Confused by the title? Perhaps The unspoken truth is our very own finances make even less sense to us. You can call me Mr. Eww for now. EWW for Early Withdrawal…When?! I admit I made the last W up just to create a meaningful word, but the when is important too. You might know of this phrase. It typically relates to penalty fees charged by retirement account custodians when withdrawing money before a preset date. Instead, I use it as a way to tell you, the reader, that you too can withdrawal early and escape from the rat race that has been passed down to us from our ancestors from generation to generation. As there is no such thing as a free lunch, this also can not be done without penalty, but the rewards will be far greater. We will not cover the how in this article, but I will discuss the why next. I will get this out of the way first; I am 31 years old and planning for a full retirement next year; although I am already partially retired.
I grew up in a traditional working family. My dad was, and still is, an Aerospace Engineer. With his influence I became a Mechanical Engineer. I always equated being an Engineer as being unavailable when I was a child. This was the observation of a six year old though. The hurtful truth I found out as a teenager was that my parents became house poor by overspending on the place where I spent my wonder years. My mom had to take a job waitressing two jobs just to make ends meet. It wasn’t until I was old enough to understand the value of money that I realized all those nights eating dinner alone was not reflective of my parents not caring about me. On the contrary, they cared about me so much they wanted to continue to keep a roof over my head and in order to do so they had to sacrifice one of the most value assets we have, time, in exchange for money. From that forward I told myself that I would never be a slave to money, that I would be in charge of my own destiny, and have the ability to choose whether used my time to make money or money to “make” time.
My first job after college was at a government contractor which I spent five years building my career in. I was thinking of renewing the lease at the run down shack I was staying in, but I was offered another alternative; purchase my first home. this was right around the time that my mom provided her greatest contribution to date. She told me, “why rent when you can own?” From there I researched like a mad man into asset this and real estate that until I was mentally ready to become a owner. I still cringe to this day when I think about it, because I was so conflicted at the time. How could I consider purchasing something that gave my family such hell as I was growing up? I overcame this fear by arming myself with knowledge.
I made my first purchase in 2008. My second in 2010. And then I lost my job due to government downsizing. This would normally be about the point when the pyramid would come tumbling down, but this is not what happened. I was lucky enough, perhaps smart enough to have prepared for the future. The first home was being rented out by yours truly and all but one bedroom in the second home as well. I was making enough to pay my expenses albeit just barely. Unemployment filled the rest of the gap. 2012 was filled with uncertainty and strife. Finding work as an engineer in San Diego was very limiting at the time. It was only last June that an opportunity presented itself allowing me to move to Los Angeles to hopefully start a new life. Fast forward to today and now I have a job, girlfriend, and dreams I still aspire to.
Tell me a little about yourself in the comments below and let us take this journey into financial freedom together!