Even the rich and successful have to start somewhere. Mark Zuckerberg was just a random programming student at Harvard, building a startup in his dorm room. Fast forward two decades, and that once-startup – Meta – puts his net worth north of $60 billion.
The allure of wealth isn’t necessarily a Lamborghini or a Patak Philippe watch. It’s complete financial security. Thus, many ask the question: how much money do you need to never work again?
There are dozens of self-made men and women out there that prove it’s possible. So to give you a jumpstart, let’s see how much you’d need – and how to get it.
How Much Money Do You Need to Never Work Again?
Before we can even answer the question, we have to put a big asterisk next to it. How much money you’ll need depends on the following factors:
- How old you are
- How many kids you have
- Whether you’re the sole breadwinner
- Your ideal quality of life
- Whether you own a home
- How much debt you have
You can use your current salary and living situation as a metric. Say, for example, you make $60,000 per year, the average annual salary for most Canadians. If you’re able to live comfortably, make bills, and save, that’s a good target.
Let’s go through each point and how it affects the amount you would need.
The amount of money you need naturally changes the older you get. Many Canadians begin planning for retirement via a TFSA. They contribute their savings to an investment fund that grows over their lifetime.
Financial experts suggest that by retirement age, you would need to have accumulated $1 million. If your goal is to never work past retirement, then you simply set up a TFSA.
If you want to retire younger, say at 40, the math gets a bit more complicated. The $1 million figure assumes you own a home, have paid off your vehicles, and so on. At 40, you’re likely still in that process.
Let’s assume your salary never grows from $60,000 per year. To retire at 40, you’d need another $1.2 million. In total, at least $2.2 million to have that early retirement.
Depending on who you ask, it could take up to $300,000 to raise one child to the age of 18. Multiply that by two or three kids, and you know how much more money you need. Add more if you intend to pay for your child’s college education, a vehicle, and cover other expenses.
If your partner does not work or does not earn as much, it’s on you to provide. Again, if you are making ends meet with your current salary, use that as a metric. Otherwise, calculate a new ideal salary and build off of that.
Quality of Life
Some people are very good at living frugally and using money management to budget expenses. Some live in the moment and buy whatever their heart desires. If you are the latter sort, you’ll need more money–or need to change your financial habits.
Owning a home means you no longer have a costly mortgage payment each month. Suppose you are still paying off your house or renting. You’ll need to factor in the cost of a current or future mortgage payment, then.
Unpaid loans in Canada and credit card debt can delay your early retirement. Installment loans with long repayment periods need to factor into your equation. That, and you need to consider any future online loans you might take out.
Every year, inflation occurs at a relatively consistent 2 to 3% rate. In other words, your money loses 2 to 3% of its value on an annual basis. You need a progressively higher salary–or higher early retirement fund–to compensate for it.
With the above factors, you can calculate a rough estimate of how much money you need. Then comes the second question: how do you make that much money?
The key to getting rich is not spending all your money. If you never want to work again, you need to earmark as much of your budget for savings as possible.
Create a savings account with a high-interest yield. Every month, put as much as you reasonably can into that savings account. The money will grow by 2-4% each month, helping with the next step.
Most of the rich and successful people in the world have investments of some sort. Investments include any of the following:
- Stocks and bonds
- Mutual funds and ETFs
- Real estate properties
- Venture capital for startups
Investing can be as involved or as hands-off as you like. You can dump your savings into a robo-advisor or into handpicked stocks. You can rent out your properties by yourself or hand them over to a management company.
Many of the wealthiest people in the world don’t spend their capital gains on self-care or treating themselves. They reinvest it, spinning gold into ever more gold.
Start a Business
Mark Zuckerberg made his billions by founding a social media network, not investing. Investing can make you rich, but for some a business is a more attainable vehicle to wealth.
The thing is, making enough money to never work again depends on the type of business. Opening a shake shack or an online store that sells used clothes could give you a comfortable lifestyle. Not oodles and oodles of money, though – the sort that gets you rich.
You might consider the following businesses:
- Investment firm
- Consultancy firm
- Insurance provider
- Tech startup
- Green energy company
Use this list as inspiration to find the type of business that speaks to you. Give careful consideration to whether or not you’re ready for the challenge. Owning and running a business is a 24/7 job, so you may prefer other avenues instead.
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How much money do you need to never work again? Depending on a number of factors, it’s likely at least $2.2 million for an early retirement at 40. To earn that money, you’ll need to invest, start a business, or win the lottery.
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