An Early Retirement Story – Part 1

This is the first post in a series on early retirement.

I am on a mission to reach retirement as soon as possible.  I did not think about it much until my parents retired in 2004.   I have followed their journey very closely and it is because of them that I know early retirement is possible.  They were 55 when they retired, and A Retirement Story Part 1although that may not sound early to some, their retirement went against  common convention.

I have been intimately involved in my parents finances for a long time (I started doing my Dad’s taxes when I was a teenager for some reason) and I have witnessed, first hand, how everything came together.

Early Retirement is Possible

In my mind, my parents are living the dream.  They spend at least half of the year traveling and have visited over 17 countries since they retired.  They have two homes — one in Canada and one in England.  There homes are tiny and modest but located in beautiful places.  They wake up to amazing views everyday. Having two homes has been the key to being able to spend so much time traveling.  I no longer find it surprising if they call to let me know they are heading to the Canary Islands on a whim.  Oh, and it is also the reason I have a part-time dog.

People look at my parents and do not understand how they live the life they do.  Some are under the impression that they are secret millionaires, and they are NOT.  People ask them what their secret is and they are happy to share but most people do not listen, do not believe or accept that it is possible.  They hear a lot of objections from other people about how this is not possible and that is not possible (and I have witnessed those conversations first hand). For the most part my parents have stopped trying to explain how they do it.  They just shrug their shoulders and say “Ok, we will call you when we get back from (insert exotic travel destination here).”

I know it is possible and they have proven it to me.

They made decent livings but they were not doctors or lawyers and they both have grade 10 educations.  They retired with less than a million dollars.  They are very careful with their money, but they are still very generous with their kids and grandchildren.

Most importantly — they know what they want and they will find a way to make it happen.

I am here to tell you that early retirement is possible.

P.S.  I checked with my parents and they were Ok with me posting this. Hi Mom!

This post and others like it can be found linked up at Friday Jet Fuel #10 @ MoneyPropeller.com

26 Comments



    1. Thanks – true, people can’t quite fathom how it works.

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  1. This is a really good idea for a series of posts!
    I think the working generation envies the retired generation and always envisions what their retirement will look like on those stressful days. Retirement means something different to everyone but I’m hopeful I can get there in 10 years!
    Oh, and if your parents retired because they won the lottery I’m going to be terribly disappointed!
    Jonny recently posted…2014 Short-Term Personal Financial GoalsMy Profile

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    1. LOL – I can assure you they didn’t win the lottery although they have been buying tickets for as long as I can remember.

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  2. I’m happy for your parents — that’s terrific! Early retirement is certainly doable. It just requires giving some thought to how we define “retirement” and what our priorities are for those retirement years.

    I’m <4 years from retirement (I will be 56) but will work part-time. Partly for my sanity, and partly to fund some additional 'fun' that I've prioritized.

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your series!
    Jean @ NearlyRetired recently posted…Can I Retire Today? Yes, but I Won’tMy Profile

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    1. Thanks Jean. I think the definition of retirement is changing – work will be in the equation for many – some by choice some by necessity. I plan to work but not the same way I do now.

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  3. Good for you if that’s what you want to do….but I’m in no hurry to retire. I certainly want to become as financially secure as possible, but I love my job, love interacting with people, and what I do…so I’m not in any hurry to retire.
    Brock @CleverDude recently posted…Would You Buy Expired Food To Save Money?My Profile

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    1. Glad to hear that you like your job. It makes life much more pleasant. Sounds like a contradiction but I still want to work when I retire – but on my own terms. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Whoo! Good for them. I have several coworkers who always throw out the “I can’t ever” type excuses why their lives are different. Mostly I just ignore them now. Dude, it was YOUR choice to build a house that cost 1.5x the average house price here. That’s ALL on you!
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…How to Decide on a College DegreeMy Profile

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    1. Yes people are funny – they will stand there and tell you it can’t be done, while you are in the middle of doing it. LOL 🙂 Appreciate you stopping by.

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  5. I didn’t do my parents’ taxes but I did help them put surplus cash into investments when I was a teenager and they did quite well out of my ‘advice’! Both mine retired early too (my mum was 47, dad was 57), travel a lot and have properties in Hong Kong and UK.

    I’m not sure I will have saved/invested enough by the time I’m 55 but I’m trying my best!
    weenie recently posted…My Home Brew ProjectMy Profile

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    1. Funny us teenagers helping our parents out with their finances. Your parents sound similar to mine.
      good luck with the beer – my husband has had good experience with brewing his own. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Ha! I started doing my parents’ taxes when I was a teenager too! I never thought I’d hear of someone else who did this.

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    1. That is so funny! I NEVER thought I would hear about another person doing their parents taxes. I learned a lot from doing them (and my Dad appreciated because he hated it.) Thanks for coming by.

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  7. I want to retire no later than 55 as well so this is very inspiring. It sounds like your parents have life all figured out 🙂 I only have one home right now, but eventually I’d like to buy a second property in England too. Looking forward to learn more about your parent’s strategy.
    Liquid recently posted…The Purr-fect Housewarming GiftMy Profile

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    1. When they decided to buy in England – everyone including the bank told them they were nuts. They haven’t regretted a thing though. I hope I can “retire” before 55 if I can. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back for the rest.

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    1. They are an inspiration for sure and a large part of the reason I have been on this FI/Getting control of finances journey. Can’t wait to tell the rest of the story.

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    1. Thanks for commenting and – as a matter of fact – I am STILL doing their taxes LOL but a least now I can use software.

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    1. Thanks Mrs. FW. Glad that you stopped by. I checked out your hiking pictures – they are awesome.

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    1. I am looking forward to sharing it – their story is kinda cool. Thanks for coming by.

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