Retired at 45

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.


  1. I think ‘retirement’ at any age would be hard to do if you didn’t have a plan, a goal, something to work towards or a cause to fight for. Work is something that brings fulfillment and completeness to life. However, retiring to go work full time in Christian service is definitely something worthwhile.

  2. I recently wrote about Early Retirement Extreme, and got a variety of feedback. I like the idea of being able to retire early, and doing what you want. Kids definitely affect this, though.

  3. I, too, would like to be “retired” before the conventional age of 65. Or should I say, have the freedom to be able to choose how I spend my time. I don’t think I could simply take it easy without some sort of purpose or plan. But having the flexibility to decide is what I would want.

  4. I di it at 38 years old! I achieved it by investing in income property. Eventually, I expanded into businesses too. It can be done even if yo are married and children too. The key element is savings/investing.

  5. I definitely want to “retire” early, but I don’t see myself slowing down once I do. I think it would be more about getting out of the office-based “rat race” and doing whatever it is that I love most. I’ve created quite a knack for bringing in extra money from random side gigs, so I’d be confident in my ability to do so in the future.

  6. Ah yes, the constant struggle to decide what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. Not being content with mediocrity is a good thing I think. Funny how these chance meetings always tend to give us a different perspective on life and other things.

  7. Hmm. I think lots of people hate their jobs and would jump at the opportunity for retirement at 45. I don’t know that I’d want to – at this point in my life I think that while I’d love to maybe cut back by then, I have so much I want to achieve with my career that I don’t know would be possible by 45!

  8. Personally, I’ve never understood the sentiment. I’ve spent enough time unemployed that I would rather have a job I didn’t like than no job at all. I need something to fill up my time. My grandfather retired 5 times before his doctor just wouldn’t let him work any more.

  9. It all boils down to what’s important to you. I’m planning on becoming financially independent as soon as possible so that I don’t have to be limited to a job that I hate. We’ll see if I make it.

  10. If you have a spouse who is on board with early retirement / financial independence, I’d think you would reach your goals even more quickly because of dual income. The no kids one is probably huge though, in terms of preserving cash flow. Of course, you shouldn’t not have kids because of money…

  11. IA1P – The news of your coworker is extremely encouraging to hear. I would love to retire by 45 as long as my finances support it. I’m like you where I like my job just fine, but I do have other passions and other interests I’d love to pursue. 65 is way too far out for me. It may not be 45, but I do plan to be financially free within a short amount of time.

  12. IAOP, I am fortunately just discovering your site. I am a fellow 1 percenter here and have been sharing my insights since Jan at my blog. My number is 48, but anything earlier than 50 years old is acceptable in my plans. 3 kids here so that is the big funding effort. Can wait to rview your site some more.

    • Hi, thanks for visiting my site! Subscribe via e-mail to get all the most updated posts! I will be checking out your site as well!

  13. When I tell others about my goal of retiring at 45 I get a lot of uncomfortable reactions. It seems that we are afraid of retiring at an earlier age because of the fear of leaving the work force at peak earning age and the feeling of walking away from a steady income. I’d be interested in people’s opinion about this fear.

    If a person has worked and made an effort to save up money for 25 years or so, and has been able to save enough for an early retirement, I think that they should forget about the fear and do it.

    I have seen people retire later in life only to go straight into an illness and not being able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I for one will not be bored if I can retire early. I have too many things I want to do that are not work related that I can’t do today. An If I ever get an itch to work again, I’m sure I’d find something to do.

  14. That is my current goal as well. To transition from work to my hobbies at 45. Hopefully by then I will have enough money to cover my expenses for life.

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