The cultural norm is currently that we work until 65 and then retire. This is looked at as everyone’s dream, work hard your whole life so that you can retire at 65 and just relax the rest of your life.
Is this really what we want and for that matter, is it what actually happens?
Many people are returning to work after “retiring” sometimes several times.
So if the holy grail is that we can give up working at 65 then why do so many people continue working long past that?
I believe that we all want to find meaning in our lives. Working is a way that we help others and contribute to the world. If this is true, why would we ever want to stop?
I think the reason the idea of retirement is so appealing is because when we “retire” it means that we no longer have to work, any working we do after that is a choice.
Once we don’t feel like we have to work, any work we do is much more enjoyable and fulfilling.
So why do we need to wait until 65 to get to this point?
Let’s change our mindset, instead of focusing on retiring sometime in the future, what if we focused on becoming financially independent as soon as possible.
What is financial independence? I define it as when you have enough money, or passive income, that if you decided that you didn’t want to work tomorrow, you wouldn’t be stressed about it, at least not from a financial perspective.
Maybe this means that you could start working part time at your current job and still have enough money to get by for a year while you worked on a side-business you’ve always wanted to do.
Maybe it means that you can take a lower paying job that gives you more meaning and still be able to support your family.
Maybe it means you can simply work for non-profits the rest of your life with no pay.
Maybe it's just taking a year off from your current employment
The point is that you are free! If you don’t want to go to work you don’t have to! You only work when and on what you want to!
It might take you until your 65 to get to that point but it also might only take you until you’re 30 or anywhere in between.
So how do you become financially independent? Good question!
I’m not anywhere close right now but it is my goal to get there as soon as possible.
A few tips I’ve heard from people who are financially independent:
Start saving... a lot! Many people start saving as much as 50% or more of their income. Just think, if you saved 50% of your income, you would technically only need to work half the year!
If you save 50% for 5 years think of how much money you would have!
Invest wisely, investing is a great way to increase your savings at a faster rate, but remember that if you aren’t getting good advice and really researching and learning about investments you could very easily lose a lot of money.
You will probably lose money on many of your investments but you want to learn from your mistakes and get better over time.
Either increase your income or decrease your spending or both! This allows you to save and invest even more.