Is Freedom 35 possible?

If not, is Freedom, 40, 45, 50 or even 55 possible?  After all, the big joke now is people who are now on track for Freedom 75.

I had a reader pose this very question “I am 31. Is freedom 35 possible?”  I’ve thought about this a lot so I thought I would share my thoughts in this post.

Don’t confuse Financial Freedom with Retirement. 

Financial freedom and retirement are separate concepts.  Retirement is typically and traditionally a term associated with the decision to stop working.  You retire when you choose not to work.  Long ago, retirement happened because you were old.  This happened 30 to 40 years ago when you statistically retired at 65 and you lived until 70.  Today, retirement is still a concept that revolves around not working but one of the biggest changes that is occurring is the reality that more and more people are continuing to work in retirement.

Related article:  Are you planning to work in retirement?

Financial freedom, independence and security can be associated with retirement but it does not have to.  On one hand, in order to retire, you have to have some financial ability to be able to retire and create your own paycheque to replace the one you had from work.  In other words, you have to have some level of financial independence in order to retire.  That being said, you don’t have to stop working even if you are financially independent.

Is freedom 35 possible?

The answer to this question is clearly yes.  However, in reality, it’s not easy.  In fact, I believe the freedom 35 is simple, just not easy.  The simple part is you need to have enough passive income to meet your lifestyle price tag.  It’s a variation of live within your means.

The idea of live within your means suggests that no matter what your means are, you spend less than you earn.  In other words INCOME minus EXPENSES is greater than $0.

Extreme Frugality

For some, living within your means is possible because their expenses are low.  At the extreme this end of the spectrum, we call these people extreme frugalists.  There are some people that brag about living on as little money as possible.  Some people love the fact that they use teabags multiple times, the live in the dark to save on electricity, and making reusable toilet paper out of flannel clothes (gross!).

The term frugal is often synonymous with minimalist, cheap, stingy and boring but some frugalists take offense by that.  There may not be a perfect universally accepted definition of frugal but the point is these people try to live on less and as a result typically have a lower cost of living.  Is some respects frugal is in fashion.

Related article:  Is it trendy to be frugal?

The pursuit of maximum wealth

At the other end of the spectrum, some people believe the only way to live within your means is to make sure you have the highest means possible.  When you ask a room of 100 people whether they like money and whether they want more money, 99 to 100 are likely to say (or think) yes.

The other way to live within your means is to increase the mean.  In other words find ways to make more income.  Many people would agree that financial freedom is possible if you have lots and lots of money or wealth.

How do you attain wealth?  Some think it’s about luck. How has that worked for you?  Other’s think it’s about working smarter, not harder.  In other words it’s about the path of least resistance.  I’ve met a lot of wealthy people in my life and every single one of them worked hard to get what they have.  In fact these people will tell you about the strong correlation between hard work and wealth.

Related article:  The balance between work and play

So if we get back to the question

Yes, freedom, 35, 40, 45, 50 or 55 is very possible but you have to recognize what it takes to make it happen.  You have to save money.  You have to watch your spending and expenses.  You have to live within your means no matter what your means are.  You have to work hard and do smart thing with your money.  In the end, it’s pretty simple, but far from easy!

Written by Jim Yih

Jim Yih is a Fee Only Advisor, Best Selling Author, and Financial Speaker on wealth, retirement and personal finance. Currently, Jim specializes in putting Financial Education programs into the workplace. For more information you can follow him on Twitter @JimYih or visit his other websites Group Benefits Online and Advisor Think Box.

8 Responses to Is Freedom 35 possible?

  1. Agreed, possible, yes.

    Simple, yes.

    Easy to do, not so much 🙂

    There are things to be frugal on, and others you shouldn’t care about. A person has to live afterall! I guess living means different things to different people…

    Mark

  2. It’s possible to retire at 35 if you have a very high income and live modestly, but it can be very tricky to decide how much money you need to retire. The low-cost lifestyle you choose as a healthy and energetic 35-year old may not work as well when you’re 50 or 60.

  3. Not sure why anyone would want to be ‘free’ at 35 – or even want to live the lifestyle required to make that happen.

    Hard to imagine paying off a mortgage, paying down debt, paying for cars, raising kids and paying university costs for them and maybe having a few hobbies along the way like a small fishing boat (and spending on taking an odd vacation) all and still being able to be ‘free’ at an early age.

    Life costs a lot to live, trying to save enough in the first 15 years of your working life so that you don’t have to work for the next 50 seems like going way overboard.

    Might as well go live in a cabin in the woods like the unibomber :).

    • I don’t agree. I wish I’d started saving way earlier (I’m 40 soon). 15 years of saving and 50 years of doing what I want, even on a budget, sounds a lot better than the other way round. Besides, with a little imagination, your cash goes much, much further. And it certainly does with no mortgage. I’d be £600 GBP a month better off, and that’s at the lowest interest rates we’ve had for years. I think you need to open your eyes a little more maybe.

  4. I was amused by the disgust inspired by flannel cloth reusable toilet paper. Isn’t this what cloth diapers are basically? No one seems to flinch at that. 😉

  5. Good question. I had no idea I got to the 7 figure mark at age 28 until I finally calculated the numbers when I was 30. Too busy! I left corporate America before my 35th birthday.

    It is possible folks! When did you achieve your freedom again?

    Cheers

    Sam

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