Saving money conceptRetiring early – it often seems like a concept that’s reserved for young entrepreneurs and inventors turned millionaires, star athletes who have reached a state of physical decline, or celebrities who recede quietly from the spotlight and into product endorsement. For everyday folks who have families, mortgages, health concerns, debt, and what’s left behind to consider, early retirement can appear to be out of reach.

While most people have varying ideas of what retirement entails, there’s no doubt a common theme that financially, all people want to be stable and even more so, comfortable. So how do you retire early, and feel confident that you made the right choice at the right time and you won’t be forced to return to the work world? Contrary to what you may think, retiring early is not out of the realm of possibility for you – not if you do the seven things listed below!

1. Plan thoroughly, and plan well

Do you have a plan for your retirement fund? Better now than never!

Having a strategy for how you would like to accomplish your retirement goals sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people assume that saving loose change is enough! It’s easy to tell someone to “just save” or to take a portion of a paycheck and put it towards retirement, but it’s not enough. Outlining whether or not you and your spouse plan to continue to work while one of you retires, what kind of medicare plan you’ll need, whether or not you’ll downsize or rent out your current home – all of these concerns and beyond are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of things you should take into consideration. Planning to retire can be overwhelming, especially if you have your heart set on retiring earlier than that of your peers, but it’s important to never leave it to chance – it’s too important!

2. Educate yourself on personal finance

It can be overwhelming to consider all the options you have regarding your retirement and how you can finance it, but the more you know the better off you’ll be! Consider taking some finance courses either at your community college or online. Many community colleges offer low-cost classes, or even the option to audit. There are also a variety of workshops, seminars, and informational events you may be able to attend within your community, and don’t forget your best friend – the internet. The more research and knowledge you can acquire, the more confident you’ll be in deciding what works best for you.

3. Don’t put off saving – start now

It can be easy to put off saving for retirement when it feels so far away, even if you have plans to retire early. The truth of the matter is, however, there is never a better time to start saving than right now. If you plan to retire before your full retirement age (to determine at what age you can receive Social Security benefits, CLICK HERE to access the Social Security Administration’s retirement planner) it is more important than ever to begin saving, or at the very least, exploring what things you can do to make it possible. The more you can continue to contribute to your retirement fund, the better off you’ll be.

4. Strive to live well below your means

Living below your means is easier said than done, but without a doubt – you can do it! While you may love going out for appetizers and drinks with friends, luxurious treatments at the spa, or online shopping, it’s important to be shrewd and brutally honest with yourself about spending habits. While this doesn’t mean that you have to live off the land to survive, it does mean that cooking meals and watching movies at home, and resisting the urge to spend frivolously will save you money, and frustration.

We as human beings can often find it difficult to strike a blance between wants and needs, and no one is telling you that you have to deny yourself of all things fun, but it is important to make budget cuts when necessary, and strive to stretch our dollars in whatever ways we can for the long-term benefit.

5. Pay off all your debt, or begin chipping away at it

Debt is a word with heavy connotations, and without a doubt, the consequences of having it will have a serious effect upon your credit and your finances if it continues to accrue interest and loom over you. There’s all different kinds of debt – medical, credit card, student loans, defaulting on car payments or mortgage payments, so it’s easy to understand why you may be overwhelmed at the prospect of paying it all off. Paying off your debt can be difficult, but if you take the initiative to keep it from avalanching and putting you further behind in saving for retirement, your future self will thank you.

6. Consider different types of supplemental income

Do you have a specialized skill or pastime that you can potentially turn into a side business? It can never hurt to have more money coming in, and if you’re the crafty or inventive type, you just may inadvertently turn supplemental income into a million dollar idea! Whether it’s ceramics, knitting, carpentry, leatherwork, or creating tasty non-perishable food items, the potential for creating a product or offering a service in addition to your regular income is in your hands – take a whack at it! What may have been a simple pastime could be viable supplemental income ideas for the future!

7. Try not to splurge on your kids

By far, this is probably one of the most difficult things to do! It’s no secret that having children will significantly impact your wallet, and you can be sure it will continue to do so for at least 18 years. Although it’s expected that there will be a variety of expenses incurred by having kids, there are ways that you can avoid overspending on them. By not caving every time you walk by the toy aisle or drive by McDonalds, spending an inordinate amount of money on birthday parties (family oriented parties with homemade goods and low-cost activities usually suffice for children, especially young ones) and encouraging interactive play time at home you’ll not only save money, but you’ll teach your children the importance of budgeting and spending time with family.

There are lots of free activities you can do with your children that won’t cost you much, if anything at all – such as going for walks in the neighborhood, picnics at the park with homemade food, watching movies you already own, arts and crafts, or even dress up! Often we make the mistake of thinking children need everything that money can buy (and that’s not to say you’re not entitled to spoil them every now and then!) without realizing that there’s plenty to be enjoyed in your own living room or backyard.

