If you’re like me, you feel like you simply don’t have enough time in your week to do everything that you want to do.
You get up at 7am, get to work for 9am, stay there until 5:30pm and get home by 6:30pm.
You’re out for half the day doing something that, even if you enjoy what you do, you’re only doing it because it helps you to afford your house, essentials and some luxuries.
But what if you had enough money that you didn’t need to work?
I’m not talking about winning millions and being able to buy everything you could ever want, but about having enough that it could pay off your expenses each year.
This is the premise behind FI/RE – Financial Indepence / Retiring Early.
Through lowering your expenses and increasing your investment portfolio in the stock market, you would simply withdraw from your investments enough to cover your expenses, so long as it doesn’t result in your portfolio dropping.
I am not going to tell you to quit your job now, but once you have planned it out and built your investments, here’s some major benefits that you’ll see;
You’ll have freedom to do what you want with your time
Feeling fatigued from having to commute 2 hours each day? Well, now you don’t have to.
You can wake up a little later in the day feeling perfectly refreshed, start your day with a hearty breakfast and some light exercise, move on to reading a book, working on your garden or house, flex your chef skills on lunch and dinner and more.
For myself, I love models and collectibles, but the last time I built or painted a model was over 10 years ago. That’s a very long time to miss out on your hobbies, so retiring early would allow me to take part in hobbies that I haven’t found time for, for years.
You’ll get more time with your family
If you have children, aging parents or pets, you’ll get more time with the people that you love.
For myself, my parents are in their 60’s and still are agile enough to do what they want, so it would be nice to spend this time with them while I can. Our family dogs are also very old now, and considering the amount of time they have left with us is a dark and sad thought, so being able to spend a few more hours with them each week would make me very happy.
You’ll have more time to take care of your health
It can take me 3 hours to cook an excellent Greek meal because of all of the preparation involved and the individual herbs, spices, vegetables and marination involved.
I just cannot find time for that on an evening after work and at most I do that a couple of times per month.
Being able to spend more time on my food would allow me to eat healthier foods that should improve my healthspan and allow me to enjoy life for longer.
Not only that, but I would have more time to spend exercising.
I, like most people, fall into the trap of rarely exercising because I am simply too fatigued after a long day at work to not only cook, clean and relax, but also to exercise on top.
Just half an hour to an hour of exercise per day would do wonders for everyone, and this would be easy to do if I didn’t have to work.
You’ll have time to work on that small business idea you’ve always had
Hold on, why retire if you’re just going to start working again?
My point with this is that you don’t have to do this, but you can do it purely because you want to and would enjoy it.
This could be as simple as starting a blog on a topic that you’re knowledgable on, or could even involve you creating something to sell on etsy.
Lets say you love art – could you make and sell art cards, paintings or something else?
How about we say you love dogs – could you do some part-time dog walking?
If you’re an advocate for Greek Pottery, could you even import a few to sell on ebay?
Maybe you could even start a subscription box business.
The world is your oyster and you could work because you want to, not because you need to.
You could take that course you’ve never had time for
I am vastly interested in astronomy and would love to learn more about physics and planetary sciences. I could be taking courses through Coursera purely to satisfy my own curiosity about the world, instead of having to take courses only to improve skills that are beneficial to my employers.
Take courses on nutrition, exercise, yoga and more and you’ll not only learn some useful and interesting knowledge, but that will also help you live a longer and healthier life too!
You could live anywhere you want
While I work for someone else, I’m forced to live within commuting distance, but if I’m retired, I could choose almost anywhere to retire to.
Maybe I’d love to move to Cardiff but my job keeps me stuck in Birmingham – not having to work would allow me to move.
Not only that, but according to Numbeo it is around 3.75% more expensive to live in Birmingham, so my money would last a little tiny bit longer in Cardiff.
Equally, if you lived in Edinburgh and for some reason wanted to move to Birmingham, you could be saving around 11%.
Maybe I could move abroad to a country where my living costs would be halved, which would actually allow me to retire many years earlier.
You could have more time to travel the world
I’m not going to say that you should spend all of your money seeing a different country every week, but simply having more time to travel would allow you to see and experience more life around the planet.
You wouldn’t need to wait until the bank holidays to maximise your time off work, bumping up the costs because everyone else does the same.
You wouldn’t need to limit your trips to a couple of big, expensive weeks each year – in fact, you could have more time at your destination, drop your daily budget and experience more.
While I’m working, about the maximum I can take is 3 weeks of holidays per year, so I pack out those days with as many activities as possible, making it very expensive.
If I could instead spend 6 weeks of travelling each year, I could take a more relaxed approach that allows me to appreciate the destination more, and yet it might not cost too much more to do this.
For myself, the money is not the limiting factor, but the main reason why I travel very little is purely down to the time I can get off work. No work = no issues finding the time.
You could cut out a lot of stress, fatigue and burnout
We’ve all had those days where we’ve come home from work feeling absolutely drained, hoping that the money we’ve earned is worth the sacrifice to our health.
There’s certainly a lot of value in abolishing that.
Why work until pension age and retire as a burnt, stressed fragment of who you could have been, only to find that those years of working reduced the amount of time you have left to enjoy to just a few years?
If I can retire 10 years earlier than I originally planned, that’s 10 years less work stress, which might actually help me to live a little longer.
What would you do if you could retire early?