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12 Tips To Build Wealth For Early Retirement

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How to Retire Early and Wealthy…

Key Ideas

  1. Reveals the only 3 action steps you need to ensure your early retirement goals.
  2. Uncovers the 2 obstacles that derail most early retirements… and how to avoid them.
  3. Shows you how to put your financial security on auto-pilot.

Believe it or not, building wealth for a secure, early retirement is actually very simple…

in theory.

The equation for financial success is a function of just three easy-to-understand principles:

  1. The amount of money you invest.
  2. The growth rate of your money.
  3. The amount of time it has to grow.

Unfortunately, few people succeed in building wealth because it has little to do with understanding simple principles and everything to do with taking effective action. The challenge isn’t in knowledge, but in translating that knowledge into meaningful results.

Why? Building wealth requires you overcome the following two hurdles:

  1. You must translate the wealth building principles into actionable rules that will take you to your goal.
  2. Then, you must actually live according to those rules. 

You probably already know the three principles for compounding and building wealth. Most people do; yet, few people actually live according to them.

To know and not do is to not know at all.

This is critical. Most people fail to succeed financially because the rules are easy to understand but surprisingly hard to live by. Living them is the key… and also the problem.

For that reason, don’t judge the quality of the following twelve tips by whether they “rock your boat” with originality and genius. That’s not the point.

If early retirement planning via smart wealth building is as straightforward as I claim, then this shouldn’t be rocket science. In fact, you probably already know most of what’s in this article.

But before you yawn and click away from the page, you may want to consider whether or not you are living in congruence with each of the following wealth building tips. That’s the key!

You may think you know this stuff already. But if you aren’t talking the talk and walking the walk, then it requires revisiting.

Either you are living in integrity with what is taking you toward wealth and an early retirement, or you aren’t. It’s just that simple.

As you read this article, ask yourself, “Are my daily habits honoring each and every one of these financial truths?” Judging by results will tell you what you really know, and an honest assessment should be a little uncomfortable for most.

Want to succeed with early retirement planning? Use these 12 tips.

 

Early Retirement Tip #1: Have a Plan

The first mistake most people make is they lack a written plan to build financial security.

You can’t put the formula for financial success to work for you without a plan to accomplish it.

It may be a simple process, but it won’t happen randomly. You make it happen by taking action. A written plan with goals provides the road map and is a necessary first step.

Financial success is a choice. It results from the many small decisions you make each and every day. Without a plan and goals to achieve wealth your life is like a sailboat without a rudder: it just spins in circles without definite direction.

Plans and goals provide the necessary context to focus each and every decision in your life with purpose.

Time spent writing goals and building a step-by-step plan to achieve those goals is an investment in your future. It reduces wasted effort, increases efficiency, produces amazing results, and best of all, costs you nothing.

Every research study on goal setting and planning support the same conclusion: it’s a remarkably effective tool.

For example, a 30-year study by Harvard Business School showed how the 3% of participants with written goals produced 10 times the results when compared to the 83% of participants with no clearly defined goals. A 10-fold improvement is a life-changing difference worth planning for.

To get results like that you must create written savings and cash flow goals, and you must formulate a plan complete with specific action steps to achieve those goals. Your plan can use the investment vehicles of paper assets, business, real estate or any combination thereof.

There is no single right answer to wealth building despite what the latest guru of the day is telling you.

Instead, you must formulate a plan specific to your unique interests, skills, resources and abilities. No two people’s plans should be identical since each person’s situation is unique.

You want to formulate your plan based on three separate financial stages during life:

  1. Aggressive accumulation during career
  2. Continued growth of assets during semi-retirement
  3. Spending down accumulated assets during final retirement when all earned income ceases

How you manage your income and assets will vary with each financial stage of life thus requiring a different plan.

The overall objective of your plan is to utilize your career and semi-retired years to build residual income in business, real estate, and/or paper assets so that your passive income exceeds your living expenses. When you reach that point you are infinitely wealthy as long as you continue to grow your income and assets in excess of inflation. You will always feel abundant and never outlive your income.

Achieving this goal may sound nice, but results like this only occur when you build a plan and take the necessary action steps to achieve the result. Are you doing that?

