Early retirement is the goal of so many people. Retiring will allow you to shake off the shackles of the work week and pursue any hobby that you want. The challenge is that it all comes down to money, and being able to afford to live the lifestyle that you are used to without working full time, or even at all.
Retiring early doesn’t have to mean never earning a paycheck again. What it really means is that you are comfortably financially independent. The key part of being retired is that you are no longer working to set yourself up for a comfortable future, but you are enjoying one. If you have worked in a corporate job for most of your life, now may be the perfect time to take a break and take up a new or old hobby that doesn’t bring in a lot of money or any at all.
So, how do you set things in motion that allow you to retire early? Here is a step by step guide on ways to retire early, and then figure out how you go about it:
1. Take stock of what you have
To identify the best way to retire early, you will need to identify exactly what you net worth is. This should include any assets and cash that you have along with stocks, shares and any other investments. This should only take a matter of hours as you will hopefully have all of this information close to hand.
2. Calculate your annual spend
To find out if you have enough in savings to support your retirement lifestyle in the long term, you will need to figure out how much you spend each year. This will involve a little more work as you will need to examine your credit card statements and compile all of your other expenses into an easy to understand document.
3. Do the math on how to retire early
Once you know your annual spend and any other financial commitments that you have such as mortgage or car payments you will be able to work out roughly how much money you need saved in order to stop working. There are a lot of factors that you will need to consider and you should always give yourself a generous buffer. After all, you will want to go on vacation once in a while as well.
You need to be honest with yourself at this stage if you’re not ready to retire yet, now is the time to put a plan in place to get to your target number as soon as possible.
4. Live below your means
If you love to shop and eat out at expensive restaurants, then you may find it a real challenge to save up enough to retire early. By living below your means and cutting down on extravagant spending like dinners out, the latest electronics and more clothing than you could ever wear, you will massively accelerate this process.
5. Save and invest aggressively
Now that you have curbed your spending, you should think about how much you can put away each month. The earlier that you start this the better off you will be in the long run.
6. Increase your income
This might be easier said than done, however, you should always look for opportunities to make more money. This could be something as simple as looking to get a raise, apply for another job, or taking on a side hustle.
The additional money that you make here can be great ways to retire early and save money for the long term. This can have a huge knock on effect and help you to achieve the savings goal that you need to retire early much sooner.
7. Start a retirement savings account as soon as possible
Even when you first start working, it can be tempting to put this off. The earlier that you start saving the more money you will have when it comes time to retire. With an early retirement goal in mind this is often the best way to get there provided that you start as soon as possible.
8. Get rid of all of your debt
If you have any outstanding credit card debt then you should do your best to eliminate it as soon as possible. With debt hanging over your head you are paying interest that is money wasted. If you were debt free each month you would be able to put what you are paying in interest towards your retirement. This is probably a significant amount of money too.
9. Don’t forget to factor in your health insurance costs
As you are employed full time you probably have health insurance coverage. If there are any medications that you need that are covered by your insurance now, when you retire you will probably need to pay for these out of pocket yourself. This has the potential to be very expensive so it is wise to factor this into your plans.