To gain financial independence or early retirement in the soonest possible time then Saving Hard and Investing Wisely are must do’s. On the Saving Hard front there are two main routes that we can follow with early retirement coming sooner if both are applied with vigour. The first is what we talk about regularly including frugal living, opting out of consumerism and watching the small spends because they can quickly add up to big spends to name but three. This is nothing more than cutting our costs to free up cash for Investing Wisely and is something we can all do by refusing to act like a victim and then simply applying some discipline.
The second is potentially a little more difficult to achieve but equally valid and involves Earning More while increasing your costs to earn that extra by as little as possible. There are many ways to do this but some options might include maximising your current career to gain promotion, retraining into a new career, taking whatever overtime is offered (if you are lucky enough to be offered overtime), starting a small business, developing a side income or simply starting to sell some of that consumerist tat that you bought before it becomes worthless.
Personally, up until now I've followed the maximise my career to gain promotion option but am starting to now consider some of the other options as financial independence approaches. Some of the techniques I’ve used to get to my current position have included:
- Looking around and ensuring I have stayed in the top 10% of my peers in terms of delivery. Where I'm a little slower than others on some tasks it’s meant I have to work a bit longer and where I’m not as smart as someone else it’s meant some self learning or further education. Both ways have meant more hours invested in my career than most of my peers.
- I've never asked for a pay rise for something I am about to do unless it is of course offered. Instead I always do the job and then ask for the pay rise. The advantage of this method is that if they then say no I already have the skills on the CV to move to another organisation where they will recognise and pay for these new skills.
- I'm prepared to commute to maximise earnings. This one is a little controversial but I look at it from the perspective of maximising my free cash after all costs which includes commuting costs. More free cash means more savings.
- I'm very flexible. If the toilet needs cleaning to ensure that project succeeds then I clean the toilet.
- I'm always on the lookout for that door that is partially open even if it means a bit of extra effort in the short term. This is because you never know where it leaves and on at least 2 occasions it has led to more stable earnings for me.