The 80s was a truly magical decade for music. Rock stars that we still hear on the radio today made it big, and some of the most recognizable song lyrics were popularized. Bon Jovi was no exception, and “Living on a Prayer” has far too many unfortunate links to people’s financial situation in America these days.
When it comes to financial independence, are you living on a prayer? Have you ever re-assured your spouse that “Baby, it’s okay, someday…”?
How about this: “For love we’ll give it a shot.” For the love of your spouse or kids, for the love of your family, for the love of your future self – or hell, for the love of all things small and furry, give financial independence a shot.
If you’re always halfway there, you will never reach that point in your life when working becomes optional. Imagine for a moment waking up to the realization that your investments are holding strong, and your future happiness is no longer tied up in a job.
How many would jump for joy over the notion that work is completely behind them, and what they have to look forward to for the rest of their lives is pure and unapologetic bliss? Each day, happiness – doing what you want whenever you want. Imagine if that became your reality when you reached 40. Or, maybe 35.
If you start early enough, anything is possible.
And if you didn’t start your quest for financial independence in your 20s (hint: I didn’t), start now. It is never too late to begin putting true happiness in life first.
It is no fun living your life on a prayer. It won’t be better someday unless you are proactive in your approach to saving money and reducing your spending. Start today by eliminating something from your life that you don’t truly need. You probably won’t have to look too far. I know that I didn’t.
How about that morning Starbucks? Cut that expensive and needless habit out of your life and start contributing that same money to your retirement. For the cost of a Starbucks latte over 40 years, that money would add up to over $470,000 if placed in investments.
The point is to start somewhere, and START NOW. Financial independence is within the grasp of absolutely anyone, even if you don’t plan on retiring early. The only question is whether or not you are prepared to change your life – I mean fundamentally alter your lifestyle – to turn early retirement into a reality. How important is that “stuff” in your life?
Is it worth another decade or two working for a living?
Kick your ass into high gear
Rid yourself of a dependence on “stuff”. Pick a day during the week and bike to work. Or at the very least, take public transportation. Use that same day to turn off all unnecessary electronics at home – the whole day. No computers, no cell phones, no television or radio. Nothing. Instead, spend quality time with your family. Take a walk or play ring toss in the backyard.
Take the opportunity to experience life from a whole new perspective. Happiness is not buried somewhere in your tablet. It’s also not stuck in your television or computer. These are expensive dependencies, crutches for the sprained ankle of optimism and lifelong bliss.
Imagine being happy – deliriously happy, every morning that you wake up. Bright and full of energy, you are financially independent. You have no status reports to fill out, meetings to attend or presentations to give. You are truly free. Successfully, you have escaped the pull of retirement-killing American consumerism. Your neighbor might have a bigger television than you, but the hell with that. You’re retired!
After financial independence, the only thing that you might work overtime on is that new patio that you are personally building onto your house, or tending to that out of control lettuce patch in your garden, or home schooling your kids. Things that matter. Things that derive happiness.
Baby its okay, someday. Make that “someday”, TODAY.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.