Hi, my name is Greg! I’m 38 years old, and my wife Holly and I are on track to retire by the time we’re 52. Want to know our secrets? Here you go!
We Have a Monthly Plan
Retiring early means making the most of the money you already have. To do that, you need a monthly plan. Every month, we detail exactly where we want our money to go. After creating our plan, we track our spending to ensure we’re following through.
Tiller is a great app that helps create a plan and automate your tracking. Simply connect your accounts and the app does all the work for you. Use this link to try Tiller free for 30 days. After that, pay just a few bucks a month. (Trust me, it’s worth it.)
We Maximize Our Retirement Savings
If you want to retire early, you must take advantage of retirement accounts. When we worked at our old jobs, Holly and I made sure we saved at least enough to meet our company match. (The match is free money, right?!?) But just meeting the match isn’t enough to retire early.
Even if you’re saving through work, you should definitely consider saving more on the side. Betterment is a great resource to help you do this. It’s like an “easy button” for investing. Just answer a few questions about your goals and risk tolerance, and they’ll create a fully-automated investment plan based on your answers. Best of all, they charge super low fees which could save you thousands over time and help you retire sooner!
We Cut Our Expenses
Speaking of spending, we actively search for ways to spend less on things that don’t matter so we can spend more on things that do. That way, we can save for retirement and still have money for stuff like travel and entertainment.
You should check out Trim, a free money saving app that finds old subscriptions you may have forgotten about. Simply tell Trim to cancel the bills you no longer use, and the app will do it automatically. Trim also reminds you about cash back deals, negotiate your cable bill, and alert you to price reductions on Amazon. Pretty cool if you ask me!
We Track Our Progress
For years, we’ve tracked all of our retirement accounts using the free money tools at Personal Capital. The program helps us view all of our accounts in one place, plus it has a nifty retirement calculator that keeps us on track to meet our goals. We can also track our net worth, keep an eye on our spending, and analyze how much we’re paying in investment fees.
We Invest Outside of the Stock Market
Although investing in retirement accounts is an important part of our early retirement strategy, one of the best moves we made was investing a percentage of our retirement funds outside of the stock market. This helped diversify our investments and create new streams of revenue that aren’t tied to stock market fluctuations. Personally, we choose to invest in real estate, but here are a few other options you can consider:
PeerStreet – If real estate investing sounds interesting but you don’t want to deal with the hassles of owning physical property, PeerStreet may be a good option. This company allows you to invest in real estate loans and share in a portion of the interest profits. You can choose your desired return based on the level of risk. It’s a really cool option for diversifying your investments in the real estate sphere.
Lending Club – This peer-to-peer lending website allows you to act like a bank, earning interest on your money by providing the capital for loans. Use your investments to create a side income or classify your investment as a tax-advantaged individual retirement account (I.R.A). The choice is yours. Requirements for becoming an investor are less stringent than at PeerStreet, making this an option for investors at almost all levels.
We Build Additional Streams of Income
To retire early, a single income from one job probably isn’t going to cut it. For most early retirees, it’s important to make extra money on the side. We’ve always sought ways to make money beyond our regular jobs. Luckily, there are a million ways to make extra money these days. In your spare time, you could try driving for Lyft, open a small business, or create an online store. The possibilities are endless.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope this piece gives you some ideas on how to increase your own retirement savings. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below. Good luck and here’s to a happy and healthy early retirement!