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I'm quite a long way from retirement but some people retire young and I'm anxious to know how they do it. Is it really possible for everyday people?
One this is for certain, retiring early is not going to happen easy! It's a goal, a very ambitious goal that must be worked at. To succeed at retiring early will take detailed planning, hard work, and massive dedication.
Live on less than you make. This needs to be a steady habit because you'll be doing this once you retire too! This means more than just clipping a few coupons but a total life change. I know that this tip isn't sexy. People hope for something magical. But you know what? As simple and mundane as it sounds, that is the number one secret of money. Spend less than you make. Frugality is an important part of personal finance whether you decide to retire early or not!
Save a Lot
This goes hand in hand with living frugally. What you don't spend, you save. To retire early you'll need to have a lot set aside. How much you should set aside is up to your preferences, your lifestyle, what you hope to do during retirement, and (even though it's no fun to talk about) how long you think you'll live. Retiring early means you'll have fewer years to earn your money but it also means you'll have more years in which you'll have to rely on your savings.
To give you some idea of how much you'll have to save let's look at some numbers. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is around 75 years and the medium income is $50,000. If you are 35 and would like to retire at 60 with 80% of your pre-retirement income, you'll need to save just about $1 million. Not to mention that that is assuming you'll get the estimated Social Security payment and that might be a big assumption. You can check out a retirement calculator to fiddle with the numbers yourself.
Frugality has it's limits, you can only trim away so much of your budget. Although, theoretically, there is no limit on how much money you can earn. You could scour the internet for the best franchise opportunities, develop the latest and greatest toy of the year, or sell your plasma. On the other hand you could find smaller ways to increase your income. Keep in mind that these sacrifices are short term and the pay offs are long term (this tip can be applied to paying off debt too!). What ways can you boost your income? What skills do you possess? How can you earn more money?
- Get a second job.
- Start a work at home business.
- Sell the things you have.
- Work longer hours/ask for a raise.
There are many ways to earn more income but you'll notice that they all require sacrifice. Online surveys will earn you a few extra dollars but to turn your skills into a real money-making endeavor you'll have to find something a bit more time consuming. Check out this list of fifty ideas to get you started.
Those are my thoughts but I want to know what you think. Are you working towards punching the clock early? Have you already retired early? I would l love to hear about the steps you took to make it happen!