Author Topic: Retire early not really an option...freelance?  (Read 4032 times)

thefrugalnudists

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Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« on: August 07, 2014, 07:29:38 PM »
So not looking to put together a case study but just as some background before I get to the question at hand. I don't think retiring early will be a real option for me. I am 42, a barber and married with 2 young kids. I have no debt, but no assets either. When I was young I was very naive and rejected money as a distraction, feeling like to live the life I wanted, I didn't need much money and so placed no importance on it. So at least I was used to living frugally as a result, the one benefit I suppose. The other benefit is that I have no debt.

What is terrible, though is that I have no money invested. I also got my act together when I became a barber and started socking away money. Then I went and moved to Italy to open a barbershop there and 2 years later had blown almost all of my savings and came back to the US. And came with a wife to boot. Who is now a stay at home mom. So getting ourselves set up here has taken a while and I only just started getting money saved again.
Currently we have $15,000 saved which we began saving around December so it has accumulated rather quickly. In a year and a half my wife will hopefully be working in some sort of IT job and hopefully making decent money. I will then go to part time work to take care of the kids.
So even becoming mustachian and getting some money put into some index funds and the whole she-bang, I will likely end up retired around 65 when most people do anyway. (Which 2 years ago would have been inconceivable, as I thought I would never be able to retire. Thanks Mr. Money Mustache!). And my wife is 29 so she has quite some time to go before 65.

I wonder if I should be changing gears and for us to try to in the next 10 years or so to freelance in some capacity so we have the freedom to work when we want without actually being retired yet. But I have no idea how to set ourselves on that road or if it is possible. I am thinking for myself to be a wordpress developer. Not expecting to make tons of money at it, but some extra while working from home would be nice. And my wife will hopefully be able to work on her own after putting some years of experience together.

I apologize for a a not so cogent question, but is there anybody out there freelancing who can chime in on this?

arebelspy

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2014, 03:32:57 PM »
I think you're off to a great start.  You're saving 2k/mo on one person's salary already, have no debt and a positive net worth.  And if your wife is going to be working and increasing that number, you could easily FIRE in 10-15 years, depending on your spending levels (which I'm guessing is pretty low, if you're saving 15k in 8 month's on a barber's salary).

Sure, you may be starting later than some, but who cares?

If you lay out some more details around your income and spending we can get more precise and lay out a plan, but it sounds to me you have a great start, and the most important part: the mindset.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

ch12

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2014, 05:55:14 PM »
Currently we have $15,000 saved. In a year and a half my wife will hopefully be working in some sort of IT job and hopefully making decent money. I will then go to part time work to take care of the kids.

So even becoming mustachian and getting some money put into some index funds and the whole she-bang, I will likely end up retired around 65 when most people do anyway.

I wonder if I should be changing gears and for us to try to in the next 10 years or so to freelance in some capacity so we have the freedom to work when we want without actually being retired yet.

I apologize for a a not so cogent question, but is there anybody out there freelancing who can chime in on this?

I absolutely agree with arebelspy that you already have the mindset down, and that's the biggest part of the battle. I also agree that you'll be able to retire prior to 65. You can take a look at MMM's shockingly simple math: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

If you save and invest around 55% of your after-tax income, you'll be done in 14.5 years.  The MMM math graph seems to have been muddled by the website redesign, but the information and visualization is still good. You can always run your specific numbers in a calculator: http://networthify.com/calculator/earlyretirement?income=50000&initialBalance=0&expenses=20000&annualPct=5&withdrawalRate=4

You might be in the flowery meadow right now, but you're on your way. http://rootofgood.com/reaching-the-summit-financial-independence/

To answer your question: I recently quit my software job in order to become an independent contractor, and it has been an interesting transition. The best part is that I can do my job from anywhere with Internet, and it's completely on my own schedule with a maximum of hours that I can work per week. I get paid via invoices. The editing work that I'm doing now could definitely be done while watching children; I'm not sure that development would be the same way.

I'm also running my own little self-pub business, and I'm seeing a fair amount (though not a majority by any means) of parents who think that it's a way to make spare money on their own time. Running a lifestyle design business that can be scaled up or down is a good solution for parents. Wordpress development might be a good business in that sense.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 07:35:01 PM »
Have you read "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton?  It's a good resource for some fundamentals (that you're probably already doing) told in a folksy style.  It tells the story of David's barber friend who socked away more than $1M over his career, and some other wealth building strategies.  It's readily available at your local library or used bookstore.

Top tips are:
*Save 10% (or more), and Pay YOURSELF FIRST (before paying bills, through direct deposit - in my case to my stock account buying Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund VTI).
*Create a will.
*Check with Social Security to see what retirement benefit you can expect.
etc. 

He has a newer book titled "The Wealthy Barber Returns", but I haven't read it.

