I retired three months before my 35th birthday in 2012 and I’d like to share several lessons that have given me the option to never have to go back to a day job again.
In retirement, I’ve been able to travel to over 25 new countries (60+ total), write a severance negotiation book, build a profitable blog that has kept me intellectually stimulated, and start a family as a full-time dad.
Here’s my recommend for the top five moves to make in your 20s so you can increase your chances of retiring early. Time goes by quick folks. Don’t waste it!
Top Five Moves To Make In Your 20s To Retire Early
1) Swing for the fences in your 20s. You have little to nothing to lose when you are young, therefore, you’ve got to take more risk. If you blow yourself up, you’ll have the time and energy to recover. You cannot take as much risk in your 40s+. It’s not just taking more investing risk while you are young. It’s also take more career risk and entrepreneurial risk. When I was 24 years old, I decided to accept a job offer in San Francisco after two years in New York City without knowing anybody. Why not? I had nothing to lose.
2) Start building passive income streams now. Building passive income through dividend stocks, rental properties, real estate crowdfunding, P2P lending, fixed income all take a long time in order for you to generate a meaningful amount of income. It took about 13 years for me to get to $80,000 a year in passive income by 2012. Save early and invest often. Time in the market is your friend.
3) Never quit, get laid off instead. Gone are the days of pensions for most folks in their 20s. If you quit your job, you get nothing. But if you negotiate your severance like I did, you may get a nice long financial runway to enjoy early retirement and not stress too much about whether you made the right move. My severance package paid out every year for 5 years after I left, and the amount covered 100% of my living expenses.
4) Start your side hustle now. It took 13 years to reach $80,000 a year in passive income, but it only took about four years to reach $80,000 a year from my side hustle, Financial Samurai, a personal finance site. You want to start your side hustle while you have a job, so you have at least TWO money engines running + your passive income.
5) Raise your savings percentage until it’s painful. If the amount of money you are saving each month doesn’t hurt, you are not saving enough. If you can save 50% of your after tax earnings each year, you are putting away one year’s worth of living expenses. If you can save 70% of your after tax earnings each year, you are saving two years of living expenses. After 13 years of saving 70%, you will have saved 26 years worth of living expenses!
You’ve Got To Put In The Extra Time
Your X Factor / side hustle really is the key to breaking free early. Instead of just doing what everybody is doing, working a 40-hour day job and relying on just one income stream, it’s up to you to work more and building new sets of income streams. Leverage the internet to build your side hustle, then you can really travel the world forever if you wish!
Too many people wait until they’re miserable before starting to save and invest. Reaching financial freedom early is all about forecasting your misery.
About the Author: Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate.
FinancialSamurai.com was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.