Early retirement is possible. It is certainly not easy, but it is simple. Of course, it needs a lot of sacrifices today, for a better tomorrow. You need to save a lot which means your expenses have to be very less to have any meaningful contribution to your retirement kitty. Heck, retiring at 60 with enough corpus to last your whole life is in itself a difficult task. How can you even save for your early retirement. It all comes down to how deeply you want to retire early. It does not just apply for retirement, but anything in life. If you want something very desperately, it automatically tunes not just your conscious, but your subconscious self to work towards it. At that point, none of what you are giving up, or all the hard work you are putting in will feel burdensome. It just feels like a flow and before you realize, you have hit your goal. So ask yourself, is your desire to retire early really strong? Make it a goal only if you have the strongest urge. A goal without enough motivation is hard to realize.
Don’t go about early retirement like a goal you need to achieve because everyone is doing it. It should be a dream that you want to fulfill and it will happen. I know a lot of examples from various people’s lives. I am sure you have some too. When I was doing my engineering, I always used to see a lot of people struggling and working hard to be the first in the class. I never understood the appeal of a rank. You either study for knowledge or for a goal. If first rank in your class is the goal, you are missing the point of education. Thankfully, I know a very good friend of mine who never cared for the rank or glory in the class. His marks were just average to say the least, and yet he figured in top 15 in All India exam on his first attempt, because that was his goal. He learned for knowledge, understood the concepts and did not care for auxiliary subjects and just focused on core subjects. The focus is extremely important and so is the reason for a goal. They are good indicators of your success.
The other important thing about goals is that you will need a lot of patience. You may not be able to achieve your goal when you planned. But don’t lose hope and just keep trying. My childhood dream has always been to be educated in the US. For some reason, I had this idea that education in the US is more flexible, so I can study the subjects I like (Computers, Physics and Math) and ignore all the other subjects I was forced to study in India. My parents knew about the dream. My friends knew about the dream. I used to have a map of California stuck to my wall and woke up looking at it everyday. I told my parents that I want to do my undergraduate studies in the US, but given the financial situation they could not, but they promised to help me do my MS and that is how I realized my dream some 4 years later. Like in life, so too in equity markets, you need patience. So if the market is down at the time you planned your early retirement, expect to move the goal by a few years.
What I am trying to say is that, if you persevere and be patient, eventually you will be rewarded with what you deserve. Note that I did not say you will succeed, only that you will be rewarded with what you deserve. The more motivation you have towards a goal, the more focus and effort you will put in it, and the more deserving you become.
For more inspiration, I suggest that you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Sorry this has been a such a boring motivational post, but on a lighter note, I gave a talk on early retirement at my previous workplace and thought you might enjoy the slides. So here you go.