There are only a few people in the world who are truly able to carry out a successful early retirement, especially when they do not have the gift of a pension to supplement their extreme savings. While I have been (and continue to be) greatly inspired by the likes of Jacob Lund Fisk, Mr. Money Mustache, and Financial Samurai, I have found that while we may never quite match the behavior of these financial mavericks, we need to learn as much about “extreme early retirement” in order to even come close to having a normal retirement for ourselves.
Most of the extreme early retirement folk have one thing in common: They have stripped their lives down to the bare bones for an extended period of time with the full intention of never going back to being a consumer. Saving 50%-80% of their incomes, early retirement was attainable for them at ages between 30 and 40. While this is admirable (and sometimes enviable) to me, I am not sure it is realistic in my case, although I am going to try my hardest to even come close!
First off, I live and work in a highly taxed area of the country (NJ). While I do not plan on living here forever, I plan on staying until my kids are done with school. Every time an extreme retirement author/blogger throws monthly budget numbers out there for us to read, I never see high taxes in the mix. Maybe most important, most early retirement extremists hate (or extremely dislike) their jobs. That is not the case with me. I feel lucky and privileged to do the work I do; I am just eager to see what would happen if I put all of my energy into one of my passions (specifically my non-profit work). I suppose if I hated the work I did, I would be motivated to change my ways even more.
All said and done, I have learned a ton from the early retirement books and blogs I have read. As is the case in many areas of life, I believe it is best to get your information from the “extreme hard core” in any field you are interested in so that you can make an educated decision as to how much of their plan you want to adopt. I think it is way better for go this route, as opposed to relying on some rookie at Charles Schwab to tell us how to save for retirement. I mean, how is that working out for everyone these days?
I have learned so much from the extreme early retirement people, though. As you have read in my previous posts, I have uncluttered my life, viciously paid down debt, created budgets that work for me and my family, and spent time increasing knowledge and skills that will hopefully allow me to do work that I have previously paid specialists to do instead. Ultimately, I am never going to stop working. It is simply not in my DNA. I do believe, though, that the more we prepare ourselves fiscally to not have to work, the more freedom we will have to choose paths that really speak to our passions and life mission when the opportunity arises.
To that end, I will keep following my extreme retirement books and blogs! If you choose to read some of the above mentioned material and you come out saving 5% more of your salary, you got something out of it!
Have any of you attempted the extreme retirement blueprint? How is it working out for you?