Does the thought of working until you’re 65 make you sick? If so, you’re not alone!
More and more people have been discovering that it’s not only possible to retire early but that it’s what they want to do with their lives. I’ve found myself in that camp as well.
The people who reach retirement early all have a set of commonalities. One of the big ones is being able to enjoy life and find happiness without needing to spend a ton of money.
Want to learn the other set of traits the early retirees seem to have (mostly) in common? Here’s how to retire before you’re forty years old.
Avoid/Pay Down All Consumer Debt
When it comes to early retirement debt is a big no-no. Unless your debt is profitable (like a loan on a rental home) or is for a modest mortgage with a low interest rate, you need to get rid of it. This is especially true if you have high interest debt.
The first thing you should eliminate is credit card debt. After that go for any other high interest debts, paying close attention to anything that has 10% APR or above.
Once you get consumer debt paid off you’ll have to decide whether you want to go ahead and accelerate student loan or mortgage pay-offs. (You might be better off investing that extra money instead of using it to pay down this type of debt. At least not right away.)
Make your number on goal to eradicate high interest, consumer debt. After that you can determine whether you’re better off using your extra money to pay down your other debt or if investing it is the smart way to go.
Keep Your Expenses Low and Income High
A common thread among those who have retired early is frugality. It seems like the early retirement crowd favor living on less while still fully enjoying their lives. (And yes that is completely possible!)
If you currently have a spending problem this is something that will need to be addressed.
Keeping your expenses low will help you save money now and live on less in the future. If you can make this adjustment you’ll set yourself up for success.
Try creating a daily gratitude practice. This will help you find joy in what you already have instead of always seeking something new (and spending money) in an attempt to be happy.
Invest the Difference
Once you’ve paid off your credit cards (and vowed never to carry a balance on them again) you’ll need to start investing your money.
While investing in a 401k is a great option you’re also going to need to look into alternative investing options that allow you to withdraw your money before the normal retirement age. It might be worth it to set up a meeting with a financial advisor to see what investing strategy will best suit your needs.
Different investments will be ideal for different personalities. Also, a CPA and financial advisor can help you decide which accounts to setup so that you can save the most on taxes.
Earn More Money
If you have no money left over to invest after paying your bills you need to spend a good amount of time reducing your expenses.
In addition to whittling down on the budget you can also earn extra money. Here’s how to do it.
Stay Smart but Consistent
Getting to that place of early retirement is going to take you 10+ years of working hard, keeping your expenses low, and investing your money. Don’t worry, you can still have fun but you need to learn how to do it without spending a ton of money.