Early retirement isn’t “hard”, but it does take time to get there. And, let’s face it: Not everybody will be able to achieve early retirement.
But, you might be surprised at how possible it is.
10 Ways to Make Early Retirement Easier
1. Stop believing that people get rich quick. Baring some miracle (aka: “lottery”, etc), getting rich just doesn’t happen. In fact, it can’t happen – otherwise, we’d all be filthy rich, wouldn’t we? Instead, riches come from a combination of hard and smart work – over time.
Yes, sometimes luck can have an affect on our lives – both positive and negative. In my experience, though, working smart is a far more dependable way to achieve success.
2. Be proud of your goals and ambitions. I’ve met too many people who try to hide their goal of early retirement because they feel like they are bragging or rubbing it in. To me, I say nonsense! Talking respectfully about your goals and ambitions – even if those goals include early retirement, should never be misrepresented as bragging.
Early retirement is a part of who you are. Be proud of it.
3. Understand how you work best. By far, I do my best work in particular blocks of time throughout the day, starting from the moment that I sit down in front of my computer in the morning. In fact, I plan for this. I like to call these periods of time “blocks of productivity”. Early retirement will depend heavily on your ability to maximize your own time each and every day.
Understanding exactly how you work best, and designing your schedule around those things, will make you a far more productive, accomplished and happy early retiree.
4. Don’t dwell on “just one more year”. Many early retirees fall victim to the “just one more year syndrome”, where they continue working, year after year, under the assumption that they will retire “next year”. While everybody’s situation is different, I’ve observed an incredible amount of opportunity to get involved (and, yes, also make money) after retiring from full-time work. When you quit, you aren’t done for good. There’s a LOT out there that our minds ignore when we work full-time jobs.
Opportunities abound. Pick a date and, to the best of your ability, stick with it!
5. Destroy your comfort zones. I’ve written about this one before: Comfort zones crush our ability to improve our lives. They keep us wrapped up in a cocoon of mush, complacent and completely relaxed. Reflection and bettering our lives is often the furthest thing from our minds when we’re in these zones.
It is natural to want comfort. And occasionally, there’s nothing wrong with a little time in our comfort zones. But spending too much time in this zone is detrimental to our progress. Get out of it.
6. Take smart risks. Let’s face it: Early retirement is a risk. I freely admit that retiring at 35 was a risky move, but I’m proud to say that I’ve done it anyway. Against all odds, and in the face of incredible criticism from the general population, I am “risking it” by retiring in my 30s.
I believe it was a smart risk to take. I believe that if we never take any risks, we won’t lead lives nearly as exciting as we could have. Without risks, we remain typical worker bees, sitting in traffic for hours and staring into computer monitors from cold office buildings for the large majority of daylight hours.
7. Be confident. I am annoyingly confident. I firmly believe that what we are doing is the absolute right thing, and we’ve made our decision. We are jumping in head first and not looking back. I quit a high paying and relatively low stress job in the Information Technology industry for a life of freedom. And I’m damn proud of what my wife and I were able to accomplish.
8. Learn how to reflect: Reflection is a super powerful technique that lets us examine ourselves. Reflection should be a realistic, honest and non-judgmental process through and through. You’re not beating yourself up. You’re identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Very few decisions are set in stone and non-reversible. In my life, I make the very best decision that I can at the time. I go about my life and take notice of how that decision is affecting me.
If I screwed up, I make a change. No harm, no foul. The process repeats and I continuously improve.
9. Stop consuming and start creating. Consuming costs money in virtually every way. We consume gas in our cars. Food in our stomachs. Even the television programs we watch cost money (television itself, subscription fees, advertisement exposure). Some consumption is natural, but start to tip the balance in your life toward creation. Whatever it is, create. Start a blog. Knit a sweater. Build a bookcase. Just, create. Keep creating.
At the end of our lives, we’ll remember the things that we created much more vividly than the stuff we consumed.
10. Don’t sweat the details. With everything in life, details exist. There is no escaping these little buggers, and you might as well not try. I have found that these details have a way of working themselves out if you let them. I have learned to let them. I never worry about things that I cannot control. And even things that I can control, I pick and choose my battles very carefully – and honestly, I don’t pick many battles. I believe that the world is a well-oiled machine and possesses the ability to keep on turning with or without any of our involvement, especially in the fine-grained minutia that tends to stress out so many of my fellow Americans.
Seriously, it drives some people batty!