Work’s a beating. There’s no way around it.
Even if you like your job, you probably don’t love it. You almost certainly don’t want to do it until the day you die.
That’s why they invented retirement. And for many people, the traditional retirement age of 65 is just too far away.
“There are some people who want to work well into their 70s,” writes Catey Hill in SmartMoney. “Then there are the rest of us.”
How to make early retirement happen
How do you get to retirement sooner? Win the lotto (probably not likely). Get a huge inheritance (also not likely). Or save and be smart with your money (most likely).
The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies recently released a study that shows how you can realistically retire before 65.
“Future early retirees are not necessarily born out of privilege or ultra-affluence,” says Catherine Collison, president of the Transamerica Center. “They are more likely to be everyday people and should be considered a source of inspiration to all.”
What’s their secret? They “exhibit highly proactive savings behaviors,” Collison says. In other words, they’re super savers.
The Transamerica Center conducted a study of 4,080 American workers. Of those who said they wanted to retire early, 71 percent had a retirement strategy and most began saving for retirement around age 25.
Why didn’t I do that?
Develop a plan to retire early
The study showed that workers who eyed early retirement not only contributed heavily to an employee retirement plan, such as a 401(k), but they also socked away money through other means.
Again, what was I thinking in my young adulthood?
Well, maybe it’s not too late for me (and you) to accumulate a nice nest egg.
The Transamerica Center has several retirement suggestions, including:
- Estimate your retirement savings need.
- Development a retirement strategy and write it down.
- Become educated about retirement investing.
- If your employer offers a retirement plan, invest heavily.
- Have a backup plan in case you aren’t able to work until your planned retirement age.
That last suggestion is a good one. Life throws us curve balls.
“Unforeseen circumstances can arise that could derail the best-laid retirement plans, such as job loss, health issues, extraordinary expenses, or poor investment performance,” the study says.
Well, let’s hope not.
Saving for retirement, I think, is sort of like picking a spouse. You decide what you want, do your homework, plan intelligently – and then hope it works out.
I’ve struck out twice in the marriage department. I hope I do better in planning for retirement.
Everyone should start saving early for retirement, no matter when you plan to retire. It’s comforting to have even a modest nest egg in case you can’t afford to save at some point.