Ensure you are with the following action steps to financial success.

Early Retirement Planning Quote 2 Image

Early Retirement Tip #2: Lifestyle Lags Income

Most people prefer the trappings and illusion of wealth over the freedom of actual wealth. They want to look wealthy rather than be wealthy.

Don’t believe it?

Just look around you and see how many people are in debt compared to how many people are wealthy. Most people choose lifestyle over financial freedom and violate the first principle in the wealth building equation: accumulate assets.

They spend instead.

The problem is you will never become rich by spending money. You must control your spending so that your lifestyle lags behind your income. This will create available capital for your investment activities.

If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.
– Benjamin Franklin

The life cycle of building wealth dictates the most important factor early in your wealth cycle is your rate of savings or asset accumulation. At some point in the wealth building process, you cross a threshold where the return on your assets is more significant than how much you add to them, but that is much later in the equation.

However, in the early stages you must build the assets so that you have something to grow. For most people that starting point is to save money.

Whether you own your business or work as an employee, you must think of each dollar as a little soldier on the battlefield of your wealth. Every time you spend that dollar on consumption instead of investment, the soldier dies.

But when the soldier is invested he produces new soldiers and creates an ever growing army working for your financial security. The bigger your army the greater your financial security.

According to the The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko, frugality and disciplined savings is the cornerstone of a financial plan. Self-made millionaires share a common value for thrift and discipline with their finances through budgeting, controlling expenses, and saving a portion of their income.

Judging by results, you would be wise to follow their lead.

Consumer debt is the antithesis of wealth and should be avoided. It causes enslavement to the system in the name of false prosperity.

If financial freedom is your objective then your practice must be to earn interest and compound your assets — not pay interest and compound your debt.

The only debt that is acceptable is to buy productive assets. A home mortgage, positive cash flow real estate, and certain business debt all qualify. Debt for consumption does not qualify.

The rule is simple for principle #1 in our wealth building formula: save money and build assets. The sooner you begin and the more you save each month, the sooner you will retire early and wealthy (see How Anyone Can Retire In 10 Years Or Less).

Every day you are making choices between lifestyle now and wealth accumulation for tomorrow. You can either invest those soldiers for freedom tomorrow or slaughter them for goodies today.

This rule is simple to understand, but hard to live. Are you walking the talk?

All men have an equal right to the free development of their faculties; they have an equal right to the impartial protection of the state; but it is not true, it is against all the laws of reason and equity, it is against the eternal nature of things, that the indolent man and the laborious man, the spendthrift and the economist, the imprudent and the wise, should obtain and enjoy an equal amount of goods.
- Victor Cousin

Early Retirement Tip #3: Invest in Your Financial Education

The second principle in wealth accumulation is the rate at which your capital grows.

This is largely a function of your financial intelligence. You must learn before you can earn.

It is possible to profit from any market condition if you know what you are doing (although, admittedly, some market environments are easier than others).

Every investment in your financial intelligence will pay dividends for a lifetime.

I recommend that clients regularly contribute to their financial intelligence by taking courses, reading, and researching so that their financial intelligence grows faster than their wealth.

This is critically important because financial intelligence cannot be developed overnight any more than wealth can be accumulated overnight. It takes time and disciplined effort.

The earlier you learn your lessons, the less they will cost you. You’ll gain experience on smaller investment decisions, where mistakes can be offset by new savings.

The longer you wait to learn these lessons the more they will cost you. That cost comes in the form of years of missed opportunities and mistakes made with big investment decisions later in life that can’t be offset by savings.

There is nothing more financially dangerous than an investor making a million dollars’ worth of decisions with a thousand dollars worth of financial intelligence.

When it comes to investing, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and a lot of knowledge can be a profitable thing. Get a lot of knowledge.

By growing your financial intelligence every day, you are investing in your financial future. Are you living in integrity with this wealth-building principle and regularly learning about investing and personal finance?

Early Retirement Tip #4: Don’t Procrastinate – Start Today

The third variable in the wealth accumulation equation is the amount of time your wealth compounds and grows.

If you wait just six years to get started and your assets grow at 12% annually, you will have half as much money when you retire compared to starting today (assuming equal contributions over your working lifetime).

