I recently met with an associate at my company who is voluntarily leaving the organization. I met with him yesterday to discuss transition of his activities. At the end of our meeting, I asked him what his plans were (assuming he was leaving to work for another company). I was surprised with his answer. He told me “I’m just going to take it easy for a while and not work. I may retire.” I was taken aback because it wasn’t an answer I expected. After more probing, he told me how he was able to accomplish this. He said that he gives all the credit to his father who encouraged him to spend less than what he earns and invest the difference. We’ve heard it time and time again! He said that he doesn’t have a mortgage, no car payments, no student loans, and a sizable investment portfolio. He is also not married and has no children so I’m sure that helps a bit. He said that he never looked at his paycheck and never worked for the money. He just kept his expenses low and invested the difference.
I’m 10 years younger than him and don’t know if I can or want to retire at 45. I also hope that I will be debt free by then. When you look at my debts from my net worth, it seems like a stretch to eliminate that much in debt in 10 years, but I am optimistic.
This chance meeting got me thinking about what’s really important to me and how much I really want to work in corporate America. I like my work, but I don’t love it. I do have other passions, particularly getting involved in Christian ministry and would love to do something in that area in the future. But my main priority now is to provide for my family and to ensure that I build a cash cushion that will last for a few generations.