What Does Early Retirement Look Like?

I’ve gotten a couple emails lately asking me what exactly I plan to do once I retire at 40 years old. As I discussed recently, financial independence is both a journey and a destination. And while I’m quite enjoying the journey, I am very much looking forward to the destination; reaching financial freedom. And the destination isn’t the end. It’s the start of another journey: life without full-time work. Quite exciting!

What does early retirement look like? Well, that all depends on you. 

Once you are free to live your life without the constraints of having to go out and earn a paycheck so that you can put a roof over your head, food on the table and also enjoy some modern luxuries here and there you can really do anything you want. Early retirement is only bound by your imagination and your budget. While the former is free, the latter can impose some limits on what exactly you can do. But this is no different from a more conventional retirement, whereby one stops working in their 60′s. Quite the contrary, early retirement can be significantly more rewarding because you’re much younger and able-bodied. You’re able to do things that an older version of you might not not be able to. It’s not just about retiring. It’s about living life on your terms.

I’ll tell you what I’m looking forward to: time. And the freedom that comes with it. Time is the most expensive commodity of all because we’re all born with very limited amounts of it, and it’s non-replaceable. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And yet, so many of us trade it away so easily without asking ourselves if the objects or experiences we’re getting in return are really worth it.

Financial independence means I’m completely independent of anyone’s else’s demands on my time. I own my time and all the benefits that come with it. And what will I do with that time?

Writing.

I hope to continue to blog here at Dividend Mantra once I’m financially independent so that I can actually show readers what retirement at 40 looks like. It’s one thing to blog about the journey, but quite another to talk about what it looks like once the destination is finally reached. I’ve even contemplated maybe writing a book one day if I’m actually able to retire at a young age. I want to continue writing because I find a lot of reward by inspiring others and seeing people succeed. Watching dreams come true is really amazing. Right now, a great deal of my writing is on how to live frugally and invest that excess capital into high quality companies that pay out dividends. But what I’d like to write about when I’m financially independent is how to budget for such an extremely early retirement, continue to save and how to also manage investments once the asset accumulation phase is over. I’d also like to write about my adventures and show people how exciting early retirement can really be! There are so many opportunities here that I’m really excited just thinking about it.

Spending more time with loved ones. 

I don’t see the people I care most about as often as I’d like. I work a lot, over 50 hours per week. I get tired. My very limited free time is split between relaxing, blogging, working out, reading, managing investments and occasionally hitting the town on the weekends. My days are quite full and I don’t ever have enough time to do everything I’d like to, which is why I’m so amazed when I hear that some people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they didn’t have a full-time job! Once I’m financially independent I can structure my days so that I’m busy doing all the things I need to do during the day and then I have unstructured free time at night when the people I care about are no longer working. One great thing about retiring early is that right around the time I’m turning 40 and I decide to stop working for a living, my parents will likely be doing the same. So, we’ll all have a lot more time available to us.

Managing investments. 

Boring, I know. What can I say? I enjoy reading an annual report like others might like reading a great mystery novel. I enjoy seeing companies innovate and dominate. I love reading about the latest operational results from multibillion dollar companies as they manage thousand of employees across the globe. It’s fascinating to me. Early retirement may not include this for you, but it’s something I greatly look forward to. Reading annual reports, checking quarterly results and listening in on conference calls can take up a lot of time, and once I have 100% of my time to myself I can do these things guilt free.

Travel.

I’m not sure when, but I’d love to travel at some point once I’m financially independent. And by travel, I definitely do not mean going to 5-star resorts and eating filet mignon while someone rubs my feet. I mean slow travel. I want to go to an affordable country like Thailand or Ecuador and actually live there for a while. Maybe a year, maybe more. Maybe forever. Who knows once I get there. But the point is that by traveling slowly you’re spreading out the costs of airfare, which mitigates the most expensive part of traveling. And I’m looking forward to living like locals do. Not in hotels where other Americans are staying, but in long-term rentals like everyone else. I think it would be amazing to spend a couple years in a foreign country, eat the local food, learn the local language and immerse myself in their culture. The world is a big place, and I’d like to see a little of it before I die.

Philanthropy. 

I haven’t talked a lot about this on Dividend Mantra, but I’m interested in engaging in philanthropy when the time is right. I won’t be able to give away billions of dollars like ol’ Warren Buffett, but I will be able to give away a little bit of a more valuable commodity that I’m working so hard for: time. I’m interested, once I’m completely free of other obligations and enjoyed a bit more of the above activities, in doing local charity work and helping others that didn’t have some of the same opportunities I was given. I’ve been extremely lucky in life. Just being born here in America in 2013 puts you far ahead of the billions of people that have ever lived in the history of mankind, as well as billions of other people alive currently that are suffering in poor countries where food, clean water and housing are all short in supply. I’d like to start local, and then scale up if possible and if I’m able to. I can think of few things more noble than helping out your fellow man. Although some situations are self-inflicted, there are people out there in genuine need of help. I’d like to offer a hand when the time is right.

Staying physically active.

I started lifting weights at 11 years old after I moved away from Detroit and into a small town. I was picked on a lot because I was an outsider. I didn’t know anyone, and kids can be cruel. So I started working out, and as you can probably tell I take things pretty serious when I get interested. One thing led to another and by the time I was 13 I was training for my first bodybuilding competition. I got really big in my teens and kept at it throughout my 20′s, but I’ve slowed down a tick since then. It’s simply tough to get a great workout in when I’ve already ran around at my day job for 10 hours or more. I hope that once I’m financially independent I can devote a bit more of my schedule to staying fit because I think the cheapest health insurance is a good workout regimen and an appropriate diet. 

Relaxing.

It sounds like I’ve signed myself up for a full plate, but relaxation is still going to be in the mix. How so? Well, because I won’t have a full-time job to attend to anymore. When most people are getting home at 6 p.m., I’ll already have had the full day to accomplish everything I’d like to. Relaxing and slowing my life down a bit is something I really look forward to. I love sleeping in. I’m not the kind of guy who likes getting up before the roosters to watch the sun come up with a cup of coffee. That’s just not me. I like staying up late and sleeping in until a reasonable time (10:00 a.m. or so). I like laying on the beach and letting the sun hit my skin. I love going for a walk downtown, enjoying the architecture and the smell of food while I window shop and people watch. I’m easily entertained. Watching a good movie with a small bowl of kettle corn is a fun Friday night to me. I love sitting down to a great meal with my family, telling jokes and making fun of each other. I don’t require a lot of money to have fun, and that’s why I’m quite confident that I’ll really enjoy myself once I’m no longer working full-time.

That’s what early retirement looks like for me. But what your early retirement looks like is completely up to you. What do you enjoy? What gives you pleasure? What do you find rewarding? How do you minimize stress and unhappiness and maximize your time spent on doing the things you love to do?

