Early retirement manifesto: A recent early retiree’s thoughts and beliefs to achieve FIRE (financial independence retire early)

Emerald Isle Boating Access Area, North Carolina 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:  “Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.”

Welcome everyone!  I’m a recent early retiree at the age of 48.  My wife and I (and our Pomeranian dog) have been slow traveling across the eastern parts of the United States and we’ve been spending time with our family since last August.  In this post, I will lay out my principles for how I try to live my life.  These beliefs are what made early retirement possible for me.

This is my ‘Early Retirement Manifesto’.

Principle One:

Get rid of debt!  No debt is good debt.  The so called ‘bad debt’ including credit card debt, personal loans, and car loans are bad.  But so are so called ‘good debt’ including mortgage and student loans.  The LESS debt you have, the faster you’ll be financially independent.  It’s never good to pay someone else (credit card companies, banks, car finance/lease companies, mortgage companies, etc.) each month.  The more you pay someone else, the less money you’ll have for yourself.

Principle Two:

Stop caring what others think about you.  If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that 3 people out of 10 will like me, 3 of them will hate me, while 4 of them won’t care either way about me.  Stop constantly trying to please everybody.  The statement ‘Be happy with yourself’ is something I’ve lived by for some time.

Principle Three:

Stop ‘keeping up with the Jones’, and start living within your means.  You don’t need to buy something, with money you don’t have, to impress someone you don’t even like.  The quicker you can stop this insanity, the faster you’ll be financially secure.  Get the right sized home / car / etc.  The bigger the house,  the more you’ll spend to maintain that house.  More energy to heat/cool, more stuff to fill the space, more money to fix things that break, and more taxes.  Car is the same.  When did buying a humongous SUV that can carry 7 linebackers become the norm?  The bigger they are, the more they cost.  

Principle Four:

Invest, and not save for retirement.  Investing is purchasing assets that appreciate, like stocks and bonds, real estate, for example.  Saving is playing TOO SAFE by relying on things like savings accounts, CD’s, and money market accounts.  Saving will NOT allow early retirement.  Love compounding interest!

Principle Five:

Put away as much into your retirement account(s) as possible to retire early.  Don’t be average when it comes to putting away money for retirement.  5% or 10% will not do it.  The higher, the better.  If you love your job, and you don’t mind working until 62, then this is perfectly ok.  If you don’t want to work until normal retirement age of 62-65, then put away as much as you can.  

Principle Six:

Figure out how much you need to live on.  How much you spend each year is one of the most important things to figure out for early retirement.  A budget will allow that.

Principle Seven:

For early retirement, learn a skill that pays you well.  Work hard for as long as necessary to put away enough money to retire early.  Don’t do what I did and get a useless college degree like music theory/ music composition!

Principle Eight:

Learn to say when it’s enough.  This is a concept that’s central to financial well-being.  If you never are satisfied when you reach your early retirement goal of 25 times your yearly expenses, then you’ll need to work longer and longer to reach that goal.  Life is short.  You can have either more healthy years to enjoy life sooner but have less money in the process, or, you can have more money later but have less healthy years to enjoy those years.  I chose more healthy years/less money.

Principle Nine:

Maintain your health.  To have money is useless if you’re too sick/frail or die before you spend that money.  Do everything you possibly can to eat right, exercise, and be mentally strong.  


I hope someone reading this post can take some or all of these principles and start applying these to their goal of reaching financial independence.  It has served me well in my journey to financial independence and retiring early.  I hope it does for you as well.

Thank you for reading!


Jake

Wandering Money Pig 


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Please check out our YouTube channel ‘Wandering Money Pig’ showcasing our travels and our Pomeranian dog! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3kl9f4W9sfNG5h1l-x6nHw


 

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