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"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6
September 2020
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Make Early Retirement a Reality
Wednesday Aug 14, 2019
Retirement is a goal for nearly every working adult. Long considered a time to enjoy the fruits of a life's worth of labors, retirement has become something else entirely over the last several years, when the struggling economy has convinced many aging workers that their opportunity to retire may never present itself.

However, retirement does not have to feel like a wild goose chase with the end goal nowhere in sight. In fact, many men and women who develop a plan early on can retire early, reaping the rewards of their success at an age when many people are still wondering if they can retire at all, much less retire early.

* Conduct an immediate audit of your finances. The road to early retirement begins, quite frankly, very early. If your retirement goal is to retire early, conduct an audit of your financial situation as soon as possible, even if you are a relative newcomer to the professional sector. Examine all of your debts and other liabilities, as well as your income and your potential earnings. It may be difficult to forecast potential earnings, but paint a realistic forecast with regard to your earning potential, and then use that to determine your standard of living and how much money you will need to maintain that standard upon retirement. This should give you an idea of how close or how far you are from early retirement and what you need to start doing now so early retirement can be a reality later on.

* Don't sell savings short. Men and women who retire at the traditional retirement age can count on certain benefits that early retirees are not eligible to receive. Senior discounts can decrease the cost of living for typical retirees, who can also access retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA without paying a penalty. Younger retirees are not eligible for senior discounts, and accessing a retirement account before a certain age can result in a substantial penalty.

Therefore, men and women whose goal is to retire early should not underestimate the value of a healthy savings account. Retiring early will require a more robust savings account than if you were to retire at a more typical age, so calculate how much more you will need to save in order to retire early. Once you have calculated that figure, ask yourself if it is realistic that you can save that money and what effect this increased emphasis on savings may have on your quality of life between now and the day you have targeted for early retirement? If you cannot realistically save enough money or if you have to sacrifice too much to make early retirement happen, then you might want to reconsider this goal.

* Accept sacrifices. Making sacrifices with an end goal of early retirement may be easier for younger men and women who have yet to grow accustomed to a certain standard of living. Regardless of their age, however, those who hope to retire early will need to accept that they will have to make certain sacrifices to achieve their goals. These sacrifices can be considerable, such as downgrading to a smaller home, or relatively minor, such as canceling a cable television subscription, but for the average worker they will be necessary to make early retirement happen. The earlier you can make these sacrifices the easier they will be, as it will not be as hard to sacrifice something you are not used to having. In addition, the earlier you make these sacrifices the quicker you will be on the road to early retirement.

* Periodically reassess how it is going. Periodically reassess how your plan is going and if you need to alter the plan in any way to make early retirement a reality. This reassessment should be conducted annually, and you must be completely honest with yourself. If the plan is going off course, determine the cause and if there is anything you can do to catch up or if you need to change your targeted retirement date.

Early retirement is a goal for many people. In addition, despite the uneasiness many people feel with regard to retirement, early retirement can become a reality for diligent men and women who develop a plan and stick to that plan in the years to come.

By MS