And once you’re financially independent you don’t have to call your boss and quit the very next day. You can keep working if you want to. Maybe you enjoy your job and wouldn’t mind working for another 5-10 years. Maybe you want to pad the brokerage account and give yourself a bigger margin of safety. You can also downshift and work part-time. That way you get a little bit of both worlds.

The point is this: early retirement is whatever you want it to be. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fear holds us back. Conquer your fear and realize that your time is your own. What do you want out of life? Are you on the right track to get it? I know what I want and I know that I’m on track for it. Life can throw some curveballs to be sure, but who better to be prepared for them than someone who has hundreds of thousands of dollars put away because they’re chasing the dream of early retirement? Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.

How about you? What do you want out of early retirement? What will you do with all of your free time? 

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: mrpuen/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

  1. says

    I like this list… I think I would ad Work back to it though, but it would be very different from the typical 9-5 grind that most of us do every day. Once you don’t have to worry about the money to pay the bills, you can take something that used to be a hobby and turn it into a gig that produces some income while you enjoy doing it whenever you feel like it. Or if I travel to another country and live there maybe I would bar-tend for a while for the fun of it. Or get a job renting jet-skis. Or… well, you get the idea. It would be less about the money and more about the experience and if you get paid while doing it, why not?

    • says

      insourcelife,

      I wouldn’t disagree with work. I think still working and getting paid for that work is noble. Nothing wrong with that. Besides, getting paid “keeps score” if you will and allows you to see some value in return for your time.

      I think a few things up on my list could be considered work anyhow, especially blogging. I don’t really consider this work because it’s a passion and the pay is extremely low, but if you use the narrowest possible definition of work it counts.

      At any rate, I think one of the biggest benefits to financial independence is that you’re free to do as you please. Work. Don’t work. Work sometimes. It won’t really matter anymore. It’s quite possible that just by pursuing your passions and getting really good at them you’ll likely see money coming your way anyhow. If that is reality, then 100% of your expenses being covered by way of passive income isn’t really necessary.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Best wishes.

  2. says

    When I finally reach the point that I’m comfortable with my passive income levels and their margin of safety, I’m heading straight to my boss’ for a talk. I’m going to tell them that something needs to change and a schedule is what I would most want. I really like my job when I’m working but the problem is that I don’t have any real semblance of work/life balance, thus the need to get a schedule. If they don’t go for that then that’s fine by me and I’ll take some time off for myself to figure out what I want to do next. I think I’ll still work in some form to bring in some income but it won’t be full-time year round. That grind can really wear on you. I’m seriously considering going and working in a restaurant because I never had that experience plus I really like to cook. Without any formal training I know I’d have to start at the bottom and work my way up but it’s high on my list of things to do.

    You mentioned the best health insurance is a good workout program and I totally agree with that. I can’t wait to be able to get back into the gym on a regular basis. The sad part is that work is a double whammy of taking up so much time that you can’t exercise and eat properly as well as being the biggest stressor in most peoples’ lives. A low stress life of FI/ER and more exercise sounds like one of the best combinations for staying in good health.

    • says

      Since I really like being outside and enjoying all that nature has to offer, I’ve thought of maybe doing bike or kayak tours. Who knows? But it’s something that would be fun and if it provides a little bit of income that’s even better.

    • says

      Pursuit,

      Absolutely. Still working for a little income is very nice. It allows you to keep some skills fresh and keep your body/mind fresh. Plus, some really like the social aspect of it.

      “The sad part is that work is a double whammy of taking up so much time that you can’t exercise and eat properly as well as being the biggest stressor in most peoples’ lives. A low stress life of FI/ER and more exercise sounds like one of the best combinations for staying in good health.” -

      You nailed it there. Full-time work is definitely a killer, quite literally in the sense of added stress and minimal free time to work off that stress physically. Rather unfortunate.

      Sounds like you’ve got some great plans there. I think visualizing what early retirement looks like is really important if it’s a big goal in your life.

      Cheers to our pursuit!

      Take care.

  3. says

    I agree with you DM that time is the most valuable commodity of all. After an amazing friend died of cancer at the young age of 25 I vowed to prioritize things in life. Instead of focusing on a career for the rest of my lift, I vowed to enjoy the things I loved here and now. The problem is that if I wanted to enjoy such things now I would quickly go broke. Following a dividend strategy, I believe that after a few years of striving hard for FI this will allow me to enjoy more time in the near future.

    My days currently feel controlled by work. I’ll get a quick workout or job in the morning before work but that’s it. The rest of the day I must be at work, during lunch I don’t venture too far, and I’m back home by 6:30. I’m usually pretty exhausted by then to really focus on anything worthwhile. On the other hand, when I don’t work I get so much more done in the mornings and afternoons and feel energized throughout the day. I’m looking forward to having more on the latter.

    Anyways, I put together a very informal bucket list of things I’d like to eventually do once I’m FI (It’s on my site at http://www.25000dividends). I get ideas and desires to do certain things here and there. My bucket list gives me a good idea of some of the things I’d like to do. I can look back in a couple years and remind myself that I want to learn Spanish or compete in a half-iron man.

    Kudos on considering Thailand. I was recently there and loved it. You can live quite well on $1000 per month.

    All the best,

    • says

      $25000 dividends,

      Sorry to hear of your friend. That’s very unfortunate. The only silver lining in an event like that is it gives you a great perspective on life, and perhaps the fragility of it all.

      I hear you on being exhausted. I work a similar schedule (7:30-6:00) and am either getting ready for work, traveling to work, at work, or preparing for work about 12 hours per day during the week and an additional 6 hours occasionally on the weekends. I can’t see how people do this for decades on end without getting severely burnt out!

      Very nice to have a bucket list. I don’t know if I have something like that. I guess the closest is the idea of traveling. I think living overseas is many years down the road, but is definitely on the list. Living in Thailand sounds really great. The visa rules/laws are a bit tough, and getting tougher. And the cost of living there is rising. But if remains even close to the same 10-15 years down the road I’d be very interested in staying there for a while.

      Best wishes!

