Making the decision to not freely waste money (time), and put off retiring far later than it needs to be is an incredibly tough thing to do. Most people don't do it.
Beyond this, actually taking action on the initially uncomfortable lifestyle changes that come with controlling spending aren't easy either.
But, after those two things are put in place, the investing part is actually easiest. Like science, nutrition, and fitness, investing is the same in that everyone loves to disagree about everything because the simple way that works is too boring.
Let's get into what that simple way for investing looks like.
How Investing Will Let You Retire Early
First, you get control of your spending, and invest the rest of the money you make every year.
Eventually, the amount your investments grow each year will be equal to your annual spending, at which point you can retire.
Why You Should Invest in the Stock Market
Blindly following instructions is always a terrible idea, so we're going to get into the deep details of exactly why the place you're going to stash your cash will let you retire the fastest. Please follow along closely.
There are tons of places to make investments: small business, real estate, gold, etc. The problem with these places is that they require consistent attention, and since you're not a full-time investor, they won't work for you.
Plus, as you'll soon learn, you can beat full-time investors without putting in full-time hours.
You'll beat them without putting in any.
The Hidden Numbers on the Stock Market
The king of investing is diversification. To reduce the risk of losing money, put your money in a lot of places so that if one place goes down the drain, you have tons of other places that are still okay.
If we're going to have the best diversification, it would make sense to buy everything, right? Right.
What happened awhile ago is that some groups of people started getting together trying to specially pick out the stocks that would grow more than all the other ones. These are called mutual funds.
Here's the clincher:
In the long run (5+ years), none of these groups of people have ever picked a special group of stocks that have grown more than all of the stocks combined.
For details on this, check out the fourth bullet on page one of this report (and flip through the whole thing if you're extra curious).
The Stock Market: Reimagined
Imagine a big tree farm that chops down and sells its trees every five years. The goal is to pick the set of trees that, over the course of five years, averages the highest growth.
There's our beautiful friend, Mr. Einstein, and a bunch of our other friends.
What Mr. Einstein does is at the start of the five years, says that his set of trees is the entire orchard. Then, for the rest of the five years, he writes three books and travels the world.
All the other friends are at the tree farm all day long. They're constantly changing the set of trees they picked, measuring each tree as often as they can, constantly working to find the fastest growing set of trees.
By the end of the five years, not a single person beats Mr. Einstein's set of trees for highest average growth.
How To Buy The Whole Farm
If we want to be like Mr. Einstein and pick the whole farm, we're going to buy the whole stock index.
There are tons of people that offer this product - a share of the whole market - but they're not all priced the same.
And, since the costs accumulate over time (which will be quite awhile since we'll be holding this until retirement - and probably for life), buying the cheapest one is really important.
Vanguard's U.S. Total Market Index ETF (CAD-hedged) with the ticker symbol VUS is the cheapest one. Link here.
And, as a bonus, The ETF company Vanguard is client-owned, which means there are no shareholders who demand rising profits. This is super important in ensuring that this fund remains the cheapest indefinitely.