Yep! I get asked that question a lot! And a lot more. Some of them are –
- Were you out of your fucking mind that you agreed to Early Retirement? It just ain’t possible!
- So you mean to say that you will live poorly for next 12 years in order to not work for the rest of the life? Tell me how is that a wise decision?
- What will you guys do if you are not working? How would you sit at home when you have worked all through-out your life?
- Has Ankit (my husband) become too picky in every kind of expense? Does he interfere in every bit?
- What if you had decided not to go with this madness? What would have happened?
- This planning and all is ok but girl tell me – you are not going to buy any jewellery? Seriously??
These are some of the questions I get asked often since the time we started our journey of financial independence. And surprisingly these questions are coming from all quarters – from friends, relatives, immediate family. Practically everyone. So I thought to address them here once for all so that if any female gets asked these questions anywhere she can confidently answer. But before I jump on to shoot down these questions one by one, a little about me first.
Who am I?
I am Prakriti Garg, a young working mother. I live in New Delhi, capital of India. We (me and my husband-Ankit) have set ourselves an audacious goal of early retirement by the time we turn 45 i.e. 12 years from now. Here is our story.
Enough of me now. Let’s go back to irritating questions.
Why did I agree to Early Retirement?
So before I answer this question, do you know there is a term called FIRE?
FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early
So before Early Retirement, there is a thing called Financial Independence. According to Wikipedia, financial independence is a state where you have enough personal wealth to live, without having to work for basic necessities.
Hence first step to Early Retirement is attaining Financial Independence! Tell me who wouldn’t want it? I bet every lady (and gentleman) reading this post would want that.
Therefore my agreement is to the proposition that we (as a couple) reach to that stage ASAP. And then whether to retire early or not (in actuality) can be decided once we are at that point.
Does it make sense now?
Will I live poorly/miserly for the next 12 years?
In case you are wondering how did the number of 12 years come from, then read this. It will tell the tale of our audacious goal.
So now coming back to the question ladies. Will I live poorly for the next 12 years?
Short crisp answer is NO. I will not and in-fact Ankit (my husband) won’t let me also. Though we are not really those flashy spendthrift types but we are also not big savers. And the testimony to that is that till about 10 months ago, we didn’t use to save much. Our savings rate was paltry 10-15%. But more importantly whatever we were saving was going straight into FDs (fixed deposits).
Since the time we have started our FIRE journey, our savings rate has gone up to 25% -30% and whatever we are saving is basically now going into mutual funds. So what has changed during this time? Have I ever felt that there came a point when I wanted to do an expense but didn’t do it?
No! Absolutely Nothing has changed in my spending pattern!
Then if nothing has changed how come we are saving so much more?
The answer is – By becoming aware of our spends
Yes that’s it! As simple and insane as it may sound, this is the trick behind our increased savings rate. We now track where we are spending. We jot down even a single rupee spent, put that under different categories and then at the end of the month, simply analyse it.
We figured out that there were so many leakages which were not necessarily adding any happiness to our lives. And if we could plug in those leakages we could save a huge amount. For example – movie tickets in South Delhi (locality where I live) are insanely crazy on weekends. They are easily around 20-25% higher than on weekdays. So we asked to ourselves –
What if we start going to movies on weekdays rather than weekends? That would not only save money but also the time (un-necessarily spent navigating the maddening rush).
So we did it! And it has saved us around Rs. 1000-1500 per month. We are movie buff and on an average we watch 2 movies a month. Since we live with our parents, there are a total of 4 members in the family.
There are many such small things which we did and saw that we are saving double of what we were saving earlier. And it all happened because we started tracking our expenses.
So am I living poorly? I guess NO 🙂
What will we do after 45 when we retire?
Though I could list 100 things which I (and Ankit) could (and hopefully would) do once we retire but I will not waste your precious time on it now. 🙂
Early Retirement doesn’t mean “Not Working”. All it means is “Not Working for a living”. Got it?
So in most probability, Ankit would be running this blog. He claims that this would be way bigger than what he is doing in job right now. Let’s see if it happens or not but the beginning looks promising indeed.
By the time I will turn 45, Aarav would have turned 14. Seeing how he is already troubling me, I would tend to think that majority of my time would go in worrying about him. Just kidding!
So I always had a dream of having my own dance academy where I am teaching kids various forms of dances. Since we are not financial independent at the moment, I am trading my time for a monthly salary and believe me it is not a good feeling. Therefore post 45, I intend to live my dream for next 20 years. And oh yes! I also intend to teach Ankit how to cook so that he can cook all the time and I can just relax. 🙂
What would happened if I decided against this madness?
Actually now I believe if I had gone against this decision, then that would have unleashed true madness. I have many friends who are earning decently well but their net worth is zilch! They have a straight line system as far as money is concerned. Money comes and money goes! Nothing gets saved.
Being on this path, what would I have achieved?
More misery! More Daily Stand-ups in the office where we are paraded like monkeys to get more business!
I wanted a way out and I am glad that sanity prevailed and we took this route.
Closing Words: I am not sure how far we will go on this route or how successful we will be in our audacious goal but one thing which I am extremely sure of is
It appeared to be the most sane and logical path to get out of the rat race & live the life I want to live; on my own terms; and with my own free will!