  4. Anonymous says

    I thought I would update my letter to you posted in May of this year on your ” About Me” section, and hope that my story and your journey inspire someone. I am the 59 yr old, just retired with a $1400 a month pension and had sold my home for $600,000 and decided I needed a change of pace as well and invited your comments. I had travelled for years but only as a tourist, never a resident, and after reading stories by financial planners who claimed you need $2 million to retire, I frankly thought I was doomed. Well, nothing could be further from the truth and I’ll update what I have done & thank you for your thoughts and advice. It did inspire me. In July I moved to Puerto Vallarta, found a great condo ( 2 blocks from beach) and took out a 1 yr lease at $1000 a month ( including utilities) and paid $5500 up front to the Canadian owner so rent is paid till end of this year. I bought a 1, 2 & 3 yr GIC for $15,000 each to cover expenses & more for the next 3 yrs. I took your advise on buying $ 5,000 a month each ( 20,000 total) of inexpensive Vanguard index funds in Canadian, US, Global markets and a bond fund, and will dollar cost avg that in for 12 months. The balance( about 300K ) I am slowly but surely picking away at what I foresee as 30 blue chip dividend stocks from Canada & the US and I won’t need to touch a dividend for at least 3 yrs. Sometimes you just have to look outside your comfort zone & realize there is a great big world out there & most of it is cheaper and just as beautiful as anything Canada or the US has and I wish I had done it 10 yrs ago. Life is much less expensive in PV, the weather is great, the beach & the scenery is awesome & the beer is cold. If this isn’t paradise, it sure is hell is close to it. Thanks again & stay the course.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Wow! Just wow. Tremendous story there. Very, very inspirational! I’m really happy for you. It sounds like you’re living out your dreams. That’s fantastic.

      It definitely sounds like you’re in paradise! Great weather, beautiful beach, warm people and cold drinks. Cheap cost of living on top of it all!

      Enjoy it! Sounds like you definitely earned it. That is delayed gratification at it’s finest. :)

      Best wishes!

  5. gibor says

    Jason, off topic … but wanted to ask what do you think about PM at current levels? I already have a pretty big postion , but it looks more and more appealing at current levels. Also next month they should increase dividends. Thinking to add PM…

    • says

      gibor,

      I like PM at these levels. If it wasn’t already one of my biggest positions I’d be buying shares. They’ve underperformed the market YTD by a large margin. The valuation looks reasonable considering the future growth this company could see.

      They’ve been hurt by currency exchange rates and an excise tax in the Philippines from what I understand. These are all transitory concerns and will pass. The great thing about PM is the massive scale. One country’s temporary weakness can be more than offset with growth elsewhere. Plus, you never know with China. Any inroads there could be huge.

      Best regards!

  6. gibor says

    Anonymous, nice stuff! I’m turning 47 and would like to do similar think when I’m in middle 50′s… Just I’d like to go long term vacation to Europe (like Germany, Spain or Eastern Europe like former Yugoslavia countries) and we cannot stay out of Canada more than 6 months or we should reapply for OHIP (provincial medical insurance). We like Europe a lot, we traveled there 5 times in last 8 years and like Jason mentioned we never stay in 5* hotels (actually almost never stay in hotels). I spend a lot of time researching and communucation via the Web and book much cheaper appartments or cottages with full kitchen and live not within tourist crowd , but within locals…it’s much more interesting…
    Anonymous, please keep us updated from time to time with your new temporary residence…. Any specific reason you decided to go to Mexico? Do you speak Spanish?

    • Anonymous says

      Well Gibor, to be honest, it was a 3 way battle on where to retire between Puerto Vallarta, San Juan del Sur( Nicaraugua) & Panama City ( Panama) I have been to all three more than once. The reason I picked PV was a combination of factors including it is one town where you don’t have to know Spanish at all, because of the huge expat population of Canadians & Americans. In Old Town you will see almost as many Canadian & American flags on businesses & residences as Mexican flags. Also, PV is very, very safe, clean & incredibly beautiful with the beach, the mountains & the jungle surrounding you. Also the peso is cheap, literally dozens of bars & restaurants within a 10 min walk and my favorite bar on the beach ( Monkey Bar) sells Corona for $1 while your toes are actually in the sand. I do plan to teturn to Canada every 6 months for two weeks just to catch up with friends & family, renew drivers license, OHIP etc. BTW, just had my teeth cleaned and checked this morning by a dentist for $30, so my dentist in Canada lost a customer…lol

    • gibor says

      Nice stuff with dentist :) I’ve heard that in Cuba also it’s very cheap and quality not worse than here :)
      Big Canadian/US presence in this place is definetely a big plus! Yeap, Corona is cheap over there, however i prefer Czech, German or Belgium beer. lol.
      However, as per OHIP, “You may be temporarily outside of Canada for a total of 212 days in any 12 month period and still maintain your OHIP coverage as long as your primary place of residence is still in Ontario”, so you need to live in Canada at least 5 months during 1 year period.
      Also, I ‘m wondering, do you rent car? or you don’t fee you need it?

  7. Chris A. says

    Hi DM,

    I have to admit, after reading your story and those on your blogroll, I’m hooked! I love your philosophy on life/investing and you can count another person as one of your many avid readers. I’ve really gotten into reading these types of blogs in the last couple of weeks. I think the funniest thing to me is reading the comments section of the articles you’ve been mentioned in such as USA Today, the Today show, etc. I think the thing that bothered me the most is that someone called you “lazy.” That kind of floored me when I read that. I think you’re one of the most ambitious people I’ve read about, and laziness certainly doesn’t allow someone to retire at 40 when most people can’t even retire at 62. Let the naysayers keep doing what they do best, and in 12 years (when I hit 40) we’ll meetup in Florida for a nice PB&J on the beach :)

    Just reading your blog, I’m on track to bump up my savings rate from approximately 15% to 45% just in one month. I hope to get that to over 60% in November. My lease will be up and I will be moving to a much cheaper apartment at that time.

    Anyway, just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you to keep it up! Your blog is very inspiring, and I hope to get my Freedom Fund rolling shortly!

    • says

      Chris,

      Glad you found the blog. I’m thrilled that you enjoy my story and some of the things I’m trying to do here.

      It sounds like you’re making some pretty big changes in your life, all for the better. I’m glad to hear that. That kind of savings rate change will have immediate impacts on your finances and, likely, your overall happiness and well-being.

      Thanks for the support. I honestly don’t mind the naysayers for the most part. I only get a little bothered when people make personal attacks. For those that think I’m crazy, ignorance is bliss. And I’m quite fine with that.

      I look forward to the PB&J sandwich on the beach!

      Best of luck with the changes. Stay in touch.

      Best wishes!

  8. Anonymous says

    Got on your site and gonna tell you some things. Yeah your doin some things good. Savin money and buyin stocks is good But you aint thinkin about some things kid. first off sure your savin money but you need to live with your girlfriend to do it. Stand on your own 2 feet. When we was young we didnt shack up with someone to save money we got married first. shoudnt be together till your married aint right So you save money but you aint standin on your own 2 feet Another thing is your gonna get whacked on your scoter. Sure save money not buyin a car but its dangerus. You can get hit too in a car but it aint as bad. Get hit on a scoter or hit a pothole and your dead or in wheelchair not in car. And what about when you get sick you got cheap health care but its cheap cause your healthy and a kid. aint gonna be that way forver Your young so you dont know how you can get sick butthings happen to you you cant help. thats more money you better plan for Alot of people here on comments dont tell you how it is I do. Fredy krumpets

    • Anonymous says

      Wow, I don’t know what to make of that…

      Umm, welcome to 2013 Fredy. If you look at his financials, he’s more than “standing on his own 2 feet.” As far as living with your girlfriend, maybe stop watching Little House on the Prairie and walk outside for a change.

