My entire life going back as far as I can remember I’ve wanted to own a record store. No I don’t look or act anything like Leo (played by Tommy Chong) from That 70’s Show. I just simply love music and I can’t play a note. As a child in the 1980’s I remember the feeling of walking into that world of music and I wanted to live there. Sadly by the time that I was part of the working class those stores were pretty much gone. Not completely gone of course but the industry was well on it’s way to putting music into files instead of shiny black discs. As the resurgence of vinyl continues to grow my dream has become more a part of my daily life. To this day I frequent various shops throughout the year and even stopped at the one in Myrtle Beach (Kilgore Trouts) while on vacation this summer. Each of these stops make me yearn for the day when I retire from corporate America and can spend my days in the store.
Then while listening to a podcast on my daily commute this morning I came across an idea. That idea turned into an epiphany. The podcast mentioned that some people decide to retire early aka FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) and others decide to transition slowly. Their logic was that if you work even a few hours a week then you don’t need as large of a nest egg.
So follow this logic: Let’s say that you need to earn $40,000 a year in retirement. The 25x rule says that you need a nest egg of 1 Million dollars in order to live off of 4% of it. If you instead decide to work part time for say $10 an hour and 20 hours per week you can quit sooner. With that 20 hours per week you are earning $10,400 of new income annually and then only need $29,600 from your investments. $29,600 x 25 = $740,000 effectively reducing your required nest egg by $260k (26%) or several years of working at the job you want to leave.
That’s when the epiphany hit me. Why do I have to own the record store? Why take on all of that responsibility, taxes, etc? I could simply work at one doing what I love and get out of corporate America much sooner. Maybe I’ll buy the store when that owner retires and maybe I’ll learn that working in one isn’t as heavenly as I dream. Either way, I can make it happen much sooner. My two other passions are photography and helping animals so maybe I can take pictures of records or shelter animals. Or maybe volunteer at a shelter and start a small photography business. All of these things I simply don’t have time for while working at my current job. The great thing is that I can do those 3 things in almost any town so I can move to a better climate or closer to family.
Can you think of a way to shortcut your path to FIRE? I’d love to hear from you.
Why Saving Matters
I don’t know who said the phase “It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep” first but they deserve a literary medal.
What does the phrase mean exactly?
If you currently make $50k a year and are in debt like the average consumer, what would happen if your income doubled? Would you suddenly payoff all your debt and become a powerful investor? Or would you spend twice what you do now and end up in an even worse position? Most of us would probably be ashamed to admit it but the latter is probably more likely. I don’t know why the human brain works this way but if you are comfortable with a $300/mo car payment, then $350 isn’t so bad. Fast forward 10-20 years and you are smiling while paying $600/mo. The same goes for everything you buy thus the cost of living people often mention.
Don’t Be Like Everyone Else
What’s the average person do when they get a raise? Spend it all? Maybe bump up their car payment to get into a nicer car?
If you are saving 10-20% of your income today and you received a big raise what would you do? Perhaps save 10-20% of it? I challenge you to save at least 50% of that raise since you didn’t have it yesterday. Continue with this method over your working career and you will end up with a very high saving percentage while never missing anything.
What Else Does “Keeping” Apply To?
It’s what you keep also applies to taxes. The more that you can save on taxes then the more you keep and the more you can invest. Don’t forget to treat that refund check like a bonus and save a large portion of it as well.
Can you think of other ways in which you can keep more of what you earn?
There are lots of articles out there telling you give up your caffeine addiction, this is not one of them. Unless of course you are buying it faster than you can consume it. Recently the power went out at my house for a few hours and as a result all the meat in the freezer thawed. I threw it away because I’m paranoid about food poisoning. I threw out about 20 boneless chicken breasts from when they were on sale for 50 cents off a pound. While cleaning out the fridge I noticed the gigantic bottle of ketchup was expired. I bought the big bottle because it was 8 cents cheaper per ounce. I also donate unused canned goods once a year when they are getting near expiration. The list goes on and on. I buy the larger quantity to save a few cents or stock up because an item is on sale only to throw some away later. Throwing away food is not on anyone’s budget so I really need to stop doing it. The logic applies to other things too. Laundry soap, car washes, haircuts, the list goes on and on. Buy what you need and stick to your budget, you’ll be much happier in the long run.