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9 Things To Do To Reach Financial Independence and Retire Early

If you’ve been following Our Rich Journey, you know that Amon and I have achieved our decade-long goal of becoming financially independent and retiring early. But, we didn’t just stumble into this achievement. No, to get where we are today, we had to take real, actionable steps. Interested in pursuing financial independence . . . and actually reaching it? Here are nine things that we did . . . and that you should do, too:

1. Establish the Proper Mindset

When you first come up with your FIRE number, you may become overwhelmed and discouraged by just how large of a number it is. But when you believe that you can achieve financial independence, you see that number as a challenge to be overcome. Easier said than done, right?

Ok, so how do you actually adopt a positive mindset if you’re not already a naturally positive person? What I recommend is to start by making a list of all the struggles and challenges that are facing you. As you make this list, start thinking of solutions for each obstacle that you face. You don’t even have to come up with these solutions yourselves- there is an entire FIRE community out there that has had those same challenges! There are people out there who have had lower incomes, families, or other challenges and have already succeeded in overcoming them. Find these people and gain inspiration from them! If there is a will, there is a way to get this done!

2. Create a “Pay Yourself First” Budget

The next thing we did was create a budget where we listed and tracked all of our expenses. I know, I know you may hate budgeting, but I’m going to be 100 percent real with you right now: You need to get over it. Budgeting is non-negotiable. You cannot achieve financial independence without a budget because it is a vital part of the planning process. Establishing a budget helps you identify areas to save and also helps you determine your FIRE number.

Most importantly though, we structured our budget around paying ourselves first. What I mean by this is that we made sure to invest our money first, before we started spending our money on other discretionary expenses. We treated investing like any other bill: It had to get paid every month, no matter what.

When we created our budget, we not only prioritized investments, but we prioritized specifically the investments that would support us in early retirement. The investments that are catered towards early retirement are much different than investments you’d make if you’re aiming for traditional retirement. Understand the differences and make your investment decisions accordingly.

3. Calculate your FIRE Number

Your FIRE number refers to the amount of money you’d need in investments to sustain yourself during retirement. Calculating your FIRE number is a very powerful exercise. Even if you don’t want to retire early, you should still determine what your FIRE number is because this number signifies your FREEDOM. Once you reach this number, you should literally never have to work again!

You calculate your FIRE number by taking your ESTIMATED EXPENSES IN RETIREMENT and multiplying them by 25 to come up with the amount of money you’d need in a stock portfolio to reach FIRE.

If you’re investing in real estate, you simply need to ensure that your expenses are equal to or less than the profits you’d generate from your property. Be careful not to overestimate when calculating your real estate income though. People often fail to account for vacancy rates, maintenance fees, property manag