    • Anonymous says

      Its a shame we are all called Anonymous…lol, because I agree with the second guy. Fredy Krumpets sounds and spells like he lives with the boys on Duck Dynasty. If I’m not mistaken Dividend Mantra is 31, so unless you are old as dirt I wouldn’t call him a kid. I have no idea how you found your way on to a financial site but I’m assuming you got lost.

    • says

      Fredy,

      Not really sure what to say.

      You’re entitled to your opinions, but I’m doing just fine.

      As far as not living with someone until you’re married, perhaps it’s backward thinking like that that accounts for our national divorce rate being nearly 50%.

      Also, I would highly recommend taking a refresher course in grammar. I’m not sure where you live, but you can likely find a pretty good deal from your local college for a 101 course. Or maybe you might want to check the local elementary school first.

      Best of luck to you.

      Take care.

  9. says

    DM,

    I really enjoyed this post. It kind of reminds me of a similar one I did last year when I addressed the question of “what to do post-FI?”

    Recently, I’ve decided to refine my target and am now aiming to retire at 30. Like you, I’m burned out and very much want to slow down the pace of life. I’ve also thought about living overseas for awhile — the world is so vast and interesting, it would be a shame to go through life and never experience it.

    Best of luck to you!

    • says

      FI Fighter,

      Nice! Retiring at 30 has a pretty nice ring to it, doesn’t it? That would be awesome. I wish you nothing but the best of luck as you march towards freedom at such an early age.

      I’m with you. I’m also pretty tired of the grind. Gets old fast. I honestly cannot fathom how people do this for decades on end. I suppose if my schedule was lightened significantly I might enjoy full-time work more.

      Best of luck! Very exciting stuff! You’ll have to tell me how freedom tastes! :)

      Best wishes.

  10. Anonymous says

    Hi DM,

    Absolutely love your inspirational blog and journey. What income are you aiming for when you reach FI, $2,000 per month ?

    J from UK

    • says

      J,

      Thanks for stopping by from the UK! Glad you enjoy the blog. I write to inspire.

      I’m aiming for about $17,500 in annual dividend income by the time I’m 40. If I’m able to keep this pace up for 9 more years it’s attainable. We’ll see. I hope I can keep it up and keep striving for a better future. I don’t mind delaying gratification, but the grind does get to me after a while. I’m staying the course for as long as I can!

      I hope you stick around!

      Take care.

  11. says

    DM,
    In my opinion, via your blog, you are already a philanthropist. The value you provide here is truly amazing. Thank you for the amazing writing, motivation, ideas, and entertainment.

    I’m so excited to hear that you will continue blogging even after reaching FI, that has made my day!

    I really enjoyed this post because it’s a crystal clear vision of what your future holds. The power of having an end goal in mind (and writing/typing it down) is so important/powerful. You have inspired me to write down some of my own goals as I look out 5-10 years from now, definitely now on my to do list for the upcoming weekend. Everyone’s goals are going to be different, but the key is being honest with yourself and getting something written down. Thank you for the inspiration!

    All the best,
    Ian

    PS – I initiated a position in O after learning about the opportunity here on DM, and then doing extensive research/evaluation on my end. Thank you for sparking that idea.

    • says

      Ian,

      Hey, good to hear from you! Enjoyed our conversation the other day! Was very nice. I already sent something over to Suzie. :)

      Glad you enjoyed this post! This was written in response to the questions I’ve received over the years that invariably asked “what will you do with all of your time once you’re no longer working full-time?”. I couldn’t imagine an easier question to answer, but I figured it would be nice to sum it all up and be able to point to one post in the future.

      Glad to hear you’re a fellow shareholder in Realty Income! Great to have you on board! May we continue to both profit for many decades to come. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      DM,
      Truly, truly great chatting with you as well. Suzie got it, and should be getting back to you soon (if not already). Very excited about Realty Income and looking forward to profiting with you for many decades to come!
      Sincerely,
      Ian

  12. says

    I went on a white water rafting trip the other week and realized I would very much enjoy part time summer work as a rafting guide. Part time work as a ski instructor during the winter would be great fun too. During off seasons I’d likely do some traveling and what not.

    That is what I’d do if I had a large enough passive income stream to retire right now.

    • says

      CI,

      Sounds like an awesome way to spend retirement. I really like it. I wish I enjoyed hardcore outdoor activities like that, but I guess I’m more of a city slicker/beach bum at heart. I love being outside, but more along the lines of in a hammock reading or taking a stroll downtown.

      Although if you have those kinds of interests and can get easily paid for them (which I’m quite sure you can) I wonder if you couldn’t live that life at any time, especially with the passive income you’ve already built up? Of course, I’m not sure what kind of contract you have with the military.

      Best of luck in reaching for your dreams. I hope you get there!

      Best regards.

    • says

      Hehe I don’t consider rafting/skiing to be hardcore, but hey we’re all different. To me, hardcore is skydiving or something risky with a real chance of dying. Anyways my passive income is far too low to consider leaving full time work. Then I’d have to think about healthcare/dental/vision on top of it all. I don’t think raft guides make much, but if I was retired I wouldn’t care.

      Yes I’m locked into the military for a while. I’m actually very pleased with the Army at the moment. Did I mention we got a Friday off from work and went white water rafting to boost morale/team building? Completely free except lunch. Right now I’m in school for a couple weeks learning about interesting topics. Much of which I do not have the liberty to discuss here (hey, what’s up B. Manning? How’s prison?). Past assignments have NOT been this fun, finally got a good one. Korea was a let down for sure.

    • says

      Cat,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Glad we share a vision here. I think it’s a very pretty picture. :)

      Although we’re both young, it’s never too early to start reaching for your dreams.

      Best regards!

  13. says

    DM,

    Great post! I enjoyed reading it and agree that our time here is the most precious and limited commodity we have. I, too share the enjoyment of doing the research and looking through great businesses annual reports. It only makes sense that we know what we are investing in before we dump our hard earned capital into an investment. Way to stay persistent with your plans so far.

    I look forward to your future posts and results!

    • says

      SWAN,

      Thanks! I appreciate it.

      Time is everything to me. And I’m more than happy paying out millions of dollars (in the form of lost earnings via full-time work for decades on end) to have much more of it. It’s worth every penny to me.

      I’m glad I’m not along in enjoying researching companies. I feel like an outsider sometimes, but then again regular society can be crazy sometimes! :)

      Best wishes.

  14. Anonymous says

    I love your response to Fredy, you literally had me laughing here at work.

    P.S. I’m still waiting to see july dividend tally! the suspense is killing me

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Glad you liked that! Insulting in a tactful manner is an art, no?

