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Know Your Number – Early Retirement

In high school, if you asked me what I wanted in life my answer was simple: Lots and lots of money. Now, I’m questioning how important money actually is, in relation to my fulfillment and happiness. I’ve decided that instead of chasing money for my entire life, I want to set a goal for an exact number, and “retire” with that amount.

When I used to think of success, I envisioned fancy cars and clothes, jewelry, big houses on the water, and “cool” jobs. That’s what I used to think.

Now, success has an entirely different meaning to me. It means having the freedom to do what I want, when I want. The freedom to choose whether to work from home, an office, an airplane, or not at all. The freedom to spend each day with family, friends, or myself, focusing on personal goals and fulfillment.

The thing is, I know unhappy poor people and unhappy rich folks. Over time, I learned that money doesn’t directly correlate to happiness. Happiness must come from within. Money is just the means of acquiring the time we need to do the things that make us happy.

If you spend your life chasing money, you’ll never be happy, because you’ll never have enough. You’ll always want more. That’s why instead of pursuing an indefinite amount of capital, you should know exactly how much you need to retire. You can learn that amount by tracking your spending and learning how much you spend each year, on average. Multiply that by 25. That’s your number.

Once you reach that amount, you can stop chasing money, and start living life. What’s nice about this is that you don’t have to stop working. The difference is, you won’t need the money you’re earning, which can have a huge effect on your attitude towards work.

My number is $1,500,000.

Let’s say I begin my career making $50,000. After a few years of working long hours and rising to the top, I start making six figures. Even with all this income, I’ll still be living like a broke college kid. My spending each year won’t exceed $20,000. Here’s a chart to illustrate how quickly I can surpass my number, even with my estimates being semi-conservative.

Early Retirement Chart - DarylonFIRE

It’s important to note that with this lifestyle, many sacrifices will be made, and it certainly won’t be easy.

With this (rough) estimate, I’d be set to spend $80,000 per year for the rest of my life without ever touching my nest egg!

So, what’s your number? 🙂

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