What Would Your Ideal Retirement Look Like?

bicycling through hill country

Big pie in the sky question for you today. What does retirement look like for you? Maybe you are sitting here reading this blog post at 25 years old and $45,000 in college student loans, and you just put 0% down on a $250,000 house and you are thinking retirement is a far off dream.

Or are you 55 years old with $20k in credit card debt, $350,000 mortgage, and $10,000 in your 401k. Does it feel like you won't ever get to retirement by 65 years old and why waste the effort? Especially when all your friends and family are living it up.

In my situation, I've thought about retirement ever since my Junior year in college. When my professor laid out for our class the power of compounding interest. It really appealed to me to get to retirement as soon as possible, which was why I wanted to put away as much away as I could before I turned 30 years old.

As I've gone along, and am now in my late 30's, my mindset of retirement investing has shifted. I've shifted primarily towards passive income streams and becoming debt free. It is in this middle stage that I'm working more towards planting my small passive income seeds that will require a little bit of work, but will gain me long term income. In addition, I'm continuing to work towards a two year path to debt freedom, and this will only accelerate my pursuit of the possibility of early retirement even more.

As I continue to the “back nine” of building up my retirement assets, I'd like to lay out a visual of what I view retirement as I continue to gain momentum with my retirement investment seeds.

  1. Purge debt – I am only in debt today, because of my house. I have $52k left to pay off on this liability. Why do I call this debt a liability? Well, my house isn't making me residual money. It is providing a roof over my head, and provides my family with a nice bed to sleep in at night. As I move towards retirement I'm looking to use debt more to accelerate my passive income streams, but only at a manageable level. This is how I feel today, but my attitude could easily change as I enter into debt freedom.
  2. Create multiple diversified income streams – as of right I have about three or four major legs to my retirement stool. This includes the blog income, AirBnB, and my passive retirement investments (Lending Club, Pension Income, and Schwab Monthly Income Fund). By the time I'm in my early 50's and debt free, I'd expect to have 10-12 legs of my retirement income streams. I'm assuming that I'd focus a majority of my efforts on the primary 3 or 4 income streams, and the other 7-9 accounts will be pretty much self sustaining.
  3. Semi-retirement – as I talk about creating multiple income streams what that looks like to me is shifting away from the corporate 9-5 cubical workday to one that is working from home on my part time gigs. This could include developing my YouTube Channel, developing my blog, or selling things on Craigslist.
  4. Moving around in an RV – alright…now this is my crazy dream. I watch a number of YouTube channels (i.e. Nomadic Fanatic) where RV'ers are living in their RV's full time and boon-docking. I fully admit that my spouse isn't on board with this one, but I'll just leave it as a dream. It seems like a nice cheap way of living, and seems appealing to move south during the winter with all of your belongs. I'll just leave this on the sideline for right now. :)
  5. Working on the Farm – if I could retire today, then sign me up for working on the farm in the spring and fall. I'm all in, and that would be the ideal case to quit working and just work in the spring and the fall on the farm. It could help provide some residual income and would be an ideal transition of the farming operations from my dad to me. I say that all as another pie in the sky, but would be pretty fun if I was fully retired. Here's to getting to retirement in my early 40's! Ha!
  6. Volunteer and helping the needy – the older I get the more I realized just how blessed my family and I are. We have SO much! I want to expand my volunteering at church and helping the needy in our local community. Retirement will only help us have more time to give back to those less fortunate.

As you can see that a lot of these are what retirement looks like. What it feels like to be retired. I write some of these as self motivation, because I can't emphasis enough how important it is to know what your goal looks like. Give it a try. So with that said…what does retirement look like to you? What does it feel like?

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