      I’ll be talking about the July dividends very soon. Not too much suspense, just another month of bountiful cash hitting my account for doing nothing other than making great decisions many moons ago. Not my best month ever, but not every month will be or needs to be. Every reinvested penny counts. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad I had you laughing!

      Take care.

  15. says

    DM,

    Great post. I’m sure you’ll love having 100% of your time to yourself and I know you won’t be bored. I’m getting a glimpse of this as we speak and you know what? First, I’m not bored. And second, I enjoy working on things I care about. I actually don’t think much would be different if I were financially independent because I just want to do things. That’s what it means to be alive. I would however like the day when I can tell people that I’m doing what I please because I can. That’s what saving that kind of money and making those things happen for yourself can do for you.

    You forgot the part in there where you come up to Minnesota and hang out with your good pal, Kraig. :)

    • says

      Kraig,

      I knew I forgot something on the list! :)

      Thanks for the continued support. Much appreciated.

      I really respect what you’re doing, and I’m envious. You’re getting a taste of freedom right now in the present. That’s awesome, man. I know you’ll make the most of it while still enjoying the moments as they come.

      Talk to you soon.

      Best regards.

  16. Spoonman says

    I’ve been looking forward to this type of post, it was an excellent read! I did have to giggle when you wrote “…eating filet mignon while someone rubs my feet” =).

    I envision my life after FI to be similar to the one you described. I look forward to getting rid of the alarm clock, allowing myself to nap whenever I want, volunteer or help out however I want, and just space out and look at the clouds.

    A place like Ecuador beckons…especially since I know I can live there sustainably right now. Let’s see if I have the stamina to continue for another 16 months…

    • says

      Spoonman,

      Haha! Yeah that kind of scenario (eating filet mignon at a 5-star resort) sounds nice, but that’s just not sustainable. I’m definitely more interested in a sustainable lifestyle.

      I’m completely with you. Throwing away the alarm clock is going to be the very first thing I do on my first day of financial independence. I’m just not a morning person, so waking up at a leisurely time is something I’m really excited about.

      Ecuador seems really nice. Cuenca gets fairly good reviews, and there is a decent expat community there if you’re so inclined. I think the main drawback is the weather. The coast seems nice as well, with cities like Manta and the like.

      I can only wish I had only 16 months to go! I’m jealous. You’re pretty much on cruise control now! Keep up the great work.

      Best wishes!

  17. Anonymous says

    DM,

    First, I want to thank you for your website and all the hard work you put into it. You are truly an inspiration! I think what you are doing is philanthropy in and of itself.

    Traveling is something I love doing myself. On and off through my 30′s I experimented with long term travel. I spent a lot time in South and Central America as well as Thailand and Cambodia. I loved immersing myself in the culture which causes sensory overload and a change in global perspective. The part that I didn’t like was when my savings was getting low and each time having to come back to the cubicle and putting the ball and chain back on.

    Your website has taught me how I will be able to travel indefinitely. Before, I was always asking my self how can I be a permanent nomad? Thanks to you I have my answer.

    By the way, the people who are telling you that you can’t live on 17K are clueless! I had an apartment in Peru for $80 a month, now it wasn’t anything fancy and I had to use a shared bathroom, but I didn’t care because it allowed my dollar to last longer which gave me the opportunity to bathe in that precious asset “time”. I met people living on $500 a month in some places.

    I’m early 40′s now so I am temporarily suppressing the wanderlust while I build up on dividend stocks. A great book to read on long term travel is Rolf Pott’s book ” The Art of Long Term Travel” if you haven’t read it already.

    Well, again thank you for all your great articles.
    Long live the “Dividend Mantra!”
    Sincerely,
    Nomad

    • Anonymous says

      Sorry DM,

      The name of that book is actually “Vagabonding:An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World-Travel”
      best wishes,
      Nomad

    • gibor says

      “I met people living on $500 a month in some places.” – when I lived in USSR , average salary was about $60/month and no one was dying from hunger :) – on other hand , bread’s cost was 8 cents and street car ride – 1 cent :). I think in some places (like Cuba), they still live much worse than we lived in USSR.

    • says

      Nomad,

      Great stuff there! Thanks so much for sharing.

      I’m sorry you had to take a break from the traveling to get back to a cubicle and earn some money. I’m sure you look forward to the day you can get back out there. Sounds like you’ve had some amazing adventures!

      I don’t have a lot of experience with travel. If you don’t mind me asking, where was your favorite place and why? Thailand has a certain appeal to me (the weather, food, people), but the visa rules are difficult. The Philippines is better in this regard, but there are drawbacks there as well.

      Thanks again for stopping by. Stories like yours are very inspirational to us. Keep the dream alive! You’ll be back out there in no time.

      I’ll check out that book. Sounds like a great read.

      Take care!

    • Anonymous says

      DM,

      My favorite place and why? Hmm… that’s always a tough question – well, while I’m reading your blog here I’m eating Pad Thai which is of course one of Thailand’s many great cuisines. The majestic ancient temples in Cambodia blew my mind away as well as seeing 5 people riding on 1 motor scooter in Phnom Penh. Peru was another place I found quite stimulating. I’ve seen many other countries also, but these three I would put at the top thus far, but are always subject to change as I change. I got a fortune cookie one time that read “The only thing that is permanent is change” – pretty profound huh?
      Visa requirements are difficult in Thailand – you’ll be 40 so I think the only way you’ll probably be able to establish some sort of long term residency might be through teaching English with a work visa. If you like it there and are still there at 50 you could put 24K into a Thai bank account and get a retirement visa at that point. I don’t know too much about the Philippines. In Cambodia you can get a business visa and renew it indefinitely. Something that will be of great convenience to you while your abroad would be to get a mail box through a company called USA Box mail forwarding which is based out of Miami, Fl. They will give you a street address and an account you can access online to view images of your mail pieces and the option to discard what you don’t want at the click of a button.
      Well, I am very excited for you – you will feel like a kid in a candy store for the 1st time and you will be doing this on your own terms which will only add to the euphoria.
      Thanks for everything – your blog is a gold mine. I’m glad I followed your lead on Oneok!
      Take care,
      Nomad

    • Anonymous says

      Gibor,

      Thanks for sharing that info with me about Russia. 1 cent street car rides and 8 cent bread is pretty amazing.
      Best wishes for your journey,
      Nomad

    • says

      The Swede,

      I’ll be posting that very soon. Probably this weekend. Just another boring month of work-free income that I was able to reinvest. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it!

      Best wishes.

  18. gibor says

    Just out of curiosity, checked long-term rentals in Spain, Malaga area… price is very reasonable, townhouses 2-3 bedrooms are about 400-500 euro/month

    • says

      gibor,

      I would actually be looking at long-term rentals at about half that price or less. Of course, I wouldn’t be in Europe. I’d love to visit Europe, but longer stays would likely be limited to cheaper countries in SE Asia or South America.

