The 8 Habits I Used To Retire At 35 And Enjoy The Rest Of My Life In Bliss


I remember my last day of work like it was yesterday. It was December 23rd, 2016, and I was 35 years old. And it was the best Christmas gift I ever could have gotten.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t get an inheritance, no lottery winnings, and I didn’t even start my own business. My wife and I quit the rat race early the old-fashioned way by getting a college degree, working hard (and smart) for 15 years, and saving and investing along the way.

I used eight habits to quit the rat race in my mid-30s.

1. I Lived Below My Means


I wasn’t always a big saver, but I learned how important it is not to spend most of your income.

This might be the most crucial habit of all. Living below your means isn’t about deprivation; it’s about making conscious choices. I drove a used car, lived in a modest home, and avoided lifestyle inflation. Every time I got a raise, I didn’t upgrade my lifestyle; I saved and invested that extra money instead. This discipline helped me accumulate wealth faster than I would have otherwise.

2. I Invested From The Beginning


As they say, “time in the market is more important than timing the market.” From the moment I set foot in an office, I started investing.

Investing was a game-changer for me. I started learning about the stock market in my early 20s and made it a point to educate myself about different investment options. I diversified my portfolio, which included stocks, bonds, and real estate. I also took advantage of tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s. Consistently investing a significant portion of my income allowed my money to grow exponentially over time.

3. Prioritize Health

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My health became my top priority when I turned 30 (sadly, I neglected my health by going out to eat a lot in my 20s. Big mistake!).

Physical and mental health are often overlooked in the hustle for financial independence, but they’re essential. I made exercise a daily habit, ate nutritious foods, and prioritized sleep. Stress management techniques like meditation and yoga helped me stay focused and calm. Being healthy saved me money on medical bills and ensured I had the energy and vitality to enjoy my life and manage my investments wisely.

4. Continuous Learning Was Important


I attended conferences whenever I could, volunteered for extra work at the office, and made friends with people who were smarter than me. All of these things made me smarter.

The world is constantly changing, and staying updated is crucial. I committed to continuous learning through reading books, taking online courses, or attending seminars. Knowledge in personal finance, investments, and self-development kept me ahead of the curve. This habit also helped me make informed decisions and seize opportunities others might miss.

5. I Created Multiple Income Streams

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I never had a single source of income. Nowadays, most millionaires have at least four or five sources of income beyond their salaries.

Relying on a single source of income can be risky. I diversified my income streams to include my job, rental properties, stock dividends, and a small side business. This accelerated my path to financial independence and provided a safety net in case one income source dried up. The multiple streams ensured a steady flow of money, which made me feel secure and confident in my decision to retire early.

6. I Set Clear Goals


Having clear, specific goals was vital. My wife and I would talk about our goals on walks we took after dinner with our dogs. It was a crucial component in our drive to early retirement.

I set both short-term and long-term financial goals and tracked my progress regularly. This included milestones like paying off debt, saving a certain amount, and investing in new opportunities. These goals kept me motivated and focused. When I hit a goal, it reminded me that my hard work was paying off, which was incredibly rewarding.

7. I Networked and Made Friends


Surrounding myself with the right people made a huge difference. I networked with like-minded individuals and sought mentorship from those who had already achieved financial independence.

Learning from their experiences, mistakes, and successes provided invaluable insights. Mentorship also offered encouragement and accountability, which were crucial during challenging times.

8. Enjoy the Journey


Finally, I made it a point to enjoy the journey. Because life can’t always be about working.

While saving and investing are important, so is living your life. I traveled, spent time with family and friends, and pursued hobbies. This balanced approach ensured I didn’t burn out and that I truly enjoyed my life along the way. After all, the goal of financial independence is not just to have money, but to have the freedom to enjoy your life fully.

Here are a few additional tips to build wealth quickly.

Pay Off High-Interest Debt

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High-interest debt can drain your finances and hinder your ability to build wealth.

First, focus on paying off debts with the highest interest rates, such as credit card debt or payday loans. Consider consolidating your debt or negotiating with creditors to lower your interest rates and make repayment more manageable. Once you’ve paid off high-interest debt, redirect the money you used for payments toward savings and investments.

Automate Your Savings


Automating your savings is an effective way to build wealth without thinking about it.

Set up automatic monthly transfers from your checking account to your savings or investment accounts. Making saving a priority will make you less tempted to spend money impulsively. Start with a small amount and gradually increase it as your income grows. Over time, these consistent contributions can add up significantly.

Leverage Employer Benefits

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Take advantage of employer benefits to maximize your financial security.

Many companies offer retirement plans with matching contributions, health insurance, and other perks to help you save money and build wealth. Contribute enough to your employer-sponsored retirement plan to receive the full match—it’s essentially free money that can boost your long-term savings.

Invest in Real Estate


Real estate can be a lucrative investment opportunity for building wealth over the long term.

Consider purchasing rental properties or investing in real estate investment trusts (REITs) to generate passive income and benefit from property appreciation. Research local housing markets and seek guidance from real estate professionals to identify promising investment opportunities.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards


Maximize the benefits of your credit cards by using rewards such as cashback, travel miles, or points that can be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards.

Pay off your balances in full each month to avoid accruing interest and reap the full benefits of these rewards. Strategically using credit card rewards can provide additional savings and perks to your overall financial well-being.