Early Retirement Made Easy

For those of you that follow me on Twitter you may have seen a retweet from me that linked to a post by Larry MacDonald over at Canadian Business Online where I provided some general advice on getting to early retirement.  The major point of my summary was: stop dreaming and start planning.

For the last year I’ve been much more forthcoming with people I know about the fact I’m planning to retire at 45.  For those that make it past the initial shock of the idea the most likely response I get goes something along the lines: well that’s nice, but I could never do that.

My response is: why not?

No seriously what on earth could be so very different in your life that you can’t consider at least retiring a little bit earlier?  I’m not saying everyone should leave work at 45, but 55 or even 60 is well within reach for most people.  The major reason I’ve found is people like to dream about early retirement, but no one seems to be willing to do the work to get there.  In some regards it is similar to the “I want to write a book” syndrome.  Lots of people want to write a book but no one seems willing to put in the effort to actually sit down and write.

So you want an easy early retirement?  Well here are your instructions:

  1. Stop Adding Debt – The majority of Canadians has way too much debt and are adding more.  STOP adding to your debt and starting paying it off.  The party is over and your hangover is on your credit cards, line of credits and your mortgage balance.  Another drink won’t solve this problem so put away your glass and your credit card.
  2. Start Saving More – Once your debt is under control start using any extra money that used to go to your debt to go to your savings.  Start small and keep it in cash for now you can learn about investments later.  Your rule number one right now is: don’t lose money.
  3. Stop Moaning.  Just because your saving doesn’t mean you life will be boring.  If I hear one more person moan about saving being hard because there is nothing to do that doesn’t cost money I may have to slap someone. Learn to have fun without money.  When in doubt stop watching TV for a month.  The restlessness will be sure to drive you out of your house and force you to find out about that free seminar at the library, that amazing walk by the lake you have never done and for you to learn that a deck of cards and some friends can be a great evening.
  4. Start Reading.  Early retirement takes some planning and learning a few concepts so start reading some books on the idea.  Every book will teach you something different that will help you learn how to plan for it.  Also be sure to read various blogs to learn different ideas.  You may not want to move to France and live on a tiny budget, but if you do there is a blog for that.

There are your basic instructions to retire early.  Stop whining and get planning.  I’ll see you around in early retirement.

5 thoughts on “Early Retirement Made Easy”

  1. I only wish I’d had these points in mind in my 20s rather than wising up in my early 40s. We now live frugally, and stuff about 35% of our income into our retirement accounts or extra mortgage payments. I constantly kick myself for not making extra mortgage payments the first few years when it would have made a massive difference compared to now. I can’t even recall what we thought was so important to buy, but making an extra mortgage payment was always pushed off until tomorrow. I know I can’t change the past, but certainly wish I had a financial do over on that one.

  2. As much as I like point number 3, I live in Ontario and believe there are reasons to moan. This year, we’ve been subjected to the HST, increased hydro rates and a new law governing automobile insurance. Even with increased savings and reduced expenditures, the effect of these three items has been incredible. I’m estimating at least an additional $3,000 per yearly expense, a big hit on our annual savings. It would be nice to have some measure of control over these items but its just not possible for people who buy anything at stores, require electricity and have the unfortunate requirement of needing a car.

  3. I don’t have the figures to hand but I thought Canada was comparatively solvent compared with the USA and most of Europe.

    Regarding the rest of the points I absolutely agree. I shall be retiring next year in my mid fifties. I was forty before I realised I didn’t need a car and certain other stuff. -SG

  4. @JMK,

    You can’t turn back the clock, so you might as well do what you can to still to get to retirement earlier.

    @HGM,

    Yes I will grant you a lot of people in Ontario got screwed over this year. Yet take heart you won’t be alone for long. I’ve been in the middle of three rate increases of water of 9% a year and seen at least 7% power rate increases as well. As governments start to plug the holes in their balance sheets you can bet everything will be going up for the next few years. You can’t control your external items (other than voting) so do what you can.

    Salis Grano,

    Oh the country is actually is decant shape compared to other countries. It have more to do with the personal debt levels which are a little too close the US for my comfort.

    Thanks everyone,

    Tim

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