Many have caught on to the idea that you don’t have to spend your life in servitude. Instead of lifestyle creep and keeping up with the Joneses, you can live modestly and put away the rest of your income. Once you have enough invested, you draw down just enough of your investments to maintain your already modest lifestyle and spend your free time doing what makes you happy. Early retirement: the Holy Grail of investment.
Mr Money Moustache in the US and South African Stealthy Wealth have embraced the idea of early retirement. In both excellent blogs, they explain the maths and share the types of financial maneuvering and lifestyle choices that would make early retirement possible.
Like most investment-related planning, though, both have had to make certain assumptions about what their investment returns would be over a period. No matter how much you save, cash won’t get you to early retirement. Enough money compounded over a decade or two, on the other hand, might just do the trick.
As aspiring retiree Ashleigh McLaren recently pointed out, however, the market doesn’t really care about our life plans. Over the past three years the local market has done very little, while Statistics SA recently reported a dependable and steady uptick in inflation. If I had to plan my retirement on my experience in the market, I’ll be better off buying survival packs so I can sustain myself on crackers and ammunition when I’m inevitably poor.
Are these calculations based on past market performance are realistic in the current market environment? We attempt to untangle that question in this episode.
P.S. We record the stinger at the beginning of the episode. I had every intention of talking about inflation-proof portfolios, but conversations tend to take on a life of their own if you let them.
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