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How to Quit the Rat Race & Win! Retire Early, Retire Happy

Financial “experts” will tell you about the same old typical path to slow and steady wealth, which is to spend less than you earn and invest your savings in appreciating assets.

That age old advice is not wrong by any means, and I too follow it.  But what if you want to quit the rat race and retire early? What if you want to relax more and have the time to enjoy some of your passions and interests?

I have always said that saving alone will not always make you rich.  It might, but a better and more expedited option to riches and wealth is to turn on additional faucets of revenue.  I am referring to making money on the side.

I’m sure you have seen all those graphs that show if you save X% of your income from the time you start working to the time you are 65, you will likely retire a millionaire.

Right? So in light of that message, many people start pinching pennies living the ultra frugal lifestyle en route to becoming millionaires.  No wonder there are so many of them.

But are they really enjoying life the way they want to while scrapping up savings their entire life?  The greater goal in mind of many is retirement, during which they can kick back and enjoy life later.  When? At age 75 when a trip to Las Vegas means nothing and the knees and back hurt when they walk?

What about all those drive thru $3 lunches eaten while working on the desk that eventually clog the arteries?  Are they even going to be alive to “enjoy” life?  Health is wealth indeed, and all that scrumped up savings will do no good if one is not healthy to enjoy it.

Again, don’t get me wrong.  Investing X% (usually 10% recommended by the experts) in retirement accounts like the 401(k) plan and IRA is excellent advice, but I believe it is not THE ONLY answer, especially not if you want to expedite results.

What is the Average Joseph Approach?

Joseph watches Suze Orman, listens to Dave Ramsey, reads Money books from Borders and spends hours on Financial Blogs online.  What does he do from all that wealth of knowledge?  He goes home and develops a plan to invest 10% of his income every year for retirement in accounts like 401k and Roth IRA.  Good start in my opinion.

This is what everyone needs to do at the very least. In fact, I recommend boosting the 10% as much as you can afford to.  20-25% would be great if you could manage that. Compound interest works wonders over time, especially on a larger base today.

The Above Average Joseph

Few months into saving for retirement, Joseph stumbles upon my blog, the Extra Money Blog, which is dedicated to helping hard working and busy professionals just like him get more out of life.  Joseph realizes that he cannot solely rely on his current strategy if he wants to live the “good life” sooner than planned retirement.

Does he abandon his current investing strategy? No he does not. Instead, he pursues a side gig parallel to his investing efforts.  He understands that by doing this, he can expedite his retirement by a few decades, and improve the quality of his retirement at the same time.  How is that possible?

Establishing Additional Streams of Income

Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that you can make a ton more working for yourself than for a paycheck. Does this mean you have to quit your job? Certainly not. Many professionals enjoy what they do for a living, and you can supplement your income from the paycheck with income generated by a side gig.

With the various types of business models available to pick from, especially the nice content website model, you can decide how high or low maintenance your side gig should be.  You can earn a few hundred, few thousand all the way up to six and seven figures depending on what you do and how much time you dedicate to it.

Many professionals start a side gig on the side that eventually becomes their full time business.  You don’t have to do that if you choose not to.  You can easily generate an additional $15,000 per year however running a side gig that takes a handful of hours to run every week.

Bottom line is that you determine how much time to invest and what kind of returns you want to generate.

What Should Your Side Gig Be About?

There is no hard and fast rule that dictates what subject you choose to monetize as a side business.  Your business can cover any subject matter.  Having a personal interest in the subject matter will definitely help expedite your success and keep you motivated to plug away.

And like I stated earlier, you don’t have to plan your side gig to become your full time business some day, although you could if you want to and the gig can certainly turn into a full time endeavor.

Whatever is it that you do and whatever your long term intentions may be, the key is to get started now!  The biggest hurdle that keeps most people from making progress is not getting started immediately.   There are many side business ideas out there, you just need to pick what you are most comfortable with and execute.

