Money Management

Want to Retire Before Your Mom and Dad? Don’t Let These 5 Lies Stop You

By  Karen Banes

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If you spend any time in the personal finance space online, you will likely be familiar by now with the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. It’s a concept whereby those of us lucky enough to have decent-paying, middle-class jobs aim to live cheap, save aggressively, invest wisely, and retire well below the ‘normal’ retirement age.

Whether you want to retire early or not, you’ve probably never really considered the idea that you could potentially retire before your parents do. One man (at least) thinks you can, and he’s written a book in which he aims to explain how.

In the book, Retire Before Mom and Dad, Rob Berger sets forth a set of principles that people can use to retire not just way before ‘normal’ retirement age, but so early that their own parents will probably still be in full-time work.

The book is somewhat controversial for a number of reasons. It addresses the latte factor, which is one of the more divisive concepts when it comes to modern-day personal finance advice. It assumes a return on investment of 9.3% for ‘normal’ stock market investors, which is ambitious, and it generally assumes a lot of things that may or may not apply to you as a typical middle-class American in the twenty-first century.

It also addresses five lies the world tells us that do indeed, in some ways, stand in the way of our financial freedom. If you’re struggling to build wealth right now, in spite of a decent level of income, maybe a belief in one or more of these is limiting you.

Financial Freedom Requires a BIG Salary

Berger points out that financial freedom doesn’t require a six or seven-figure salary. It is possible on a decent five-figure salary, depending on how it’s managed. And of course, financial freedom is complex. There are people on six-figure salaries living paycheck to paycheck, and others doing very well on a lot less.  However you look at it, financial freedom, for those on a consistent salary, is linked to choices around debt, saving and spending, and all of those are addressed in this book.

Financial Freedom Takes Over 40 Years To Achieve

Traditionally, this has tended to be the case. Work for 40 years, pay into a good pension, and reap the fruits of your labor. Then everything changed. Life-long jobs with reliable pensions are rarer than they used to be. And those who achieve financial freedom young have followed one of many possible routes to get there, from crypto investing to blogging. One thing that Berger states that makes perfect sense is this: “In reality, Financial Freedom is a journey. And we can begin to enjoy the fruits of Financial Freedom very early in that journey.”

Happiness is expensive

Berger states this is the most pernicious lie. I’d add that it has also become one of the most important ones for our ultra-capitalist society to maintain. Companies want us to spend a lot of money and they know that the best way to persuade us to do so is by convincing us that happiness is expensive.

As long as we believe that we can only be happy in a big house, with an expensive car, surrounded by luxury goods, the economy thrives. It is, however, hard to reach financial independence while trying to maintain the lifestyles we think we need to be happy.

Investing is complicated

Investing can be complicated, but as Berger points out, you can create an investment portfolio at any age and on any income, starting with just a couple of investments. There are strategies that make investing relatively straightforward, and managing a simple investment portfolio is nowhere near as time-consuming as you might imagine.

Debt is a fact of life

In the USA in the 21st century, we are constantly sent the message that debt is normal, inevitable, and unavoidable. Whether it comes in the form of mortgage debt, student loans, or consumer debt, it is just something everybody has.

We’re even persuaded that we need debt, to do simple things like improve our credit score (we don’t). It’s possible to live free of consumer debt. It’s even possible to live mortgage-free, though it may mean tweaking the ‘American dream’ a little.

Berger’s five lies are still going strong. And they’re probably shaping your life decisions and your level of financial freedom. Perhaps it’s time to examine them a little more closely.

Karen Banes

About the Author

Karen Banes

I’m a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audiences, and reach their ideal customers. I’ve lived, worked and studied in six countries, across three continents. Stop by my blog TheSavvySolopreneur.net to learn how to run your own (very) small business on your own terms. You can also connect with me at my website KarenBanes.com or follow me on Medium.com

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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