The Secret to Early Retirement and a Stress-Free Life
Many people come to the internet looking for the secret to a stress free life. Retirement does seem like a good place to find peace, but many people’s retirements are in doubt these days. So, how can someone find peace in such a stressful time as this?
The problem with people’s searches for peace is that they often go looking for a cheat code: do this one simple trick and you will receive peace and happiness! In reality, things are a little bit more complicated.
Still, the bare principle for peace is simple.
Think about your life. What in it causes you stress? Paying bills? Finding time for daily errands? Paying a mortgage? Finding peace is a simple matter of taking those little stressors and finding ways to deal with them every day. Here, procrastination is the biggest obstacle between us and inner peace.
Retirement: A Place to Search for Peace
Retirement- that long summer at the end of many people’s lives- a place to find out who they are and what they truly love to do. Many people think of retirement as a long process of going to sleep- waiting for death. In reality, it can be a great awakening and a jubilant process of coming to life at the end of life.
But, how can you achieve retirement? What amount of money could possibly carry you all the way through to the end of your life, and how can you possibly save it up?
As it turns out, the path to retirement and greater freedom to pursue peace may be contained within the little ways we can pursue peace every day. These small actions, when combined, possess great transformative powers for both our lives and, by extension, our inner selves.
So, what are these powerful little activities? How can we incorporate them into our daily lives? And, most importantly, are they easy?
To that, we can enthusiastically answer- yes, they are easy. However, you won’t like what they are. They’re not cheat codes, and they aren’t secret spells. In fact, you stare at them and think of them every day. The secret to peace and retirement is to organize your life now, and your mind later.
Putting Off What Needs Done
Our minds are strangely optimized to one end: to destroy our happiness. Often, we are short-sighted, and think only of the freedom we can obtain now. We take three hours spent watching television while our responsibilities hang over our shoulders as a way to achieve a little bit of freedom. But, is this true freedom?
In reality, all this represents is a moment of distraction while our stressors and our responsibilities drive our lives wherever they please. To truly win freedom, we must take this short-sighted view out of the equation. An hour spent distracting ourselves now, while four hours of work lie ahead, is the same as an hour spent in true freedom after the work is done.
Distractions are designed to chase away worries. Freedom is freedom from those worries, and this can only be won if worries are confronted and dealt with to the best of your abilities. Simply running errands and doing tasks cannot win true happiness, but it can get you on the path.
How to Start
If you find yourself confused and lost, you might be wondering: where do I start with all of these responsibilities? The urge people often have is to find some basepoint- some place from which all their worries originate. From there, they suppose they can simply work forward.
This place does not exist.
To get started on the process of confronting and eradicating your fears, you must simply choose a place, and start. My favorite thing to do is to write my biggest fears down on sticky notes- paying taxes, putting a schedule together, cleaning house, working out a mortgage, and so on- and place them on a dart board.
From here, I close my eyes, and whatever I hit is whatever I will start with. Once you start getting things done, you will fall into a groove, and getting the rest of your responsibilities out of the way will become positively automatic.
This morning, I hit my mortgage, and decided that today, I would spend a few hours working out ways to pay it off. I discovered that, after just a few hours, I could have everything in line, and have the rest of my day to live with one less worry.
Financial Obligations- Paying a Mortgage
Financial obligations often plague people’s minds and take them away from true peace and freedom. The essence of freedom and peace is not a comfortable descent into peace, but an uncomfortable battle for it, after which peace comes unexpectedly.
This battle may entail uncomfortable duties. For me, it was paying my mortgage, and finding ways to make sure I have enough money for the payments every month. Paying it was easy- I had enough to make my payment, and my bank offered a simple online payment mechanism. But, after the monthly due was paid, the worries were still there.
I quickly went through everything that might be causing me mortgage-related pain. I found, for example, that I often stressed about how long it would take to pay off my mortgage, and how little money I felt I had. I also discovered that, deep down, I truly feared for whether or not I’d be able to pay my mortgage payment next month.
To help alleviate these fears- which were truly eating me away- I developed a plan. I decided that, each week, I would only spend a certain amount of money. The path towards peace will inevitably teach us that there is not much need for material things in our lives. So, I thought, why spend so much on non-necessities? Indulgence could come later.
By working out this savings plan and following it, I found that I could live comfortably on much less than I had been spending. By disciplining my spending and sticking to the spending plan I had developed, I broke free of the cycle of just barely being able to pay off my mortgage and have money for groceries.
Once I took the time to finally confront this fear and work out ways to fight it, I was able to not only pay my payments, but give a little extra over to my bank. This solved my worries about how long it would take to pay off the loan, since I was putting myself a step ahead. Gradually, I came to feel that, perhaps, my mortgage wasn’t so big a deal as I had made it out to be.
This meant that, once the work of each day was done, I had no more time to spend doing what I wanted, but the hours I did have were spent in greater peace and security. Instead of sitting around with a weight on my shoulders, I was spending time doing what I want with one less thing to worry about.
The gist of the peaceful path is not to let your life be ruled by fear. If you have a mortgage and you fear how you might pay it- don’t delay! Take your time to develop a plan to strike at the roots of this fear, paying your mortgage and developing a sensible spending plan so you no longer have to worry about whether or not you will make your payments.
Steps to Retirement
From here, it is easy to see how you might apply this strategy to your life. In reality, it’s not a strategy. It’s just a matter of realizing that your life isn’t truly a life at all if you let fears fester and let your time be overlorded by fears.
Facing up to your obligations is the only way to achieve any semblance of peace in your current life, and it can help you set aside time to pursue peace in your later life. Retirement is about money, and smart money choices in the now. It’s about focusing on the now and what you can do to reserve resources for the future.
By doing things like, for example, getting your mortgage payments in life, you exert a measure of control over the necessary chaos of life. You will never be completely in control, and it is important to realize that. Plans may even fail you.
However, when a working plan comes together, and you’re able to fall into a habit of smart choices, saving up for retirement, making good investments, and preparing a place for your future self will become as natural as taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
You give your cat medicine when it is sick- you would never dream of depriving it. So why deprive yourself of the necessary steps to peace and happiness. Once fears are faces, and a person decides to create mechanisms for control, the future becomes brighter and retirement becomes an option.