I’ve been talking about Early Retirement for a while on the pages of my blog in attempts to put on paper what was going in my mind when I decided to quit work so I can travel. Today, for the first time I’ve decided to search the internet for websites that talk about how to retire in your 30’s to see what they have to say. I found out in horror that their recommendation and strategies for early retirement are way different from the path I have followed. Based on that, I came to conclusion that unless one is a risk-taker of unprecedented proportions, they should follow the slow, but safer road to early retirement. Afterall, articles on those websites may have been written by professional Early Retirement tutors where as I am not one. I am merely a person who took control over his own life to make it enjoyable and fulfilling.
In brief, according to other Early Retirement websites, in order to retire in your 30’s you should start thinking of it by the time you’re in your 20’s and steadily grow your bank account and plan investment strategies while ensuring low spending and very stingy lifestyle so by the time you are 30, you will be safely set to move to the country of your choice and enjoy early retirement with all its benefits. This is all nice and all as it provides near bulletproof blueprint of retiring in your 30’s. I believe that if you can, you should consider this safer path. It involves less risk taking and as you know, there is a reason why word “risk” is part of the phrase. Otherwise they’d call it “sure thing taking”.
While I in no way disagree with recommendations on other websites, I did not follow their pattern because it was simply not an option for me. I am 34 year old, I’m already in my 30’s. I can’t roll back time. I went through my 20’s having the best time of my life, then in late 20’s I was lead to believe that I needed steady work so I can buy a house and a car, instead of sleeping under the stars and wandering around as a free spirit. After much persuasion, I gave in to the family pressure and became a corporate slave. All that was free in me was suppressed and instead of working my way towards retirement in my 30’s, I succumbed to the life of modern luxuries and debt that accompanies them. I’ve missed my train to retire in my 30’s by the means described on other websites.
However, when I realized the value of time, even though I was already in my mid 30’s, I still wanted to make the best of the rest of my journey on this planet. I wanted to make sure that when my time comes and I’m on the stretcher with grinning death staring at me from across the room, that I have no regrets for the life I’ve led. There are so many beautiful places around the world I would like to explore, so many activities I would like to take part in and I’ve done none of that in the last decade of my life. Whether proceeded by 10 years of preparation for the retirement in my 30’s or not, I took a deep breath, went over my priorities and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. Just like that.
I took cold-turkey path to Early Retirement, because there was a lot in stake – my life. When I meet with Grim Reaper, I want to have the pictures of me watching the sunset in the Maldives before my eyes, not pictures of a fancy car I worked so hard for. I want to see the slideshow of my trip to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan, not the road to work through the concrete jungle of my hometown. I want to hear the rhythm of the drums I was dancing to with my new friends from a native tribe deep in the jungle of Guyana, not the sound of latest MP3 player with bass enhanced base station.
Even though I didn’t secure myself with safe passage to the retirement in my 30’s, I could no longer waste any more of my days working as corporate slave. I’ve realized that spending whole month by going to work so at the end of the month I can buy a new TV as per carefully fabricated advertising by multinational corporations makes no sense. Why would I want to spend money on a TV to watch documentaries about places I long to visit, when I can instead not buy the TV and go visit those places in person. To see them with my own eyes, to breathe the same air and hear the sound of wind that frolics through these plains.
By buying the TV, I’d be paying with more than just the money. I’d be paying with my own life which I would have voluntarily given away, for the more possessions you own, the more you are stuck in one place. Yet the brainwash by those multinational corporations doesn’t end. Their clever marketing methods are time tested and work well with psyche of those who don’t ignore them. I was stuck in that rut for far too long, wasted too many of the best years of my life and realized that it’s now or never. Ready or not, risky or not – I’ve set out on the path to adventure. A path with unlimited horizons. A path on which each day is different from the last one, a path on which you feel alive, not just living. I’ve retired in my 30’s.