Reached My Early Retirement Goal 3 Years Ahead Of Schedule
I didn’t even realized I was retired, I was a little preoccupied breaking the news to my boss and figuring out what I’m gonna do with all those feelings of anxiety and stress at work.
When I use the word retired everyone around me thinks that I’m gonna go die in a corner or spend the rest of my life on a couch. A traditional retirement age for Americans is sometime in the 60th decade though that number is actually decreasing. Unfortunately it’s also when many Americans are experiencing declining health and decreased energy to work.
Retired to me means that I no longer need to depend on my job to finance my living expenses. I will have shifted my focus from time dedicated mostly to a job to time that is now under my control. Individuals with different careers will experience this shift differently.
An actress/actor may work for a decade and then retire from acting. Some will invest in businesses or use their names/looks for advertising in order to continue making money in their retirement.
A person who has rental income properties may never hit an official point of retirement. They probably started investing in real estate at a young age, doing most of the laborious work themselves until they were able to step back and build the business up to something that is able to run with little supervision.
My friend’s dad has quite a few fast-food restaurants in various states. He started buying them in his 30’s and now has enough management in place that he is completely hands-off. Is he retired? No, he still makes a few major decisions but he is off traveling with his wife most of the time.
A doctor may retire once she/he works enough years to build up a pension and they hit a more traditional retirement age allowing them to access their tax-deferred savings such as an IRA or 401k’s.
One doc will make a ton, spend a ton and save a healthy portion and retire a little before age 65. Another will earn well, cut their expenses more dramatically and therefore retire sooner on much less savings – I’m the latter.
My net worth isn’t impressive for a doctor, I’m just a touch above $600k and this includes a primary residence worth $150k. I have no debt and therefore no big empire to maintain. My investment strategy is passively managed mutual funds and I expect to live mostly off of the dividends.
My colleague recently retired at age 65 with a pension, $3 million in the bank and a paid off house worth $500k. His pension has kicked in and he has social security coming in as well. He has no kids at home and I know he doesn’t have a very lavish lifestyle – to me that seems like a lot of money, money for which he had to work long and hard for.
I am not interested in sitting on my ass and vegging out. I have a few interests which I would like to pursue. I enjoy working doing physical labor, it’s a good way to meet people, be productive and learn new skills.
So even though I could start mobilizing my retirement savings to generate an income to live off of I don’t have any need for that because I happen to be interested in work which inevitably will make me an income.
More importantly my overhead is so low that I don’t need a whole lot of income to run my lifestyle. A little over $1,000/mo of income would allow me to cover food, housing and healthcare. Though my lifestyle may seem too anemic to the point of being unlivable for many it happens to be an ideal lifestyle for me.
I spent a lot of my earnings after residency, 2009-2012, and accumulated plenty of credit card debt, mortgage debt and auto debt on top of my student loan burden. By end of 2012 I decided that I would rather have the luxury of full control over my time left on this planet, for which I was willing to trade all the tangible things I was able to afford with my income. 2013-2016 I focused on paying off debt and increasing my savings rate by cutting back my expenses.
I will use my savings to get me through the next few months. If I truly decide to not work at all then I will use the SEPP method to gain access to my tax-deferred funds.