The decision to embark on the path of early retirement (ER) did not begin until a few years ago. It was at that point that I prompted the conversation with my husband. Naturally, he was skeptical about the whole process.
During that time, we had been on the path of frugal living and making well-rounded financial decisions. I was already saving and investing a large part of my W2 income. We had been checking the boxes that would allow us to be financially independent in the near future. In my opinion, the early retirement path was already lightly shaded in pencil. I just needed to color it in with a bright marker.
In this article, I will proceed to explain why I decided to take the reins and change my mindset from being career-focused to retirement driven. This could possibly be one of the craziest decisions I have made in a long time – to pursue early retirement with a vengeance.
An Early Retirement Mindset
In early 2013, at 28 years old, I had just started a new job. I was excited about my career, and my path to personal and professional success. This sounds optimal, but it was during this time that I realized that there was much more to living than working the 9-to-5 job. There were aspects of the role I was placed in that were not fulfilling any working desires.
I didn’t want to continue toiling away at work with no end goal. There had to be a far-reaching initiative that I could put my focus on. There had to be.
That idea came from reading personal finance blogs and listening to podcasts relating to early retirement. It started occurring to me that early retirement was a very possible goal. It was something that a goal-oriented person like myself can appreciate. If accomplished, this would be one of the greatest feats of my life.
Being the financial brain in my marriage, I had to consider that my husband was relying on me to get us there. And hopefully with both feet firmly planted on the ground upon arrival. This was a challenge I would gladly accept. Even still, it would take both our incomes, and focusing on the end goal to make it happen.
There were a myriad of other factors that initiated thinking about early retirement. I will touch upon some of these points in a later article. Ultimately, I wanted to do the unordinary. This meant retiring from the day-to-day grind, to a life consisting largely of life experiences.
Early Retirement Quest: Was This The Right Path?
At the time, I was living a safe, unassuming life. That meant putting in the hours needed to advance in my career. I was content living the life that both my husband and I had created for ourselves. I remember the early days when my husband worked overnight delivering donuts and attended school during the day to earn his degree. On several occasions this meant sleeping in his car. For myself, it meant working and going to school full-time and eventually earning an undergrad, an MBA, and a coveted certification in my degree field.
All this drive and determination was to provide for a future that would be more secure. Now we were contemplating traveling down an alternate path with the idea of retiring early. Was this the right path? We would have to determine this very question as we proceeded towards the beginning of our early retirement quest.
Working Out A Plan
With the definitive shift in mindset this meant all signs pointed to the exit. The early retirement exit.
What that meant was that we were working at that point to fulfill an exit plan. This exit plan consisted of the early stages of planning for retirement, optimally before 40. During that time, I evaluated and calculated the nest egg for early retirement, attempted to structure accounts for the time period between mid-to-late thirties until 59 1/2-ish, and lastly considered approximate liftoff. Whew!
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “…another millennial looking to ER”.
Boy, do I have news for you. *cue wah wah sounds*
In a future article, I will be highlighting what happened to potentially derail my ER goal, what ER means to me now, and eventually other areas of planning for ER! Stay tuned as you embark on this journey with me. It’s a wild ride, but a path that will be worthwhile in the end.
Follow me @fulltimedollars on social media and sign up below for updates via email. Talk to you soon!
Get FIRE'd Up!
Join the FTD community to be notified of new articles. Plus, there will be future freebies related to planning, budgeting, saving and much more. All this FTD content straight to your inbox!
Are you thinking about retiring early, and if so what was the learning process like for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Original photo credit: Pixabay