Millennial Take on Early Retirement

There’s a growing movement towards people trying to achieve some form of Early Retirement. Personal finance bloggers toss around phrases such as Financial Freedom and Financial Independence, but we rarely define them. Here’s my Millennial take on early retirement.

Defining Early Retirement

My introduction to early retirement was discovering Ben Franklin reached such a feat by the age of 42. I was blown away. This was at a time of limited social mobility, so I was particularly inspired by his grit and ingenuity.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve applied the suggested approach. I’m working hard and keeping much of what I’m earning. Actually, it is the best advice I’ve seen to date on how to build wealth.

Naturally, building assets and reducing liabilities is a necessary step to achieve the opportunity to retire early.

But, what does early retirement mean for someone like me?

How do I envision I’ll spend my time once I am retired?

Well, my fiancee and I have particularly been inspired in recent years to develop ways to help a local charity. We have ambitions to travel and, of course, but more importantly we have dreams of doing the kind of work which leaves a lasting impact.

The last step might confuse some people, but here’s where I’m once again influenced by Ben Franklin.

Retirement is stepping away from one’s career and entering into new pastures.

As a generation, I’m excited at the new challenges awaiting us. We face extreme scenarios in our near future and I’m happy to see many pushing themselves to become financially fit.

We don’t have a clear picture of what retirement will be like, but we know we’ll be more capable of addressing tomorrow’s problems with the resourcefulness and knowledge we are pursuing to obtain.

Do you have a clear picture of what retirement looks like for you? Do you imagine a scenario where you stop working altogether?


P.S. For a 5 minute summary of my take on Millennial Retirement, check out this episode from our Podcast:

10 comments… add one
  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Feb 6, 2017, 8:05 am

    I really like the idea of starting a charity during early retirement. 🙂 I do think it’s important to add giving back into your early retirement plans. For us that’ll take the form of charitable donations as well as volunteering (probably at an animal shelter).

    It’s funny because we had a CFP speak to us during college about passive income and financial independence. At the time I thought he was absolutely nuts. But after being a few years out of college I wish I’d listened to his advice!

  • Ms. Montana Feb 6, 2017, 9:21 am

    I think financial freedom is a sliding scale. You can have a little or a lot. Where financial independence is the line is the sand where you never have to work for money again. When we started out we were $50k in debt with zero financial freedom, now 15 years later our passive income covers all our bills. While we might not be 100% financially independent, we have a ton of financial freedom.

    • Fulltimefinance Feb 6, 2017, 1:53 pm

      I agree. I’m not financially independent unless I lived like a monk for the rest of my life. But financial freedom means if I want to go take 5 years off working or get laid off the only impact would be that financial independence line drifts further away. im already there.

  • Stefan - The Millennial Budget Feb 6, 2017, 8:28 pm

    Freedom is the name of the game. It is awesome being in a community that understands what they want and how we need to get there. Retirement for me is not quitting work one day and going home to nothing to do. While this is definitely something I will do I would like take a 180 in my career path and look for ways to give back to society in a meaningful way. Teaching is one of the best ways I can think of. My best teachers had the greatest impact on me.

  • Peter Feb 7, 2017, 3:03 am

    Cannot agree more with your three goals, it pretty much aligns with mine. While I define financial independence as the state when your basic expenses (maintenance of your current lifestyle) are covered by passive income and you have the freedom to do in your professional life whatever you want (at this level you still have to earn money to cover bigger purchases or to finance extra spending). Financial freedom(Early Retirement) is when your nest egg already grew huge and you have that fuck you money and you are able to afford anything (of course in a rational range). I do not think I will retire anytime with the definition not doing anything, my goal is more to have the financial background to be able to work on anything (maybe save the world) I am interested in, even for free.

  • Financial Coach Brad Feb 7, 2017, 3:58 am

    I retired at 44. I’m far too young to do “nothing” for the next 50 years so I continue to work. It’s nice now though to be able to work and do things just because I enjoy them and not because I need to support a certain lifestyle. 100% debt-free is the way to go! 🙂 BTW, phase 2 of retirement is coming soon – we just made an offer on an RV so we can start some long-term traveling later this year. We’re very excited. :))

    • Financial Coach Brad Feb 7, 2017, 3:59 am

      Oh, and by “work” I mean blogging, personal finance coaching, and small business advisement. I started, grew, and ran a business for 18 years and loved every bit of it. So “working” now is just enjoying what I know I love; and doing it right at the level I want.

  • The Grounded Engineer Feb 7, 2017, 9:57 am

    Hey Matt, I admire your goals of helping out with charities and doing other work that leaves a meaningful impact on others. That is awesome!

    I struggle discussing some of my goals on my blog because my coworkers read my blog and I’m nervous to share that I want to retire early. So, I’ve been sharing my thoughts on other people’s blogs 🙂

    For my retirement, I would like to go into teaching and help young adults transitioning from high school to higher education understand all of the options available to them: trade schools, community colleges, four-year colleges etc.

  • Susan Farrell Feb 9, 2017, 11:34 am

    My husband retired at age 52 after 25 years of service with a large city as a mechanic. The job was hard on his body. His predecessors in the same job went for a full retirement. Most of them were completely disabled and/or died shortly after retirement. I figured out how to get him out early. He invested in an ICMA account enough to pay for his health insurance. I figured wrong; insurance coverage was double the figure I used. And, he got only half his pension. What a shame, but we let go of that money so he could enjoy life. We downsized to a 900 sq ft home, from a 2600 sq ft home. It was so worth it. He died at age 68. I will never regret our decision.

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