Retiring early may be a dream of yours, but the reality is it takes commitment and maybe a bit of sacrifice to pull it off. You’ll need to grow your retirement funds within a shorter time frame and possibly commit to a more modest lifestyle to help maximize your savings.
Here are four basic factors you should consider if you want to retire early:
Determine your retirement lifestyle
Consider what retirement looks like to you: Will you travel the world or continue to work part time? Thinking through questions such as these will help you estimate how much income you’ll need.
Create an investment plan
Once you’ve determined your retirement vision, you’ll need a saving and investment plan to help you achieve it.
According to the CDC, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 78 years, so if you want to retire at 60, you’ll need your assets to produce enough income for roughly two decades. Life expectancies continue to rise, so there is a chance that one spouse may live past age 90.
Your plan will likely include maximizing contributions to your IRA, your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plans, remembering that once you reach 50, you can take advantage of catch-up provisions. And don't forget the potential impact to Social Security – not only can you not claim until age 62, every year you retire early means one less year of earnings used to calculate your benefit.
Depending on your time frame, you might also need to take on a higher level of risk so you can maximize the growth potential of your investments or invest more if you have a lower comfort with risk.
Review your budget
Examine your current spending habits and budget. You may need to reduce your expenses in some areas to boost your contributions. This may also help you understand your necessary living expenses and what it may really cost to fund your lifestyle in retirement.
Don’t forget health insurance
Medicare coverage doesn’t start until age 65, so if you retire before then, you’ll either need to purchase private health insurance or find part-time work that offers coverage. You may also receive coverage through your spouse if he or she is still working.
Retiring early doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. It’s perfectly possible with careful planning.