How to Retire Early: The Four Pillars

How to retire early

From Marvin Schulz, staff writer, Palm Beach Research Group: Ecuador, Juan Valdez Café.

I will turn 29 in a month. I’m retired.

Right now, I write this in a busy coffee shop in Quito’s up-and-coming Foch district, sipping Colombian coffee tinto while feasting on farm-fresh scrambled eggs and smiling at local passers-by.

I have not used an alarm clock in months, yet I earn a stable income.

In a minute, I will break down the details and show you exactly how to retire early.

For now, let’s define retirement.

The Old Retirement Sweat Mill

In the traditional, outdated view, retirement is the end goal after a tiresome lifetime of chasing money. We slave hard for more than four decades, often in jobs we despise. Finally, we abandon work and live on what we have stashed away. Now in our 60s—sometimes, even our 70s—we allow ourselves to do what we craved all along.

But this view is detrimental to our well-being.

Let me share a personal story.

My dad, a senior manager for Sony Music, recently turned 63. For years, he’s talked about his retirement, how his life will change, and how the company will miss him. He stopped liking his job 10 years ago. Yet, he lingers in a place of postponement, filling the present with activities he doesn’t like, while living for an imaginary future.

In short: He neglects the present to live for his mental concept of retirement.

It’s a concept created for him and many other hardworking men and women by financial planners, banks, insurance companies, and governments. Organizations that all put their own interests above the interest of the individual, like you (and my dad).

Now, let’s look at how to retire early and reclaim our sovereignty.

How to Retire Early

Tony Robbins: Find Meaningful Work to “Retire To”

In his life-changing program, Personal Power II, Tony Robbins discusses the dangers of traditional retirement. Here is what he says in an Inc. Idea Lab video:

The old idea to get rich and retire at 50… no one I know does that anymore. [Casino mogul] Steve Wynn is 73. I was just with a 79-year-old billionaire who is working harder than ever before.

If you retire at 55, you have an 89% chance of dying in 10 years; higher than if you retire at 65. We need work as a sense of purpose.

I said earlier that I am retired.

For me, that’s true.

But I haven’t stopped participating in moneymaking activities. Far from it. I retired to do something that has meaning to me, right now.

In my case, it’s writing, traveling the world, and creating workshops. To me, this work seems like play. I want to do this till my dying day.

And that is the secret to retiring early:

Find out what your ideal retirement looks like, and start living it now. I’m not saying you should quit your job overnight. I know there are bills to pay and kids to take care of. But ask yourself how you would really enjoy spending your life, and start working toward it now, step by step.

Now, you may wonder if anyone can retire early.

From my experience, cleaning up your past and forgiving your parents, your peers, and yourself are necessary steps in creating the life of your design. You’ll gain a new perspective on your old thoughts, and new, more fruitful ways of thinking will reveal themselves.

Here’s how to do that…

Brad Blanton: Get Over Sh*t and Be Happy

Pardon my French, I used Dr. Brad Blanton’s jargon here.

Blanton, a psychotherapist, best-selling author of Radical Honesty, and father of eight, breaks down the details of self-forgiveness and explains how to lead a life of your design in this groundbreaking TEDx Talk.

It is a practical guide on how to retire early.

Watch this video below.

Mark Ford: Create Multiple Streams of Income

Of course, PBRG’s own Mark Ford has written countless pieces on how to retire early. At age 39, Mark retired to write poetry.

In fact, he’s retired to work on different meaningful projects over his lifetime.

Right now, he’s retired to teach wealth-building secrets to his subscribers. One of his secrets is to create multiple streams of income over a lifetime.

Here is what he says:


If you can become a more valuable employee, you should. But you may also want to create other streams of income.

One possibility would be to invest in rental real estate. If you decide to do that, it will become—after you have paid down the mortgages—its own well, pumping liquid gold to you every year thereafter.


Another option would be to start a side business and let your spouse or a relative run it. If you are interested in doing that, I recommend Ready, Fire, Aim, another book I wrote as Michael Masterson.


You can read the full essay here.

Now, let’s look at another retirement option…

Tim Ferriss: Cultivate the “Mini-Retirement”

Ferriss achieved mainstream popularity through his global best-seller, The Four-Hour Workweek. In it, he postulates the idea of taking various “mini-retirements” over a lifetime, rather than retiring late in life.

Here is what he revealed in an interview:

I had been, between 2004 and early 2006, traveling around the world for about 18 months. During the first 12-month period of time, I actually saved $32,000 compared to [the cost of] sitting on my couch watching The Simpsons in my apartment in the Bay Area.

He further states:

When you recognize the costs of travel are mostly transportation and housing costs, and [you realize] you can rent a posh apartment for three to four weeks for the same price as staying in a mediocre hotel for four days, things start to get very, very interesting.

You can access the full interview here.

How to Retire Early: A Summary

Retiring early is possible.

It depends on your view on retirement. The traditional way, shaped for us by organizations safeguarding their own financial interests, is outdated.

In fact, it has always been a marketable dream.

To retire early, you need to:

1. Question how your ideal lifestyle would look.
2. Retire to do meaningful work as early as possible.
3. Clear up your past and forgive the old paradigm.
4. Create multiple streams of income, if possible.
5. Consider taking mini-retirements over a lifetime.

How to retire early

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