      Great info there. Proves you are able to live in beautiful locales for less than one might think is possible!

      Take care.

    • Anonymous says

      DM,

      I just thought of a great website you can go to about retiring cheap in asia if you haven’t already discovered it.
      retirecheap.asia – a guy by the name of JC runs the website who claims to have worked for Tony Robbins for a number of years. He has some great videos some of which he’s posted on youtube as well. He covers most aspects of retirement in asia.
      Take care,
      Nomad

    • gibor says

      Jason, I was checking only 1 website with minimum 2 bedrooms ans in touristy locations…. definitely you can find much cheaper rent even in Spain, and I think in countries like Macedonia, Hungary, Slovakia etc you can find even cheaper… Personally, I like Europa much more than Asian or African places

    • says

      gibor,

      I’m quite sure there are cheaper options available in Spain and other countries in Europe. Europe, in general terms, is much more expensive than some of the places I’d be looking at. Of course, in life you often get what you pay for. Europe would be really wonderful to visit on a long stretch, as I think the culture is probably unmatched anywhere else in the world. There are cheaper countries in Europe too. I believe Bulgaria was rather inexpensive last I looked, as was Czech Republic.

      Cheers!

  19. Anonymous says

    I just try to tell you things. I aint got school learnin cause I had to drop out to work in the fields then I work at the steel. my grandkis help me on the computer and I go on sites and say stuff. I got on your site and I make money on stocks too and looked for sites with stocks. When we was young, I buy Koke and scott toilet paper and Edson ecletric. Those stock did good but I buy bad ones too like Kodak picturs so sometimes I pick good and others bad When we was young, nobody got divorcd wasnt right so you didnt do it. Didnt shack up eithr wasnt right. Good christans dont do that. Your savin money doin it but that dont make it right. You kids do it a lot my one grandkid does it too but it still aint right. Alot more divorce now than when we was young. What if you had to live on your own. Dont get me wrong your doin things good like savin money and buyin stocks but some things you aint thinkin about hard enough kid and I just try to tell you about them. Good luck.Fredy Krumpets

    • says

      NickD,

      That’s certainly an option if you don’t mind living in an RV. I don’t know if it would be something I’d necessarily be interested in, but it would be a viable way to live on the cheap. Definitely one of those “out of the box” ideas to keep in your back pocket.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care.

  20. Anonymous says

    Hi DM, you’ve possibly get this question often, but just wondering what dividend income you’re aiming for to retire on?

  21. says

    We are about 10 months in to ER, still in our 30′s, and I’m still wondering how I ever found time to fit in a full time job :-D

    We’ve filled most of our time with slow travel, visiting friends and family, and an abundance of relaxing. There is simple joy in waking up without an alarm clock

    • says

      Jeremy,

      You two are living the life! I’m envious.

      I’m with you. I could think of so many different ways to fill my day without a full-time job. Those that don’t know what to do with themselves without work are hard to identify with. I stay so busy right now. I’m anxious for the day when I can take back some of my time and spend plenty of it on the projects I’m passionate about.

      Waking up without an alarm clock. What a concept! I can’t wait….

      Have fun out there!

      Best wishes.

  22. Anonymous says

    Hello Dividend Mantra,

    This is my first time posting a comment. I do enjoy checking your site occasionally. It seems you put quite a bit of effort into this blog and that is reflected in the quality. It’s definitely a useful resource for anyone looking to retire or semi-retire early.

    I’m 53 and hope to soon retire at 55 when I’ll be eligible for a fairly good pension. The pension would be my primary source of income but I would supplement it with a portfolio consisting of a handful of solid dividend paying stocks (JNJ, KO,PEP, MCD, ED and T). I’m thinking of trimming some of them to buy others (for a bit more diversity). I also have some broad market stock ETF’s (SPY, QQQ) in my 401(k) but I don’t intend to tap those until I hit about 60-65 (if necessary).

    Perusing the comments on this article, I definitely noticed the ones posted by Fredy. Based on his comments, I assume he is an older gentleman (probably in his 80’s or so) that lacks formal education. He reminds me of one of my uncles. His comments regarding marriage definitely reflect the norms of his generation. When my uncle and father were young, it was frowned upon to live together until you were married. My wife and I briefly lived together before we got married and my uncle and, to a lesser extent, my father, disapproved. Obviously these norms have changed as time has passed. I’m not judging either way but just trying to put his statements into that context.

    Although blunt and judgmental, his comments do raise some valid issues. You are able to significantly save on your housing expense by splitting the costs with your girlfriend. Please don’t take this personally, but the possibility exists that you and her might split up and not live together. I can testify that my wife and I definitely went thru some difficult circumstances where divorce was a real possibility. Because of this possibility, do you have any plans if you had to pay for housing on your single income? I also ask this because my son is in a situation where he wants to save on housing but lives by himself. He rents a very modest apartment so I do not think he is being excessive by any means. To spent less, he would most likely have to move to a questionable section of town. But he also does not want to live with or get a roommate. He knows no one that wants to rent and he does not want to live with a stranger (for which I do not blame him). Even if he did know someone, there are always issues where the roommate might eventually move out unexpectedly or fail to pay their portion of the rent. Housing is one of the biggest expense items in budgets and paying for it on a single income can present a challenge.

    Anyhow, I enjoy the blog and appreciate any input.

    P.S. We can say what we want about Fredy but if “back in his day” he indeed did purchase stocks like KO, ED and KMB (I think that’s what he meant by “Scott toilet paper”) then he most likely is doing well by his investments.

    -Steve

    • says

      Steve,

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

      I honestly don’t mind those that question or criticize my plan or methods, but I would obviously prefer it done in a respectful manner.

      As far as your question goes, it’s actually quite simple. While I believe it’s extremely helpful to be with someone who is supportive and open-minded, it’s not absolutely necessary to achieve early retirement/FI. I agree that living with my girlfriend is helpful financially, but it’s helpful in a mutual manner. We simply achieve an economy of scale by living together rather than to rent two separate apartments. My living situation is similar to most people in America right now (living with a partner whether married or not).

      However, if we weren’t together I would say it’s quite easy to replicate the costs by finding a roommate. Technology these days is a wonderful thing, and Craigslist makes it very easy to link up to people searching for a roommate or allows you to find one or more of your own. This situation could be accomplished by either renting a room from someone else or buy/rent a place of your own and rent out rooms to others.

      Furthermore, if I absolutely didn’t want to live with roommates for whatever reason I could simply rent a small one bedroom apartment which wouldn’t really ramp up my expenses a lot. You can find entry level one bedroom apartments in my city that are around $600 per month, and they aren’t located in bad neighborhoods.

      I hope that helps!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Best regards.

