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“Early retirement is not the dream.” Here’s 5 steps to live like you’re retired now.

This lifestyle entrepreneur says “early retirement” is not the dream. Here’s 5 steps to live like you’re retired now.

It’s wednesday morning at 10:25am. Mark is walking on a deserted beach with an expensive $7 espresso drink in hand, and his baby strapped to his chest. This is not a vacation. It’s just another ordinary wednesday for this 30 year old lifestyle entrepreneur. Mark works less than 4 hours a day and can work from wherever, whenever.

Early retirement is often seen as the ultimate goal for many people, but for Money With Mark it’s not the dream, but the journey that matters. Mark believes that retirement should not be seen as a destination, but rather a lifestyle that can be achieved at any stage of life.

Here is his 5 step process to push you towards living like you’re retired now, regardless of your age or current financial situation:

#1 Start house hacking

Rent, or a mortgage is almost always your biggest expense. House hacking is turning where you live into a cash flowing asset. This lets you drink as many $7 lattes as you want, while freeing up the biggest expense in your life.

“You can do this by either finding a landlord that allows you to sublease out rooms or your place. Or force yourself to save up for a 2 – 4 unit purchase, or house with a secondary suite. I started my first house hack by putting my rented apartment on Air Bnb to make some money on the weekends, while I went camping.”

Money With Mark

When you no longer have to pay out of pocket for your rent, mortgage and utilities that sets you up very nicely for step 2…

#2 (Carefully) quit your 9-5

Develop a skill, and find contacts to pay you for it. For me it was search engine optimization. I got my first client through my wife’s network as a side hustle making an extra $600 / month. Then I started listing my services on sites like upwork, and did SEO on my own website too.

I actually got fired from my last job, but had already built up nearly $1,500 a month in income from my side hustle. House hacking meant I was paying $0 / month for my mortgage and utilities. So that plus my unemployment insurance gave me almost a year of cashflow to allow me the time to really go hard at my side hustle.

#3 Charge more, work less

99% of freelancers and lifestyle entrepreneurs fall into the trap of getting new clients at any cost. Money with Mark is not about that life. I am all about working less and living more. Once you have enough clients to sustain your base lifestyle the next step is to double your rates,or preferably triple them.

As your clients turnover you want to put in less work, while still making the same amount of money. When I started doing SEO for businesses I was brining on new clients at a messily $600 / month. Today? I won’t get out of bed for anything less than $3,000 / month. That allows me to get paid healthily, and store enough profits for not just myself, but for my company to operate when there are eventually recessions.

#4 Double down on your house hacking

Do not become a real estate mogul. Again, we’re trying to work less and live more. A few years after you have completed your first house hack you can take a page out of the real estate investing playbook.

BRRR is a common real estate investing model. I prefer a slow brrrr. Buy, Rennovate, Rent, Refinance, Repeat. The slower you do this, the more equity you build up in your portfolio, and the larger positive cashflow you’ll have with your real estate. This means you’ll own less properties (do less land lord work) and have a larger margin of error in the case of a housing crash or recession.

#5 Freelance your way out of work

Just as you once upon a time started to freelance as a side hustle. Now you get to be the employer!! With your lifestyle business or your rental properties take your time in hiring contractors to test out their skills / devotion. After you go through a few people you’ll find someone who’s where you were just a few years ago.

Now you can essentially have them take over the work on your business, while making a large profit on top of their costs. Again take this slowly, be patient and find the right fit.

The biggest benefit

As a new parent I knew that the 9-5 rat race was not how I wanted to spend the majority of my waking hours. Talk to any old person and they’ll tell you that time is your biggest currency. So if you want to be wealthy, take steps to free up your time by replacing your biggest costs with cash flow.

Buying back your time allows you to prioritize experiences, cultivate relationships, and work on a flexible schedule. This type of life and mindset can help you achieve a sense of purpose and happiness that transcends traditional notions of retirement.

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Money With Mark is a personal finance speaker, influencer, author and content creator on YouTube, Tik Tok, and Instagram.