Retire Quickly versus Retire Secure

To retire quickly implies that you must get rich quickly. . . And the bait dangled to achieve quick retirement is invariable some get-rich-quickly scheme.

I cannot claim that I tried all these get-rich-quickly schemes, but I did pursue many of them with dedication and passion. And, for me, none of these schemes delivered as promised! In fact I do not know firsthand of any person who got rich quickly because of such a scheme.

To retire early and secure, on the other hand, is actually achievable. But it calls for a totally different mindset than the get-rich-quickly mindset. It requires careful planning, discipline, and probably a change of lifestyle.

It is a fallacy to think that higher-income earners are the ones that can retire early. A well educated and trained individual will typically earn a higher income. But the trap is in living like there's no tomorrow! By conspicuous consumption.

I cannot point a finger at anybody because I was one of them! By age 50 I woke up to the fact that I made inadequate provision for retirement – to put it mildly. Even though I earned an above average income with some entrepreneurial ventures on the side.

That was the time when I tried most of the get-rich-quickly schemes. As I mentioned, it didn't work for me.

I had to take stock of my circumstances and I was miserable for weeks. Eventually my wife and I agreed on a plan of action. We made retirement provision our top priority.

One of the toughest of all our action points was to stop consuming. Since then we practiced minimalism. We still live well, but our extravagant spending is something of the past.

I re-focused my energy on my work and my expertise and, together with some very experienced colleagues, founded an entrepreneurial venture. The venture exceeded all our expectations and became an international company with subsidiaries all over the world.

As CEO of this company I had to work very long hours – sometimes from opening time in Singapore to closing time in San Francisco. I was based in the most beautiful area of Southern Switzerland. But we continued to practice minimalism and focussed all our personal efforts on retirement provision.

Today I know that I was seriously stressed out at that time! However, I was able to retire in 2001 when I reached my personal financial target for a secure retirement.

The depression that started in 2008 devastated our retirement portfolio. So all was not plain sailing after retirement. Fortunately it looks like the tide has turned for the markets at the time of writing this in November 2012.

In my opinion: Rather retire secure – only when you have over provided for retirement – than to retire quickly.

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