Who doesn’t want to retire early? The idea of walking away from work that consumes the majority of your weekdays (and likely some weekends too) to live a life of leisure is incredibly appealing.
But if you want to reap the rewards of financial freedom as quickly as possible, there are other options worth considering. Options that can help you gain greater levels of freedom sooner rather than later.
Only Save Enough for Traditional Retirement
If your desire is to retire early, then chances are you’re saving and investing a healthy percentage of your income each year to achieve your target number. And your target number is an amount that is enough to support you both before and after traditional retirement age.
But what if you only save enough to support a traditional retirement?
Once you save up enough money that, without any additional contributions, can grow over time to fully support you at a traditional retirement age, then you can…
Achieve Your Target Number Sooner: Since the amount you need to save for traditional retirement will be significantly less than for early retirement, you’ll be able to achieve your target number much sooner. Likely several years sooner.
Earn Less Money: The amount of income you need to earn will be significantly less since you no longer need to save money. You only need to earn enough income to support your desired lifestyle leading up to traditional retirement.
Now You’ve Got Options
Now you’ve got options! Options that can include the ability to quit fulltime work sooner and gain more freedom faster. You can earn just enough income to support your desired lifestyle by choosing to…
- Work less and transition into retirement over time, or
- Do work you love and continue working indefinitely.
Let’s explore each one…
Work Less – Ease into Retirement
Much has been written about the benefits of transitioning over time vs making a hardstop overnight from full-time work into retirement. Semi-retirement can mean still earning a paycheck while also having a social outlet and sense of fulfillment and purpose.
And with less pressure to earn a high income, you can spend less time working and more time on activities you enjoy. Rather than working 5 days a week, work 2 or 3 days a week and have more free time to do whatever brings you joy.
Here are 3 ideas on how to work less…
- Before you quit your fulltime job, it could be worthwhile to explore options to work part time. Many large companies allow workers to downshift and scale back working hours.
- Start a consulting or freelance business based on your area of expertise. For example, use your network to contract services on an as needed or retainer basis.
- Take a part-time job aligned with your interests. For example, work at a fitness club and benefit from free membership. Or work at a retail store and benefit from merchandise discounts.
Do Work You Love – Continue Working Indefinitely
Have you ever wished you had chosen another career path? Or wondered if you could have succeeded in another profession? Semi-retirement is the time to pursue your dream job (or dream jobs). And do so with the financial reassurance that your future retirement is secure.
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
I admire those individuals who follow their passion and do work they love. And when they find it, there is no need to retire. Why retire from something you enjoy?
Andy Rooney is a great example of someone who lived his life loving work. He died at age 92, one month after his final regular appearance as a correspondent on 60 Minutes. And this is what he had to say, “This is a moment I have dreaded. I wish I could do this forever. I can’t though. But I’m not retiring. Writers don’t retire and I’ll always be a writer.”
Retire Early? Don’t Retire Ever!
Rather than retire early, pursue your dream job. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find work that you love and never have to work another day. That’s the option I choose!