Leisure Freak, Retire Early and Often Through Frugal Living
Hello my name is Tommy and I am a Leisure Freak. You might be asking yourself what the h#!! is that? I would define a Leisure Freak as someone who is an enthusiast, fan, devotee, and aficionado of early retirement. Someone who is obsessed with or unusually enthusiastic about employment liberation through financial independence.
It’s really all about reaching a level of financial independence to leave behind all the demands of unfulfilling meaningless work and instead live the freedom lifestyle I planned for. One where I could freely follow my interests and passions. All it took was some Frugal Living to get things started.
My Leisure Freak Story
How I Retired Early
I retired early at the age of 51 from a work progression that started when I was 20. Along the way a job turned into a career. I lived the traditionally defined life where I married, had three kids, and a mortgage. I took night classes and climbed the career ladder from Customer Service Representative to Lead Engineer.
For some of this time I saved what most recommended as the standard retirement savings rate. A savings rate ensuring that I would have to work until I was around 65 years old. But then something clicked in my head. At the age of 40 I decided I wanted to live a different way. I started a financial independence plan and 11 years later I retired early.
Before you think I am one of those who retired to live cheaply in a Van down by the river, let me say that I didn’t retire early to a life of extreme frugality. Frugal Living as I live it is about living a smart frugal and balanced life. Meaning I retired to that same life and budget (minus work related costs) I had when I was working at a career. All the time living life without feeling deprived.
I created a happy sustainable lifestyle through frugal living that meets all of my needs and more.
I took control of my future. After years of debt payoff I incrementally increased my savings rate.
I saved over half of my take-home salary in the final few years of my career.
Now my retirement savings covers my early retirement lifestyle costs.
I did it by applying a two-pronged approach:
- First don’t waste my money on stuff that doesn’t add real happiness to my or my family’s life.
- Then pay off all personal debt and substantially increase my savings rate.
It’s what I call a money-wise strategy. It was done by focusing on happiness instead of stuff and setting my own personal frugal living threshold. I pushed against our frugal threshold but not where we felt we lived a deprived life. I never saw our lifestyle as extreme anything except maybe extreme financial freedom.
Forget About Traditional Definitions of Retirement
When it comes to retirement, people should forget about the traditional retirement as it has been defined. Instead concentrate on the goal of financial independence. Open your mind to accept the definition of retirement as simply this:
It is the absence of needing to work that defines retirement, not the absence of working. The key words here are “absence of NEEDING to work”.
Once we reach financial independence we have choices. We really can have a freedom lifestyle and live our life on our terms of which I consider being leisure. Allowing us the ability to choose to work for pay instead of have to work for pay. We can focus on rewarding passion-driven opportunities. We can also follow our passions doing non-paying pursuits.
Financial independence allows people to retire while they are still young enough to enjoy it. If we want to, it makes a career transition or starting a new business easier and possible. We shouldn’t only equate retirement to some specific age we reach. It’s about having the means to afford employment liberation. Liberation from needing to work. Free to only work when it checks off all of our boxes.
It’s Not Just Theory – I Live It!
The drive that got me to financial independence didn’t just go up in smoke. I didn’t stop being me. I intentionally retired early and have lived a passion-driven and retire early and often lifestyle. Just as I had always planned to do. It doesn’t mean I have to run out and find a paying opportunity. It means I am open to pursuing any opportunity that I have an interest in learning and experiencing.
The Bonus to all of this – Whenever I pursue a new passion-driven retirement opportunity I can save and invest all of that salary and that is exactly what I have done.
The Purpose of this Website
The Leisure Freak site is about sharing how I retired early with less than a 6 figure salary during my career. I hope that by sharing what I have done that it will help others reach their own early retirement and freedom lifestyle goals.
I also try to have you look at your pension and/or retirement savings differently. To see retirement as being more than waiting until old age. Retirement is bigger than just living a life of travel, sleeping-in, aloha shirts, and adult beverages. Instead look at financial independence and early retirement as your ticket to have a freedom lifestyle to follow your valued and passion-driven pursuits.
It also allows us the time to do things that we want to do and need to do to make our health a priority. We can have the time to eat healthier, exercise, and care for our brain by engaging in mentally stimulating activity, digging into things we really care about and enjoy. And yes, for me, my freedom lifestyle includes all the common retirement thoughts about travel, sleeping-in, aloha shirts, and adult beverages. Along with wearing flip-flops, shorts, and having many adventures.
This site details all the things I researched before my first retirement, what worked for me, and what I have experienced since I declared employment liberation. It covers how I retired early to my definition of an early retirement lifestyle. One where I happily pursued some retirement gigs, successfully began an encore career, and I am now in what I call my second early retirement. I want to share with you the reasons why you should consider the worthy goal of financial independence and making your own early retirement dream become reality. The rest will be up to you.
Thanks for Stopping by Leisure Freak.
Check out the Leisure Freak website. This site has static pages that can be your guide to early retirement and I will be creating current content on the Retire Early Blog.
I hope you will keep checking back. I’m actively adding new discoveries, ideas, pitfalls to avoid, tools, rants, raves, and encouragement.
I also look forward to any of your ideas that you are willing to share with me on this site.