This is one of my favorite comments ever posted on this site, by Meg:
“Every time my husband asks me when we can retire, I tell him that depends on whether he wants to live in a $50K, $500K, or $5M home… We could retire today if we wanted to downsize to the “extreme!”
I love it because it sums up EVERYTHING about money and what we want to accomplish in life. And you can swap it out with a number of other things and it will still remain just as true:
Every time my husband asks me when we can retire, I tell him that depends on whether he wants to drive a $2,000, $20,000 or $200,000 car…
Every time my girlfriend asks me when she can retire, I tell her that depends on whether she wants 10 shoes, 30 shoes, or 300 shoes…
Every time my friends asks me when they can retire, I tell ’em that depends on where they want to drink their drank: at home, at da club or on the motha f*ing boat!
And the game goes on… It’s all about the priorities :)
Of course, there are other factors that go into retirement too, such as:
- How bad you actually want to retire / become financially free
- How hard you are willing to work to get there
- What stage of life you’re in
- How much debt you’ve racked up
- How long you’ve been reading Budgets Are Sexy ;)
- And how much confidence you have that any of this is even possible? (see below)
But in its most simplest terms, freedom comes down to two basic areas: how much you need to survive, and how much you have banked. Tweak either side and the picture shifts – there are no right or wrong answers. You DO, however, need to know what you truly want deep down inside so you can get cranking on the details.
Download this spreadsheet I made up the other month to give you a good snapshot of where you currently stand financially. It’s based on cold hard numbers alone, and it will tell you exactly what the deal is pretty quickly!
If you’re happy with it, continue on! If not, take some time today and really think about what trajectory you’re on and what changes might need to be made. Regardless of what you say to yourself/others, the places you spend your money are the exact areas you’re prioritizing right now. Are your goals aligned correctly?
And lest you think I’m Mr. Perfect myself, may I remind you I have enough financial skeletons in my own closet to supply a Halloween super store :) They’re being crushed one by one over time, but my story is a work in progress just the same.
For some pretty inspiring stories, check out these folks we’ve featured here over time. I’m not nearly as motivating as they are!
- How Jeremy quit his job and retired in his 30s
- How Steven paid off $48,000 of debt in 2 years
- How Will graduated college with $100,000… of savings
- How MY MOM can retire any time she wants (true story)
- Proof that you can live off 50% of your income
When J. Money asks you when you’ll be able to retire, what are you going to tell him? :)