You Do Not Have To Work Forever

Right now I have years of work ahead of me, but I know that I don’t have to work together, and you don’t either. I have not even entered the work force yet. I have an idea of what I am going to do as a career but that can and almost certainly will change. But I have already been thinking about my career path, up to and including retirement.

The Typical Path

The typical path for students is something like follows: graduate, get a job, work for forty years, retire at 65, enjoy retirement for twenty years. Sometimes you can add graduate school, or a bit of unemployment or a longer life, but it is pretty close to the template usually. The retire at 65 paradigm was set a long time ago and not many people question it. I have though.

don't work forever

don’t work forever – enjoy beaches like this.

Humans get about 80 years on this earth. Childhood is great, so the first 18 years are okay by me. Then most people will work until they are 65, with maybe four years of school.

The next 47 years are less than ideal unless you are one of the lucky handful who get to do what they love for a living.

Then the average person will be retired for about 15-20 years before they unfortunately pass away. Those years can be filled with happiness, which I hope is the case, but they can also be unhealthy or unhappy, which I would never wish for anyone.

38 years out of 85 are spent the way you want, with 47 in the middle determined most likely by your employer.

Avoid Working Forever by Being Strategic In Your Middle Years

Those middle years, you finally have money to do things you like, you have freedom of almost everything, and you have your health to have the ability for anything.

As a kid you can’t just up and go on a road trip across the country if you want to because you have school or your parents won’t allow it, and if you are like me you couldn’t afford it. After retirement you may not be able to fit it into your limited retirement budget, or your health will fail you. Maybe the dream of seeing the Rockies will be degraded by years of labour and toil.

Not Working Forever

Investing to Retire Early

If you did not have to work for so long, you could see the Rockies if you want. You could take up the guitar, or even simply sleep in on Mondays. Everything about retirement without so long of a wait. Sound good to you?

First of all, to retire early, you really NEED to be investing your money. So few people invest their money outside of retirement accounts, but I highly recommend it. I’ve discussed eToro before, but I’m a huge fan of eToro for investing because you don’t really need to know that much about investing to be a successful investor on eToro. You can literally copy other people’s portfolios if you invest with eToro – copy other people’s success and make lots of money in the process.

Rule of Thumb in Retiring

There is also a common rule of thumb that you can take out 4% of your savings every year of retirement without losing much of the money.

In theory you would only be using the interest of the investment, without using much of the principal. So to find how much you need you just multiply the amount of money you need in a year by 25.  Use $25,000 per year? You need $625,000.

That sounds daunting but if you make $50,000 salary and only use $25,000, you would by default only have to work 25 years. Retire at 47 is a lot better than 65. If you can increase you income, or decrease your expenses, you can increase your savings rate, reducing your working time. Also, your money will be invested to hopefully gain interest and cut more time off your working life.

They Key to Retiring Early

The key to retiring early, or just being able to, is knowing that it is possible. It requires hard work, sacrifices and being unique and different. You may need to live in a smaller house than your neighbours.

You may need to buy used cars or not have a car at all. You may need to use the iPod you have until it breaks instead of buying the new model when it comes out. These sacrifices come with great rewards.

Imagine all the things you could do if you did not have to go to work every day. Or, you could get a lesser paying job that you enjoy more.

Saving as much as you can gives you freedom and options that other people do not have. I want to be able to be free of a job. It may turn out I do not want to retire early but I would like the option, which I get by saving as if I were going to retire early.


Retiring early is not complicated, but it can be hard work. You can retire early by investing, working hard, and saving smartly. Now that you heard it is a possibility you are on the right track. There are people out there who do this, you can too. You don’t have to work until you are 65, or even 55. You can set your retirement date. It is yours after all, so take control of your life if this sounds at all appealing.


You Do Not Have To Work Forever — 14 Comments

  1. Hi there,

    I emailed yesterday about wanting to interview you for a story I’m doing on OSAP. I’m a reporter for the Toronto Sun.

    Please call me at 647-309-3643 as soon as you can! Would love to ask you a few questions.

    Maryam Shah

  2. Nice, I like this post. I’m kind of in the middle, because I would like to semi-retire in 5-10 years to something I enjoy. Hopefully I can build up my passive income through real estate, blogs, etc so that I can maintain my lifestyle. I don’t mind making small sacrifices right now so that I may semi-retire soon.

    It doesn’t hurt to have a spouse that makes some money too :)

    • I want to have passive income (mostly from dividends, but also other sources) be able to cover my expenses so I have the option of retiring very early. I doubt that I would, but I would like to be financially independent in 10 years. After that I could keep my job and keep gaining money for further investments. Or I might hate my job and retire as soon as I can. I don’t know what the future holds so I prepare for the worst.

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  5. A very well written post Tyler! There are a lot of “common sense” templates that many of us blindly accept without challenging their conditions. Personally, I hope to be working half-time, or casually by the time I’m 45. Life is too short to spend it chained to a desk or assembly line.

    • This is one template that jumped out at me as ridiculous. I wish I could think outside the box more to see the others. I have no end date but I am working on being able to retire as soon as I can.

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  7. Great post! Your thought process is light years ahead of most people your age. I would agree with you that the first 18 years are better (you get Summer break!). Even if you are lucky and land a job you love, chances are, you’ll start to get bored of it after a few years. It just happens when you do the same thing each and everyday.

    The secret to retiring early is exactly that – realizing it is possible and then doing everything you can to make sure it happens. No one is going to force you to buy the latest BMW or Apple product. The main thing I’ve focused on is to live below your means. Your savings rate should go up as your income rises. Your lifestyle shouldn’t adjust to your salary level if you want to retire early. Just figure out how much you really need and stick to that target.

    Best of luck to you! Maybe we’ll run into each other one day in the Rockies, on a day when everyone else is working.

    • I do not tell anybody about my plan for financial independence, I just know it will be met with derision so I keep it my secret little mission. I actually floated it by a friend of mine when I said I thought it would be cool to retire at 40 or something and start a dog kennel as a side business. He laughed and said that nobody retires at 40. I thought we might be able to have a stimulating conversation on the matter and I might be able to plant the FI seed in his mind because he is a very frugal guy. But no, his mind was stuck in the work to 65 paradigm. To think differently requires a special kind of mind, perhaps it is just a lazy mind.

      Fifteen years from now or so, I hope to see you in the Rockies.

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