If you wait just twelve years you will have only a quarter as much.

That’s a life changing difference in net worth for just a little procrastination.  Just getting this one idea into your bones early enough can change your financial future. It’s that important.

The power of compounding is an invaluable wealth-building tool because money grows geometrically instead of arithmetically — but only when you give it time to work.

Procrastination kills time, and as a result it kills more plans for retirement security than all other culprits combined. It is wealth suicide on the installment plan.

Every day you delay is another day where opportunity is thrown away.

Many people procrastinate because they feel uncomfortable and out of place making financial decisions. They feel ignorant or the subject seems dry and complicated with confusing technical jargon.

Get over it!

Nobody is born a financial genius. Everyone has to start somewhere. Just get started and fumble through it. Silly mistakes are better than doing nothing at all.

Every day you wait puts you at a greater disadvantage. The more time that passes before you start, the harder wealth building will be for you.

According to the Schwab Center for Investment Research, workers who begin saving for retirement in their 20’s can safely save between 10-15% of their income and achieve financial security. If you wait until your 30’s the percentage required rises to 15-25%. Ouch!

If you wait until your 40’s the percentage is an astronomical 25-35%. If you’ve reached your 50’s or 60’s and haven’t yet started to save then the only viable strategies for financial security are non-traditional and outside of the normal “save and compound grow” formula. They require leverage, additional risk, and a totally different skill set.

Clearly, the earlier you start the easier the process is to swallow.

The reality is anyone reading this article will have more than enough money pass through their hands during their lifetime to secure the retirement of their dreams, yet few will succeed at the goal.

Are you letting the procrastination monster stop you from retiring early and wealthy? What are you going to do about it?

Early Retirement Planning Quote 1 Image

Intermission

Up to this point we’ve summarized the tried and proven wealth building formula for most self-made millionaires as follows:

  1. Spend less than you earn and save the difference.
  2. Build your financial intelligence while building your wealth so that you can make wiser, more profitable decisions to grow your assets.
  3. Start early because time is the most important factor in compounding wealth.

Notice how it is the opposite of get-rich-quick: it is the slow and steady path to wealth.

Get-rich-quick uses various principles of leverage which increases the risk and lowers the probability of success. It’s faster, but less likely.

The slow-and-steady method requires more discipline and time but the odds for success are extremely high if you actually do what it takes. It’s a proven formula that just plain works.

But only if you work it.

Our character … is an omen of our destiny, and the more integrity we have and keep, the simpler and nobler that destiny is likely to be.
- George Santayana

The way to work the “save and compound” strategy is to begin the process early enough in your career so that you have lots of time. If you get started late you will either have to save an impossibly large portion of your income or apply a leveraged strategy to make up for lost time.

Regardless of the path you choose, your wealth is always a function of the amount of investments multiplied by their rate of growth and the number of years they grow. The math is always the same regardless of the strategy. It’s inviolable.

Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, it is also difficult for most people to live.

That’s why I am including the following 8 tips as a bonus. You only need the first four to succeed, but the next 8 will help you walk the talk and shorten the learning curve by avoiding some of the more obvious and common mistakes.

These extra tips will help you live according to the principles. Remember, it’s no good having a system to build wealth unless you put it to work for you. Get to work by putting these next 8 principles in practice.

Early Retirement Tip #5: Put Your Wealth Building on Auto-Pilot

The easiest, least painful way to save your way to wealth is automatically.

Arrange you finances so that every month certain actions take place that automatically grow your assets without any decisions or extra effort on your part. This creates an enforced discipline to keep you on track.

Below are a few examples:

