Monday, March 30, 2015

Retire Early - Introduction

My brother's family has a joke. When things become a financial struggle, he shrugs and says that he'll end up "living in a van down by the river." I think the idea is that life would be quiet and peaceful and far from the daily struggles we all endure, but it's what he could afford.

The question, of course, is what kind of van?

I think this is what he has in mind:

I really like this one (photo links to site).

His lovely bride probably thinks of something else, more like this.

(photo links to site)

He might be able to afford one now, at least in his quiet dreams while sitting in the tree house in his fabulous back yard (he owns an amazing house with acres of trees).

When he was young, though, this is what he would have been able to afford:

I think he might have owned this one.

He manages his money pretty well. I don't think a beat-up van is in his future.

Is it in yours?

It is critical for you to manage your money well or you could end up living in a van down by the river. Even when you first start your working life, you should be considering your future retirement - and perhaps making it a reality much sooner than most people.

It is possible to retire early, even in the USA. (Would Congress please start working together to resolve this health-care issue? I mean, Costa Rica has excellent national health care, for goodness sake!)

Some people do it with the cautious approach of a panther stalking prey, like Joe Udo. He worked for years as an engineer and decided to quit and stay at home with his son. His wife still works, but they are looking at options there, also. His excellent blog can be found at Retire by 40.

Some people are, as they put it, more badass. Mr. MoneyMustache in his blog talks about cutting costs to the bare bone so he can be retired.

I just spent almost forty years in the working world and retired in January. I'm only fifty-seven, so I'm a little young, but if I knew then what I know now - I might have retired two decades ago.

Without any planning, I'd still be working just to end up living in a van down by the river.

Can you afford to retire? Perhaps not yet, but start early with the planning and do the research that fits your lifestyle and you can retire earlier than sixty-five. You can start to do the things in life that you always wanted to do, while you are still relatively young and healthy.

It helps to visualize what it is you want to be doing. You want to be a writer? (Me, too.) An artist? A flamenco guitar player? If you don't know what you want, you'll reach the end of the road without reaching a destination.

Visualization is only part of the task. You also have to make a plan. That's where the experiences of others can be infinitely valuable, allowing you to achieve freedom from the mundane and break out of the pack. You can achieve your dreams

I'll start posting blog posts full of tips to retire early, to accomplish a life where you can live your good dreams. I'll post those Retire-Early posts on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

I'll still post personal blog posts as the muse inspires me. Those range from entertaining to downright absurd. I'll preach and I'll give in to my soapbox diatribes. Perhaps I'll just tell stories, or wax melancholy. Tomorrow will be melancholy.

So feel free to follow my blog. Come back and join me for those tips and bits of aged wisdom (that actually worked for me - and what didn't).

Take advantage of my experiences and shorten your journey to a more fulfilled life.

For those of you who want to be a published writer, you can also sign up for my Author's newsletter, where I keep my readers abreast of my writing and give them insider tips on how to get their own work published. I also have an Author's blog, still in infancy.

See you soon!

Today my brother said "I'm looking at living on a house boat... Instead of living in a van down by the river, I will live in a house on a River."

I'm pretty sure he's thinking this:

He's a tough guy, though. He might be able to make a go of it with something simpler...

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