8 min read(Last Updated On: December 20, 2017)

I just finished watching a documentary titled How to Retire at 40. The documentary showcased some people who have managed to – or are on their way to – retire at 40 ish.

Or at least that was the claim.

What ensued over the next 30 minutes was a showcase of utter cretins, with a couple of exceptions, one of which I want to touch upon here, because it’s about making serious cash online. Yay!

The premise or retiring early, at any age, is certainly inspiring, but what you’re about to read is a lesson on not taking lessons from tv shows.

Let’s get to it

The Couple Who Retired Early Doing Index Funds

The first couple in the show explained that they decided to rent instead of taking out a mortgage and enduring all the associated costs homeowners have to deal with, and they invested the surplus cash into index funds, which then matured after 3 or so years and now affords them a lifestyle of no work and all travel via the monthly dividends they earn on their investment.

My thoughts:

  • rent is not always cheaper than a mortgage, especially if you live in the city. So if you’re going to do this, do the math first.
  • what the program narrator failed to mention was the background of the couple.

To me, they looked pretty sharp and I would hedge my bet (pun intended) that they came from the financial / investment sector. To be specific: hedge funds. In other words, they knew what they were doing and what to invest in (ahem, maybe they saw what was working in their client portfolios…). Often times, in certain positions, one gets to spend the client’s money to test and figure out a winning strategy. This may be the case for some (or many) hedge fund managers, who could then invest their own cash after seeing which investment works out best in their entire portfolio of clients.

So this was a case of 2 pros making it look easy. Good for them, not so good for the financially inept.

Let’s move onto the first of the deluded…

The Couple Who Retired Early but Live in a Van With Curtains

This couple claimed they had managed to retire at 40. Now they get to travel around the country in total freedom… in their motorhome. Hmm.

My thoughts:

It takes a certain kind of person to enjoy ‘living’ the rest of their lives inside a van with a couch and a tiny oven-thing where you cook. For years, my mother had a caravan and for me, the novelty of sitting inside a little box on wheels wore off very quickly. I never stayed overnight – not even once.

Now, I’m not dissing motorhomes and caravans, so don’t be a hater and start attacking me. My point is that the program yet again failed to point out that this couple had achieved retirement but were now living in a van with curtains, and should you wish to follow in their path, you should be OK with living like this for the rest of your days.

And for me, that’s a big no-no. The concept of retiring early and never having to work again paints a different picture than one of compromise and non-luxury. In fact, it suggests the total opposite.

Then there was…

The Two Friends Who Bought a House Together to Sell for Profit

This couple of guys bought a home together, 50/50, and were planning to sell up after their 3-year mortgage ends, splitting the profit.

My thoughts:

I quite like that idea, but there are some things I would bear in mind: house prices sometimes crash. You may be unfortunate enough for the market to be in a down-cycle when your mortgage is up. If that’s the case, you have to be prepared to renew your mortgage and stick it out for another 2 or 3 years, then try again.

On that note, I would invest only cash you have available. If you put all you have into a shared home and you depend on the economy being rosy 3 years on, you’re an idiot.

Talking of idiots, let’s move on to the next pair…

The Idiots That Live Life Like a Penance to Save Money

Another couple explained how to retire at 40 by doing what they’re doing: they’ve set up a rule whereby they are allowed to spend money twice a week, but for the remaining 5 days, they cannot spend anything.

My thoughts:

WTF? These were the prize idiots of the entire show. They were shown walking (of course) from the supermarket, carrying 2 or 3 shopping bags with their entire week’s shopping.

The point here is that we all spend money here and there with ease and it does all mount up at the end of the day. But come on! Going completely frugal is nothing but self-imposed punishment and probably costing you dearly in some other ways.

As an example, one of the presenters attempted to live by this rule and had to walk 90 minutes to and from an interview in order to save money.

This is a prime example of people who do not understand the value of time: the only thing that ultimately matters.

Who, in their last hour, would not swap their entire fortune to turn the clock back 20 years, for another chance to start again?Click To Tweet

All we do revolves around time. The whole premise of retiring is about time, about working in order to amass currency in order to buy time. And these prize idiots are giving away an hour and a half of their lives in order to save a couple of quid on the bus or the train. Seriously? The bus or train fare is the cost of buying back 90 minutes of your life! Duh!

I’m not finished ranting yet.

Who wants to live like they’re in an open prison? What’s the point of missing out on that cappuccino to-go when you’re hopping on a train for a 2 hour journey, just so that you can congratulate yourself on your self-restraint and tell yourself that it will all be worth it in the end, if you can hear your thoughts above the rumble of your empty stomach?


As well as this being a shameful disregard of time, it presupposes that one lives for a long time. It ignores fate, which is incredibly stupid. Imagine sucking shoelaces for nourishment for 3 years in the vain hope to save money in order to retire early and then getting knocked over (dead) by a bus!

The ultimate irony of course is that if this couple manage to retire, they’re going to continue living life by earning worms from their garden and being obscenely frugal, and each time they pass up on one of life’s moments, they will tell themselves that ‘this is how we manage to stay retired’.

Fools. Utter fools.

The Accountant Who Retired Early

Then there was an accountant who explained that to how much money you need to retire is roughly 25 times your yearly expenditure. When you do the math, it turns out that you need less than you thought. Yay!

He also explained that if you can manage to save 75% of your income, you will be able to retire in 7 years (I’m not sure how that math works… but still, the point here is that if you can save a huge chunk then there’s a definite and finite number of years in which you can make something cool happen for you).

He then stated that if you can manage to save 50% of your income, then you’re looking at around 17 years or so before you can make this happen. Again, I’m not sure of the math there, but still.

My thoughts:

This guy is an accountant and he obviously knows numbers. His is a practical approach. Shame the program didn’t delve deeper into his process. For example, with today’s shocking interest rates, I doubt he’s putting the money he’s saving into a bank account and expecting that to yield anything…

Then there was The Potato Man

This is our man. This character really impressed me. This is a guy who set up a website and started selling potatoes with custom messages written on them. Literally. He writes on the potatoes and posts them out to whomever you want. He said he’s working about 8 hours a day and netting around 26k a year. Whaaaaaa!

My thoughts:

Brilliant. This is a guy who has tried something successfully in the online space: one of the most accessible sources of wealth today.

Wrapping it up: How to Retire at 40, for Real

Ok, I’m kidding with the title. Let’s say how to retire at 40 ish. No, bollocks. You and I both know that how early you retire depends on how early you start unless you get lucky, so let’s just call it how it is:

How to Retire Early

There are obviously many ways, but if you have no financial skills (like the hedge fund managers or the accountant) and some fortunate ‘peek’ at a roadmap, then it’s going to almost always come down to hard work. But despair not my friend, for we have the Internet. Seriously, nobody before us ever had it so easy. If you can write and you can nip to the market to buy potatoes, you could be making 26k a year in profit. The world is so bizarre today that it’s almost impossible to dismiss an idea, no matter how stupid it may sound. It really has to be tested, and you can be the one to test it.

Online is where you have your best chance today. Stick around and sign up to get notified on my updates as I churn out ways and tools to make money online without coding skills.

And if you need some help with your positioning. Check out my book: Untouchable: untouchablebrand.com