How I Retired Early

How I stopped my work-life balance from killing me


5/2/20234 min read

This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage
This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage

Life Strategies To Retire Early and How To Stay Retired

It's one of the few goals in life that we all share. To finish our working career and then enjoy the rest of the years we have left, doing what we want to do. When it comes to myself, I feel blessed after making several life choices, such as scaling back on my lifestyle and cost of living, in addition to living debt-free and living just below my means. Doing this enabled me to retire younger than anticipated. I was 52 when I packed it in. I made that decision on May 1st, 2018, and today May 1st, 2023. It has been exactly five years now and five years later. My only regret is I should have done it sooner.

When I Woke up that morning while having a coffee, I took a serious look at the life I was living compared to the life I wanted to live. Comparing the two, they were total opposites of the spectrum. I will be honest. The past five years haven't all been easy, especially when it comes to managing your finances. It took me some time to realize that I was now on a budget that I had to stick to, no matter what. Some of the biggest problems I faced in retirement were. I was at times, an impulse spender. To combat my impulse spending mindset, I only carried cash and refused to use any cards unless I needed to or the situation required it. I also made it inconvenient for myself by limiting access to some bank accounts when using my debit card.

Financial Lessons I Learned Retireing Early

The biggest lessons I learned in those five years were forcing myself to stay debt free and to say no to what I would consider luxury purchases, such as having the latest items when I didn't need that item. I also figured out when I wanted something that wasn't in my budget. I worked a side hustle to earn the funds to make the purchase. After all, you also have to enjoy life as well.

Before this date, I worked seven days a week and most cases, 10-14 hours a day. Sometimes that's the price you have to pay when you are self-employed, was my mindset. Working this schedule for numerous years, in no other words, was putting me in the ground a lot sooner than I wanted. Though financially, entering retirement, I wasn't in a position to fully retire, and I knew it. While at the same time, becoming daisy fertilizer wasn't a viable option either. I had to make some drastic life choices, so I did.

To achieve what I refer to as a life of freedom, this is when you wake up in the morning thinking about the things you want to do instead of the things you have to do. I realized what I was doing to justify why I wouldn't retire. I would lie to myself, saying things like I want to eliminate some bills first, and then I will consider retirement. I have news for you. In most cases, including mine, bills don't go away unless you make lifestyle changes. Unless you make these lifestyle changes, new ones will replace the ones you just paid off. I also said I want to save a bit more money, and then I will consider retirement. When you look at the big picture, the amount of money you can add to your bank accounts over the next several years won't be life-changing, but a lifestyle change can and will be life-changing if you can make those changes. I also had an excuse not to make these changes, such as what will people think, especially when my lifestyle change included moving into a much smaller place that was more affordable and easier to manage but just as nice as my previous home in my mind.

When is The Best Time To Retire

If you are at the stage of your life where you are just sick and tired of everything around you, like I was. There are choices that you can make, within your life, that will give you options. If you want to live a life of freedom like I mentioned but feel like you can't. You might want to, take into consideration the lifestyle you are living and see where you can make changes to live the life you want. Another option might be to consider different ways that, when needed, you can supplement your income with possibly a side hustle or a hobby that you can also monetize. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination and a desire to go after something.

Some of my friends and family have asked me. Why did I decide to retire young and give up on everything that I worked so hard to acquire and, some put it, not reach my full-life potential? I tell them I have a new job now that pays me even better. My new job is now living life.

Can I afford retirement? Sometimes, I can afford my retirement lifestyle other times, not so much, but no matter what. I will make it work as returning to the life I had five years ago, for me, isn't an option

Live Free Live Life

Shane Lifeman

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