  23. Anonymous says

    As far as him saving on housing costs by splitting a place with his girlfriend, could he not get a roommate should he and his girlfriend break up? I think the whole “you’re saving money because you live with your girlfriend” is a complete non-issue. He can get roommates and continue to live the same lifestyle. That’s just my two cents.

  24. Anonymous says

    I read FREDS comments I don’t agree with your life style if you love that girl get married kids are great you should also pay tithing if you go to church or not other than hammering you now let me say you appear to be a good guy

    • says

      Anonymous,

      We all must live in ways that befit our individual temperaments and beliefs. You have yours and I have mine. I say live and let live and I encourage you to do the same.

      Best regards!

  25. Anonymous says

    I thought you be above making remarks about Freds grammer I live in a area that homes go for $500,000 to $100,000,000 most are retired and do pretty well we are a close knit group the most well to do person is unable to read a book or write but the one thing he did know is how to invest Fred might be better off than all us put together you just never know. I jnow that Fred made some remarks about you but don’t kick back just say thanks Fred I will take it under advisement

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Certainly one’s ability to effectively communicate isn’t the primary definition of success in life, and one can likely do quite well with subpar reading/writing skills in the right environment. However, it’s hard to understand a point in a written format such as this when there isn’t a clear and concise delivery.

      I’m here to inspire others, not to argue semantics or outdated beliefs on relationships.

      Best of luck to you!

      Take care.

  26. says

    DM,

    I’m glad to hear you’ll keep writing after you meet your goal. I’m a bit younger than you are and I know it’d give me some peace of mind to see a success story from somebody who’s ahead in the years of the FI journey! It’ll be nice to see some solid evidence that retiring early is indeed possible and a realistic goal.

    • says

      Kill The Grind,

      The fact that you’re a bit younger than I am and really interested in financial independence is a huge step in the right direction all by itself. Starting young is one of the best possible advantages you can have. That’s a huge leg up.

      I do plan to continue writing. Of course, life can change tomorrow and so it’s tough to forecast things out 10 years or more from now. But that is the plan for now. I think it would be fantastic to see this online journal where you can see someone aiming to reach FI and then actually getting there and seeing how the fun just begins.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best wishes.

  27. Anonymous says

    DM,

    Stumbled across your blog and I must commend you on your FI goal, plan and execution of it so far. Super like reading your entries as it gives me long ideas to consider for my own FI plans.

    Just hit 40 myself. I have literally busted a gut in the pursuit of promotions for 15 years. After falling ill (thankfully recoverable) at 38, I took an enforced 2 year hiatus to recover. My wife got so envious of my break she decided to join in shortly after. Thank God my wife and I made investment plans much earlier on and they were more than enough to cover for our long break. Let me just say waking up without an alarm clock the last 2 years were heavenly. People might wonder what to do when they retire, but after sampling some enforced “mid career retirement” I strongly recommend it.. Plenty of things to do that doesn’t require a lot of money. While my focus was on recovering health there was lots of relationship maintenance as well with family and friends. Individually I caught up on my reading (annual reports included), picked up a martial art, my wife learnt a new language, brushed up on her cooking and knitting skills. Helps prevent early burn out as it gives you a “half-time break” en route to full retirement. A sampler of sorts to see if you can really enjoy the real thing later on haha..

    Now I am recovered, recharged and ready to get back to work – end of the day I do believe in being a productive member of society, but this time round, thanks to dividends coming in, I am not forced to take any old job that comes along ~ I can pick work I like with work life balance thrown in.. My plan is to call full time in another 8-10 years. Should be around the time you hit your FI goal as well. Anyway, I think you’re on the right track and wanted to drop a note to congratulate you for it and perhaps in 8 years time we hit our goals together. Cheers, JK

    • says

      JK,

      Great story there! Thanks for stopping by and sharing that.

      Sorry to hear about falling ill, but I’m glad you’ve recovered. It sounds like it was really a blessing in disguise as you got to live life “on the other side”. You got in touch with yourself and all of your passions. That’s really great because nobody can ever take that time away from you. All of these interests you and your wife explored and developed will stay with you guys, as will the experiences. That’s really wonderful.

      I’m sometimes contemplate taking a break along the way somewhere to stop and smell the roses. I also contemplate stopping short of full FI and maybe working part-time as I get to enjoy a better work life balance much earlier in life. We’ll see.

      Hopefully we’ll both be seeing financial independence right around the same time. I wish you the best of luck in the continuation of a life well lived!

      Take care!

  28. Anonymous says

    Ive read Freds statement about 10 times some of the things he said is true Im thinking maybe he faking us out it is to cleverly done.I told you that the most well off person in my area could not read or write I called him he told me he only read at 5th grade level so he always has his wife read to him my writing skills are not best but I got two degrees so that might be a sad state to admit.I walk about two or three miles a day to lose a few pounds.I always pick up coins evens pennies.What is interesting the less well off areas have more coins on the ground may the more well off ares use debit cards not a big deal but I find about $7.00 a year that is not a lot but if anyone wants to just give $7.00 I will take it

  29. Anonymous says

    Hello Jason,

    I am impressed with your journey a little more every time I read your next post. There is one point I would like to get your feedback on. Actually, the point would involved multiple facets of your plan. Do you ever in your analysis of companies or stock purchases take into account the part of the business cycle we are in at the time?

    Now this can affect you in many ways. For the better or for the worse. In my vast research, I have come to find that many people’s thoughts on “Warren Buffet” style investing are just not correct. There are many examples, and I would love to discuss them with your and your readers if you don’t mind. We can both benefit from this.

    I would also like to know how to know that my responses here will get posted every time.(many times they just disappear, I guess into spam, and we never see them.

    Thanks!
    Dave

    • says

      Dave,

      Not sure how your comments are not ending up as being published. My spam filter is rather difficult to hit, and 99.9% of comments get published (other than true spam). I don’t filter comments manually. I’m sorry about that!

      I do look at what part of the business cycle we are in, but only for true cyclical companies rather than secular plays (like most consumer companies). I prefer secular companies for obvious reasons.

      I would love to hear more about your ideas on Warren Buffett and how many people emulate his style incorrectly. Do remember that Buffett has changed his investment habits and style as he’s gotten older. He was closer to Graham early on, and has since become more of a buy-and-hold investor.

      Best wishes!

  30. Anonymous says

    Thank you Jason,

    For starters, I didn’t mean that people take Mr. Buffet’s concepts and use them incorrectly. Rather that they don’t understand how he became as wealthy as he did and how his journey may appear one way, yet was another. For example, simply speaking, Mr.s Buffet has a brilliant investing mind as well as rock solid discipline. So he made his foundation by managing other people’s money, compounding it with great returns and thru the insurance companies that he owns. Now, without getting into a long story, he was able to use the operating capital of his insurance companies unlike many, if not all of the other insurance companies in business. Therefore, he started with huge amounts of money, both individuals’ and business’, and then compounded it.

