Financial Freedom by 50: My Ten-Year Project for Early Retirement
For five years, I was studying chemical engineering when I began seriously considering the option of dropping out of the university. Not the best thought for a parent who had reserved a place on the wall to hang their son’s diploma ever since he started bringing home awards as a high school honor student!
But for me, a university degree was just a simple piece of paper that I didn’t want to spend ten years of my life for. Probably that piece of paper could ensure I’d have a job by now, but my need for money was growing quickly.
So, I finally dropped out a few years later, when I started making good money and becoming financially independent, or so I thought.
Sabotaging my own financial plan
In the end, things didn’t turn out the way I was planning to. Besides, when was the last time things went our way? I still remember when I was 25, and I was planning to make 300K by my thirties so that a bank’s 5% interest rate would be enough to bring in 15 grand a year effortlessly. I seemed to be on the right path, although I didn’t yet know that much about investments and financial independence back then.
And to prove my limited knowledge, with the first 50K I earned, I bought a car instead of making money work for me and reaching my goal easier and quicker.
As a number, 300.000 may sound big for some and small for others. It doesn’t matter that much. It’s just that was a viable goal. I hadn’t picked that randomly. However, the thing is that life caught on, and I lost my opportunity to touch that goal. Money was lost, priorities changed.
So, for a myriad of reasons, I didn’t make it to financial independence. To be financially set for life in other words. So, at 40, I won’t hesitate to admit that I betrayed myself. That I failed.
Do I have a shot for financial freedom at 40?
The value of mistakes and failures comes from learning from them and improving as a person. Otherwise, our attempts are really made in vain if we are not going to learn from these unavoidable mistakes.
For years, I’ve been living in a comfort zone I created for me in recent years. That led to not setting any goal, for which I’d be waking up every morning with energy. Days, weeks, and months were simply passing by. Every year was the same. I had no vision. I used to go to bed simply because sleep was a biological need, and I was looking forward to waking up and resume previous night’s work. Nowadays, I am going to bed with no anticipation.
So, the time has come for me to set some goals. To find a vision of how I see myself in a few years. Obviously, I’m not 25 anymore. On the other hand, what if the forties are the new twenties? If I were 50 now, wouldn’t I wish to have been 40 again? Oh, the things I would do…
Well, if I don’t get suddenly sick or die, my goal is to become financially independent by 50. To succeed, I have to make a million in the next ten years. How do the 300K sound now, huh?
Financial Planning for Financial Independence
The good thing is that I don’t start from ground zero like at 25. As a student, I had 1,500 euros to my name. By risking here and there, I managed to increase that capital enough to start a business so that I can now make a living out of it.
As a family man nowadays, the risk of my decisions should be substantially smaller. As a consequence, the reward will also be limited. But perhaps I can improve that by making smart moves. A smart move is a decision of a high reward/risk ratio while having good odds for the decision to work out. Think of a coin toss paying five times my bet and having an 80% chance of calling out the right side. In the world of entrepreneurship, that would make for a unicorn, a scenario that is very rare to happen.
The reason that I don’t start from scratch and I don’t need to risk that much nowadays is that my current income streams cover our family’s needs. Yet, that business side of my life will be put aside, since it doesn’t fulfill me, and there isn’t much room for improvement. Of course, I am grateful that I have this sort-of steady source of income that allows me to try out new things. It’s a business that I’ve been building for several years, and it’s automated, for the most part, requiring a few hours per week from me to operate smoothly.
Besides, many of the business ideas we’re going to talk on this channel in the future are based on automation, money, and time efficiency. Thus, I’ve certainly taken my lessons from running a business all these years, which I think will come in handy going forward.
Focusing on Digital and Creative Entrepreneurship
Making a million dollars or euros in the next ten years isn’t impossible. It isn’t easy, either. Usually, the country where we are based is critical, but trying to be not only financially but also location independent, it won’t matter. And that’s because we will be focusing on the vast land of the most awesome country we all reside in: the internet!
If I omit my casino career, all of my endeavors that followed were based on the web. No surprise that my business cards introduce me as a web entrepreneur. Sort of a digital entrepreneur. Or an entrepreneur of the internet. Or an entrepreneur of sucking! Putting labels on people is so ridiculous that sarcasm is more than necessary!
The internet is an endless land of opportunity. And almost all of us have access to that land. But instead of taking advantage of that, we send out selfies, play pointless games, or watch videos that teach us nothing for endless hours.
In contrast, I’m focusing on ideas that you will probably find useful on business thoughts that anyone may build upon and on topics that will help in one way or another to reach my goals. And while I’m doing this, I’ll make the most out of the knowledge I’ve accumulated all these years and potentially discover new things.
Documenting the Journey to Financial Freedom
One of those ideas is to track my 10-year progress in the form of videos. Not only will I hold myself accountable, but maybe I’ll inspire some of you to try retiring much earlier or learn new things, to say the least. Not to mention that this whole project might actually provide me with another income stream, helping me achieve my goals faster! There are so many benefits here that to say it’s a win-win scenario is an understatement.
Will I retire in ten years? Obviously, it’s too soon to tell. Is it laughable that I’m trying to retire by 50? Perhaps. But what if things work out better than expected and financial independence comes much earlier? What if I make 10 million by 50? What if five more people enjoy financial freedom in the next ten years because of this project? Or what if the project just makes me happy? Isn’t that why we all work for? Aren’t we all pursuing happiness?
At least at my fifties, I won’t say that I didn’t try. I will not wonder what I would have become if I had started this project now. I will have no regrets about not starting this project. Because this first episode is proof that I started. And besides, what’s the alternative? Living 10 more years like the previous 5? No way.
I am Jim Makos, a chemical engineer dropout, an advantage gambler and a web entrepreneur, starting a 10-year project pursuing financial freedom. Follow the journey by subscribing to my channel to learn from my mistakes, failures, or, dare I say, success. You may also find more about how I ended up here by visiting my website at jimmakos.com. Thank you for being a part of this and will catch you in the next one.