How Am I Retiring Early, You Ask?

For those of you who aren’t curious, who won’t read more than 10 words to find an answer this is for you: I’m retiring early because I made good decisions and was lucky.

Ok, that was 11 words (the curious among you just counted that — good job) but not the whole truth. When you condense things too much they lose meaning.

The real reason I can retire early (shhh, don’t tell my boss)(actually he knows by now) is because I started thinking about my future when I was young, my expectations and plans evolved but my goal remained pretty much the same. My goal, however, was never to retire early. My goal was financial independence and what I really wanted was the freedom to do what I love regardless of whether it made me money or not.

Stop Trying to Hit Me and Hit Me

The first major thing I realized and changed about my life financially was my approach to investing. I used to buy individual stocks thinking I could find all the winners, the ones that would zoom higher making me a millionaire. Once I realized that the professional investors whose job it is to do this, can’t, I changed tactics. I stopped trying to hit some elusive home run and got busy making money.

I now only invest in low cost index mutual funds and while I rarely beat the market I never do worse than the overall market. This is called passive investing but as I point out in a previous post, passive takes work.

But I NEED It

I love cars. If money were no object I’d have a car collection to rival Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld, but money is certainly an object (or in this case an obstacle) for me.

I may want an expensive car but I don’t need it and when you can separate needs from wants, and exercise restraint, you can save more. The more discerning you can be about what you really need vs. want the better off financially you will be.

As I’m cleaning out my house to prepare to sell it, I realize there was a lot of things I simply didn’t need. Things that aren’t worth packing and bringing with me. As I threw them out, gave them away, or sold them, I saw wasted opportunities. I don’t regret buying them I just realize I could have made a different choice.

It’s Not That Easy

The examples above are very simple with each requiring much more explanation than a post like this can provide (without putting you to sleep, that is). But the point is that my early retirement is something that anyone could do if they follow a plan. These were just two parts of a bigger plan that paid the most dividends.

What are your plans and what changes can you make to achieve your goal sooner rather than later?