we live under.
I find the above unworthy of life. And therefore, I’ve always been thinking about retiring as early as 40, as late as 45 years. And then, I can really commit to enjoying life on my own terms without any work taking a chuck of my existence.
The FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) Movement
While it may be wonderful to just retire early and go about doing whatever you want with your life, you cannot just wake up and do it. You will be ‘broke’ the next few months and worse of if your early retirement does not come with financial independence.
Early retirement is, therefore, dependent on early financial independence—with the latter also being dependent on early planning.
How to Retire Early with Financial Independence
As explained above, the system retires you in your 60s because the system has calculated that by that age, you should have saved enough at the standard saving portion of 10-15% of your monthly income. And with this savings in place, you will be able to not work, and live on your savings.
The above follows the faultless logic that, if you increase your rate of savings, then you can retire early. It’s an issue of a simple mathematics. Ignoring all investments and on the back of regular income and expenditure, it’s calculated that:
- At a savings rate of 10%, it takes (1-0.1)/0.1 = 9 years of work to save for 1 year of living expenses.
- At a savings rate of 25%, it takes (1-0.25)/0.25 = 3 years of work to save for 1 year of living expenses.
- At a savings rate of 50%, it takes (1-0.5)/0.5 = 1 year of work to save for 1 year of living expenses.
- At a savings rate of 75%, it takes (1-0.75)/0.75 = 0.33 years of work to save for 1 year of living expenses.
With this calculation in mind, the FIRE movement encourages aggressive savings, and encourages the smart ones looking to retire early on the back of savings alone, to just increase their rate of savings.
How Do You Increase Savings to Retire Early?
Increasing your rate of savings can be done by two main ways—by increasing your income/revenue while your expenses remain the same to allow you to have more money after expenses to save.
The other option, which the FIRE movement largely encourages is to be able to cut down on expenses drastically—by only making intentional and needed spending, so that the bulk of your income can be saved. This demands a complete lifestyle adjustment and cutting back of money wastage.
Among the two options, the second, which is cutting down expenses is the most viable for a lot of people since increasing your income hugely over time is difficulty to achieve. When it comes to cutting down on expenses, minimalism makes it easy and fulfilling. That is why I am a minimalist.
BONUS: Savings Plus Investments or Businesses Can Speed Early Retirement
The journey to achieving early retirement is undeniably long on the back of even aggressive saving. You can, however, speed up the journey by adding investments or businesses that do not require your full time and attention to bring you income to your plan.
If you have a regular investment income, it means you do not have to work to earn that income and therefore if it is huge enough to cover your expenses (and savings) and if it is secure, then you can even retire today.
On the other hands, people with tools or businesses that bring in income or revenue without their involvement are literally retired, if they fully depend on the income from this business and do not have to work to earn the income.
Therefore, creating a business which can eventually operate without your involvement and bring in enough income to enable you to live without working is a catalyst to achieving financial independence and retiring early. This is what I have been working on over the years, to enable me retire at 40 years, or at worst at 45 years.
Creating a business such as an online business which is easy and sometimes free to start is always a good start. I recently compiled a list about ‘4 Solid But Easy Ways to Make Money from Social Media Doing Just What You Are Already Doing.’ And this can be your start point to bringing in extra revenue or creating a full blown business to aid early retirement,
You can also consider becoming a minimalist, which encourages and help with savings.