  1. Own Your Home: Purchasing your personal residence has several advantages. A portion of each monthly payment pays down debt which builds equity, automatically. Assuming you finance with a fixed interest rate, fully amortizing mortgage, you can expect appreciation from inflation over time; yet, you will repay a fixed amount of debt with depreciating currency. Again, that’s automatic. And you can set your mortgage payoff date to coincide with your expected retirement date . Doing so lowers your cash flow needs when you retire.
  2. Rental Real Estate: If owning your own home is a great idea, then owning even more homes where someone else makes the payments for you is an even greater idea. But be careful: make sure the property has a safety margin of positive cash flow and make sure you’re willing to deal with the potential headaches of being a landlord. It isn’t right for everyone, but owning a rental property can be a great automatic wealth building tool for some.
  3. Tax Deferred Retirement Plans: Maximize your contributions to your tax-deferred retirement plans so that the money comes out of your paycheck automatically before you ever see it. This is a relatively pain-free way to save because you seldom miss what you never had. Additionally, if your employer offers a savings match program make sure to save enough to maximize this free money: it is the easiest savings you will ever put away. These savings cost far less than you might think because Uncle Sam gives you a tax break to boot. For example, let’s assume you earn $50,000 per year, and let’s also assume your company offers a 401(k) with 50 cents on the dollar matched savings up to 6% of your salary (a very common formula). If you contributed just $250 per month ($3,000 per year) you would get an additional $1,500 paid by the company – absolutely free. Assuming a combined federal and state tax bracket of 30%, your take home pay would be reduced by a mere $175 per month; yet, you would be receiving $375 per month in benefits… yes, once again, automatically. This is a no-brainer way to build assets.
  4. Automatic Savings Plans: Another disciplined approach to savings that reduces the temptation to spend your entire paycheck is the automatic savings plan. If your tendency is to spend whatever you have then these programs are a must. The money is deducted from your pay before you ever see it, making the whole process of saving a lot less painful. The key principle is the money is saved automatically. The only decision you have to make is to start the process. After that, it is on auto-pilot.
  5. Join An Investment Club: While group decisions are probably not the smartest way to invest, the social support, regular learning, and forced savings will put your wealth building and financial intelligence on auto-pilot.
  6. Subscribe to Educational Investment Newsletters: The internet is a treasure trove of investment education, and much of it is freely available. Newsletter issues come regularly causing you to grow your financial intelligence over time and automatically. Consider the free investment newsletter from this web site as a good example of this strategy.

These are just six ways you can put the growth of your savings and financial intelligence on auto-pilot. Many more exist.

John Lennon said it best when he sang, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans” (although I doubt he intended it to be used for building wealth for early retirement).

You must make growing your wealth a habitual part of your daily life so that it happens automatically while the rest of your life runs its normal course. You must build your wealth for early retirement while making other plans.

You can either choose to arrange your life so that growing your wealth and financial intelligence is an automatic habit, or you can let time slip away and allow procrastination to win the day.

Early Retirement Tip #6: Take Responsibility for All Your Investment Results

Unless you are a trust fund baby or win the lottery, the way you will become wealthy is by owning full responsibility for every aspect of your wealth.

This causes you to get into action and correct and adjust your plans until you reach your goal. You must build your wealth like an entrepreneur builds a business: “if it’s got to be, then it is up to me.”

You are solely responsible for organizing your life so that wealth accumulation is a habit. Nobody else will do it for you.

You are the one that determines the priority of your spending habits and whether your lifestyle lags your income or not. You are the one who determines whether you start today or procrastinate until tomorrow.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
- George Bernard Shaw

When you take the right actions with consistency it will get you the desired result. Financial security becomes a question of “when” – not “if.”

Similarly, you are also responsible for the investment growth you create whether you hire an investment advisor or make the investment decisions yourself. You can’t blame Alan Greenspan, your broker, market conditions, bad luck, or anything else.

You made the decisions therefore the results are yours to own. That is how you learn from your mistakes and make better decisions the next time.

Some people feel intimidated by the idea they are fully responsible for their results, but in fact it is an empowering concept. It means that no matter what your results have been to date, you have the power to turn it around beginning right now.

You are in charge. Nobody else is doing it to you, and nobody else will do it for you. You decide what your financial results will be by the actions you take every day.

Your financial bottom line is you make the decisions: you are responsible. You own the results. That is the only way to achieve true financial security.

Early Retirement Tip #7: Commit What Is Necessary to Succeed

Successful retirement planning requires you to provide the necessary resources to reach the goal. Don’t set yourself up for failure by under-committing.

For example, you don’t want to build a retirement plan around owning and managing rental properties unless you want a part time job. Operating real estate requires effort and can be appropriate for some people and not for others depending on your values, interests and skills.