The paralysis is the reason why the majority of people end up doing NOTHING, and as a result keep going back to their demoralizing office jobs (unless they are the rare breed that love what they do) day in day out for 40 years until they are fired because they are too old to do their jobs, or get the gold watch on the brighter side that their kids will sell for $10 in a garage sale after they pass away.

But you won’t let that happen to you right?  Make it a point to budget some time either on nights or weekends to dedicate to your business.  Start with 5 hours per week and increase it to 10.

See where you stand after a few months and increase it more if you can.  You are going to spend that time anyway, whether watching TV, on the phone or doing nothing.  Might as well spend it wisely.  Like I said, there are countless ideas out there, you just have to pick one and get started.

For example, I got started with real estate investing, then invested in a small business in my city, then I started several profitable websites.  You can do the same, or anything else that floats your boat.  I talk about this more in my post on why everyone should pursue a side business even when employed.

I have also written about the best passive income business model in my opinion, one that I am personally involved in and have had great success with.

Although I am not advocating that you quit your job, you should read my post on how you can increase your effective hourly wage and get more vacation time as well to realize that you can make a lot more money working for yourself, hence side gigging.

Compounding Interest vs. Compounding Time on a Side Gig

Let’s say you make $62,000 per year, or $30 per hour at your office career ($62,000 divided by 2,080 working hours per year), and save 10% of that in a 401k like the experts recommend.  At a return of 8% (which is very high in today’s market), you will end up with $31,651 in 5 years.

Let’s now assume you have dedicated a mere 5 hours per week to your side gig, and your gig generates $90 per hour, you will end up with $117,000 in 5 years.  That is $85,000 more than your gains from compounding interest, or about 275% more in returns.

Is spending 5 hours per week on your side gig worth the stated returns in this example?  Do you see how this can expedite your retirement?  I am not advising you stop investing 10% of your earnings.  I am simply advising to spend 5 hours a week on your side gig to amplify the bottom line effect on your personal balance sheet.

Is tripling your hourly wage from $30 to $90 realistic?  You bet.  It is very easy in fact.  Read my post on how to triple your effective hourly wage and get more PTO too here.


Why do I keep preaching using some of your spare time pursuing a side gig and working for yourself? As you have likely realized, you can expedite quality retirement significantly by earning extra income on the side while maintaining a sound retirement saving routine.

Getting going with a successful side gig parallel to your office career is also a big confidence booster, as you can probably tell your boss to go fetch a bird if you ever have to.  That is not the intention of this post however.  The intention of this post is to demonstrate how you can pile up extra cash on the side to help you retire early, or quit your job if you don’t enjoy it and move to another one, or pursue your side gig full time.

The point is that you will have options, and having options in life is a very good thing. You get to call all the shots.

So are you convinced?  Why or why not?  Are you currently side gigging or planning to?

Creating Options

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4 Responses to “How to Quit the Rat Race & Win! Retire Early, Retire Happy”

  1. Romeo says:


    This post is very inspiring and I definitely get your point. However, I know that I spend probably 5 hrs per day, not a week, building my blog. Maybe I’m just inefficient, or simply not good at what I do–yet. So yes, $117,000 in 5 years sounds great, but I think that your are reaching too high for the amount of time you quoted. In the growth stage of a blog, maybe. Now, no way. If I’m out to lunch, please direct me to a starting blog where the blog makes this much but only spends 5 hrs a week. 🙂

  2. Sunil says:


    The hypothetical $117k example was given in the context of freelancing work (i.e. what a financial consultant, CPA, architect, engineer, etc. would do) and hence the mention of the hourly wage.

    When blogging or establishing a website, the thought of profit must be eliminated completely at least in the first few months. Therefore the 5 hours per day that you spend on your blog is an investment toward an asset that you are building.

    Yes a blog takes some time to establish and get going, and to your point, once it is established, making $117k in 5 years is not unrealistic at all.

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