Learn a skill that pays you well to retire early: A recent early retiree’s perspective on reaching FIRE (financial independence retire early)

 

Our Pomeranian dog, Toby!

My wife and I are recent early retirees at ages 51 and 48.  Since our early retirement last August (2020), we’ve been slow traveling with our Pomeranian dog named Toby, to various destinations in the eastern parts of the United States.  We look forward to traveling the same way in the foreseeable future.  

In this post, I’d like to share my perspective on what it means to learn a skilled labor to retire early.  

Right out of college, I knew I was hopelessly lost.  I had graduated with a degree in music theory and music composition.  For few years while attending college, I thought I was going to teach music to students in New York City. 

Once I got into the master’s degree program, I knew my plans may not work out as planned.  I heard from my fellow students going through the same program, that most music teachers were not finding jobs, unless they taught ‘useful’ subjects like math or science.  At that time, arts and music classes were starting to get cut, in favor of math and science.  *I’m sure it’s worse now...

Bottom line:  My plan failed miserably and I needed to adjust in a hurry.  I had also gotten married the same year I graduated from the master’s degree program.  I needed to find a job...

I found a job selling Toyotas and Pontiacs.  It wasn’t the job I wanted, but I didn’t have a choice.  I needed to put food on the table and pay the bills.  It was the quickest thing I can find just coming out of school.  

The pay was terrible and hours were worse.  I alternated working Sundays, and I absolutely hated it.  I put up with the job for nine months until I got a better paying job selling Acuras.  My pay almost doubled the following year because of this move.  I thought maybe, just maybe, this could be a career, if things worked out.  

Well, like all good plans, it didn’t work out how I thought it would.  I ended up quitting that job when the dealership was sold to another company.  I found another job at another Acura dealership, but that job wouldn’t last.  

I was disenfranchised by older colleagues who were at that dealership.  They were constantly lamenting their lives and complaining all the time.  I didn’t want to end up like them...

After working five months, I quit that job.  I went to learn computers that same year.  At that time, I wasn’t good with computers.  I was able to browse the internet but that was about it.  I did realize that computers would eventually take over the world.

I learned from a technical school, computer repair skills.  I also learned basic networking skills.  The skills I learned there would eventually lead to my first IT job at a start up, then to my final job that would allow me to retire early.

The important thing about this little story is the need to figure out quickly how you can make more money by learning a skill.  This skill can be anything as long as you get paid well for it.  It can be computers, plumbing, unionized labor, mechanic, etc...

As long as you’re making more than $20 per hour, any skill would work.  Why $20 minimum?  To have a chance to pay your monthly expenses and to save money, I do believe minimum you can do that, is around $40,000 per year.  

Another reason for the minimum of $40,000 is I’ve personally read stories of regular people (janitors, secretaries) who retired with millions by the time they retired at 62.   I know it can be done.

If you make minimum wage in most cities in the United States, you’ll have a hard enough time making ends meet.  It would be difficult to have money left over for saving towards retirement...

So now that you know what qualifies as a well paying job, put it to action if you’re not already there.  

There is a good reason why many FIRE (financial independence retire early) movement followers retired so early.  They had very high paying jobs (computer programmers, engineers, etc.) which allowed them to save crazy amount of money each month (50% or more), while really lowering their expenses.  

In conclusion:

Learning a skill that pays well is one of the factors that determine how quickly you can retire early.  The quicker you adapt to this realization that a high paying skill helps you to achieve your goal of financial independence and retiring early, the better. 

The essence of the FIRE (financial independence retire early) movement is simple:

Make lots of money quickly, reduce your spending tremendously, invest as much as humanly possible, then retire early.

Do best you can to help yourself reach that goal!  Start with a high paying job, budget religiously, then invest much as you can.  

Thank you all 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-x6nH


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