Maybe not, unless you have money to begin with. Well I won’t presume to have the answer here, but I bet I can give you a good heads up what you need to do to make it easy to retire. Pretty sure there are more than three steps, and not all of them are easy! Yet, if you are serious about having some kind of life after your working life, there are steps you need to take now if and while you still work. You could start late, if you didn’t start in your twenties, honestly it is never too late really. I personally didn’t start to save until I was over 50. However, in my limited experience (only have retired once) the basic problems associated with retiring easily fell into these three basic categories.
Make A Lot Of Money
So this first one is pretty laughable actually. The “system” isn’t set up for you to actually make a lot of money unless you have some high powered job where they pay you huge amounts of money just for your expertise. At one point I did date a man who worked as a vice president for a major corporation and he made in one month the same amount of money I made teaching for an entire year. I think that was around the time I decided I’d picked the wrong profession. I was certainly as smart as him (or so I thought). Regardless, to easily retire you need a lot of money.
Save A Lot Of Money
Seems like a no-brainer to say “save a lot of money”, but life takes its toll, and if you are a single mother raising kids on one income, it is incredibly difficult. Childcare in this country needs to improve; we need to take into account the difficulties in raising a child financially. If everything you earn goes to childcare, then why are you working, when you could just stay home and take care of your own children? The bottom line is this: if you you have to adjust your finances, and give up a cup of coffee or something like that, do it. In the long run, saving even just a little every paycheck is going to make a difference when you stop working.
Don’t Owe Any Money
Lastly, get out of debt. This is perhaps the most important step in preparing for retirement. If you can survive without using credit cards or running up some outstanding balance on a mortgage or car, you will be better off in retirement. The least amount of money you have to spend on survival and living expenses will be the best. I considered a couple of ways to lower my debt when I retired. I was in the beginning going to be a volunteer at a Buddhist monastery in the beginning, which would have allowed me to pocket all of my retirement money and get out of debt. Another possibility for me was to buy an RV and travel from one inexpensive place to another, paying only the minimal camping fees.
Why Worry About Money?
Exactly! Now that I am retired, why should I worry about money? I did my dues, paid my taxes, worked my butt off, now it is time to relax and have fun, right? Wrong, now is the time to make sure you have secured your finances to be able to make it to the end of your life. There is that huge issue of getting somewhere and having nothing to show for it. We can’t begin our retirement out of fear of not having enough. Wasn’t enough of our working lives lived that way? Between children, taxes, utilities, food, and rent was there ever enough? It will be the same in retirement; planning is the next big step to financial solvency, or at the minimum maintaining life as you know pre or post retirement.
Limited Resources to Unlimited Resources
Recently, it has become even more important than before to find a way to excel and make money work for me. Not because I want to live a glamorous life; but to make the life I have the best it can be. Finding new supplemental money, getting out of debt and saving for what remains of my life. I want to travel, to see the world and I don’t want to worry about money while I do it. So how do we get from just enough to live on to unlimited resources? I’ll be writing more about this and my research as time goes by. For right now, it is enough to know I can do it, and I will find what I need.
If you are at the age where you haven’t stopped working yet, my advice is sock it away. Be a frugal person, don’t buy things you don’t need and definately don’t rack up credit card debt you don’t need. With the interest rates on credit cards, or basically anything that you have to buy on credit, it will take you longer to pay it off
Think of places where you could save money, and or eliminate debt. Drive your car a few years longer. Not having a car payment is a huge savings. Then if there really isn’t any place to cut corners or save money, start to think about alternative ways with minimal effort to create money. Perhaps have a garage sale, or sell some things on ebay. I once had some books just laying around and I sold one for $80 on Ebay. Money in the bank. Rather than operating like you have unlimited funds, or even if your funds are limited, always, always save some money. Put it in the bank in a 40lk where you can’t take it out without a huge penalty before a certain age. I am going to be writing more on these topics about saving money and making more money as my blog grows. I am going to touch on diet, health, finances, and a variety of tops that have become more interesting to me and relevant as I continue down this road of retirement.
There are a lot of good resources out there if you are looking for strategies or ideas.
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Please feel free to add any comments or advice you have here on my comments. Thanks!