The Biggest Benefit Of Early Retirement

When I’m on the road-usually driving to or from work-I’m either widening my musical palate or listening to podcasts. This week on my daily drive I was listening to the Bigger Pockets podcast. Bigger Pockets is all about real estate investing. There is no need for an explanation as to why I love this one. Anyway, on episode 153, they were interviewing a woman who, along with her husband, is extremely savvy in the field of real estate investing. It turns out, they own 108 single family properties and are still aquiring more! That was, of course, impressive, but that wasn’t what HIT me when I listened to it. What HIT me was something she said about the freedoms afforded to those who retire early OR have the option to retire early.

Freedom Number

The woman being interviewed was Linda McKissack and what she said had a profound impact on me and gave me yet another reason for being on FIRE. Her and her husband decided long ago that they wanted to create passive income for themselves in an effort to eliminate the possibility of career layoffs and failed businesses. They ultimately decided to invest in single family rentals. Currently, they are more than able to retire but choose to continue cultivating their real estate empire. The passive income they now enjoy has given them freedoms beyond belief. She decribed how her son-in-law became extremely ill and ultimately, lost the battle.  Guess what. They had the option of putting their lives on hold to be there for him. Why? Because they hit their freedom number a long time ago.

They had no idea the decision they made 20 years ago to pursue financial freedom would allow them to be exactly where they wanted and needed to be two decades later. If they had chosen to be content with the traditional retirement trajectory of spending most of their income and retire in their 60s, they never would have been able to be there to support their loved ones when they needed it the most.


Sometimes our options are wildly entertaining or intellectually stimulating, sometimes they’re not. Just as in the example given by Linda McKissack, no one ever plans to be hit with a major illness or difficulty. Most people on FIRE are planning to travel abroad, live in the woods, or explore other passions. But, in the event that life doesn’t turn out as planned, if you reach your early retirement goal, at least you’ll have options.

Listening to that podcast reinforced the notion that financial independence is worth pursuing NOW in order to give ourselves more options LATER. What do you plan on pursuing? What’s your freedom number?

Bailey Gato BW

MMC – Minimal Style

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mortimer Feb 10, 2016, 12:17 am

    Options and the ability to start over with something new is exactly why I am pursuing FIRE. Being stuck forever in one thing just seems horribly depressing, and I think explains at least in part why people seem so burned out after 20 years on a job. They’ve never gotten ahead and have no prospects for making meaningful choices anytime soon. Seeing all the different ways people leverage this flexibility affirms again and again for me why this is the right path.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 10, 2016, 11:51 am

      I do love options! I also think, as the world changes, it’s much more acceptable and even expected for individuals to change careers once or twice during their working lives. Gone are the days of getting a solid job with a good company and staying there until your golden years. It sounds boring, too 😉

  • ouellettem Feb 8, 2016, 2:53 pm

    Nice post….how do you really know your number? My number is $25-30k but my wife says we need $80+K and closer to $100K if we want to travel and continue the lifestyle we have today. I can live with a lot less in life I think then she can. I am wondering what types of challenges and stresses the future holds for us if we can not sustain a life with $80+K a year and will need to live off a much lower income?

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 8, 2016, 6:25 pm

      The freedom number is personal for everyone. For us, we’re closer to $25-$30k/yr than $80k/yr. Of course, this is assuming we are living completely debt free. No mortgage, no car loans, no student loans, no credit cards = incredible freedom. We will need to cover taxes and maintenance for our home, utilities, health insurance, basic living expenses, food, and anything else we deem necessary (e.g. vacations). Eliminating debt gives us options 🙂

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Feb 6, 2016, 11:11 am

    Since we listen every week, we also heard this episode and it reinforced everything we’re working for: options. Our freedom number we’re using is the $30k for spending we budgeting this year plus a buffer for taxes and emergencies. 🙂

  • Joshua Dorkin Feb 6, 2016, 10:07 am

    Thanks for listening to the podcast! I’m glad you enjoyed it . . .

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 6, 2016, 9:58 pm

      Bigger Pockets is one of only two podcasts that has my subscription. Thanks for continuously putting out great content.

  • elise Feb 5, 2016, 12:50 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. My husband and I are on track to retire at 45, not because we want to quit working at 45, but we want to have the option to travel for months at a time, or pursue other careers or passions. It also gives me peace of mind that if something happens and it all goes down the pooper we have something to fall back on 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 7, 2016, 2:17 pm

      Exactly! Congrats to you and your husband for being on the FIRE path. It’s nice to have company 🙂

  • Maggie Feb 5, 2016, 10:44 am

    I totally agree. It’s all about being able to just do what you need to do when you need to do it. Being there for friends and family is so important!

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