Early retirement is the dream of many around the world.
You work hard, save and put your money to work for you over decades. You do so to one day retire and leave the workforce behind. For most people, this is a normal life and once they hit the age of retirement, it’s time to swap out the laptop for a set of golf clubs and meetings for time in the garden.
For some, there’s little appeal of working until their late 50s. In fact, many across the world are counting down the days to their retirement and will retire as soon as they can afford to.
Needless to say, this is a hotly debated topic and there are pros and cons to each.
My top 5 reasons to retire as soon as you can
- You are going to die
- You can afford to retire
- You are just a number
- Leave a lasting legacy
- Be true to yourself
Whether you choose to retire at a normal age or you want to leave, the decision is ultimately yours and you need to be comfortable with it and everything this means for you and your family.
Normally in my articles, I try to give a balanced and objective discussion on the topics I cover. Today though, I’m telling you my top 5 reasons to retire as soon as you can. Why? Because early retirement is awesome and life is for living.
You may not be ready to retire right now, but I hope this article helps provide some persuasion for you to plan to retire as quickly as possible.
You are going to die
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m reaching a certain age, or because I’m helping people who are a little bit older than me with their finances, but I hear about death so much more. Maybe I’m just paying better attention now than I once did.
You are going to die. It’s a fact of life that the time we have on this planet is limited. I read a stat the other day that nearly 1 in 5 men will die before the age of 60. To work 30 or 40 years, to enjoy just a few in your retirement doesn’t seem fair.
Or mortality isn’t just about being alive or dead. As we get older, our health generally declines. Those aches and pains, won’t magically get better and health conditions can only be expected to get worse as our age creeps upwards.
Retiring early gives us the choice to pursue activities that might become impossible as we age.
We don’t know when and we don’t know how. But one day you will die. Make the most of every day and live a life without regrets. And I say this whether you’re retired or not.
You can afford to retire
When you’ve saved and invested for retirement and have achieved a nest egg that will support your retirement indefinitely, you’ve won the game. Achieving financial freedom or financial independence overcomes the greatest hurdle we all face when wanting to retire. Having enough money.
Ask yourself this question. Why would you continue to choose to work when you no longer have to?
The traditional definition of retirement would lead us all to believe that retirement is the age at which we can draw our pensions. Because this is what the majority of people do. But retirement isn’t an age, it’s a number. It’s the value of your assets and when it reaches a certain level, you can afford to retire.
You may of course have reasons to continue working and who am I to judge? But I am here to challenge you and ask the questions you need to hear because when you realise you have enough, your perspective changes.
The truth is you can’t take your money with you and saving too much or working too long won’t benefit you when your 6 feet under. Your partner or children might thank you for a nice inheritance and the legacy you left behind, but wouldn’t you like to enjoy some of the money you’ve worked so hard to make?
You are just a number
One of the top 5 regrets of those on their deathbed always stands out to me personally. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” can mean so many things and its interpretation will be unique to each of us.
When I started my business, I put my heart and soul into it. I would often work 16-hour days and before we had children, I was known to get up on Christmas morning and write content for my website. I was the definition of a workaholic and everything came second to the business. Family, yep. Relationships, you bet. My own health and fitness. Absolutely. All played second fiddle to building my business.
I worked incredibly hard, but from an early stage I had a plan and that plan was to retire early. Many of you watching this video / reading this article will be incredibly hard workers and the points I’ve already noted will resonate with you because these traits are not uncommon!
Breaking habits is tough and I’ll admit, I didn’t get it right while I owned my own business. If I could go back and do it all again, I’d try and make a conscious effort to:
- Switch the emails off on holiday
- Put that phone down when you’re at home
- Make your health and fitness a priority
Make no mistake, I credit hard work to my success. I am now able to put my true priorities first and it’s everything I hoped it would be. Early retirement has been awesome, but for many before and after me, they’ll regret the amount of time they spent at work. Not you though, because you’re learning from my mistakes!
The reality is that the only people who’ll remember you worked late 20 years from now will be your children.
And the minute you walk out of the office for the last time, you are no longer part of its journey or it is part of yours. You will be replaced and the business you’ve dedicated your time to will continue on without you. As it should.
Some of you reading this article / watching this video will be business owners and entrepreneurs who are hoping to one day exit their businesses. I can tell you that the business I started in this very room 13 years ago is doing even better today than when I was the owner. No matter what you think and I’ll admit I thought it too, the business can prosper in your absence. You will always be replaceable. And even though it might be your name over the door, it shouldn’t be your primary priority.
Leave a lasting legacy
By the time your children reach the age of 18, they’ll have spent nearly 90% of the time they will ever spend with you. By retiring early and putting time towards creating memories with your children, you are creating a legacy that will span multiple lifetimes.
Being there when your children are young and actually want to spend time with you before they’ve built their own lives in adulthood is a luxury few of us can afford. It’s also one of the main reasons why I retired early. It’s not that I neglected my fatherly duties, but I missed sports days, school plays and parties when I was working. The truth is that even when I was in the room, I may not have been fully present.
On the other hand, your own parents might be reaching a stage of life where they need more support or care than they once did. They might also be looking to make up for lost time when you were in your childhood. Spending time with your own parents in their elder years is important to factor in. Being able to help when you otherwise would have been working is an incredibly rewarding feeling.
Be true to yourself
Make no mistake, the decision to retire early can be a noble one for interests greater than your own. But it can and should be a selfish one. This is your life to live. There are no second chances and you only have so long to live a life true to you. Please go and do so!
The average life expectancy in the UK & Ireland is around 81 years for males and 83 years for females. As you grow older it may be harder to achieve your goals or to do activities that are more physically demanding. Inevitably life will slow down because we slow down.
Do you want to take up surfing? It’s not impossible to imagine, but certainly doing this at 45 will be easier than at 75. And even if you’re not into extreme sports, who wouldn’t want to lead an enjoyable retirement lifestyle for a larger part of your life? You’ve earned the right to do so!
Being true to yourself and living the life you want isn’t just about physical activities. Stop trying to please others or seek approval from those who add no value to your life.
A friend of mine has what I class a superpower. He has the ability to say no without explanation. If he doesn’t want to do something he won’t. He serves his best interests and his alone. As someone who recognises this, I’d say it’s liberating.
Choosing to retire early is your decision
Time is the only resource we can’t buy more of and as you get older you begin to realise this and no longer take it for granted. When we are young we trade our time for money, building careers or businesses and increasing our wealth. As we grow older, we begin to acknowledge and realign our priorities trading money for time.
Retiring as soon as you can is a luxury and you will need to put in effort to achieve an early retirement. Though if you are approaching a normal retirement and questioning if you should work just one more year, I would challenge you to reconsider.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to retirement planning. Only what works for you. But I can share my experience and so far it has been truly rewarding.
If you like this content, please head over to the Foundered Money Youtube Channel where I cover all manner of topics including starting a business, saving money, building your wealth and planning for early retirement.