The financial freedom of a modest, early retirement is actually achievable for many smart and motivated people in college or their early 20s. If you make early retirement your highest priority in life and follow a disciplined path to obtaining it, you should be able to leave work permanently in your 30s and spend your life and time at your complete discretion.
1Define the dream, while documenting the reality. How do you want to spend the rest of your life, post-retirement? Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? And most importantly of all, how much will it cost, year after year, for the rest of your life? This will tell you how much money you need to save and what kind of investments you’re going to have to make in order to support your retirement lifestyle. Don’t forget to include things like health insurance and the effect of inflation. Make a detailed spreadsheet to chart all these variables exactly.Ad
Make a lot of money. Perhaps the quickest, high odds way to do this is by focusing on landing a high paying job. Consider the types of jobs that pay extraordinarily well in exchange for hard work, little psychological satisfaction, and a punishing lifestyle. After all, you’re not choosing a career in the sense that most people are, seeking lifelong satisfaction, as you hope to be only in this job for a decade. Focus on jobs that will reward the fact that you are willing to work harder than anyone else. Some suggestions:
- Investment banking – These Wall Street jobs can pay extremely well. In exchange, you sell your soul: the hours are a grind, the work is dull, and your boss is an egomaniac. But the goal is to get in, work hard and bank the money. Focus on delivering the results, and watch your peers melt away as they think “there’s no way I can do this for 40 years” – you know you don’t have to.
- Sales (positions in high-ticket industries, such as many high-tech enterprise software companies) – Because your pay is directly linked to your sales, and your sales are in a large part proportional to how hard you are willing to work, you can earn a lot doing this dull job of sucking up to corporate IT drones.
- Engineering – Software development, bio-tech, and other technical positions are high risk paths to wealth. Unlike the investment banking and sales which have high current income, many engineering jobs only hit the jackpot on chancy stock options. However, if you join early at the right start-up, you might be be able toBuy a Private Island after 4 years of work. But more likely, you will grind away endless hours for an incompetent 27 year old CEO and his insatiable venture capital masters before the company goes belly up, leaving your options worthless.
Lower your expenses. The #1 reason people in high paying salaried jobs are still working hard when they are fifty is because they can’t keep their spending under control. To soothe their agony regarding their dull, demanding job, they placate themselves with toys that fail to make them happy: a penthouse apartment, a fancy car, a diamond ring. Resist the massive pressure to dress, eat and shop like your peers, and live a modest lifestyle. Focus on work, as your play will come later. Some keys to not spending:
- Buy or Rent a modest apartment/condo. You will be at work all the time, so do not splash out on housing. Clean and small will do just fine. Studies show that homeowners have 5x the net worth of renters, so buy something well within your means as soon as it’s financially feasible.
- Don’t eat fancy dinners. Unless you are a gourmet connoisseur, you have to admit that a $5 burrito tastes 90% as good as a fancy steak served on fine china.
- Keep a budget. Track your expenses. Set goals for saving and celebrate when you meet them. Instead of unnecessarily buying a dress while window shopping, you might want to invest your money into more profitable ventures. Always make sure to stick to this budget.
4Invest wisely. It is beyond the scope of this how-to to explain exactly how to invest your money, but do the research and find a way to make your savings grow and work for you. The richest people invest in real estate and the stock market. Remember that the more you play it safe, the longer it’ll probably take you to retire; on the flip side, the more you gamble, the more you risk losing your money and having to spend another year or more at your high-paying but miserable job.
5Keep your eye on the mark. Not everyone is cut out for the kind of life you’re going to have to lead in order to reach such an early retirement. There will be many times when you feel like giving in and throwing in the towel. Have a very clear vision and several ways to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, because you’ll need them.
6Invest in your skills. Upgrading the skills you have increases earning power. The fewer the better. Find the skill in which can be upgraded both the most and quickest helps. At the same time invest in a new skill set. On the simplest analysis, better skills equate to better compensation which in turn equates to faster monetary growth rate for your savings, allowing you to work more skillfully at the same time frame for more money.