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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.