Retirement is an invention of the last half century. Thanks to social welfare programs and longer life spans, more people could look forward to life after a career. But now it’s possible for some dedicated and fortunate workers to put together the assets for financial independence years earlier.
Traditional retirement typically starts at age 65. And “early” retirement has often meant some years before that, in your late 50’s or early 60’s — laid off perhaps. Now we have “extreme” early retirement — retiring decades earlier than most, in your 40’s or even your 30’s.
My retirement at age 50 lies halfway between traditional and extreme early retirement. I have a view into both worlds. Though my lifestyle has been more conventional than the extreme early retirees, my financial strategies and motivation were identical. We all controlled our consumption and bought our freedom from the economic machine far ahead of schedule, thanks to our saving and investing.
Why? So we could follow our hearts instead of a paycheck….