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The myth of having to work until retirement age.

November 26, 2012

I always thought I would have to work until at least 55 because that’s what most Americans do. In order to retire and collect all of my retirement benefits, I would have to wait even longer until the age of 62! No thanks!


Quite the lovely destination to visit during early retirement.

What if you could change that?  What if you could live below your means, cut your expenses, work a little more and sacrifice for a few years to enjoy an early retirement?  Would you do it?  My husband and I have been thinking about what we will do after we pay off our house next year and we figured it out.  We are going to continue to live off 30% of our income, continue working full-time for another 6-7 years, then retire early.

How are we going to save enough money to retire?  Become completely debt-free, invest in mutual funds and investment property.  With two different sources of passive income we have calculated that we will have more then enough.

The interesting thing is that even after I officially retire at the age of 34, it changes the whole perspective on “work.”  If you retired early, you would be working because you wanted to, not because you had to.  You could do anything you wanted with all your free time. I think I would still work at least once a week because I like my job, and I would “choose” to be there because I wanted, not because paying the bills depended on it.

How would this work for society today?  It depends how badly you want it.  Think about the last time you wanted to go on a vacation and the sacrifices you made, the extra shifts you picked up, the things you sold on craigslist.  Bottom line is you made it happen because you wanted it badly.  I struggle with the thought that generally, our society lacks financial self-control and loves consumerism.  We are a “now” society, where you need to have your fancy car, have your bling-bling, your extravagant house and all the trendiest clothes, a society that lives above and beyond their means.  This is counterproductive when you have to tell yourself “no” to purchases.  When was the last time you took a class in high school or college where they tell you that this is an option?  That frugality is an excellent lifestyle choice?

Questions for you:  Would early retirement be possible for you?  Would you make the proper sacrifices for 6-10 years if you knew you could retire significantly early? I would love to hear your thoughts!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 8:46 am

    It would be great to retire early! We haven’t really thought about early retirement. I know that I don’t want to stop working because I would be bored, but I would love to have the option of not having to work.

  2. John S @ Frugal Rules permalink
    November 26, 2012 9:01 am

    I would love to retire early! I don’t know that it’s truly possible for us since we have three little ones right now. I really don’t view it as a time I would not work, but using it as a time to do things I’ve never had the time to do.

  3. November 26, 2012 9:45 am

    I would retire early, but not completely. I enjoy work and so does my hubby, but we would not be opposed to more time off and setting our own hours. I think if it was just the two of us it would be totally possible, but when kids come into the picture—it changes everything!

    • December 8, 2012 5:37 pm

      Totally…kids change EVERYTHING!!! In a good way I’m anticipating 😉 They do cost a little more.

  4. November 26, 2012 12:55 pm

    I’m trying to figure out the numbers on how to do this myself! I’d probably keep doing work of some kind. We’ll see how it goes. So great that you guys are set up and have such a great plan!

  5. November 26, 2012 3:25 pm

    hah the retirement age in Australia has crept up to 67!! I’m planning to go part time by 40. If all goes well we won’t have to sacrifice much for that… we still get a holiday every year, we have pets, we have cars (but don’t drive them much). If things get harder then of course some sacrifices can be made.

    • December 8, 2012 5:44 pm

      Awesome!!! Part-time by 40!!! That’s fantastic 😉 Sounds like you are maintaining a pretty comfortable lifestyle too….good for you!

  6. November 26, 2012 5:04 pm

    Impressed that you will be retiring at age 34 good for you. I love my job and hope to work a bit longer but I don’t know when enough will be enough. I wish I had a crystal ball and could say in 5 or 10 years. I guess we’ll just be playing by ear. Keep up the great work you two! Mr.CBB

  7. November 26, 2012 6:57 pm

    I am semi retired at 32. The past 10 years I have been called all kind of names, mostly cheap and crazy, but those people are still in their cubicles 🙂 I still write a few articles, am fixing a house to become a guest house some day, but only doing things I love, so it is not real work to me. Congratulations you guys did amazing too!

    • December 8, 2012 5:46 pm

      Wow….that’s awesome Pauline!!! My goal is to be doing exactly what you are doing and loving every second of it 😉

  8. merlin permalink
    November 27, 2012 3:38 pm

    BK, that would be, Before Kids, early retirement was part of the plan. However, my only sibling died right after university graduation, that reframed my whole perspective on life (and death) and early retirement. Money would never buy what I wanted, or lost, money lost its lure and currency, I lost my way. Carpe Diem became my motto, the kids became my sole purpose. They don’t have stylish clothes, we don’t go on trips, they don’t have electronic gadgets, we live in a tiny home, but we have poured earnings into their education. Every financial planner would say this was a poor choice, in the scheme of our culture it is, but they are our legacy and this was our choice. There will be no early retirement, there may not even be retirement at all because of our choices, but it was the right decision for our values and experience.

  9. November 28, 2012 12:31 am

    this is the same topic i have been going through my mind for the past two years. and i totally agree with yours. we should be working because we want to. not because we had to.

  10. cuparoons permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:17 pm

    Loved reading your post! I agree with you that we live in a society where people live above and beyond their means. I once read something quite interesting the other day and it really got me thinking: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like.” So true for a lot of people. I’m so glad there are others out there who believe in frugality and focus on what’s truly important in life: family, friends, building relationships, etc. I’m happy for you that you get to retire in you’re 30’s…it sure changes things when you work because you want to and not because you have to!


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