Compared to some of the other “Early Retirement Guys” I read online, the plan that why wife and I have set out to complete – retire at age 45, is fairly moderate. As much as we’d like to exit the workforce as quickly as possible, we realize that with both our level of income and the activities and things we enjoy spending money on, a more moderate course will allow us to live the lifestyle on basically a consistent basis. I don’t think we live super cheaply, but we could definitely spend much more frugally, in order to reduce the amount of time it would take for us to get to retirement age.
There are things that my wife and I could do in order to reduce our expenses, with the goal of becoming Financially Independent. We could eat more cheaply, visit family and friends less often, I could stop golfing, and my wife could stop buying cheap disposable clothes.
We, along with most people, would have a difficult time explaining why we spend money on things that we spend it on – the vast majority of the things we buy are completely unnecessary. Most of the things, beyond the initial rush and enjoyment of a new purchase, really don’t add a significant amount of enjoyment to our lives. We have more stuff sitting around our house that seemed like a really good idea to spend money on at the time, but now are just sort of part of the landscape, and will eventually be shoveled out the door. Having a “tighter” monthly budget would allow us to invest a bit more into our accounts, while probably reducing some of the waste that we get frustrated about about once every couple of months.
Realistically though, I don’t know if the marginal change in our spending vs. the increase in retirement funds available would result in that much of a change in our retirement date. Even if it is wasted money, counting pennies would probably cause more problems in our relationship than it would be worth in the 4-6 months our date of financial independence would occur. My wife likes to buy disposable girl clothes that are made in a hard to pronounce country, as much as I like to swear on the golf course in the summer. Getting rid of this stuff – although possible, wouldn’t make us happier at all.
Becoming financially independent at age 45 was chosen as a moderate date on purpose, so that we could “screw up” and still have an achievable goal that we could shoot for on the way.
Could you reduce your retirement / financial independence date if you made some changes? Why haven’t you made them yet?