    What I am saying is that it would be near mathematically inpossible for him to just have developed his net worth into today’s amounts if it was only on his regular above average income(whichever profession he chose).

    I believe it was he who said that dividend stocks just serve to keep him rich.

    This is not to say anything negative about what you, I or anyone else does with our stocks. It seems that your plan will work as you lay it out. Mine will work as I lay it out. Etc.

    I have pondered Warren Buffet’s story over and over because I felt that there had to be a way for a common middle class investor to improve on it.

    What I am alluding to is the question of: is it possible to take your knowledge, discilpline and capital foundation and make it work even harder for you? And by you I mean, me also, or anyone else who has a plan. Can we make those plans better?

    What I personally fear is that I will be too old to truly enjoy the fruits of my investments in a laid-back, stress-free manner.

    Any thoughts? Agree,disagree?

    I appreciate your input as always!

    Dave

  31. Anonymous says

    Jason,

    Just a few more thoughts…

    Your plan as you explain it will work fine. If you can live on the projected amount of dividend income in the out-years, you will be golden.

    I personally worry that the rest of my life could be a long time so I would want to make sure that my money was growing. I wouldn’t want to get to a stage and then find out that my money was not lasting as I thought it would after I stopped working cold turkey. And again, that’s just my nature. Not at all a comment on your path.

    I have found many ways to squeak out more income out of stock investing. Patience and discipline still rule all of my decisions, and I use math to it’s fullest potential. It requires a bit more work, but so far it has been worth it.

    If you want I can post more. If not, I understand that too.

    All due respect to you! Just trying to help, as you help so many here with your writings.

    Dave

    • says

      Dave,

      I agree with you on Buffett. If he didn’t leverage OPM (other people’s money), he wouldn’t be where he is today. No doubt about that.

      However, I don’t think one needs to do so in order to be phenomenally successful. I really believe that by avoiding debt, living well below your means and investing the surplus wisely you’ll end up wealthy and successful. No, you won’t be a billionaire (unless your income is already fabulously high), but you will end up being extremely flexible and independent. And that’s really what it’s all about, right?

      Can we make our plans better? Sure. There is always room for improvement. Is what I’m doing the best way or only way to build wealth? Absolutely not. One could invest on margin and gear up and amplify gains significantly, but that would require a lot more risk. At the end of the day, returns are somewhat a function of how much risk you take on. And my approach is to seek the maximum amount of return out of the minimum amount of risk. If I can get a 8%-10% annual return with what amounts to the least amount of risk I can take on, then that’s the space in which I’ll continue to operate.

      Also, and not to take anything away from Buffett, but he started very, very young and knew exactly what he wanted very early in life. I’m confident, without a doubt, that if I had started this journey at 14 years old I’d already be a multimillionaire. But I didn’t start really taking an active interest in money or investing until I was almost 28 years old. That makes a big difference.

      As far as dividend income projections far out into the future, the great thing about dividend growth investing is the growth of the income itself. As long as the dividends can outpace inflation over a long period of time I’ll be okay. In fact, I’m betting that my passive income can grow faster than I’ll be able to spend it. I guess we’ll see how it goes. :)

      Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

      Best wishes!

  32. says

    Hey,
    I just wrote about how retirement is after one year. Check it out. http://retireby40.org/2013/07/life-after-retirement-one-year/
    For me, it’s all about our kid. I spend most of my time being a stay at home dad. It’s different than working, but just as challenging.
    I’d like to travel more later too. Perhaps when our kid is older, we can take 3 months summer vacation to Thailand and other affordable locations.
    Are you planning to have a family? kids?

    • says

      Joe,

      That’s great that you have found your identity in being a father. Too many people identify themselves with their job, and when that job is gone they feel lost. I couldn’t be farther from that. I identify myself in many different ways, but none of them are “Service Advisor”. That’s simply an occupation to put money in the bank.

      Thailand sounds really nice. I only wish their visa laws were a bit more flexible. It would be tough to live there long-term with visa runs all the time. The Philippines is a lot better in this regard, but for a vacation Thailand seems wonderful!

      I don’t plan to have a family. I decided that many years ago, long before I started this journey or even became financially literate. I can’t wait to be an uncle, however!

      Stay in touch!

      Best regards.

  33. says

    I’m a professional investor and trader.

    And I’m telling you mate …

    The way you are going? You are going to hit your goal before you think you’re going to hit it. There is an acceleration subset factor to compounding gains that I’m not sure you’ve accounted for. You seriously are going to hit your goal before 40

    And listen to me …

    Consumer non-cyclical is a bit overvalued at the moment in terms of intrinsics. If the big institutions cycle out on valuations of consumer non’s, DONT GET FREAKED OUT. Your strategy and plan is sound. If your portfolio dips, don’t let it psych you out if the balance sheet, income statements, and EPS growth is still great.

    It’s great to see someone like yourself use the great money playground that is the capital markets to move yourself forward. Then, when you hit those amounts, but the same amount of investment into your body …

    Enjoy life …

    Great and encouraging to know there are people like yourself out there …

    - Aileron

    • says

      Airelon,

      Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate your encouragement. It makes the journey a lot easier when you have kind people like yourself offering up support. Much appreciated.

      I’m glad you think I’ll hit the goal before 40. I think I’m on probably on pace for about 39 years old, but that’s factoring in keeping up the progress I’ve been able to maintain over the last couple years, and that kind of progress can be fleeting. Life changes. But I do hope that I can keep this up for a while. It’s been wonderful so far.

      I see you’re from Michigan, or that’s what your blogger profile says. What part? I’m from Michigan. Miss it up there sometimes, as my family and friends are still up there.

      Cheers!

  34. says

    What your early retirement looks like is completely up to you. Retirement is something that we need to be proud of. We can rest, spend more time with the family and travel a lot. Glad that I have found this post.

  35. says

    I did not make early retirement at 40….but I did get there at 41. My wife and I moved to Costa Rica in June of this year to make early retirement happen quicker. For me, TIME, is the key thing. Time for me to write, enjoy our new home, time to be with my wife – all the things working 12 hour days and being responsible for a company 7 days a week, doesn’t allow. Only 4 months in and my BP has normalized and I have lost 35 pounds. We trade time for cash and I am glad that I saw that the light at the end of the tunnel was a train and took a different course.

    • says

      CostaRicaCurious,

      Awesome story there! Early retirement at 41 is amazing. That puts you in pretty rarefied company, my friend.

      Sounds like you’ve already reaped huge rewards from the move to Costa Rica and the additional time your new schedule affords you. I’m really glad to hear of it.

      I hope you stay in touch and share some of your adventures. By the way, is Costa Rica significantly cheaper than the U.S.? I’m aware that some hotspots like Thailand and Ecuador are significantly cheaper, but I was under the impression that Costa Rica was “discovered” long ago and prices have risen commensurately.

      Best wishes!

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