If retiring early was easy, everyone would do it. Those that do stumble on the idea of FIRE still need a level of grit in order to achieve it. Without that, you would just be aware of a concept, but make no action towards it.
No matter what your route to financial independence contains – budgeting, saving money, tracking expenses, investing strategies, etc – you’ll need internal motivation to make it happen. There is no “penalty” for normal retirement, other than years of your life.
To keep your motivation strong through the good days and the bad you need a reservoir of why to support you. This includes strong, supportive answers to your own whys:
- Why do you want to retire early?
- Why can’t you do those things today?
- Why don’t you want to continue your current path until the traditional retirement age?
- Why is early retirement important to you?
- Why are you still interested in this topic today?
- Why do you want to have time to do other things?
- Why is now the time to focus on this?
- Why should your family support you in this?
- Why did you begin down this path?
- Why haven’t you given up already?
- Why would you give up?
- Why are you going to succeed at this?
Going through these questions yourself is a great exercise in understanding your whys.
I won’t share all of my answers, but here is my response to the first one.
Why do you want to retire early?
First off, “retire” for me wouldn’t mean to stop working and lounge around (well, not all of the time at least). Currently, my schedule is packed morning to night in order to take advantage of all life offers. The largest time investment in my days is my time at work. I’m fortunate enough to work in a fulfilling career at a company that is run extremely well with coworkers that inspire me. The limiting factor is time, and the ability to slow down while feeling like I’m keeping momentum. While I can split time to work on side projects and personal projects, I have concerns that doing too many things at once limits how great these can become – both for work and these projects. My personal mission helps drive my motivation for these:
I help empower people to transform their ideas into reality by enlivening education.
This helps motivate me and aligns with my career. I feel by moving into new ways of helping people (ex, finance starting from this blog), I can reach new audiences and help more people. Being able to focus on a single problem, rather than splitting time between helping people learn finance and learn to code (which is my job) sounds exciting.
I would not be at all surprised if – at some point years from now when I do decide to stop working professionally – I end up burdening myself with goals and plans that are too lofty and I end up needing a break from them as well. I hope to improve on setting my own boundaries while taking my own personal health & happiness into account and continuing to challenge myself to grow.
Trying taking even 10 minutes to answer each of these questions and write them down. It might take longer if you go deeper into each one.
What other whys do you have on your journey to early retirement and financial independence?