According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average retirement age is close to age 63. Who says you have to work that long? Many Americans unintentionally sabotage their retirement by spending more than what they earn and failing to save for retirement at all. Fortunately, with proper planning and the right strategy, you can leave the workforce well before that time. Freedom Debt Relief recommends some financial habits that will help you achieve your dreams of early retirement.
Prioritize savings and investing. The reason most people can’t retirement when they want is because they haven’t saved up enough money to support themselves without working. If you want to retire early, you’ll have to make saving a priority over spending. It has to be more than just a notion, you have to actually implement plan.
Follow the “pay yourself first” rule and transfer a set amount of money into your savings each month, Freedom Debt Relief advises. Make sure you’re also maxing out your employer’s retirement plan and take advantage of any matching program, says Freedom Debt Relief. Once you’ve met the 401(k) contribution limits for the year, consider placing additional funds into an IRA, or individual retirement amount. This is another tax-advantaged account that’s designed to help you save up for retirement.
Get started early. If you want to retire early, you have to start working toward it early, even in your 20s. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to save up. When you start saving early, your money has more time to grow and you have more time to make contributions. Starting before you have other financial obligations – like a spouse and children – puts you ahead of the curve.
Increase your income. Making more money means you have more money you can invest in your retirement. You can increase your income by working overtime at your current job. Negotiating a raise can also give your paychecks a boost. If you’re in sales, honing your sales skills can help you increase your commissions.
You might also consider making money outside your current employment, Freedom Debt Relief suggests. For example, you can make money from a hobby, earn money by freelancing, or pick up a second job.
Reduce unnecessary spending. Remember, the more you can put toward your early retirement goal, the sooner you can get there. Eliminating extra spending will free up cash that you invest into a retirement account. Learning to live on less now will benefit you even in retirement. You’ll have the skills necessary to make your retirement savings last for as long as you need, rather than blowing through your money within just a few years.
Avoid debt. Debt is the antithesis to early retirement, says Freedom Debt Relief. The more debt you have, the harder it will be to save up for retirement. The extra debt payment prevents you from putting more money toward your retirement goal. Not only that, the money you spend on interest is a cost that offsets gains you earn on your retirement goals. Work on paying off your debt so that you don’t take it into retirement with you.
Get help from a financial professional if necessary. If you’re not making enough progress going the do-it-yourself route, consider reaching out to a financial advisor who can help you figure out the best way to reach your early retirement goal. Freedom Debt Relief recommends you choose a financial advisor who is both licensed and experienced. Someone who has helped others achieve similar goals to yours will be a good choice.
Early retirement is no ordinary goal. That means you can’t take ordinary steps to reach it. Studying the financial habits of others who’ve achieved early retirement can help you develop the mindset and habits necessary to reach your goal. If you’re dedicated and take the right steps, you’ll build a retirement account large enough to allow you to leave the workforce earlier than the average person.