How To Retire Early | Our 5 Year Plan
Updated: Jan 11
Are you wondering how to retire early? We have thought about it too.
But then we thought, what if you created a life that you didn't necessarily want to retire early from? Rather, you could take mini-retirements whenever you wanted? What if you loved what you did and had the freedom to do the things that you are looking forward to doing during retirement?
(I may be compensated via the links clicked in the article.)
This was a realization that my husband and I came to after reading the book 4 Hour Workweek. I was stuck in a mindset that the here and now is something I need to endure so that one day (in 30 years) I can get to the "good life". What do you want your retirement to look like? That is the question that I really struggled with. Over the past few years I have gained some clarity on the matter that I'd love to share with you below!
Change Your Mindset
Over the past year my husband and I have taken a good long look at what we want our next 5 years to look like as we embark on what a life could be like where we are able to take mini-retirements. A mini-retirement is more than just a weeklong trip. The author of 4 Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, defines a mini-retirement as "a series of intentional breaks throughout your career, rather than one final retirement after a life of labor". That sounded much more in line with what I envision for my life, especially in the season that we are in right now. What if we could work less while our kids are young, not more. What would it look like if we could spend intentional family time together for weeks at a time? When we became parents we became increasingly aware of how fast time goes by. We didn't want to miss our kids growing up.
Okay so that is all good and grand. But how do you get from point A (where you are right now) to point B (retire early or enjoying mini-retirements whenever you want). Here are some things to ponder that we have learned to set yourself up to be in a place that you can enjoy the here and now.
Create Passive Income
Can you really make money while you sleep? It is possible! There are lots of different ways to create passive income for yourself. It typically takes a great deal of work upfront but then it is pretty hands off from there. The number one way we create passive income is through real estate investing. We own several long distance long term rental properties. If that seems out of reach, you might be surprised. There are lots of creative ways to buy properties, it doesn't have to be cash out of pocket. We highly recommend Bigger Pockets to deep dive into this topic. They have lots of books and podcasts that can take you from knowing absolutely nothing to being confident enough to take the plunge. We have also "house hacked" our personal home and created an apartment in our basement that creates revenue. All of these tactics we learned through Bigger Pockets and like minded friends.
Another question to ponder is... how can you create a system of income generation where you do not have to be physically present. This really transformed the direction of my professional life. We started to think about how I could reform my business (I am a wedding photographer) so that I didn't have to be physically present to be able to earn income. That is when we onboarded a team! Amanda Rai Photography now has 3 associates who I have personally trained and I trust them whole heartedly to capture wedding days without me being there. It isn't entirely passive, but creating systems in my business that can function without my presence is huge!
This way of thinking is not the societal norm. We have had to do lots of our own research and education to break free of the barriers inside of our minds. Down below we compiled a list of books that really helped us and we hope it will be helpful to you as well as you shift your mindset!
Books we recommend for changing mindset and creating passive income:
If you can cut your cost of living, the amount of income you will need to sustain your family will undoubtedly be less and will enable you to retire early. Many Americans live beyond their means and have some amount of credit card debt. If this is you, we highly recommend following the Dave Ramsey method for getting out of debt. My husband and I don't follow his rules to a T (simply because we are real estate investors) but it is a super great place to start pulling yourself out of the red.
If you are married, and come to a place where this is possible, you could try living on one income. This will cause you to make necessary cuts and live in a more minimalistic way. Think long term and imagine trading in material possessions for future experiences.
Confession...we aren't totally there yet. We aren't ready to retire early. But we are well on our way to enjoying mini-retirements! We are getting our toes wet by dabbling into the world of snowbirding! If you aren't familiar, that is when northerners travel south for the winter. To learn all about what we are doing this year (2022), click here!
Our goal is that in 5 years we will flip our income around. Physically working part time and creating a majority of our income passively. Come along with us on this journey as we join other millennials who are breaking out of the rat race, and enjoying the freedom to live the life they dream of. We are setting ourselves up to be able to retire early, if that is what we want. We have the freedom to choose and so can you!
If you decide you want to retire early, you absolutely can!
Please consider subscribing to our channel on Youtube so you can see all of the adventure (and I'm sure some hilarity) along the way!