Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 19, 2012
I was chatting with someone the other day who asked a good question: how do you put up with all those negative comments from people who call your plan to retire by 42 crazy or impossible? To be honest, I have literally stopped reading most of those comments. Why? I realized almost 95% of them all suffer from the same problem. They somehow assume my life is similar to their life, which is almost always a wrong assumption.
This issue becomes grossly obvious to me when I see someone comment with numbers saying they spend on housing, property taxes and utilities and then assume that I would spend a similar amount so how could I possible live on that remains. The obvious answer is no I couldn’t live on what remains, because I’m spending much less than they are. Often I don’t get enough information to understand what the difference is. So I’m left to guess that is might be the size of the house, local real estate prices or they have a much newer home with more features than I.
In the end the reason doesn’t matter as the assumption that somehow they should equal what I do is usually the problem. In case this isn’t dead obvious by now, I will say it again: you have to make a plan about your life…not your neighbour’s life, not your friend’s life and certainly not my life or even Robert’s life. While if I ever sat down with Robert and did a line by line budget comparison I would expect to find some similar spending, I would also never assume his plan could work for me. Why? Because I’m not Robert…I’m turning 34 soon and I will not be retiring. I haven’t had his type of education, opportunities or priorities…so I wouldn’t expect the same results.
The somewhat interesting part of this for some people is they realize that if you don’t like your plan for your life, you can either change your plan or perhaps change your life to match the plan. The second option surprises some people, because they don’t often realize the number of assumptions in your plan that relate back to your lifestyle. If you really want to retire at 45, then put everyone on the table as an option to change. Consider downsizing to a home with half the space, get rid of half of what you own, and give up some of your hobbies or social events. You can’t have a very early retirement date with a typical lifestyle…you have to be different to get different results.
So don’t try to be someone else, rather be who you want to be. Yes, it might involve giving up a few things, but often you can also gain a few more things than you expect while doing it. You gain piece of mind, you gain confidence, and you gain some of the best sleeps you have ever had in life because you don’t have to worry about money. It won’t be easy, but for some people…it is worth every penny.