Hidy-ho if you popped over from the New York Times, Physician on FIRE’s blog, and/or the vastness of the organic webernetz.
I’ve had yet another billion-dollar idea. Has this been done? I’d like to sell a bag of potato chips where every single one has the face of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, or Elvis burned into it. Or maybe a loaf of bread with the slices done the same way. You could totally go with bread. Or with buffalo chicken ranch pizzas, even. Or, how about this, mixed drinks?
Right. Well, you may have just discovered the financial independence/early retirement movement or you may be an veteran, but either way you’ve asked yourself: Could I do this? Could I retire at 35, 45, 55…?
Quite possibly. To succeed here’s what you have to do:
Work towards having something to sell besides your time.
It’s what I call “Early Retirement’s Magic Bullet.” I break it down more in this post, but let’s hit the highs.
If you commit to achieving FIRE you’ll have a lot work to do, but you can start with with only a few basic questions that you can answer in one lunch break.
Personal questions: Why would I want to FIRE in the first place? What is it about my life that makes me crave dramatic change?
Financial questions: What’s the cost of my current lifestyle? Do I live beyond my means or within them? Do I have a budget? If so, am I meeting it? How much of my salary could I potentially save? If I can’t answer these questions or don’t know how to, am I willing to devote a weekend or two to studying the basics of personal finance?
Second, “Work Towards…”
Not everybody can retire at thirty-six. Recognize and accept that achieving FIRE might take twenty years or more. You can, however, immediately make small changes that’ll shave a lot off that time requirement. To give the usual example: you can acquire and apply do-it-yourself skills that help you save more by decreasing your cost of living.
So what DIY skills do you have? Which ones do you wish you had? Are you willing to learn them? Do you have access to YouTube? And can you commit to applying these skills? How much could that save you?
Third, “Work Towards Having Something to Sell…”
Keeping body and soul together requires income. Income comes from assets. The FIRE community generally relies on four kinds.
-“Soft” assets like stocks and/or “hard” assets like rental real estate, and
-Selling your time. And speaking of time:
Fourth, “Work Towards Having Something to Sell Besides Your Time.”
Early retirement means not having to sell your time to get by, right? Yes, yes…you’re life’s ending one minute at a time, etc. Fight Club 101. But you’re also laboring under the condition that—as the saying goes—“the fruits of your labor are worth more than your pay.”
So to stop having to sell your time you MUST dedicate at least as much of your energy and creativity to your own enrichment as you do to your employer’s—both in assets and in knowledge. Are you willing to do the work it takes to accomplish that? You might sell your time to an employer for 2,600 hours a year, but you sell your knowledge to yourself every hour of every day.
And that’s it.
Seriously. “Work towards having something to sell besides your time” is all you need to know. You can derive all things FIRE from that one statement, but even if you’re new to our community, at least you’re here.
Congratulations. Welcome to the show.
Hey–if you listen to podcasts during your commute or your workouts or whatever, check out my interview at Paychecks & Balances to hear what I’m all about.