Did you know there are some unconventional early retirement planning tips that go beyond cutting down on your morning cup of coffee or starting a mutual fund SIP?
The investment industry is happy to have you believe that investing in their retirement fund is the secret to early retirement nirvana.
Since investment management is their core business, we can’t blame them for making investing the key to early retirement planning.
Figuring out how to retire early in India requires much more than that. There are aspects of your life beyond investing that you should consider too.
Planning to retire early is a subset of your life plan.
You will need to make choices and trade-offs that make sense for you. Choices that go beyond how much you spend on your morning cuppa of java.
Uncommon Early Retirement Planning Tips
Choosing to retire early is a less trodden path.
The idea of retiring early is not for everyone and requires a mindset that goes beyond ordinary run of the mill advice.
Here are 5 unconventional early retirement planning tips to help you on that path:
Maximise the joy from what you have rather than despair about what you are missing.
No matter how much you acquire there will always be someone richer, more attractive or more famous that you.
Buddhist Economics tells us that the path to happiness does not lie in acquiring more to meet our expanding desires.
Instead, happiness is found by limiting our desires.
The world is designed to keep you running on the hedonistic treadmill. The promise that the next shinier gadget, car or wearable will make you happier.
You can believe that fantasy and keep the chase going.
You can choose to transform your thinking about endless consumption. Break free of the trap that the world has laid for you.
As we have seen previously your living expenses dictate how much money you need to retire early.
This is contrary to the popular narrative that your retirement corpus dictates your living expenses.
Someone may get to a 3-crore rupee corpus and decide that is good enough for their minimalist retirement lifestyle.
On the other hand, someone else with 30 crores may be stuck in the one more year syndrome.
There is no universal right answer for what the correct retirement corpus is. Your retirement corpus must be right for you.
Choosing to limit your desires to what aligns with your personal life plan is an immensely powerful early retirement planning tip.
It can drastically lower your required retirement corpus and supercharge your path to early retirement.
Embracing minimalism and adopting a minimalist money mindset can be transformative.
Personalise Your Early Retirement
The fact that you are contemplating early retirement means there is a good chance you don’t particularly like your job or most aspects of it.
It could be the industry, the company culture, the commute or that clown sitting in the corner office.
Although you hate your job now, there might be parts of it that you enjoy or do not suck as much.
Early retirement does not have to be an all or nothing choice.
There are different levels of early retirement where you can craft a role that picks parts of the job that you enjoy.
Hate people management? You can start a part time consulting gig in retirement as an individual contributor.
Hate the industry? Use your soft skills to start an encore career in a different industry that resonates with you.
There are no corporate guidelines on what early retirement is supposed to look like.
Take the freedom to design your early retirement life based on what is right for you.
The idea of getting to full financial independence and then quitting your job is just one version of early retirement.
You can choose to reach 75% of your retirement corpus, quit your job and then coast to 100% while bringing in an income doing something you like.
There are no one dictating how you design your own early retirement.
There is no need to get fixated on a specific retirement corpus that you need to hit before you quit your soul-destroying job.
Stop and Smell the Roses
The pursuit of early retirement can be the longest and most intense personal finance project of your life.
The focus on earning, saving, and investing can become the dominant driver of your daily life.
It is easy to miss out on everything that life has to offer as you focus on your destination of early retirement.
You will be 25, 30, 35 only once in your life.
Going back-packing with friends, swimming in ice-cold waterfalls or pulling all-nighters is not the same when you are 50.
One day you will wake up & there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.Paulo Coelho
You will not regret that your retired early at 55 instead of 45.
On the other hand, there will be nothing you can do to overcome the regret of missing a weekend trip with your friends when you were 25 so that you could increase your retirement fund contribution.
You may not regret it when you are 30. You will regret it when you are 60 even though you may be sipping the finest single malt.
Do more fun things when you are young so that you can be nostalgic about them when you are old.
Do not let the pursuit of early retirement overwhelm everything else that life has to offer. There is joy to be found in the smallest of experiences.
Take the time to slow down and appreciate life.
Test Run Your Post Retirement Life
When you are sitting in your cubicle churning out TPS reports, your post-retirement life seems like a dream.
You just can’t wait to escape the rat race and get to the future. The future is so enticing.
Here is another powerful early retirement planning tip – Do your future self a favour and test run your post-retirement life today.
Want to run a beach shack in Goa after you retire early?
Spend a couple of weeks of your vacation this year working at a shack in Goa.
See how much you enjoy dealing with a bunch of middle-aged men who have had one too many cans of Budweiser.
Ask the owner how does it feel when your only chef quits in the middle of the tourist season?
Want to do organic farming in the Himalayas after your early retirement? Take two weeks off and spend time at an organic farm in the Himalayas.
Does watering the crops at night in the middle of winter sound fun? How does planting seeds in peak summer feel compared to your airconditioned workstation at office?
As with most things, things on paper translate very differently to real life.
Doing a test run early on will avoid the situation of planning something for decades only to realise you don’t like it much.
If you like what you experience during those two weeks, that is great.
It will motivate you to pursue your early retirement dreams with greater vigour.
On the flip side, if you don’t like your two-week experience then use that as an opportunity to reimagine your post early retirement plans.
Stress Test Your Marriage
As crazy as it sounds stress testing your marital bond is an unconventional but critical early retirement planning step.
If you have been married for a decade of more, there is already a set routine to your marital life.
There are times during the day when you are together and other times when you do your own thing independently.
That gives both of you that cherished personal space and routine.
Early retirement can bring a jarring disruption to this pattern. You will end up spending a lot more time with each other.
Even if you are madly, deeply in love after all these years there can still be something like too much of a good thing.
As the famous quip goes – “I married you for life but not for lunch”.
It is important to talk about how your routines will change after early retirement.
Discuss with your spouse what can you do so that both partners still get their personal space and independent time to pursue individual interests.
Otherwise, you are simply asking for trouble.
Things can quickly go from gentle disagreements to throwing sharp adjectives and objects at each other.
This is not a typical early retirement planning tip that you will see in a mutual fund brochure.
Planning for early retirement and advice around it focusses primarily on saving and investing.
While that is indeed important, it is these other aspects of planning an early retirement that often don’t get the attention they deserve.
Planning for retirement is a financial as well as an emotional endeavour.
Using the 5 powerful early retirement planning tips outlined here will allow you to better design a successful path to retiring early.
Dushyant Choudhary is the founder of dushyantnomics, a retirement blog for Indians. Dushyant retired early from his 9-5 corporate life after a successful international career. He brings his knowledge and experience to his current role where he’s dedicated to helping professionals achieve a fulfilling retirement.