The big goal of reaching financial freedom in 5 years is out there! But what does it exactly mean? How will I know I have reached the goal?
Early retirement means having my basic monthly expenses of €1000 covered for the rest of my life.
I exclude possible future increases in expenses caused by any exceptional and unforeseeable events. These include stock market crashes, raising children, health emergencies in the family, taking long, expensive trips, or an apocalypse (D.Trump, I am looking at you!).
At the time being, these events are too hypothetical to take into consideration. Whenever any of them happens, I will make the adjustments depending on the exact situation.
How I imagine my lifestyle after I reach my goal
I see early retirement just like regular life without the pressure of bills, monthly payments, obligations to inefficient work setups, non-inspiring goals, and hierarchical rigid structures. Sounds familiar?
When I have my expenses covered by a passive or semi-passive income (side hustles, dividends of investments, rent from real estate properties, royalties from photographs, etc.), I will have a hell of a lot of time on my hands! It doesn’t mean I plan to spend it lying in pajamas on my sofa or sipping cocktails on a sunny beach. Ok, maybe for a while … This will quickly become unfulfilling and tiresome. So what then?
First of all, I will work on projects and causes which interest me, be it for profit or not. I can use my time and skills to make the world a better place in my own way. These are two causes which I support already:
- Children education in developing countries
- Making meditation as common as brushing your teeth
There are tons of organizations (Room to Read for example)* who work in these two directions.
Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela
Secondly, I can put the time and effort and develop almost any skill or expertise without having to worry about the practical implication – just for the joy of it.
Thirdly, I will have more time to travel, read, meet new people, spend time with my family, experience life in a more relaxed way and write about it.
But what about the job?
I would love to continue with my 9-5 job and being around extremely smart people doing cool tech projects. But now that I can choose, I will have a few major expectations towards a potential employer:
- The purpose and goals of the company are clearly stated
- The actions and decisions the company makes are consistently aligned with the stated purpose
- The company provides environment which encourages trying out new things and developing oneself
- There is an atmosphere of productivity and cooperation
- Transparency on all levels
- Smart and inspiring people to work with and learn from
- Flexibility on location and working hours
Even if I am financially independent, I would love to work for such a company. Whether my current company or any other will live up to these requirements, only time will show.
Testing the hypothesis
Now, all of this is very imaginary and hypothetical. My biggest assumption is that even if I got the means to reach the financial freedom, I will be able to manage my life without external triggers. The next yummy carrot on the stick in front of me has always been there to aim at – the next school grade, university degree, or job achievement. It provided the motivation but also the structure to achieve it.
Now, with the seemingly boundless financial freedom – what am I going to do with all this free time? How am I going to structure my day? How will I stay motivated to continue contributing to these causes and learn the skills I want?
I like to experiment and put assumptions to the test.
My 6 months sabbatical is a test drive for my early retirement.
I will test out some of the concepts and hopefully will end up with knowing myself a little bit better. Hopefully, I will find the weak points of the plan and come up with solutions and tweaks.
Ok, but this still doesn’t explain the hard numbers and how it’s even possible to reach the goal. Stay tuned, a follow-up post is coming up!
Meanwhile, what are your motivations in life? What are your carrots on the stick? Post them in the comments section below!
Update, 2nd March 2017
* Room to Read invests in nearly one million children each year and aims to invest in the lives of at least 15 million children by 2020. Here are also my thoughts on the magic of giving: Use the Power of Your Wallet to Help Others
Image: courtesy of fotogestoeber.