I once learnt that the formula for Financial Success = Vehicle x Effort x Skill. So if you want to retire earlier & become financially free, you've got to make use of the proper vehicle. It's the same as getting to Brazil from Singapore, you drive a plane; not a car.
Because of this formula, I learnt that even if I become an exceptional employee or self-employed; no matter how good, hardworking, and how skillful I am, there's always a limit to how much I can make. Because my earning power is completely dependent on the number of hours I work, and since I only have 24 hours a day like everyone else, my earning potential is limited. One of the most powerful word I've learnt was from a book by Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad was this word called "Leverage". The word simply means doing less and less, to achieve more and more.
"Humans have gained more of an advantage over animals simply because humans naturally seek more and more leverage. In the beginning, animals could run faster than humans, but today humans can travel faster and further than animals because they created tools of leverage, such as bicycles, cars, trucks, trains, and planes. In the beginning, birds could fly and humans could not. Today, humans fly higher, further, and faster than any bird. Eventually, animals lost their natural advantages over humans and humans took over the planet. The same thing happens when some humans use more leverage than other humans. Saying it more simply means, "Leverage is power."
- Extracted from the book by Robert Kiyosaki
Understanding this, if you want to retire earlier and become financially free, you have to understand and apply leverage in building your wealth. There's 2 ways to do it:
1. Leverage on a system to make money for you
2. Leverage on money to make money for you
If you realize, these 2 ways make money for you even while you are sleeping and once the amount replaces your full time income, you achieve financial freedom.
I was a 24 year old student who understood this, but didn't had the money to invest in anything and didn't had the knowledge nor experience to develop a system. Thankfully, a friend of mine shared with me a business idea which which required only an investment of $500. Because of the business leverage, I have achieved complete financial & time freedom when I was 26, allowing me to travel the world, while still having an asset generating me a passive stream of income every month way more than what I could earn as an employee who works 40 hours a week, even while I'm on vacation.
Make the right choice to work hard in the right direction rather than working hard blindly. So first thing first, find the vehicle that gives you - Leverage.