Yes, it is possible to quit the rat race before you’re 40!
I started at Intel as a computer programmer in 1996. This was at the dawn of Internet monetization, so the job quickly became more stressful than I was willing (or able) to put up with. Intel really needed senior engineers and management labor; the demands took a toll on my physical and mental health, and I knew I had to get out.
My Journey to Early Retirement
I started The Wealth Monk in 2015 to chronicle my journey to early retirement. This was where I publicly plotted my escape from the corporate world in the hopes that readers would keep me accountable and, hopefully, share some helpful tips. Explaining my goals helped me details a plan and follow through on it, and in July 2017, I gave my two weeks’ notice.
That’s two years from the time I started the blog to the time I left the working world (hopefully forever), but I should mention that I started saving and investing when I started working full-time back in ’96. I’m also married to a beautiful, supportive, and financially sensible woman. She was actually pregnant when I told her about my blog idea. That was a fun conversation. She came around, though, when I showed her how we could maintain our lifestyle even without my engineering income.
We spent the subsequent two years tracking our cash flow to see if we really could live on passive income plus the money from this blog and my wife’s paycheck (she likes her job and never had the same dreams of early retirement). And, of course, we saved as much as we could during that time.
Early Retirement that Lasts
Most people don’t quit working when they retire. I stay busy as a blogger and stay-at-home, but it’s more fulfilling than spending all day in a cubicle ever was. Your mental health suffers if you don’t do some kind of work, whether it’s volunteer or non-profit work, turning a hobby into a business, or starting a second career. It’s important to stay productive to avoid burning out on leisure, so to speak. Plus, these activities may lead to supplemental income opportunities.
Where I go from here?
We’ve settled into a modestly comfortable lifestyle with our monthly expenses all covered by online and passive income. We’re now able to save all of my wife’s income, which gives us over $50,000 each year. By staying vigilant, we’ve managed to double our net worth since 2017. It’s important to note, though, that the economy has done fairly well in that time. Can I hold onto my dream of early retirement? We’ll see what happens on this next downturn.
Meanwhile, I love being a stay-at-home dad. Our son has entered school, which gives me some quiet hours for blogging. I also volunteer at his school, which he loves. He’s still young enough that Mom and Dad are his favorite people. What will his teenage years bring? That’s another wait-and-see. All I know for sure at this point is that I don’t want to go back to a corporate environment. Ever. Being self-employed offers a kind of freedom I would never trade, even if it meant a bigger paycheck.