What You Can Do to Retire Early

goal setting money work May 01, 2023

Retirement may seem like a long way off, but it's never too early to start planning. If you dream of early retirement, taking the proper steps now is critical, from discipline and dedication to making wise decisions about spending and investment. Then, with the right approach, you can make your dream of retiring early a reality.

Early retirement can be a reality.

Ask any person working a job, and chances are one of their dreams will be to retire early, primarily if they have worked full-time for a company for a long time. There can be various reasons one wishes to retire early, such as wanting to spend more time doing things they like as they may have difficulties doing them while working, getting tired of the daily grind, or desiring to gain peace of mind through financial security. Early retirement is possible, but it is no easy feat. Achieving it requires a lot of discipline in managing your finances and adjusting your lifestyle to meet your retirement goal. Nevertheless, setting the goal early is necessary, so you can have more time for retirement planning and making adjustments. In addition, things will change over time, such as inflation changing the prices of commodities, thus affecting your spending habits. Therefore, early retirement should be a long-term goal if you want to be more motivated to achieve it. Once you realize the value of retiring early, you can start working on your early retirement strategy and implement various actions to help you achieve it.

1. Identify your priorities

To retire earlier than the usual retirement age is something you can decide whether you want to do. Some may be fine with retiring at the typical age, while others may not even need to retire early since they can already do things they like in the present. A few may have a lifestyle that allows them to earn money and enjoy doing what they want, so they don't need to consider retiring early. However, for many of us, early retirement is something we would like to achieve, but it can be challenging due to the many adjustments and sacrifices one needs to make. So the next question is: do you wish to prioritize short-term fulfillment and happiness by spending money now on things and activities that you want, or do you want long-term fulfillment and happiness by gaining financial security and independence in the future and doing what you want once you retire? Your answer to the question will determine if early retirement should be your goal; if it is the long-term one, you must have a retirement plan as early as possible.

2. Plan and set targets

Once you have decided that early retirement will be your goal, you must make concrete and specific plans to achieve it. Early retirement is a long-term goal; these goals are no walk-in-the-park. You have a vision of what you want to accomplish in the future, but you must break it down into smaller, more achievable steps to make it happen. As such, for early retirement to become a reality, you may want to plan and think of the following things:

  • Identify the age you want to retire. Usually, the retirement age is around 60 years or more, so earlier than that will be your goal.
  • Try to estimate how much money you need to spend monthly by the time you retire. This money is for meeting your daily needs and doing or buying things for leisure. Savings may not be a concern anymore since you were already saving for years for this moment. You can use your monthly expenses now as a basis, but make adjustments since some bills and expenses may no longer be present in your retirement. Consider inflation, too, since things may be more expensive by retirement.
  • Identify what you want to do by the time you retire. This will help you determine how much retirement income you should save. Depending on the lifestyle you want by then, you may still need to have means of earning money without having to go to work, such as from passive income sources, investments, or businesses.
  • Think about where you can invest your money now so that it will grow later through interest. For example, investing in various retirement plans, ensuring your social security benefits are updated, or putting money in insurance plans are ways to achieve financial freedom and security later.

3. Make adjustments to your lifestyle in the present

If your goal is to retire early, you need to adjust your financial lifestyle, which can eventually affect what you do in the present. You may need to cut down or remove some expenses, such as subscriptions to various online services or applications, weekly trips, or regularly buying things you want. Retiring early requires some sacrifices to achieve a secure and happy retirement lifestyle. Again, these will matter if you put more fulfillment and happiness toward the future; otherwise, you won't need to skimp much toward your present-day expenses.

4. Budget and save

Two aspects are involved regarding money to retire early: reducing spending to have enough money and finding means to earn as much money as possible. To help reduce expenses, budgeting and saving money will be your best friends. Budgeting your cash means monitoring your finances to see where your money goes, ensuring you have enough for everything, including monthly savings. Having savings is essential if you have considered early retirement as your goal, and it will be a challenge as you want to have a large amount of money for savings that will serve as the target money you should have by the time you retire. However, making budgeting a habit will help ensure you hit your monthly savings requirement, and these savings will eventually accumulate to help you retire sooner.

5. Find more ways to increase your cash

Sometimes, having only one fixed income source, such as your primary job, may not be enough to hit your goals, especially if it's early retirement you are planning. That's why, for some of us, hitting early retirement may be next to impossible if daily survival needs are already a struggle. When you want to retire early, and budgeting seems like a challenge already, let alone saving money, perhaps it's time to find other sources of income that can supplement your primary means of earning money. It can be a part-time job, a side hustle, or investing in stocks or other retirement savings plans that can accumulate interest. Once more money flows into your current savings and things feel less of a struggle, you can start thinking more about retiring early.

6. Settle your debts as soon as you can

Debts are a significant hindrance to anyone's early retirement goals. It is vital to clear all of them as quickly as possible to give more room for savings and enable you to put your money where it can grow instead of filling only somebody else's pockets. Most debts have interests that accumulate over time, and penalty fees can also occur when your payments get delayed, or the longer it takes you to pay something. Just imagine all the cash you pay for interest and fees; you could have used them elsewhere if the debts weren't there in the first place. As much as possible, look for ways not to get into debt and only do them if necessary.

7. Be disciplined and committed to your early retirement goal

Early retirement is a long-term goal, meaning it will take years to see the fruits of your labor. You must have the patience and commitment to stay disciplined in wealth management and do everything you can to grow your money and not get tempted to spend your money lavishly. Along the way, things and situations may change, and you may lose your will to retire early if challenges keep popping up to ruin your finances. It is essential not to give up if such things happen, and always go back to that thought of what you can experience once you gain financial independence and security in the future. There may be hardships now, but the payoff can be significant later. Retiring early means working for fewer years than others while spending more years doing what you want. It is a worthy goal one can try to achieve.

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