Don’t commit to real estate as your path to wealth unless you are willing to commit to doing the work required to run a real estate portfolio properly. It isn’t a 100% passive investment. It is part business and part investment for as long as you own it.

Similarly, you don’t want to build your retirement plan around passive investing in paper assets if you’re in your late 50’s, have zero assets, and are just getting started. Someone in that situation will require greater leverage and require active investment strategies to make up for the late start.

A passive strategy can be great when time is on your side, and inappropriate when time is in short supply.

If you are relatively young (40’s or less) and plan to save and compound your way to wealth with paper assets, the good news is that it’s a mathematically viable strategy. The bad news is you must set realistic expectations because much of the apparent return on investment from paper assets is eroded by inflation.

You must use realistic assumptions for long-term return expectations for various asset classes. Don’t set yourself up for failure by committing too little savings to your plan and expecting unrealistic return assumptions to bail you out.

In short, you must set yourself up to win by designing your retirement plan consistent with the time, money, and energy required for success, and you must be willing to commit those resources to the process.

Every person’s situation is different and successful retirement planning must reflect that. One size does not fit all.

Is your wealth plan uniquely fitted to you?

Early Retirement Tip #8: Make Your Money Hard to Reach

A pile of savings that is easy and pain-free to reach is an easy solution to life’s troubles.

And that’s a bad thing.

Your car breaks and you use your savings to buy a new one. You get laid off and use your savings to carry you through until the perfect job arrives. Life throws you curve balls, and savings without barriers to protect them are an easy target for solution.

That is why I love the government-sponsored retirement plans with all the difficult rules and penalties you must overcome to access your money prior to retiring. These obstacles provide a measure of discipline for those who inherently lack this life skill.

Even if you have the discipline of a celibate monk, the rules and penalties provide a formidable barrier for your inevitable moments of human weakness.

The rule is simple: when you build a nest egg, don’t raid it. Never borrow money from it for current lifestyle and don’t spend a dime of it until after you retire.

Just let it grow and grow until you are financially free. This is easy to understand but hard to live by.

Self-discipline is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially raises one man above another.
- Joseph Addison

That is why many smart investors place their retirement money in hard to access investments like real estate or government-sponsored, tax-deferred retirement plans. This reinforces discipline by making the money just difficult enough to reach that you don’t raid your nest egg when those inevitable “emergencies” arrive.

Additionally, hard-to-reach assets like real estate and retirement plans have another huge advantage: tax savings.

Retirement plans allow you to compound your money while deferring or avoiding taxes altogether (depending on the plan and your circumstances), while real estate provides tax savings and deferral through depreciation deductions and 1031 exchanges.

Building wealth for retirement is not just about how much money you make, but about how much money you keep. That is why tax savings is an essential element of your plan.

Conveniently, both real estate and government-sponsored retirement plans offer both tax savings and barriers to access thus reinforcing discipline while enhancing savings.

You would be wise to put these tools to your advantage. Are you?

early retirement image

Early Retirement Tip #9: Risk Management Is Essential

The mathematics of compounding wealth prove that avoiding large losses is equally as important to growing your wealth as pursuing large gains. They are mathematical flip-sides to the same coin.

For that reason, a smart investment strategy manages risk of loss and volatility risk using a variety of tools. These include diversification, careful asset selection, valuation, and a sell discipline to create a defensive investment plan.

While it is essential to practice defensive investing through risk management it does not mean you should avoid risk altogether by hiding out in Treasury Bills or other so-called “safe assets.”

You must have an aggressive, offensive investment strategy to build wealth because your objective is to grow your assets faster than inflation erodes them so that you increase purchasing power. Hiding out in safe investments won’t achieve that goal.

In other words, you must balance both your defensive and offensive investment strategies to pursue gains in excess of inflation without undue risk of loss.

Are you doing that? Do you know how?

Risk management principles apply equally well to your personal finances as they do to your portfolio finances. For example, the rule with insurance is to insure away all risks that you can’t afford to lose.

The alternative is to put a lifetime of hard work, saving, and investing at risk for one mistake, accident, or health problem that causes a loss large enough to financially destroy you … and that is not acceptable.

