The headline is provocative. It also seems like an unrealistic goal for any average young man, to start preparing for his retirement right after finishing college. However, I do plan to do this, and as soon as possible.
It is important to emphasize that I am not born with a silver spoon or any other advantage. I have average parents, a job that pays a regular salary and nothing else that gets my bank advisor particularly excited.
But my mission is clear. After reading the great great blog of Mr. Money Mustache , and also the earlier posts on Zenhabits , I have gotten highly determined to work towards financial freedom. And I think it is realistic for me to get there sooner than later.
I have made a system to help me accomplish this goal, and I would like share it, in case you want to join me in quitting the rat race for good.
Key Strategy – Be Frugal, Be Minimalist
It’s important to begin by mentioning that I don’t intent to come up with a quick and extraordinary business idea, that will solve all my problems in a few months. My plan is to really earn this retirement, by changing my lifestyle to a simpler one, which is going to make the end goal really easy to reach.
The great thing about utilizing the frugal strategy is that it starts a positive feedback loop:
You save money -> you invest the saved money -> the interests on your investments will have a relatively higher value, compared to your monthly expenses, the more you save.
To quote Mr. Money Mustache: “My only superpower, is my ability to spend very little of my money”.
Of course, you can choose the strategy to instead earn more money, but saving is like burning a candle from both ends.
Reducing monthly reocurring expenses is key here. Do you have a magazine subscription or Apple Music account you might be able to cancel?
My Beloved Spreadsheet
So I have made this humongous spreadsheet in Google Docs, to track my progress. I input ALL relevant information to my mission in it.
I don’t really want to show you the whole thing in detail because I want you to make your own, that is fully customized to your dreams and needs.
The neat thing about a spreadsheet like this is, if you change one tiny aspect of it – say you cancel a magazine subscription – the entire landscape changes automatically thereafter, which makes it very motivating to make even the smallest changes.
In my spreadsheet I track:
Monthly expenses – this is the cornerstone of the spreadsheet. The main function of the document is to calculate when I can pay for my monthly expenses with just passive income (investments, interest, blog income and others).
Passive Income – is therefore the next most important category. Here I track all the passive income I have coming in from stocks, interest from bank deposits and affiliate marketing from this and my other blogs.
Required work – is something I track mostly for fun. What if I was to quit my job today? How much would I have to work to cover my basic expenses? Currently, the number is 20 hours a week, and it is very motivating to see this number drop every time I make a new investment.
You might even argue, that I could semi-retire by quitting my job at a point, when I only needed to work for a few hours every week.
Lots of other stuff – but these are the essentials.
Making this spreadsheet has made me realize all of the strategies I have available to me if I want to work one getting closer to my goal.
I can either:
– Save more
– Invest more
– Work on getting more passive income (for me: writing)
This is very motivating for me. Every time I go hunting for good deals in my grocery store, I get closer to my goal. Every time write another blog post, I get closer to my goal.
Two More Points:
– it’s important to note, that if you plan to retire from work as a relatively young and capable man or woman, it is very unlikely that you will stop making money completely the day you stop working. With all the time in world, you will probably have to start new passion projects occupy to yourself with, and some of them might help you earn a little extra. This is why you might even be able to start your retirement a little earlier than you think if you aren’t too risk-averse.
– If this blog post is your first introduction to the concept of early retirement, I need to emphasize that you don’t know anything yet. To really get a full understanding of the concept, I encourage you to go to the blog of Mr. Money Mustache , and start reading.
Thanks for reading guys!
For more information on the subject, I also recommend checking out the book Early Retirement Extreme