LIFE IS A JOURNEY, ARE YOU READY?

7 WAYS TO PLAN FOR YOUR EARLY RETIREMENT



It is true that nothing lasts forever. Not food, not our lives, sometimes as much as we wish relationships do, they don't. So in reality, the most trustworthy person you have in your life is yourself. You married yourself the moment you were born and you will always be that one person who will never let yourself down. So, you should be the best investment you ever take up. And it should always be that way. No other person should come between you and yourself, even the closest person to you should be second. Someone could leave you, your company could sack you.

And I have been thinking about retirement. No, I am not really that age to be actually thinking about it yet. But there is no harm preparing early. I work in a sunset industry. And with more and more technology advancement, clients lose focus and believe less and less in the essence of things. I see senior colleagues losing their stand and having less foothold in everything they do. So how can I not plan for early retirement? Planning for passive income is more important now than ever.

I quit my full time job slightly more than a year ago and have been without income, except for some small passive income from dividends from bonds. It is still not enough to have a comfortable lifestyle if I were to leave the industry completely. Nonetheless, there have been a few things I picked up in the last year of being in limbo that taught me valuable lessons to be more sustainable.

  1. EVALUATE YOUR WAY OF REWARD
    I needed a lot of retail and culinary therapy. When work gets stressful, I buy junk. Not expensive stuff but cheap useless things. They pile up and collect dust, enough said. Culinary therapy was also something I indulged in. Fine dining, fine wines...etc. Not that these are completely unhealthy ways to deal with stress, but they are sometimes, if not many times unnecessary. I have learnt to curb my impulse to spend and buy stuff. The simplest way of understanding how retail therapy works is that owning something new makes you feel special and shiny all of a sudden. It is short lived nonetheless. If you can understand the fundamentals of your hormones and feelings, you can easily replace the process with something else. Putting on a facial mask or indulging in aromatherapy or lathering myself with prepared essentials oil are all very satisfying activities. By having this new habit of understanding, you can save loads and work towards a less stressed life ahead, sooner.
  2. FURTHER EVALUATING YOUR LIFESTYLE
    If you often feel stress, then you would have to evaluate further. No matter where stress is coming from, you can always change something. For example: My work more often than not requires me to stay the extra hours or late night. Thus, I try to be as productive as I possible can at work. Nothing really happens until after 10am in the office. Everyone would be slowly getting to work and they would be checking their emails and taking their time to reply whilst sipping their overpriced coffee. So I go in at 10am and I bring my own lunchbox. I usually work through lunch hour thus clocking in an extra hour when everyone is out lunching. I leave at 6pm. And then I have my evening to myself unless activated. That extra hour adds a lot to what is an already condensed evening. Time is money. Money can buy convenience, but if you are trying to save, time starts to be a very important factor.
  3. BE SYSTEMATIC IN YOUR THOUGHTS
    This needs training and I have realised a lot of people cannot do this. But this very important trait separates the movers and shakers. It is called multi-tasking. being able to see things that fit into the puzzle helps. Multi-tasking saves you time, and in time saves you money. It helps you to be more focus on what is important so you can get the little things done quickly and then full throttle towards your goals. Apart from the daily multi-tasking in the chores I have to do, I tend to have a list of to-do that I can easily achieve in front of the computer in short bursts of time. I could use that time at work to pay a bill online while waiting for a brief. I could research what to do with the bulk of potatoes at home...etc. If you can be systematic in your mind and work out a to-do list, you can easily find yourself free from a lot of piled up chores. This is good daily practice to be focus and efficient. Indulging in social media is pretty much what separates the movers and shakers.
  4. DOWNSIZE AND SIMPLIFY
    Clothes and other junk. Whatever we have as clutter is true in that it is a reflection of what goes on in our minds. I have been trying to downsize but my progress is slower than expected. I will always find use for something else and in the end, it is still a big clutter. I have learnt that to simplify, one needs to be ruthless. If I have not worn something for 3 years, what are the odds of me wearing it ever? I live in a metropolis where people do not really go for secondhand clothes. They are even very choosy when it comes to vintage clothes. So instead of tossing the old clothes into the recycling bin, I usually travel with them and leave them in the less developed places. It saves me from the laundry, and I have a spacious bag to stock on food instead. I have also gotten into the habit of leaving the odd old book or old necklace on buses and trains for people to find second lives for them. Evaluating what you have to toss also helps you to have a good sense of the spendings in the past, and how much you can reuse or repurpose some things you already possess.
  5. TALK TO FINANCIAL ADVISORS AND PROPERTY AGENTS
    These are the people who can advise what to do with your money to have good returns. You would be a fool to just leave your money sitting in the bank. Putting them in bonds to get dividends is a smart way to increase your assets and have a small passive income. Just evaluate your risk profile and understand the market enough to make a sensible move.
  6. VISUALISE YOUR RETIREMENT
    No one really retires. Even if you were to retire, you would still need to work towards some form of passive income. So it is important to know what you want to do during your retirement. Visualising it helps to work towards it faster. If you are thinking of relocation in the future, it might be sensible to invest in property in that place.
  7. SPEEDING IT UP OR DOING IT SLOWLY
    The world's economy is volatile and slow at the moment. It is a depressing time. But perhaps it is this time to start weighing options and seeing what might come up. Evaluate how much you are getting paid in the world's economy. Are you maximising your potential? Could you earn more if you were to move somewhere else to work? Are you paying too much tax in your home country? Are you investing in the right things? If moving somewhere else and earning more and paying less tax is an option for you, why not consider that and work towards an earlier retirement?

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