Before I started blogging, I can honestly say that early retirement never once crossed my mind. I thought that the normal age to retire was somewhere around 65 and that would be around the same time that I would retire.
I didn’t think people retired early, and if they did, I thought they were just lucky (which is a little funny if you read my post from the other day – Following Your Passion Is Not Just Luck).
Then, I started blogging and found a few early retirement blogs. Some of these include blogs like Retire by 40, Early Retirement Extreme and Mr. Money Mustache, which all show different people who worked hard to retire early.
I, of course, got hooked on all of these blogs and I knew that chugging along in a job that I didn’t like just wasn’t for me.
So, I made plans to leave my job so that I could live the life that I want. I knew that if I stayed in my day job that reaching early retirement would not be very easy, and that working on my own business would mean that I could enjoy my life while also working towards early retirement.
In October of 2013, I had my final day at my day job and switched to full-time self-employment.
Even though I left my traditional day job and I now work for myself, I don’t consider this early retirement. Many people have asked me what it’s like to be retired though, which I almost always have to laugh at because I am definitely not retired.
I don’t see myself ever fully retiring.
I actually enjoy working and staying busy. However, I will say that when I am 80 years old I hopefully won’t be working 40 hours per week. BUT, I would like to option to do what I want, and when I want.
If I find a new passion later in my life, I would like the option to do it if I can, without being controlled by how much money is in the bank.
So, what is early retirement?
The key in my case is that early retirement to me means financial independence. Yes, yes, I know, some of you are probably saying to yourself “they’re not the same thing though!” I don’t care, everyone can spend their retirement however they want, and I want to spend it still being at least somewhat productive.
If you look at how many “early retired” people live, you will see that most (if not all) are still doing something. They most likely don’t have a full-time day job chugging along for someone else, but they are doing something.
And that’s how I see myself.
Early retirement to me equals financial independence. And to me that means that I have enough money in the bank to live off until the day that I pass away, all while living my same comfortable life (i.e., I will not be eating beans and rice for every single meal, day after day).
It means that if I want to do something, I can go do it.
What does early retirement mean to you? Is it a goal of yours?