Types of insurance to consider include homeowners, health, long-term care, automobile, disability, umbrella, and various other insurance products (Don’t worry, I don’t sell insurance. It is just something to consider).

Whether it is your investment portfolio or your personal finances, risk management is an essential principle. You must manage your investments so that you never lose more than is mathematically acceptable, and you must manage your personal financial risk so that you never lose more than you can afford.

Are you managing both of these risks successfully?

Early Retirement Tip #10: Use Your Common Sense

Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.
- C.E. Stowe

Investing is really about business. You can avoid most of the speculative manias and frauds that can rob your retirement plan of valuable principal by following this simple rule: the price you pay for any investment must make economic sense consistent with the earning capacity of the underlying business that you invest in.

In other words, valuation matters – it’s a primary risk management tool.

What this means is when the NASDAQ stock index is selling for more than 200 times earnings as it did in 2000 you should not have your capital at risk in that market.

No businessman in his right mind would ever pay 200 times the earnings capacity for a broad cross-section of technology businesses, and you shouldn’t either. It’s bad business because the valuation built into the price is unsupportable.

Similarly, in 2005 when investment real estate in Southern California was selling for prices so high that the rental income couldn’t cover the mortgage payment even when you assumed no delinquency, no vacancy, no expenses, no insurance, no taxes, no maintenance, and the lowest interest rates in the last 40 years, then you have to step back and question the logic. It makes no business sense and is purely a speculative mania (this was first written two years before the eventual price collapse beginning in 2008).

Likewise, if an investment offers you above market yields then you should assume there is a very risky reason that they are forced to pay such high rates to attract capital. Always treat above market yields as a warning sign and perform extensive due diligence before committing retirement funds.

Finally, it’s just good business common sense to only pay for investment services that put more money in your pocket than they take out. They must be value-added.

For example, a broker or money manager’s fees can only be justified when his insights and services add more profit than they cost when compared to a passive index investment strategy that could be easily implemented on your own. You need to get what you pay for.

I have helped clients save many hundreds of thousands of dollars in mistakes by applying simple business common sense to their investing to avoid excessive fees, speculative manias, and blatant frauds. Investing must make business sense.

Do the investments in your retirement plan pass the business-common-sense test?

Early Retirement Tip #11: Basic Estate Planning

It is irresponsible to leave a burden for those you leave behind. The fact is you will die with 100% certainty.

No one likes to think about it, but that’s the reality. Another reality? Your loved ones will be distraught over your passing, busy with their own lives, and not interested in cleaning up a messy financial legacy.

Your estate plan covers your financial assets and also helps set a clear legacyGet your affairs in order and make all the decisions about who gets what now. Depending on your particular circumstances this might include:

  • Powers of Attorney
  • Will
  • Living Trust
  • Life insurance
  • …and much more depending on your circumstances and desires

Many people rationalize avoiding estate planning with thoughts like, “who cares about all that stuff; I’ll be dead anyway,” or “it’s not that important.”

I disagree completely. After all, what would happen if you were incapacitated but still living? What are the guidelines for moving you into a nursing home? What are the rules for pulling the plug on life support or administering controversial and expensive medicines during your final hours? How do you want to die?

In short, there is a lot more to estate planning than just dividing up your assets. It affects your life and the life of your loved ones left behind. You should care — a lot.

Make sure to seek competent legal guidance for estate planning that will customize a program to fit your personal situation and needs. Quality and price will vary so seek referrals and interview several attorneys specializing in this field until you find someone you’re comfortable with.

Have you set up your estate plan yet? Is it up to date?

Early Retirement Tip #12: Get A Life

There’s more to retirement planning than just money.

What about relationships? What about your health? What activities engage your interest?

Money is just a lubricant to life, but it’s not life itself.

I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend and a hug from a child. There are plenty of life’s tiny delights for all of us.
- Jack Anthony

Happy retirees have fulfilling lives with the health and money to enjoy them. Make sure you have plenty to live for when your work no longer fills your days, and make sure you take care of your health so that you have the energy and vitality to pursue whatever brings you joy.

Protect and enhance your health by investing daily in proper nutrition, regular exercise, and preventative health care to reduce the risk of catastrophic illness. Get adequate sleep, avoid anxiety, and counteract the stress you do incur with proper exercise and recreation.

