In my early 20s I decided I was going to retire at 30. Since then I’ve been telling everyone of this decision. People often mutter in disbelief or give me a look of “hahaha right….” Some simply jest that I must be rich. Very few take my declaration seriously and over the years I have been uncertain myself from time to time. Maybe 30 is too young. Would 35 be better?
I’ve always tried to put away some money every month for rainy days. Last year I pushed to get my savings account up to $10,000 just in case I turned 30 and really carried out this crazy plan?!? Now only 4 months from my 30th birthday I am concrete in this decision to retire at 30! We are down to the wire. As of last month I’ve started making real preparations for world wide travel & retirement. Today when I tell people I’m planning to retire at 30 I still get some disbelief. Most are demanding HOW!?! Well good friend I shall tell you my secret.
First & foremost lets get our definition of the goal here. We’ll pull out ye ole Google and search ‘retirement definition’. I’ll even Google that for you! What we get is a noun meaning ‘the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work’. That is pretty easy to understand right? Quit your job and stop working.
Hold on to that definition and lets add another piece of the puzzle! Our wise friend Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That is it! It is that simple! Step 1 quit not loved job. Step 2 find job you love which according to Confucius would not count for work. Step 3 PROFIT! I don’t mean profit as in money but instead as being happy and living a life worth living.
When I said I would retire at 30 it never meant I’d sit at home doing nothing and never earn another cent. This is the conclusion most people jump to. They imagine you’ll retire, play golf, and collect a check from a retirement fund. If you know retirees who are able bodied, you’ll know many continue to work after retirement. It might be less than the use to and might not be in there former “career”. They will continue to hold a job of some sort whether it is a easy work for simple pay, hobbies, or volunteering. Research has proven that we are happiest when we work.
Never doing any type of work ever again sounds miserable to me. My retirement was never meant to be this. The goals I set were to stop working for other peoples profits, to stop wasting my life on meaningless tasks, to no longer work just for a pay check, or climbing cooperate ladders…Why wait until 70+ to do this? Why not do it now while you are young & can enjoy it? So if this sounds like a good retirement to you then lets get into the how to do this.
1. Stay as debt free as possible. There are people willing to run away from debt but if you can work 10 years accumulating savings with virtually no debt you’ll be in the perfect place to retire young. Debt is a huge anchor and is often the excuse people use for not living the life they want.
If you are still in college now DO NOT TAKE OUT STUDENT LOANS!!!! At the very least only take out bare minimum of subsidized loans. Keep a job of some sort to help pay for school! Degrees are nice but employers value a person who is tried and proven. In most career fields work history & experience is more valuable than a degree.
2. Start saving early even if its just a little every month. I started trying to save for my retirement around 22. At first it was very small goals. Always keep $1,000 in my savings account. As my income increased I set a goal of $5,000 then $10,000…Every travel blog will give you a different number of how much to save. Aim for $5,000-$12,000. You can do it with less! Budget traveler blogs are a dime dozen on Google with some great tips. This one will include some soon.
3. Live a minimalist life style. Do you really need that giant sectional couch or lava lamp? If your goal is to travel full time that stuff isn’t fitting in your backpack.
4. Lower your standard of living. This partly goes back to the staying out of debt. Burdening yourself with a car payment isn’t going to help you retire early. Keep expenses like this in reason and always prioritize paying bills or debts first! If possible move to a nation with a favorable exchange rate. ^_^
SHORT: Nail down what your definition of retirement is. If you want to sit on a couch all day and watch TV stick to the traditional work till age 65 & 401ks.