Retire First

Here’s an idea for people who are done with school and aren’t too excited about the standard life staring them in the face. Instead of grinding through life to retire later, why not work as hard as possible to retire first, and then live the rest of your life on your terms.

There are probably a lot of ways to do this, but I’ll suggest one that seems sort of obvious to me.

Your first goal is to buy a place in Las Vegas. Livable places can be had for $35-50k, and then you own it for life. Property taxes will be a couple hundred a year. HOA fees will be $1500-2000. Add in electricity, and maybe your monthly burn is $250 total. Don’t get too hung up on Vegas if you don’t like it. I just suggest it because I bought a place here in that price range, and I think it’s a city that has a lot to offer. Taxes are low, as are flights to other places, and cost of living off the strip is low as well. Detroit probably also works.

You can’t get a mortgage for these places, which is part of why they’re so cheap. So you’ll have to pay cash (or borrow privately). To save up the cash, work for three to five years and save everything. Eat cheap food that you can make yourself, live with your parents or roommates, take the bus. You’ll miss out on a lot of stuff that your peers are doing, but that’s the tradeoff.

If you can save up $1000 per month, you can buy a place cash in three years. That’s not too long of a time to work hard and deprive yourself of entertainment a little bit. Start when you’re 21, and you own a place free and clear before you’re 25.

When you’re done, you are guaranteed low expenses for life. You have a place to live, which is most people’s biggest expense. You can even rent out one of the bedrooms, which should be enough to cover your expenses, including food.

The point of this isn’t to sit around and do nothing. It’s to get your time back. Once you own your time, you can be picky about jobs you get. You have time to build your own business. You can take a year off to learn skills you need to move to the next level. You can spend six months writing a book. One good book on Kindle is enough to cover your expenses at your cheap place for years.

Most people live lives that are high input, high output. They spend nearly all of the money they make, which makes them crawl to retirement. Instead, you can start with moderate input, low output. You make only a moderate amount of money, but you don’t spend any of it. Then you parlay that into an asset, a house in a very inexpensive place, that keeps your output down for the rest of your life.

This is more or less what I’ve done. I did it first with an RV, and now a place in Vegas. I still work very hard all the time, but I do it because I love to do it. Sometimes I take a day off to have tea with a friend, and that’s okay. Other times I spend a few weeks working on a project that doesn’t end up panning out. There are a lot of people that make much more money than I do, but most of them have higher burn rates, too.

This plan is mainly for young people, but there’s no reason anyone else couldn’t do it. In fact, if you already have a high paying job that you don’t like, you could probably do it in a year. Will any readers actually do this and follow through? I hope so…


Photo is the Vegas strip from the Cosmo Pool

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