I was chatting with someone the other day regarding my plans for early retirement and he asked a basic question: what’s the point of early retirement?
Ironically, the person asked that in a more general sense and I of course pointed out that the reason why people go after early retirement is hugely personal. There are thousands of reasons to go after this goal, but in the end the only one that matters is your reason. Why do you want to retire early?
There doesn’t have to be a single reason why. In fact, I think the most successful people planning to retire early have more than a single reason. The more reasons you have the more motivation you can bring to your plan to help you see it through. Getting to early retirement is very much similar to training and running a long distance. At the start you can’t go more than a few blocks before being exhausted, yet over time you get go further and further towards your goal. But unlike running, the changes to get to an early retirement may span a few decades. It isn’t an easy feat to do, so you have to be very sure of why you are doing this otherwise you can give up on that dream.
To me personally the best way to summarize my why is: freedom. I love that feeling on vacation when you do what you like, when you like within a broad context of the amount of time and money you have put aside for the trip. I just want to expand that feeling to have nearly unlimited time and a modest amount of money to do things.
For me the time is worth more than the money. Also putting it into context when I am on vacation, like right now, I tend to focus on doing things that interest my family and me. A lot of the time these things don’t have to be very expensive like a hike in a provincial park to see a few waterfalls then swimming at the base of the falls. Of course this doesn’t mean I don’t spend some money on things that we want to do, we just keep in mind the fact we can’t do everything at once. Besides, I sort of like taking things easy while on vacation. I hate rushing around so the idea of jamming in as much as possible in a week isn’t fun.
Yet there are other reasons to seek out early retirement for me that include but aren’t limited to:
- I like to write, but know it doesn’t pay that much. So it takes a lot of time to write a book, but your hourly rate usually sucks. So I can’t afford to do it full time right now.
- I dislike waking to an alarm. Really, I never sleep in that much so why should it matter if I’m 20 minutes late some days for work anyway. (Work has a different opinion, so I keep the alarm clock for now.)
- I dislike working full time at my day job. I don’t hate my work, it just loses some of the fun when you have to do it for the majority of your week.
- I love to read books and watch movies, which with a library is a fairly affordable way to entertain myself. Add in Netflix and I could happily stay entertained for years.
- I like to slowly fix things. Doing a little project over two weekends rather than cramming it into a long weekend. I like to get things right the first time and have time to think about the project.
- Savings is natural to me. Early retirement just defines a bit more of a goal for that money.
Are these great reasons? Not really, but they don’t have to be as long as they make sense to you. Find your own reasons and don’t worry if they seem silly. After all, you only have to convince yourself. So what are a few of your own reasons?