It’s easy to think of a career as a sign that you’ve “Arrived”. A career means that you’ve attained skills that make you valuable in the job market. It means that you’ve got much better financial security in the present and future than you had before you attained your current career level. It also means that you’ll be able to build up other important areas of your life to fit your dreams and aspirations.
However, it’s easy for a career to become an entity unto itself, one which exists to promote its own existence, without much reference to the life that goes on outside of the workplace. When we get into this cycle of working for the sake of work, we start to use phrases like “the rat race” to describe what we do. Work becomes routine and comfortable, without being a truly satisfying end in itself.
So what would be a satisfying goal beyond your career, to which your career could serve and accelerate? For most people the answer to this question is “retirement”. But retirement is a word that is undergoing a reexamination in light of evolving cultural priorities.
Retirement is no longer something that’s just for old people. It’s something to be enjoyed by anyone who can achieve it. For generations, a career was thought of by many to be a period in life during which time a worker would expend all of their useful energy until they didn’t have enough to do the job anymore. Retirement was the years of life following this wearing out for the purposes of labor, and might last a few years or even a couple of decades.
Living to work made sense in an industrial society, where production needed to meet the needs of a growing consumer class, and families needed to create millions of healthy offspring to support the war effort. Today in a time of relative peace and digital production, traditional labor is not necessary in the same way it once was. This is changing the way people think about retirement, an idea which you can trace through the top finance blogs for early retirement.
Personal Finance and Early Retirement
1 in 20 Americans is currently a millionaire. Most of these people were not born wealthy. Instead, they employed simple financial practices during their working life. Many were able to achieve this level of wealth long before their “Retirement years” would normally kick in. Here’s how they do it.
- Millennial workers have been accused of being lacking in job loyalty, but this is because they understand that sticking around at a job for too long will result in less pay over the course of a career. People who retire early know what they’re worth and they know where and how to negotiate for it.
- People who retire early are saying “no” to many aspects of consumer culture. They don’t fill their homes with the latest gadgets, nor to they live on credit to support lifestyles that are beyond the means of their primary income. Early retirees save and budget with a vengeance, saving more in a year than some career people save in a lifetime.
- People who retire early already have a sustainable lifestyle before their stop working. They are used to living simply and saving for the things they want. When their income becomes fixed, drawing from investments and passive income sources, they’ll know how to use it without using it up.
These techniques are well known and easy to apply at any given time, but it’s challenging to consistently practice them over years and decades. By maximizing savings and investment during your working years, you can shave off years and decades before you are able to comfortably retire.