Having lived with a disability for all of my adult life, I have grown used to juggling the pressures of working with an impairment and making ends meet.
But on the flip side, having acquired said disability traumatically and at a young age, I have become acutely aware that life is extremely short and no matter what, is worth living!
To that end, I have lived these past 14 years with a very open and curious mind and have been lucky enough to have made deliberate choices about the way I want to spend my time. Working is something I see as a privilege, as for many women and people with disabilities it is a right that we aren't always afforded. So, every day I am able to contribute to society, I appreciate it.
And I believe that the key to a happy life is to find a purpose and pursue it until your dying day. So that is what I do, and I love my job and my life accordingly.
So it might sound surprising when I say that I have every intention of 'retiring' before I am 40 years old. In fact, ideally, when I am 35. Which isn't that far off..
But before I loose you, please let me explain why. We are regularly told that we may be working into our late 60s or even 70s before being able to retire and that feels pretty daunting to me. Having nearly died in a car crash when I was barely in double digits, I have been left with an indelible impression that anything can happen, at anytime, and so my 32 year old self takes the thought of that 60 year retiree and folds. The odds against me staying in one piece till that age are too high! Life is for living NOW.
My latest program for Channel 4 is called 'How to Retire At 40' and it explores a handful of ways in which a growing band of Brits are coming up with ingenious ways to retire early. It is only a half hour program, so obviously just scratches the surface of this ambitious idea, but it goes someway into revealing the fact that for many of us retirement does not have to be something we work all our lives for - financial independence can be achieved sooner than you think.
My own plans for early retirement started 3 years ago after I read a book called 'Rich Dad Poor Dad'. The book inspired me to want to learn more about money (how it make it work for me, as opposed to the other way around) and to learn about property investing. So together with a friend - who shares my core values - and modest pot of savings, we invested in a small Buy To Let property.
After this first investment we soon realised we were on to something, so we sat down, wrote a detailed list of all our outgoings, our 'life expenses', and decided to set that figure as a target amount to generate from rental income alone. This would give us what is known as 'passive income', money that is earned without having to go to work for it, money that would buy us early retirement.
What I mean by retirement is instead financial freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom to work if I want to or not, freedom to travel, paint, sleep, build a business, sunbathe, volunteer, hang out with friends, pursue a passion project, garden, scuba dive, ski..whatever I like.
The channel 4 show explains that there MANY other tricks that ANY one with ANY amount of income can employ to retire early. Financial freedom doesn't just have to be for the wealthy and retirement isn't just for the old. So tune in and find out if you too could be a risk taker, trend spotter or super saver and retire before it's too late..
'How to Retire At 40' Channel 4 8:30pm 9th July.