Retiring early gives you an opportunity to pursue your interests and hobbies while maintaining your standard of living. You do not have to report to an office every day or live a structured life year after year. Many people are afraid to think about early retirement because of their dependence on their jobs. The greatest fear about early retirement is the lack of income to sustain your current or dream lifestyle. The truth is that many professionals have retired early and lived a better life than they did while working. It just takes knowledge and proper planning to retire early. If you have been thinking about retirement, but are unsure about how to get there, here are some tips to guide you in the process.
1. Do the Math
The way to overcome the fear of early retirement is to do the necessary calculations. Determine the amount of annual income you will need to maintain your lifestyle in your retirement years. The next calculation is to determine the portfolio you will need to get that annual income level. The latter calculation will help you make the right decisions on investments today. Take into account the safe withdrawal rate and inflation when estimating the retirement portfolio. The recommended withdrawal rate is 4% of your portfolio.
The rate means that you will not exceed that level of annual income if you want your portfolio to continue to grow. This means that your actual portfolio must be 25 times the estimated annual income to sustain your lifestyle. Remember that the cost of living will go up by the time you retire. Hence, you must account for inflation effects in your calculations. Since you cannot predict the inflation rate for the next say 25 years, use past data to estimate the inflation rate and account for it in your income and portfolio estimations.
2. Consider the Consequences On Your IRA Accounts
If you choose to retire today or in the next year, chances are that you will need more income to meet your needs. If you do not do the necessary calculations as outlined above, you will be forced to go back to employment to survive. You may be thinking of withdrawing from your IRA account to navigate early retirement, but that decision is costly.
The IRS charges you a 10% penalty for any early withdrawals from IRA accounts. Hence, you will lose some money if you choose to retire before reaching fifty nine and a half. The good news is that you can withdraw from your IRA account before the retirement age without a penalty by following the 72t rule. Anyone intending to retire early must learn the 72t distributions rule because at times the retirement portfolio will be insufficient to handle bills. The rule simply requires you to withdraw from your account in equal period withdrawals to avoid the 10% penalty.
3. Lower Your Living Costs
Retiring at an early age requires some sacrifices. For you to invest in the required portfolio estimated in the first step, you need to cut your spending. Save as much as you can today and invest or bank the money. You will need everything you can get to live a good life after. Analyze your current spending and identify the areas that need change. Do you spend too much on groceries or pay TV? Do you have to take a vacation every three months? You will have to cut off some of these luxuries depending on your level of income to afford an early retirement.
The secret to saving for retirement is to start early. Do not wait until you have three years or less to make drastic changes. Every saved dollar counts in this journey. It may be time to start checking the discounts, sales, and coupons on some items. You will reap great benefits from the sacrifices you make today.
4. Avoid Debt at All Costs
As you adopt the saving culture, stay away from credit card debt and any other form of debt. You cannot achieve your goal with accumulating debts. The interest charged will take away the largest part of your income from your portfolio. This means that you will withdraw more than the safe withdrawal amount and deplete it fast. Break away from the common myths that you must get a mortgage and buy a retirement home or a car loan to drive your dream car. You can rent a home as you slowly accumulate money to buy or build your own.
Pay off your credit card debts as soon as you can and avoid accumulating more debt on any of them. One of the considerations you may have to make is reducing your cards to one or two. Good debt may help you build your portfolio faster, but you must consider your ability to repay and invest wisely. Do not borrow for consumption or for luxuries even if you can repay the loans with your current income. Live within your means and cut down your expenses to the lowest level possible.
5. Consider Alternative Sources of Income
You may realize after doing the math that you may have to continue working longer than you want to build your portfolio. The way out is to look for alternative sources of income. You can take another part time job or start another side business to increase your income. In other words, you will work more every week and retire early. Look at your current schedule and find creative ways of using your free time to increase your income. Getting another part-time job or starting a new business may actually help you cut costs.
Retiring at an early age is possible if you start making the right decisions today. The kind of lifestyle you want to live after retirement should influence those decisions. Start by estimating the level of income that will give you the dream lifestyle and then make steps towards accumulating that income today. The steps include paying off your debts, saving more than you currently do, reducing your expenses, and increasing your current income. While making these steps, stay for focused on the goal and the fulfillment of living your life without work-related stress.Tammie~
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