To Retire Early You Must Work Hard Now

November 15, 2018 at 3:19 PM 2 comments

Do you feel like you live in a get rich quick kind of world where people want to earn the most money for the least amount of effort? Do you listen to friends who dream of winning the lottery? Do your coworkers inundate you with multi-level marketing scams? Do you know someone who wants to start a blog, cram it full of affiliate links and wait for buckets of coins to fill her bank account?

If you are reading this blog you probably aren’t trying to do any of those things, but just in case you have wandered here from the other side of the Internet I have a secret for you: If you want to earn a million dollars you’ll need to work hard.

Most of us will achieve financial independence the old fashioned way with a 9-to-5 job. Yup, sorry to break the news to you, but it’s true. Give up a decade or two of your time in exchange for a paycheck. Save as much of that money as you can and wah-lah you too can become a millionaire.

Here’s the truth. The majority of us will reach FI through steady paychecks. It may sound awful and boring. You may think, holy heck I have to slave away five days a week for ten to twenty years before my pockets are overflowing with cash? The answer is yes, yes you will.

So if you have to work every day stop dragging your feet about it. Make the most of your career and figure out how to be good at what you do. You don’t need to be better than everyone else, but you need to convince the people around you that you put in your best effort every chance you get.

When you are young, (without a spouse and kids), you can throw yourself into your work. Remember you have a goal to save money, so now is the time to put in the gas to get you there. You have energy and passion that’s hard to muster after you start a family. Especially when your beautiful newborn baby wakes you up at one, three and five o’clock in the morning.

Whether you are just starting out or have been working for a decade your job is to look around your workspace and ask your coworkers how can we make this better? If you want to get noticed start asking “What can I do for you?” Stop complaining about work and start listening to the people around you.

You may find out that your coworkers need better training, your business partner thinks no one cares about deadlines, your project manager is running on fumes and your boss is inundated by a workforce that lacks needed skills. You may think you are too young or inexperienced to help, but try your best to think outside the box. Figure out ways to increase the communication between team members. Get the right people in the room to make decisions and help your boss see the problems without complaining about them. With a fair amount of effort you can create a satisfying work environment. When you put in the time to make the situation better it will get better and if it doesn’t start looking for a new job.

You may not want to work that hard. If you just graduated from college you may want to hit every happy hour and go out with your friends every other night of the week. Guess what, I don’t think you should do that.

If you want to reach financial independence early you need to adjust your expectations. You need to search for friends who want to spend a quiet evening with a home cooked meal and a glass of wine. You want to walk, jog and rock climb. You can meet up at the gym for kick-boxing, but make sure it’s the least expensive facility you can find in your area.

Does that sound like a bummer? Does that sound like something old thirty and forty somethings do? Probably, but if you want to reach a large savings goal you have to adjust your lifestyle. If you want to rest on your laurels you’ll have to wait a decade or two to do so.

At the end of the day we trade our life energy for cash and if you must go to work then learn to be good at what you do. Learn to be successful. If you aren’t sure how to accomplish that task search for mentors that can guide you.

For years I worked beside a coworker who came to work, put his feet up on the desk and read the newspaper. Can you be happy with yourself if you put in the minimal amount of effort each day? How can you feed your soul when you are unproductive and unhelpful to those who work alongside you?

Find a way to be competent. Search high and low for ways to be helpful. When your teammates are happy you will inevitably be happier too. Remember that your job might not feel like work if you find the work that’s right for you.

If you want to succeed at FI you can’t expect to take it easy. Hard work will lead to raises and promotions and ultimately to a more satisfying existence. Do you want to put your feet up and read the newspaper or do you want to put in your best effort to achieve a greater goal? If you want to watch your bank account grow you’ll need to do the latter.

Put in the effort to achieve financial independence while searching for satisfaction in the work you do.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early  |  November 16, 2018 at 10:24 PM

    That is definitely one of the downsides of having my kiddo in my twenties; I didn’t have that full decade of hustling before deciding to take a step back and cut my hours. Worth it absolutely, but a significantly slower path to FI than if we had waited a decade to have a kid.

    Reply
    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  November 17, 2018 at 1:44 PM

      Having kids in your twenties definitely has its advantages. I would have preferred to have mine slightly younger, but my medical history got in the way of that. It is true though that working for 12 years before having them put us in an amazing financial position. When I left my industry I had saved up a significant amount of money that gave me the confidence to take a leave of absence from work. I don’t know how this will all resolve when I look for work again in a year, but if I had less time in the workforce I would not have made the decision to stay home. Or at least I don’t think I would have. It’s funny. I guess you never really know what you would or wouldn’t do until you are faced with that situation.

      Reply

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