What If You Could Retire Tomorrow?
Remember: The financial wizards who devise these [online retirement] calculators do so because they want to scare you into investing with them. Tweet
In 2016, I read an article in Men’s Health that changed my life forever.
The title: “10 Easy Ways to Retire 10 Years Early”
Today, the only reason I work is because I want to. I was able to retire just a few years after reading the article—many years earlier than I had ever thought would be possible. A lot of the steps in the article are useful, but reading one section in particular felt like a guy came up to me at a bar and threw a beer in my face. My reaction was the financial equivalent of launching into a bar brawl; I started fighting with everything I had for my financial future and early retirement and vowed never to quit.
I was going to show those bastards…
Here’s the part of the article that set me off:
“Those online calculators will say you need 70 to 85 percent of your current income annually in order to retire comfortably.
‘That’s nonsense,’ says David Gould, a former programmer who retired at age 45 with $800,000 in assets. ‘I was living fine on 50 percent of my working income.’
Remember: The financial wizards who devise these calculators do so because they want to scare you into investing with them, says Fred Brock, author of ‘Retire on Less Than You Think.’
‘They’re using the wrong set of numbers,’ he says, ‘and it leads to a lot of anxiety. Your true estimate should be based not on how much you’re earning now but on how much you’ll spend in retirement.’”
Granted, the article is now five-years old, so some things have changed. But the core principles are the same; it’s just up to you to do what it takes.
Retiring early became an act of rebellion and revenge for me, once I understood the “online calculators” are rigged. That’s what it took for me to get a fire burning in my belly, to make early retirement work. Or that’s what it took for me to seriously get to work on early retirement, I should say.
I was going to show those bastards—and I have.
None of the article’s other points will be news to you, but the real lesson here is all these things are a lot easier to do once you’re motivated:
1. Max out your IRA. Don’t forget that you can add an extra $1,000 to your IRA every year starting at age 50.
2. Open a Roth IRA.
3. Switch to a 15-year mortgage.
4. Adjust your lifestyle down a notch; use extra money to pay off debt.
5. Talk your kid out of that expensive, private college…unless it comes with a generous scholarship.
If I could do it, you can do it; now get to work.
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