We never realize the value of our health until we lose it.

Also, invest time now in relationships that sustain and nurture you. Build the connections you desire with family, friends, and business associates. Life without them would be empty.

Avoid retiring simply to get away from your current job. It’s far more fulfilling to retire toward a life that excites you than away from a life you dislike.

Remember, money is just the means, not the end. Family, friends, robust health, and motivating interests are the real tools of a fulfilling retirement while money is just the lubricant.

Once you put in place all the financial tips above so that your financial retirement plan is in order then it is time to consider your life plan as well. One without the other is only half the picture. Both are essential to a fulfilling and happy retirement.

In Summary:

Financial planning for early retirement is simple to understand and hard to live. That is why so few succeed at it.

It all boils down to prudent, routine management of your investments and personal finances. It’s not exactly rocket science. The principles aren’t complex.

The only question now is, “are you walking the talk?” You may know most or even all of these principles, but how many are you actually living right now? 

If your score based solely on results is less than you might have liked, then you have just identified one value of financial coaching. Even though you know the “how-tos,” the reality is that incorporating them into a plan of action that actually gets accomplished is another matter entirely.

That is where Financial Mentor can help. We can help you bridge that gap between knowing something and following through with action that gets results. There is more to financial success than just recognizing the essential principles.

Financial coaching can literally make or break a secure and prosperous retirement for you and the people you love.

Let us know how we can help.

Also, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. What other ideas did we miss that you think are important? What did you think about the ideas we shared?

4 comments
stevenkobrinlutcf
stevenkobrinlutcf

Great advice from a  true master. I am approaching 60 and need to get my act in order. With your help, I will!

qatifemyj
qatifemyj

1. Pay off college loan debt (if you have it) with automatic monthly payments.

2. Live small. Buy the smallest, cheapest home you can live with and pay if off before retirement. Do not count on your home's appreciation value for retirement funds. A paid off home is a cheap place to live during retirement.

3. If you want to buy a car, get a reliable beater. Get insurance for $25/month from Insurance Panda.  Forget about buying a house until your debts are paid off.

4. Only one credit card per family. Keep it in a lock box for emergency use only. If you can't buy with cash, you can't afford it.

5. Be careful as you develop your retirement portfolio. The Bush years taught us not to trust the stock market and banks. Gold, cash, rare stones, high end collectables, rental properties, cottage industry cash and at-work saving accounts with a big employer contribution will keep the money in your pocket. Roth IRA's are also a good way to save without excessive taxes. Avoid annuities, and accounts that make more money for the bank than for the clients. 

6. Assume that everyone wants a piece of your retirement portfolio. Beware of con artists-they come in all forms. If it seems to good to be true-it is.

7. If possible, use public transportation and cut back on car ownership. You will save a bundle.

8. Plant a vegetable garden. Learn to can and freeze food.

9. Do not buy long term health care insurance. The rates are too high to keep the policy going as you retire. It's a sucker play for young adult money.

10. Eat out once a week. Make a shopping list and learn to cook. It's healthy and you'll save a lot of money.

11. Cut off cable TV and watch shows online. You'll save over $100.00 per month. 

12. Create your own power (sun, wind, whatever cuts the price of heating, electric and gas.)

13. Co-op services. Barter when you can for goods and services.

14. Work at home several days a week. You'll save on gas and meals.

15. Shop the educational market for a cheaper graduate education.

16. Live in a neighborhood with good public schools so you can skip the cost of private schools.

17. Always look for ways to save and cut the budget.

Finishedat50
Finishedat50

Good article Todd . It's amazing how many times a person needs to hear or read these simple, tried-and-true wealth building principles during their lifetime in order to stay on track to reaching their goals. As you said, nothing new or flashy here, just solid advice that when followed can get you where you want to be. I believe these "tips" are like a persons written wealth plan- they should be reviewed at least twice per year to ensure you are on track. Wealth building isn't "set it and forget it"; it requires monitoring and adjusting along the way. Looking forward to the next article and/or podcast.

Financialmentor
Financialmentor moderator

@Finishedat50 Thanks for joining the conversation. Fully agreed. Not rocket science. No secrets. You just gotta get it done.

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