Many of us aim to become financially free (or retire early). But not everyone is interested in it.
You too may not be considering early retirement. But it makes a lot of sense to prepare for it anyway.
Life isn’t fair (you know it) and is also unpredictable. It doesn’t always go the way we expect it too. And your actual retirement age may be much lower than your expected retirement age.
You never know when you might be forced out of job due to the availability of easily replaceable cheaper employees, technological disruption, a collapse of the industry you are part of, your inability to remain relevant to the profile, etc. Imagine your situation if after several years of work, you are ejected out of your role/company and unfortunately, are then too old to be considered for other roles. Or in other words, you are unemployable. That’s a tough situation to be in when not young.
And these are just some of the reasons. There can be several more. Job losses are a reality. Reasons can be many.
As the dynamics of employment across sector changes, most careers are becoming increasingly stressful. Who knows how long you can tolerate such stress levels? You may eventually consider taking early retirement due to high-stress levels in your job. That’s possible and is happening.
Leave stress. Other health ailments or serious injuries can also sideline your career abruptly.
And it is not just about you alone. A serious illness of parents, spouse or children may require (force) you to be actively involved in their treatment – which may make it difficult to continue your current job. You then have this difficult task of earning as well as taking care of them. At this point, you may have to either reduce your workload or even quit your job for some time.
In all the above cases, your ability to cope with the situation would be better if you have savings to fall back to. Pursuing financial independence or early retirement can reduce your hardships, atleast to some extent, if your working years are cut short for reasons outside your control.
Even if you don’t want to prepare for early retirement, you should prepare for involuntary early retirement.
This is like having a Plan-B to ensure that life doesn’t f*** you.
And even the mathematics of investing supports this idea. Saving early makes it easier to accumulate a larger portfolio as you move towards the traditional retirement age.
You may be young today and not want to retire before 60. But when you turn 50 and are fed up of your job, then having a large corpus will give you the option of calling it quits and relaxing for the rest of your life. And that’s a great option to have.
Preparing for early retirement acts as an advanced preparation for normal retirement. It fast-forwards your retirement savings. And this front-loading of retirement savings creates an insurmountable advantage due to compounding that you will thank yourself in later years for.
And failure isn’t a bad outcome here. Even if you fail to reach the right corpus for early retirement, you will still be better off than if you didn’t attempt to pursue it at all.
I know many of you feel that early retirement is not real and there is no point pursuing it. But it is real. Maybe you don’t want to retire early at this point in your life. But who knows you might change your mind after a few years. Life can surprise.
But I must tell you that planning to retire early requires planning, discipline, high savings rate and proper management of your investments. It’s not easy. But as explained earlier, it helps to have tons of money when life is planning to surprise you unexpectedly.
Life comes with uncertainty. But if you plan well, this uncertainty doesn’t necessarily have to result in insecurity.
So do think about it. And if you feel what I am saying makes sense, then start preparing for early retirement even if it is not your immediate goal.
Very Good Article, in fact the best article I have read on Stable Investor. Situations that you mentioned here are very true in today’s world. Today’s job roles have short life spans. Automation is kicking in every role and life can always throw surprises. In fact, most people want to retire early for the every same reasons you mentioned. When you are in 20’s, every job looks exciting but as you age and go through the grind, reality kicks in.
Thanks Vikram 🙂
“And failure isn’t a bad outcome here. Even if you fail to reach the right corpus for early retirement, you will still be better off than if you didn’t attempt to pursue it at all.”
This line is too good.
Thanks for another great article.
Thanks Vignesh 🙂
I came across your article coincidently and I am glad I am not the only one who thought of retiring early or rather have financial freedom. Very well articulated. Indeed planing and saving early is important to achieve financial freedom.
I am a 39 year old guy who was in a senior management position in an IT organization. I have been chasing a FIRE strategy since the last 10 years and hopefully am now only a few years away from my target corpus. My savings are a result of living well below our means for a long time and investing steadily all through. Over the years I have also opened up alternative sources of income by freelancing/training/teaching on weekends.
A few months ago, the company I had been working for was acquired and most of the senior/mid-management positions became redundant overnight. After believing for many years that I was a star performer for my organization, I was laid-off. I received a year’s worth of salary as severance and with my experience, network and sheer luck, I had a job lined up within 4 weeks from my last working day and with a better pay.
However, during those rather turbulent days, I realized how much of a difference having a large next egg makes to your choices. Many of my colleagues and seniors who were laid off seemed desperate to find a way to make money in any way to pay off mortgages, school expenses etc etc. While I could have easily not worked for the next decade or so without any changes in my lifestyle. This allowed me to explore and evaluate career options based on what appealed to me the most.
The lesson; saving more and saving early is a necessity even if you have no plans of retiring early. A large financial cushion gives you great freedom and independence; which will probably help you even if you plan to work all the way through till the age of 60!
You have a great blog Dev. I have been a silent reader for long and I thoroughly enjoy your posts.
Excellent Dev as always. Important to plan for FIRE – Financial Independence Retire Early, even if you don’t plan to retire early.