Learning from the Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) Movement

financial freedomIf you are anticipating retirement in the next three to five years, you have probably noticed that much of the media’s focus for upcoming retirees has been on having enough money saved. I recently read that 31% of Boomers don’t have any retirement savings. Yet there is a group of people retiring in their 30s–part of the Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) movement–who are able to live financially independent lives at a much younger age.

So how are they doing it?

According to Greg Daugherty in his nextavenue.org post, What 30-Year Old Retirees Can Teach the Rest of Us, these ERE advocates employ the following strategies:

  • Adopt a frugal lifestyle.
  • Save upwards of 75% of their income and invest it.
  • Retire once investments equal 25-40 times their annual expenses.

Daugherty interviewed two such retirees, Jacob Lund Fisker and Mr. Money Mustache, for more specifics on this movement. Fisker, who retired at age 33, is author of Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence. His website, earlyretirementextreme.com, contains lots of suggestions for cutting back on expenses, including a 21 Day Makeover, featuring topics ranging from finding a place to live and going car-free to finding a free hobby and investing for early retirement. He recommends losing the habit of watching TV and learning several skills worth $35 per hour to augment your income. On his blog, Fisker says that the end goal is simple: How can I have a happy lifestyle on the lowest amount of spending possible while maximizing my savings?

Mr. Money Mustache, who, along with his wife, retired at 30, also has a blog with more than 300 posts. If you click on the Start Here button on his blog, you will find an article, Getting Rich: From Zero to Hero in One Blog Post, that explains how he came to this lifestyle of frugality. One sentence in that post stuck out to me: “Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness…”

The point of this post is to suggest that if people in their 30s can economize to the degree that they can save upwards of 75% of their income (without six-figure salaries or winning the lottery), we can apply some of these same strategies to make retirement a reality for ourselves.

-G.

 

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Meet Gail

Gail Pentz, author

My work experience spans Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits. As a corporate trainer, I have delivered training throughout the U.S. and in 18 other countries. I designed and wrote hundreds of instructional materials for numerous industries, and worked as a teacher and staff in private schools. I also have experience with small businesses. I was a founding partner and Director of Operations for T.W.I.C.E. Educational Services, Inc., a Sarasota-based continuing education firm serving mental health professionals.

Having worked 60+ hours a week for several decades, I know what it’s like to be on the proverbial hamster wheel, using weekends to catch up on what I didn’t get done and preparing for the week ahead. Like me, you may be ready for at least two days each week that are filled with activities you find satisfying and fulfilling. Less time working (or preparing for work) translates into more time for recreational travel, self-care, and personal development. I firmly believe that as we take better care of ourselves, we are better equipped to share our gifts with the world (and especially the quality of effort we bring to the workplace).

You can begin enjoying a retirement lifestyle this weekend. Let’s get started!

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