This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and
works as a financial advisor retired at 34. He is married, has three kids. Robert and his wife then plan to return to school and become teachers, eventually living and working overseas.
For example, I worked with a young couple who were both employees of the provincial government. As we reviewed the information about their benefits, it quickly became apparent that they would be able to retire between age 50 and 52 with a full pension. After that conversation, they decided to increase their spending, buying a rental property, buying a vacation property and buying a new car. If they’re going to be able to retire early anyway, the thinking seemed to be that they might as well spend their excess income.
For the people that I advised, the retirement age of 60 or 65 seemed to be a constant. When they earned any extra money, they chose to use it for additional spending. In this way, once they were on track to retire at age 65, the variable was how much they spent on their lifestyle in the meantime.
When I began earning an increasing income at work, I chose to hold constant my present spending. As I earned more, I started by paying down more debt. Then I used more money to invest (given the market opportunities). Because my additional income went to increasing my net worth, my retirement date moved ever closer. For me, the variable was when I would be financially prepared to retire.
Everyone in our society has the ability to be creative with how they use their money. Many of us are lucky to earn more than we need to survive. That excess money can either be used to increase spending and current enjoyment, or to bring forward the time of retirement (while holding spending constant). Do you make a conscious choice of how to handle additional income? If so, how do you choose where to allocate it?