I was recently reading an article in Black Enterprise about early retirement. It stated that the normal retirement age is between 65 and 67 and was giving tips on how to collect Social Security a couple years before the normal retirement age, how to draw from your IRA early, and how to avoid tax penalties for early retirement. After the initial shock of realizing that the powers that be in the Social Security Administration really expect me to fight rush hour traffic, deal with a demanding boss, and work 12 hour days for the next 40 years- I came to a deep realization. The fact of the matter is that I can actually retire any time I please.
Now don't get me wrong, obviously there is a difference between being unemployed (with no money, no place to live, and no assets) and being retired. Since I plan to do the latter, I decided that it was definitely time for me to get my plans in order to make sure this happens much sooner than later.
Anyone who knows me personally or whose read my past blog posts, knows that my goal for retirement is age 30 (6 years from now). While that may seem like an overzealous goal for some, this definitely feels like the only option for me. There's absolutely no way I can continue to be a "worker bee" for Corporate America for the rest of my young and mid adult life.
With that said, here are a few must haves in order to turn this dream into a reality!
Healthy Emergency Fund:
Just because you no longer have the will to be bound to a clock and being obligated to show up to an unfulfilling, creatively draining job, doesn't mean your bills are going to fall in line. Please know that you will still have rent/mortgage, cell phone, and cable representatives calling your phone each day that your account is overdue. The goal should be to have at least enough savings in an interest generating account that will hold you over for 6 months in the event you generate no additional income.
Freelance/Flexible Work Arrangement:
Early retirement can be defined as loosely as being able to work for yourself and having the freedom to come and go as you please, to as strictly as the cessation of any and all work arrangements. Obviously at 30, my goal is not to no longer work another day in my life. The goal is, however, to be able to take more control of how I spend my days. As it stands now, I spend more than 50% of my day commuting and doing work. The goal should be to either negotiate with your current employer or create an arrangement for yourself where you can be your own boss and set your own hours. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to become an entrepreneur. Please note that you shouldn't simply replace working for someone else for most of your days for working for yourself most of your days. If you truly want to be retired, you should be focused on creating a business where your money works more for you than you have to work for your money.
Income Generating Asset(s)
Another important item, is to have an income generating asset or assets that you don't have to work for. This asset should be making money for you whether you are at home asleep or on the beach overseas. An example of this can be a residential property that you receive rental income from, an interest generating account, or a stock or bond that you have invested.
The point is that, you shouldn't be limited in thinking that living a life of freedom can only happen after you've worked away your best years doing something that left you unfulfilled. The only thing stopping you from living your best life now, is YOU. Why not get started revamping your thoughts and actions in order to achieve all of the goals you have set for yourself? I've made a commitment to myself to do the same.
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