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.
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!