I took the semi-retirement option at 19, started working seasonally for 8 months of the year so I'd have time to enjoy life and learn valuable skills which will benefit me in the long run when I wasn't working. For the last 10 years I've been on the path to fincancial independence and it seems to be working out alright.
I have zero debt, savings in the bank that grow every month for a down payment on house or land when the time is right, eat good organic food, have plenty of expensive hobbies, take extended holidays to warm countries every year, have original art hanging on my walls and really own more material shit than I know what to do with. All while only working part of the year and snowboarding, mountain biking and enjoying life as much as possible in between work. Da fuck?
Since I don't make piles of money, I can't count on investment returns to earn me alot of money every month so I do well for myself by keeping my costs low, being self sufficient wherever possible and saving money that way. Regardless, no matter how much or how little you're investing, the same principals apply though..if you're buying precious metals, you buy low and sell high. Duh. If you're bank is offering promotional interest for 6 months and it'll earn you more money, stick it in one of those accounts. It's free money, so why not do it?! Pretty simple if you ask me. I make half what most of you make every year but probably put twice as much in the bank.
I didn't get a university education right out of high school even though peers, family and society told me I'd never amount to anything without one. Look at all the poor fuckers out there with $60k in student loans and nothing to show for it.
I do, however speak 3 languages fluently, play several instruments, know how to frame, plumb and finish a home, build forms for foundations, rebuild an engine and repair just about anything that can break on a car, bike, chainsaw or what have you, fell trees, grow and make my own food, brew beer, distill alcohol, catch fish and live pretty darn well. If I don't know how to do something, I have the time to do the research and teach myself what I need to know. Over the years I've had the opportunity to work for friends, sometimes for money and other times for work trades, which has led to learning all kinds of skills which in the long run save me piles of money every year and are setting me up for financial independence. I think about everything in life as a learning opportunity, not just about making money.
Every time you're able to do something yourself, you're saving money, saving taxes you'd have to pay and you get the Manly satisfaction of saying "I did that myself!". I fucking hate paying taxes, and so do you. We all have to pay taxes though, it's a fact of life. But by doing things for yourself you cut out the tax-man and have more money in the bank at the end of the day. Win/Win if you ask me.
Build your own house? Yup you can do that. Fix your car? Yup that's actually pretty easy too. Cook wholesome food that rivals most 5 start restaurants? Yeah, just follow a recipe. Ride a 3 year old, aluminum framed mountain bike with small wheels? You're damn right you can shred on that fucker, especially if you have the time to learn to be a good rider instead of hoping that bigger wheels/matching helmet, shoes and jersey will make you better.
Eating well is expensive, but it doesn't have to be. I buy 1/2 of a cow with a friend every year, bought from a little old 80 year old-hard-as fuck lady a few hours from where I live. I get to see the cow before I eat it, support a local farmer and fill my freezer with organic, grass fed locally raised cuts of the finest meat you can buy for way less $$$/lb than it costs to buy shitty hormone filled ground beef from the grocery store. The other half of my freezer is full of 25lbs of frozen Pine Mushrooms I picked behind my house, huckleberries and blueberries from the mountains around where I live, some fish I catch etc. I buy organic grains for pennies on the dollar by buying in bulk compared to what I would spend on smaller amounts from the grocery store every week. I bake my own bread, the kind of shit that a French bakery sells for $7/loaf and it costs me less than 50 cents to make.
Our society is programmed to think that we need everything instantly, that we can't possibly wait for something, that we need to throw down cash (or credit card) every time we want something. It takes a while to start thinking differently but once you do, you'll realise how easy it is to live within your means and start putting money away - and have more time to enjoy life as well.
Ya, I'm a bit of a hippie with a rather red neck but at this rate I'll be retired, living in a house I've build with my own hands from skills I've learned for free, from trees I've felled on my own property and able to live a nearly completely self sufficient lifestyle before I'm 40 while having lived an incredibly rich and fulfilling life until then. It's not hard, you just need to reprogram your brain to think outside of the box. The rest takes care of itself.