A question I get frequently from friends and colleagues is, “How did you invest your business profits?” The truth is, I didn’t think much about investing profits when I was running and growing my business. I simply didn’t have the time to do so, nor did I want to divert my focus away from the business.
Was this a good move? It’s hard to say, but I will say that a growing body of research indicates that human beings have a finite level of mental resources to devote to any task or pursuit. In other words, we can effectively focus on only a limited number of things at once.
One of the most frequent questions I get from friends and family is, “How did you decide on your number?” In other words, how much money do you really need to retire early? The vast majority of personal finance experts will give the same answer: “It depends.”
I agree with that answer but disagree with their rationale. Also, since I hate non-answers such as “it depends,” I’ll say about $1 million multiplied by the number of people in your household. In other words, get somewhat rich. More on that later.
The year was 2002, just a year after the infamous dot-com crash. I was nearing 30 years of age. I was toiling away at my desk job, going through the motions, and more than mildly discontent.
It was an okay job, the money was decent, and I was making a dent in my student loans, but another 30-plus years of the grinding, soul-sucking rat-race was a bleak and depressing prospect. And, even if I sucked it up and endured it for three to four more decades, a comfortable retirement would be far from certain.
In my family, I’m considered the “wise” one (or so I’d like to think). My wife is the “practical” one. I’ve learned over the years that you need to be both wise and practical in order to become rich, or really, to succeed at anything in life.
Like most people, I used to believe, and very much wanted to believe, that money can’t buy you happiness. Well, I’ve been on both sides of the fence, so trust me when I tell you that money is a prerequisite for happiness. The wealthy class loves to perpetuate the counter narrative for obvious reasons.
At age 45, I recently hit my “number.” I’m now officially somewhat retired. I’m 100% debt-free with a net worth of over $7 million. While I still choose to work part-time to help run the business I started 15 years ago, I now live life on my own terms. I have plenty of free time to enjoy with my family, and I travel for fun frequently. But it wasn’t always this way.