One of the most frequent questions I get from friends and family is, “How much, and how hard, did you have to work to get rich and retire early?” I won’t sugarcoat this. The simple answer is, a lot. And very hard.
However, the truth is a little more nuanced than that. On the one hand, you will need to work more and harder than you ever did at your day job. On the other hand, you will be far more motivated and passionate about your ownbusiness than you ever were about working for someone else or for a corporation.
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.