Today’s post will review some information I learned from the personal finance community regarding early retirement. Many folks use the acronym financial independence retire early (FIRE).

How early are some of these folks planning to retire?

I’ll share a few stories of bloggers I enjoy following, and then I will share if FIRE is possible. Finally, I take a look at how YOU can retire early 🙂

Here are a few bloggers I follow

If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I like Scott Alan Turner’s podcast. Scott’s motto on his website is: get out of debt faster; save more money; retire rich. Scott retired at age 35.

Joe, a fellow engineer, started a blog name Retire By 40. I absolutely love reading Joe’s blog. He has many passive sources of income to supplement his early retirement.

Gwen over at FieryMillennials is planning to reach financial independence (FI) in about 8 years. Gwen is only 26, which means she is planning to reach FI at 34.

How is this possible? Well, at age 26 Gwen has stocked away over $100k, she recently bought a rental property, and she is great at side hustling and keeping her expenses in check.

Matt over at Distilled Dollar has knocked out a significant amount of debt, and he and his fiancee saved over 60% of their income last year – that is crazy! Matt recently wrote an article on his take for early retirement.

Physician on Fire is a blog I recently started following. PoF provides an interesting perspective because as a high-income earner he was able to achieve financial independence after working for only nine years.

PoF continues to work, but had the ability to retire at 39. I would recommend all of the medical professionals and high-income earners head over to PoF’s blog to learn more!

Is it really possible?

Yes.

I think the term I hear most often is Keeping up with the Jones. If you haven’t heard this term before, it means that you try to keep pace with the people you surround yourself around: neighbors, friends, colleagues, etc.

Let’s say your neighbor pulls into his or her driveway with a brand new 500 series BMW – how do you feel?

I used to be jealous…

I wanted a BMW badly because on a spring break trip in college my buddy and I got to drive one. I even went to the BMW dealer after I graduated college. Luckily, I didn’t make the purchase, and I found a good deal on a Hyundai Sonata. Which, has been a great car if you are looking for a good value.

Now, instead of being jealous I run a quick calculation in my head, which looks something like this:

Hmm, my lightly used Sonata ran me $17,500, and a brand new 5 series BMW starts at $51,000. The difference of a BMW less my car is $33,500. If I invested that money and left it alone, received a 5% return, I’d have almost $150,000 in 30 years…. Yeah, I’ll stick with the Sonata.”

These personal finance bloggers aiming to retire early follow this concept to NOT keep up with the Jones, as well as many other principles from a book named: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy

If you haven’t read this book, I encourage you to check it out.

The bottom line is: spend less than you earn, avoid debt, and start investing right away. 

Can I retire early?

So, how can you figure out if you can retire early? First, I would get out a calculator or use Excel’s future value (FV) function. Maybe you need to take a serious look at your budget? Or, you could invest in yourself to get into a career that you will enjoy but that will also pay more.

Second, the folks I linked to earlier in my post have a plan in retirement. Some will move into a different career that they love to generate some money, while also pulling some from their investments. Others will have enough money to last them until they die.

Brute-force calculation

If a couple were to max out their 401(k) and Roth IRA for 20 years with a 7% return, they would have just over $2 million dollars. Assuming they graduated college at age 22 or 23, they could easily retire in their early 40’s.

Now, I understand not everyone can max out these accounts when they are that young. But it is possible.

Customize your retirement

Do you want to travel when you retire? Maybe you want to go into teaching.

Is there an idea you’ve had that you want to work on and try to build a business around?

Once you understand what you want to do in retirement, you can set goals to determine when and how you can get there.

Have you thought about retiring early (stupid question I know)?

More importantly, how will you get there? Share you plan in the comments!