The reason why I retired from corporate America at 34 was so that I could take back my time. Retirement has always been about buying time, because time is finite. Once you have kids, you will also discover that time goes by much quicker because kids change so much.
When I was just 13 years old, a friend of mine died in a car accident at age 15. He was speeding down the highway and lost control. He hit a tree straight on and his 15 year old front seat passenger also died. This was the first time she had ever gone out clubbing at night.
My friend's death served as an incredible wake up call to stop messing around with my life. Once high school started, I hit the books real hard.
And once I got my first job on Wall Street, I saved every other paycheck and invested 100% of every bonus for 13 years in row to be free. My goal was to amass enough after-tax investment capital to produce enough passive income to cover a comfortable life.
In 2012, at the age of 34, I had around $80,000 a year in passive income coming in. I decided to negotiate a severance and finally buy back my freedom.
The Average Man’s Life Expectancy: 76 Years Old
The average man's life expectancy is only about 76 years in America, compared to 81 years for an average woman's life expectancy.
If you spend 18 years as an adolescent and another 4 years partying in college, you've really only got about 54 years of life as an adult.
Further, you spend about 8 hours a day sleeping, going to the bathroom, and doing other necessary things. Therefore, you've really only got about 38 years as an adult to do what you really want to do.
Unfortunately, most of us are not born rich, and therefore spend at least 5 days a week pursuing the almighty dollar. All we're left with is just 28% of our 54 years of life left for leisure. That's just 15 years.
Early Retirement Buys Back Time
I don't know about you, but 15 years of leisure is simply not enough leisure time for my one and only life.
I knew that if I could retire at 34, I could suddenly open up 7 out of 7 days, or 100% of the days for more leisure time.
If I died at 40 or 50 or 60, I would be at least hedged. I've seen so many people die at age 50, it's crazy. After all, a life expectancy of 78 is simply an average. Some die way below average.
Related: How Much You Need To Save To Retire Early
Focused On Health And Family
For 2019 and beyond, I am 100% committed to being in great health and taking care of my family.
Once I had a son, I realized how important it is for me to live long enough so that he can be an independent man. This means living until he's at least 25, and preferably 35 years old.
In 35 years, I will be 76 years old, so close to the average life expectancy for a male in America. I hope I get there.
If I don't get there, I've got another hedge. That hedge is to spend as much time as possible with my boy growing up as a stay at home dad.
The average working parent might spend 3 hours a day seeing their child. I get to see my boy for up to 12 hours a day while he's awake. In 10 years, I will have spent with my son what would require 40 years for the average working parent.
Early retirement is always going to be about having as much precious time as possible to do the things that truly matter. Get your finances locked in. You won't regret it.
Use Real Estate To Gain Time And Wealth
Real estate is my favorite way to achieving financial freedom because it is a tangible asset that is less volatile, provides utility, and generates income. By the time I was 30, I had bought two properties in San Francisco and one property in Lake Tahoe. These properties now generate over $150,000 a year in passive income. As a result, I've been able to gain back a huge amount of time to take care of my two kids! This is the whole point of early retirement. Freedom.
Take a look at my two favorite real estate crowdfunding platforms. They are free to sign up and explore.
Fundrise: A way for accredited and non-accredited investors to diversify into real estate through private eFunds. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the way to go.
CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations, higher rental yields, and potentially higher growth due to job growth and demographic trends. If you have a lot more capital, you can build you own diversified real estate portfolio.
Recommendation To Build Wealth
Sign up for Personal Capital, the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances. In addition to better money oversight, run your investments through their award-winning Investment Checkup tool to see exactly how much you are paying in fees. I was paying $1,700 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying.
After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator that pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms. Definitely run your numbers to see how you’re doing. I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket during this time thanks to better money management.