Get more retirement news and tips from AmeriLife

Saving money conceptRetiring early – it often seems like a concept that’s reserved for young entrepreneurs and inventors turned millionaires, star athletes who have reached a state of physical decline, or celebrities who recede quietly from the spotlight and into product endorsement. For everyday folks who have families, mortgages, health concerns, debt, and what’s left behind to consider, early retirement can appear to be out of reach.

While most people have varying ideas of what retirement entails, there’s no doubt a common theme that financially, all people want to be stable and even more so, comfortable. So how do you retire early, and feel confident that you made the right choice at the right time and you won’t be forced to return to the work world? Contrary to what you may think, retiring early is not out of the realm of possibility for you – not if you do the seven things listed below!

1. Plan thoroughly, and plan well

Do you have a plan for your retirement fund? Better now than never!

Having a strategy for how you would like to accomplish your retirement goals sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people assume that saving loose change is enough! It’s easy to tell someone to “just save” or to take a portion of a paycheck and put it towards retirement, but it’s not enough. Outlining whether or not you and your spouse plan to continue to work while one of you retires, what kind of medicare plan you’ll need, whether or not you’ll downsize or rent out your current home – all of these concerns and beyond are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of things you should take into consideration. Planning to retire can be overwhelming, especially if you have your heart set on retiring earlier than that of your peers, but it’s important to never leave it to chance – it’s too important!

2. Educate yourself on personal finance

It can be overwhelming to consider all the options you have regarding your retirement and how you can finance it, but the more you know the better off you’ll be! Consider taking some finance courses either at your community college or online. Many community colleges offer low-cost classes, or even the option to audit. There are also a variety of workshops, seminars, and informational events you may be able to attend within your community, and don’t forget your best friend – the internet. The more research and knowledge you can acquire, the more confident you’ll be in deciding what works best for you.

3. Don’t put off saving – start now

It can be easy to put off saving for retirement when it feels so far away, even if you have plans to retire early. The truth of the matter is, however, there is never a better time to start saving than right now. If you plan to retire before your full retirement age (to determine at what age you can receive Social Security benefits, CLICK HERE to access the Social Security Administration’s retirement planner) it is more important than ever to begin saving, or at the very least, exploring what things you can do to make it possible. The more you can continue to contribute to your retirement fund, the better off you’ll be.

4. Strive to live well below your means

Living below your means is easier said than done, but without a doubt – you can do it! While you may love going out for appetizers and drinks with friends, luxurious treatments at the spa, or online shopping, it’s important to be shrewd and brutally honest with yourself about spending habits. While this doesn’t mean that you have to live off the land to survive, it does mean that cooking meals and watching movies at home, and resisting the urge to spend frivolously will save you money, and frustration.

We as human beings can often find it difficult to strike a blance between wants and needs, and no one is telling you that you have to deny yourself of all things fun, but it is important to make budget cuts when necessary, and strive to stretch our dollars in whatever ways we can for the long-term benefit.

5. Pay off all your debt, or begin chipping away at it

Debt is a word with heavy connotations, and without a doubt, the consequences of having it will have a serious effect upon your credit and your finances if it continues to accrue interest and loom over you. There’s all different kinds of debt – medical, credit card, student loans, defaulting on car payments or mortgage payments, so it’s easy to understand why you may be overwhelmed at the prospect of paying it all off. Paying off your debt can be difficult, but if you take the initiative to keep it from avalanching and putting you further behind in saving for retirement, your future self will thank you.

6. Consider different types of supplemental income

Do you have a specialized skill or pastime that you can potentially turn into a side business? It can never hurt to have more money coming in, and if you’re the crafty or inventive type, you just may inadvertently turn supplemental income into a million dollar idea! Whether it’s ceramics, knitting, carpentry, leatherwork, or creating tasty non-perishable food items, the potential for creating a product or offering a service in addition to your regular income is in your hands – take a whack at it! What may have been a simple pastime could be viable supplemental income ideas for the future!

7. Try not to splurge on your kids

By far, this is probably one of the most difficult things to do! It’s no secret that having children will significantly impact your wallet, and you can be sure it will continue to do so for at least 18 years. Although it’s expected that there will be a variety of expenses incurred by having kids, there are ways that you can avoid overspending on them. By not caving every time you walk by the toy aisle or drive by McDonalds, spending an inordinate amount of money on birthday parties (family oriented parties with homemade goods and low-cost activities usually suffice for children, especially young ones) and encouraging interactive play time at home you’ll not only save money, but you’ll teach your children the importance of budgeting and spending time with family.

There are lots of free activities you can do with your children that won’t cost you much, if anything at all – such as going for walks in the neighborhood, picnics at the park with homemade food, watching movies you already own, arts and crafts, or even dress up! Often we make the mistake of thinking children need everything that money can buy (and that’s not to say you’re not entitled to spoil them every now and then!) without realizing that there’s plenty to be enjoyed in your own living room or backyard.

Get more retirement news and tips from AmeriLife

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