Does the idea of early retirement sound appealing? It’s a lifelong dream for millions of Americans, but it could also become a reality when you make smart money moves at the right times.
Achieving early retirement often requires sacrifices throughout your life. In your working years, you’ll need to avoid the temptation of keeping up with the Joneses to ensure more of your money is saved for retirement than squandered on shopping sprees.
First, you need to define what “early” is for you. Is it age 55 or 65? Then you need to consider what retirement will cost for you. For example, will you really spend less in retirement as many financial advisors would lead you to believe? Will you have income from Social Security or a pension? And what savings and investments have you accumulated to supplement your retirement lifestyle?
Traditionally retirement has been defined as retiring from a regular job, to do something else. A lot of people retire from a job because they don’t like it. Redefine your idea of retirement, and get clear on what you are retiring to, not what you are retiring from. Be as specific as possible, for example, “I want to travel to XYZ country to do…”
An important part of picking a date for early retirement is to know if you have enough money saved. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way of knowing exactly how much money you need.
If you have your eye on retiring early in your 40s or 50s, your preparation will need to adapt to a financial reality that differs from traditional retirement. Retiring early from conventional work hours doesn’t necessarily mean that you will stop working altogether, but you may limit your hours to live more freely.