How to Escape the Rat Race and Enjoy your Retirement Life!

by Olivier De Winne

To escape the rat race, you need to become wealthy.  Becoming a wealthy person is not about money but about time. A person is considered wealthy when he or she can live without working. To escape the rat race, your passive income needs to be bigger than your expenses.

To be able to escape the rat race and discover the world, we have put in place our own personal five-year plan. Our aim is to help you to enjoy your retirement life whether you retire early or not.  So, in this series of articles, we are going to share how we plan to escape the rat race.

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What does Rat Race Mean?


Rat race means that you are trapped inside the same system like everyone else.  It is difficult to escape the rat race because you are trapped inside it as soon as you are born.  Most people do not know how to live any other way because the rat race system does not encourage or tell you how to live differently!

Typical rat race pattern: Commute – Work – Pay all your expenses – Sleep – Start again.  You are working to make money.

Escaping the rat race: Own assets and make money work for you. Money is working for you.

To explain quickly, an asset is when you buy something, and this thing makes money for you.  If you buy a house and live inside that house, it is not an asset.  You need to pay money each month for bills.  However, if you buy a house and then rent it, that house becomes an asset.

Why is it Difficult to Escape the Rat Race?


Since you were little, you probably always followed what your parents told you.  For example, you need to study hard to be able to have a good job and a good salary.  So, most of us do just that.  We study hard, work hard and we run from pay cheque to pay cheque.  During your life, you work harder and make more money.  However, because you have more money, your expenses also increase as you have a bigger house, a new car, etc.

The Government encourages you to stay in the rat race by allowing you to have big mortgage to buy your dream home.  They know that as soon as you buy a home, you are trapped in a system.  If you want to keep your home, you need to keep your job.

It is for this reason that 60 to 70% of people who dislike their jobs, keep doing them to make sure they receive a pay cheque at the end of each month to keep the roof over their family’s heads.


If you love your job, then this is great.  However, what would happen if your company does not need you anymore?  It is so easy to lose your job for plenty of reasons:

  • You can be sick for a long time and lose your job.
  • Your company can merge with another one and perhaps there is another person doing the same job as you.
  • You can get fired.
  • Your industry might change gradually or suddenly.  For example, during the recent Coronavirus outbreak, people could not travel, and a lot of companies were adversely affected by this.

Even if you do not think you will lose your dream job, it is still important to build passive income to remove any financial worries and uncertainties.  One day, you may decide to change life completely.  If you are not in a position of financial freedom, it will be more difficult.  Imagine you want to set up your own business.  With no money worries, you can jump on this idea and work hard to make it a success.

How to Leave the Rat Race?


You are out of the rat race when your passive income is superior to your expenses.

Step one is to try to reduce your expenses.

By doing this, you will also reduce the sum of passive income needed.  The easy way to reduce your expenses, is to take your bank statements for the last three months and write down everything you spend.  You will then realise where you can save money.

Mobile phones, TV subscriptions, shopping, entertainment and cars are the easiest expenses to reduce. Do you need the latest phone? Do you need all these TV channels? Do you need a new car?  You need to do this exercise to identify where you can save money.

To reduce your expenses, you also have the option of going to live in another country where the cost of living is lower.  By doing this, you will be free sooner.

Step two is to create assets.  There are plenty of ways to create assets.

An asset is something which brings money in your pocket.  The most common asset is property.  By buying property and renting it, you will create a particularly good asset.  However, you need to have or find the 20 % deposit.

If you have the deposit money in the bank, then this is one of the best solutions.  However, before jumping into property management, you need to study this field to find a profitable property.  It is generally agreed that 90 % of properties on the market are not a good deal.  Whereas 10 % of properties will give you a great return.

Leaving money in the bank is not a smart move.  If you are lucky, you may receive a 1 % return.  However, you will lose 2 %.  You are going to wonder why I am losing money if my bank gave me 1%.  This is because you forget to take inflation into consideration.  Each year, inflation is 2 or 3 %.  So, with inflation at 3 %, you will lose 2 % of your money each year.


Good assets can also include websites, YouTube channels, dropshipping, designing logos or quotes to print on clothes or investing in the stock market.  For those passive income streams, you do not need to invest a lot of money and some are completely free.

Of course, you are not going to benefit from passive income immediately.  It takes time for assets to bring money.  However, this is the only way of leaving the rat race.  As soon as you start thinking like this, you will be free.

Ask yourself this simple question: What do I really want to do with my life? Perhaps, you want to have time to open your own business, or maybe you want to be volunteer and help others or maybe you want to be able to travel.

Our 5 Year Plan to Escape the Rat Race


Our plan is simple.  We want to be able to stop working and travel.

Sarah and I are an English French couple who have decided to stop working for other people (our employers) in 5 years’ time.  We belong to the group of people who enjoy their jobs but have sometimes had enough and want to stop.  We travel a lot together and love to learn about new cultures and discover how other people live.

This is perhaps what inspired us to stop working and live a simpler life.  We realised that, in this world, a lot of people live amazingly simple lives without expensive gadgets or cars, but they enjoy life one hundred times more than us.  We always have worries and are running from pay cheque to pay cheque.  This constraint stops us from being as happy as we should.

Why carry on like this?  This was always our question to each other every time we returned from travelling.  To be clear, we always travel like a local.  We take the same trains and buses as locals and most of the time sleep in small guest houses.  This style of travelling allows us to connect with local people.

As we travelled around the world, we also realised that we could save a lot of money by living in different countries for a lot less than the UK.  As a result, we have decided to travel across Asia first where the cost of living is low.

As we have decided to travel cheaply, we only need a small passive income to start with.  Don’t forget that passive income creates money all the time.  You can then reinvest this money to have more passive income.

Why Do I Need a Goal to Escape the Rat Race?

Why do i need a goal
Why do i need a goal

If you do not need to trade your time for money, you will have plenty of time for you.  So, what do you want to do with this precious time?  I am fairly sure you have a dream.  If only I could … For us, our dream is to meet other people and experience other cultures as we travel.  If we can do voluntary work and help some organisations during our journey that will be great!

To live your dream, you need to fix your goal first.  This goal needs to be clear and with a date.  Our goal is that we are going to discover the world in five years’ time.  You need to treat your goal like a deadline from your Boss.

Without a clear goal, you will not have much chance of successfully realising your dream.  You will always find excuses to put off the boring action required to achieve your goal.  You will promise yourself that you will do this or that tomorrow.  However, when tomorrow arrives, you will be busy doing something else!  It may seem strange, but I viewed our goal like proper work.  It was compulsory to achieve it, like meeting real work deadlines.

As soon you have created your goal, you need to break down all the actions you need to achieve your goal.  For us, the first action was to create a passive income stream.  Knowing that it would take a long time before we saw results, we started one website two and a half years’ ago and another last year.

What is Our Easy Formula to Escape the Rat Race and Enjoy Early Retirement?


After years of preparation, we have realised that the key to successfully escaping the rat race and realising our dream is to build up passive income.  This passive income needs to outweigh our expenses.  This is the only way that we can live our dream. 

If two ordinary people like us can escape the rat race, you can as well!  To find out more, please read our future articles in this series.  In the next article, we will discuss our easy formula in more detail.

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Don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions.  We would love to hear your views and plans for your future.

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