I’m the first to admit that I’ve gotten off to a rocky and late start with retirement planning. The only thing in my corner, so to speak, is a pension plan that I have automatically contributed to for the past 13 years. However, the more I think about working for another 24 years, the more I think, can I retire before 65?

The answer is yes, with some changes to my current, and possibly future, lifestyle.

My best bet is to continue saving, obviously. A standard 10 – 15% contribution on top of my pension really isn’t enough if I want to retire 10-years earlier than planned. Tweaks I’d need to make to reach an earlier goal:

  1. Bump up investment contributions to a minimum of 20 – 30%. This isn’t impossible, but I have to tweak my spending (see below) to accomplish this.
  2. At 14-years out, if my goal of retiring is at 55, I need to diversify my investments between higher, more risky yields, and slower, yet safer investments.
  3. Pay off all debts – that’s the only way I’m going to be able to come close to saving 30% of my income.
  4. Increase my income each year. I’ve regularly increased income the past couple of years, but I can’t get complacent and think my current income is just fine – that just won’t do.

Now comes the harder part – tweak my spending. Reducing my expenses by 15% – 20% would give me some wiggle room for saving a larger portion of my current income.

  1. My largest expense is rent. If I could reduce that by 50%, I’d be very close to saving 20% of my income. However, this would take some planning and a major lifestyle change.
  2. Prepare for a rent-free retirement. This means having a plan to purchase a place or having an alternative, like living in an RV or very tiny house. The tricky part with this one is if I take on a mortgage, I would be hard-pressed to pay it off in less than 12 years while still saving 20-30% of my income. (*My late start has also thwarted my efforts of purchasing a home. The later the purchase, the less time I have to pay it off before retirement!)
  3. Move to a very inexpensive area during retirement. This could kill two birds with one stone –  I could potentially purchase a much cheaper home with cash from retirement savings, then live for 30 – 50% less than my current living expenses. I’ve rolled around some ideas on location from less expensive areas in the U.S. to locations overseas and in Mexico. I have plenty of time to pinpoint a perfect spot – though weather definitely plays a large part with this decision.

All of this sounds like a good plan. However, breaking down the parts bit by bit, I’d have to make lifestyle changes right away – like moving to a less expensive place and paying off debt. One of which I’m working on (debt repayment) and the other I’ve bounced around ideas to Mr. LH.

As the New Year approaches, I’ll be mapping out a more specific plan for each of these ideas.

When do you plan to retire? Have you mapped out your plan?

10 Comments

  1. My goal has always been to retire at 55. Maybe I want to take one little hiatus in between now and then, though. I want to be able to have the option.

    • @Suburban Finance – My current job allows for ample vacation time, so I get quite a few weeks off in the winter and summer. That allows me to pursue some extracurricular activities. However, I need to work harder over the next 14-years to meet my goal!

  2. Good luck! We are looking at retirement destinations too. I’d like to be a bit more mobile and move every few years or so, but Mrs. RB40 doesn’t really like that. We’ll see…

    • @Joe – I’d like to seek out some of the adventures I’ve put off, but Mr. LH is not as adventuresome. He’s in to moving abroad, but not really moving around. We’ll see how that goes as we get closer to the end of this decade! 🙂

  3. You can do it! The biggest part is the recognition of the need and getting a plan together. You still have the biggest asset on your side.. TIME!

    I wrote about the idea of Living your retirement in a recent blog post. And I’ll write more about retirement planning in my upcoming book on Amazon. “Retirement for All Ages”.

  4. I don’t see myself ever fully retiring (because I like to keep busy), but I would like to reach financial independence in my 30s.

    • @Michelle – I will definitely stay busy even if I retire at 55 from my current job. It will open up a few possibilities like maybe teaching in another country or doing something completely different. I think my 55 goal is really just an opportunity to keep my options open!

  5. I achieved financial independence in my late thirties, but started businesses to instead of retiring. As I near retirement (three more years), everything changed! I want choices in retirement, although I do not plan to move away from California (Los Angeles). I want to do a variety of things i retirement including travel.

    The only way you can accelerate your retirement date is to look for ways to increase income which is usually a business.

    • @Krantcents – You’re right; side businesses and income help achieve savings and retirement goals. I’m fortunate that I have some side gigs that pay off.

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