get married, have some kids and pay off the mortgage. If everything goes well, we will then retire somewhere sunny playing bridge and golf everyday. Many people will also go through painful episodes of divorce and/or bankruptcy.
Most people do not even think of doing anything different with their lives, and it is not until they reach their 40s or 50s when they start to question how they have lived their life as they realize their life is halfway over. This is referred to as a mid-life crisis. People often start to feel bored with their lives, their jobs and the people in their lives. Feelings of regret of not achieving past goals and aspirations are not uncommon. Spending ten hours a day in a cubicle tied to a computer is not how your career advisor said your life would be like.
When we are young we are told over and over the benefits of getting a good education to help prepare for a successful career, but nothing is done to help us prepare for the realization that this pattern of life may not be so fantastic as what everyone makes it out to be. A divorce, job loss or business failure only needs to be thrown into the picture to truly upset the American Dream.
If the ideal of getting a good education, career and home with a white picket fence, is not for you what are the alternatives, and what do you need to get out of the rat race and escape from your cubicle walls? There are so many places in this world that offer a cheaper and better lifestyle than what you might be accustomed to. Latin America, Easern Europe and South East Asia are places where you can live for not only cheaper, but often live a more relaxed, healthy lifestyle.
Having enough money is probably one of the biggest factors which will determine whether you can change your life. There is the emotive factor of selling your possessions that may have once been important to both how you, yourself and other people judged your success. When it comes down it, how important is a big house, expensive car and the latest plasma television? Without knowning it, it can be these items that are holding you down.
Did you know that it is possible to live in Thailand for just US$500 a month? Sure this amount is only a basic lifestyle, a beach apartment and eating local food, but who would not trade working 40 hours a week, to this for a leisure-filled, stress free life.
$500 is only a minimum amount, but by downsizing and cashing in some of your assets, the dream of changing your life for the better, may not be so far from turning it into a reality.
If you chose to semi-retire when you are in your thirties or early forties, you could have the chance to really enjoy living while you still have good health. Volunteering, study, learning a foreign language, traveling, running a small business or getting regular exercise are some of the things you could enjoy.
If in your thirties, you decided to keep working until the usual retirement age of 60 or 65, how much more do you think you would be able to accomplish working a regular job? Would a bigger house, newer car really make your life more worthwhile living?
With the opportunities available to make money on the internet you can still continue to make money to build your nest egg. For some people, it is even possible to increase their wealth by working less, something not likely possible trying to work your way up the corporate ladder.
You can be fairly sure that your work colleagues will not understand what you are doing. The hardest thing about change, even if it is for a better lifestyle, is to be able remove yourself from what is the expected norms of society. Think now how you want to live your life, if you enjoy your job then that is fine, but don’t wait until you have to start hearing stories about your partners or friends going through a mid-life crisis.
Mike writes for his blog: Retire Young and Wealthy where he is already living his dream.