Retired To Win

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 09:18:51 PM »
... I wonder if I should be changing gears and for us to try to in the next 10 years or so to freelance in some capacity so we have the freedom to work when we want without actually being retired yet. But I have no idea how to set ourselves on that road or if it is possible. I am thinking for myself to be a wordpress developer. Not expecting to make tons of money at it, but some extra while working from home would be nice. And my wife will hopefully be able to work on her own after putting some years of experience together.

I apologize for a a not so cogent question, but is there anybody out there freelancing who can chime in on this?


Three things I want to say.

First, from personal experience, a computer-based side gig / freelance gig is the way to go.  Near total time flexibility... do the work in your jammies... etc.  And you could be a 100-person company for all your clients would ever know.

Second, web development -- if you can swing it -- is a great idea because that is the kind of field where what really counts is what you can show you can do, not the sheepskin on your wall.  My former office manager taught herself web development while working on my company website, struck out on her own, and has been making a living at this for over 10 years now.  Strictly on the basis of what you can see on her website that she can do / has done.  Hell, I was her client for a bunch of years!

Third, this could be a gold mine for your wife in a few years because she will have a sheepskin and experience under her belt.  (A little contradictory, I know.)  Case in point: my wife, who just early-retired from a professional/technical career.  Lo and behold, she was recommended to a company in her field just days after she early-retired, struck a freelance deal with them, and is now basically working one day a week (in her jammies) for about $70K a year.  Sweet!

Lian

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 09:39:58 PM »
Better to retire at 65 with a decent stash than to face retirement at 65 with only SS. You've got plenty of time. For what it's worth, I didn't start getting my finances in order and contribute to retirement until I was almost 40. I will still manage an early(ish) retirement, although my real goal is peace of mind and freedom from the cubicle. Freelancing/consulting seems like the way to go. I like my work but not my job.

financialforager

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 01:39:13 PM »
I am a freelancer in the field of computers and audio visual. I have been freelancing for over 10 years. The key is trying and make as many contacts as possible. Try and seek out others doing what you want to do and learn from them. The freelance field is built on people referring others, get your name out there. It will take time to build up a client list. It does take some time to get used too, not working all the time. If you can work it right, you can make decent money and have free time as well. Good luck.   

thefrugalnudists

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 08:03:35 PM »
Wow! I had given up on getting a response to this question and neglected it. Thanks to those who responded!
I agree that we are not a lost cause and we feel good about where we are. And just being able to actually retire at 65 based on our income and spending is something to celebrate. But being a barber is very physical. Much more demanding than people realize. Besides the fact that I work in a very busy 2 man shop. So it is an almost constant line of people. I am starting to have some physical problems from the line of work now so I don't envision being able to do this for more than a few years at my current pace of work. Working part time as I mentioned, when my wife starts working, will prolong my career a few years.
So I am really happy to read about other freelancers who are doing it. I figure if I can't be retired early, I can at least be working when I want to and not be dependent on a job I can no longer do physically or one that I hate.
Not to mention my commute is a real drag right now and I would love to work from home.
I really don't need to be retired early as I like to work. And I actually prefer doing hard work than sitting in front of a computer. But as I said, I can't do it forever. So if I can make a bit and my wife can make a good living then hopefully we have an empowered life like that.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 08:37:15 PM by thefrugalnudists »

thefrugalnudists

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Re: Retire early not really an option...freelance?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 08:39:17 PM »
... I wonder if I should be changing gears and for us to try to in the next 10 years or so to freelance in some capacity so we have the freedom to work when we want without actually being retired yet. But I have no idea how to set ourselves on that road or if it is possible. I am thinking for myself to be a wordpress developer. Not expecting to make tons of money at it, but some extra while working from home would be nice. And my wife will hopefully be able to work on her own after putting some years of experience together.

I apologize for a a not so cogent question, but is there anybody out there freelancing who can chime in on this?


Three things I want to say.

First, from personal experience, a computer-based side gig / freelance gig is the way to go.  Near total time flexibility... do the work in your jammies... etc.  And you could be a 100-person company for all your clients would ever know.

Second, web development -- if you can swing it -- is a great idea because that is the kind of field where what really counts is what you can show you can do, not the sheepskin on your wall.  My former office manager taught herself web development while working on my company website, struck out on her own, and has been making a living at this for over 10 years now.  Strictly on the basis of what you can see on her website that she can do / has done.  Hell, I was her client for a bunch of years!

Third, this could be a gold mine for your wife in a few years because she will have a sheepskin and experience under her belt.  (A little contradictory, I know.)  Case in point: my wife, who just early-retired from a professional/technical career.  Lo and behold, she was recommended to a company in her field just days after she early-retired, struck a freelance deal with them, and is now basically working one day a week (in her jammies) for about $70K a year.  Sweet!
This is exactly how I had envisioned it. I'm glad to know I didn't have my head in the clouds thinking of it. We're not sure which tack my wife will take yet, but it looks like she is doing really well with java.