Stop working at 30 – Possible
Stop working at 30.
Some don’t believe it, but while it may not be easy, you don’t have to be a financial genius to get it.
The best (and most accessible) way to stop working at 30 is to follow the FIRE bandwagon. Find out how below.
To read: FIRE movement – Everything you need to know
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The FIRE Movement – What is it?
The FIRE movement is a movement that promotes a way of saving and early retirement where people save aggressively with the goal of retiring in their 30s or 40s.
The FIRE movement is not for the faint of heart: you will need to invest more than half of your annual income and reduce all your expenses.
To take early retirement, followers of the FIRE movement respect the 4% rule. The 4% rule suggests that people save 25 times their annual living expenses and withdraw only 4% of their retirement savings, increasing the amount only to meet inflation.
For example, if your annual living expenses are $50,000, you will need to save more than $1 million before you retire. The idea is that you can live indefinitely on your investments assuming the annual return of your well-diversified portfolio is between 5% and 8% (the power of compound interest!).
There are also different types of FIRE movements. The followers of LEAN FIRE choose to live as frugally as possible to retire early and then choose to spend less than the average retired Quebecer. On the other hand, the followers of Fat FIRE live richer lives in retirement and typically work in high-income industries such as technology or medicine before retirement.
If you’re considering a FIRE switch, consider that you’ll have less time to invest for retirement and you’ll spend more time in retirement. This means that traditional financial advice, which suggests you save 15% of your annual income, is no longer valid.
To read: How much savings do you need to retire in Quebec?
The perils of retiring at 30
Here are some risks and negatives of retiring at age 30.
1) You will run out of money.
Even if we are very careful with our retirement cash needs, something unexpected can happen. You may have a health problem, or your house may be falling apart. Perhaps your investments are in freefall due to a massive economic downturn. Who knows what the future holds.
But if you take early retirement”normal“, without the windfall of mega-millions, you may eventually need more time. Again, a large gap in work is considered more risky by the employer and you may not be hired if you have to go back.
2) You may find it difficult to start your own family
Unless you retire with a large fortune, having a child and raising it can be prohibitively expensive for pre-retirees. In big cities like Montreal, you may have to spend tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars to raise your child from birth to college.
Even if your household has a high net worth, maintaining a pre-retirement lifestyle with two children in a big city is not easy. Interest rates are near record lows, which means the relative income generated by your retirement investments is likely to be at an all-time low as well.
Finally, if you focus on saving and investing enough money to retire early, you may find it harder to have children if you wait too long. So many couples are so focused on cutting expenses to retire early, that by the time they start trying after age 35, it’s too late.
To read: Is this a good time to buy gold?
3) You end up getting bored
Imagine you retire at age 30 after working 7 or 8 years after your education. You spend the next five years traveling the world, living a life of leisure and having new experiences.
At 35, you realize that if travel and leisure are so much fun, it’s because of work! You want to get back into the job market, but who risks hiring a 35-year-old with a five-year break?
The employer will suspect that you are rusty and that you are in danger of leaving after a year. Therefore, the employer simply chooses to hire someone who does not have time off work, or someone from another company.
Why people want to retire at 30
You would think that the reason for wanting to retire early would be obvious: the desire for independence.
However, life is more complicated than wanting to do what you want, when you want.
The following reasons for wanting to retire early may sound surprising, but they are true. This is the hidden part of early retirement.
To read: How much should be saved in 40
1) Lack of a satisfying job
The number one reason people want to retire early is because they haven’t found a job that gives them enough satisfaction for the rest of their lives. No one leaves a job they love. If there’s a job that pays $80,000 a year to go for a walk in the morning and get a massage in the afternoon, you’ll probably do it forever!
2) Some people like shortcuts in life
Society has shifted our aspirations from hard work and long-term thinking to immediate gratification. No one has the patience to work for decades before qualifying for a pension.
Look at our pathetic savings rate of <5% before the pandemic started. We all think we know more than we do and deserve to be the rich boss. When we don't get what we want, we quit, rather than let it be known that we haven't reached our potential.
3) An easier escape
If you’re a suboptimal performer, you probably have a suboptimal lifestyle. So it’s easier to give up. Let’s say you’re a research scientist who, 10 years later, isn’t doing relevant research and can’t find a cure. Instead of continuing to fail, you decide to give up and retire from the game. Early retirement seems like a cowardly way of not having to be the best.
4) Realizing that time is precious.
Since the median life expectancy is around 80, you only have 20 years left in retirement to enjoy your life if you retire after age 60, as most people do. People in this group are very time conscious and therefore work to ensure that they are financially stable sooner rather than later.
We strongly believe in this thought process, but at the same time, I don’t want to diminish my potential. The worst is running out of money and being too old to deal with it.
5) A feeling of hopelessness.
During the crisis, a surprising number of people started writing about independent lifestyles that allow you to break free from the 9 am to 5 am work cycle and “really do what you love”. In truth, we all know that what they really want is to have a good job and be accepted by society.
To read: How to diversify your savings?
If the fire movement isn’t a realistic option for many, investing for early retirement, reducing discretionary spending, and paying off high-interest debt are all ways to increase financial independence, even if you don’t plan to retire early.
As many financial advisors say, the result is excess money, and if you invest that money over time, you’ll have the option to retire early and never have to work again. But that’s just a side effect of a better life.
What do you think?
Is retiring at 30 (or in your 30s) a good idea?
Share your views in the comments below.