Extreme early retirement or retiring before age 50 is becoming increasingly popular though many have never even heard the words.   If you are unfamiliar with the concept, you probably have many questions.

First question:  Can it really be done?  Absolutely!  There are enough cases of people retiring young to know that anyone can retire early if they make some adjustments to their thinking.  There are two ways to retire early.  The first is to make careful investments, shave your expenditures dramatically and sock away as much money as you can for a period of time that provides you with an amount that you feel comfortable with.  The second is to leap and work out the details on the way down.  If you’re a leaper then you’ve probably become burned out being on the treadmill of working and living from paycheck to paycheck.  You may well be at the end of your rope and feel unable to take another step.  Taking that leap may seem extreme until you consider the toll that the daily grind is taking on your health and your relationships.  Leapers may need to cash out their retirement funds to live on and should always keep in mind that can be risky, but these days the “typical job” doesn’t come with guarantees either.

Second question:  Is it right for me?  This question can really only be answered by you.  Each person is different and some people love the idea of retiring very young so that they still have the health and vigor to enjoy it.  Others fear being bored or drifting into laziness with so much unstructured time.  If you know the kind of person you are and what your own weaknesses are, then you can find ways around your personal issues.  For example, if you tend to lose focus easily, then goal setting will help.  Start out each day with a plan and particular things that need to be accomplished.  With just a bit of creative thinking you can find a way to develop great habits and block the bad ones.  I think that anyone with a strong desire to retire early can do it.  However, there are people who would not enjoy it so I don’t recommend it for everyone.  Only you can decide if you are a good candidate for extreme early retirement.

Third question:  What can I do in extreme early retirement?  There are some truly wonderful things that you can do when you retire very early.  With all your free time, you can volunteer to help your favorite charity.  You can pursue the passions that you’ve always had, but could never do because you were too tired or short of time.  You don’t ever have to wake up to an alarm clock again.  You never again have to fight rush hour traffic.  You can now cook great meals free from all the additives found in the fast food that you used to eat because you were rushed or tired.  Perhaps you’ll finally start that exercise program and lose the weight you’ve wanted to lose.  The limits really are determined by your mindset and ability to creatively solve all your roadblocks.

Fourth question:  What would I have to do?  The single biggest thing you would have to do is to learn to think outside the box.  In order to retire extremely early most people will have to make radical cutbacks to their outgoing expenses.  Do you really need a cell phone?  Is the TV necessary?  Can you cut back on satellite or use the Internet at the library instead?  Do you need a car?  Those are the kinds of things you may need to excise from your budget.  Make sure that you leave no stone unturned when you are looking for ways to cut-back.  The second thing you will need to do is learn how to be self-sufficient.  This means earning your own income through consulting and marketing your skills.  Look for ways to meet your basic needs that are unconventional.  Would you believe that there is an entire community of people living and working in vans across America?  How about a 450 square foot house with solar energy?  Are you willing to move to a foreign country where your dollar goes much, much farther?  If you are willing to step off the grid, then it becomes even easier to retire young and enjoy your life.

Fifth question:  What would be the worst case scenario?  If you try extreme early retirement and don’t like it or can’t make it then you can always step back into the work world.  The new skills that you learned during your experimental “interim” retirement may even lead you to a new career path that you discover you really enjoy.

Life is a journey.  Extreme early retirement can either be a brief detour or a whole new path to a completely different destination – it just depends upon you!

Kerry Hook retired early from over two decades of medical research.  She has put those skills to work and developed a great website for those who are retiring or retooling their lives.  Check out the FREE mini-course to help you better prepare for your retirement years.  Please visit:  http://www.thefrugalretiree.com/If you are interested in learning more on how to save money on medicines go to:  http://www.thefrugalretiree.com/recommendedreading.html 
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