Retirement Advice - from me?

I'm not really the kind of guy to be giving retirement advice since I haven't been retired for more than a few years, and I didn't take the traditional route to retirement either.

My definition of retirement isn't exactly mainstream, so my advice in this area might be a little off the beaten path as well.

Nevertheless, I offer this basic advice for folks considering retirement. That should be all of us at one point or another, with some of us a bit more eager than others.

So, here we go with general retirement advice from about the 30,000 foot level. In roughly chronological order, I suggest:

  1. Start thinking about retirement early. Don't get a retirement vision stuck in your head at age 15, because it will likely change a few times, but once you start on your career path, you should start thinking about retirement.

  2. Create your own vision of retirement. If you can't imagine it, then it's going to be hard to make it happen. Your own vision will probably entail a unique definition of retirement as well. It should be unique because it's your retirement.

    Your retirement vision should be every bit your own creation, just as much as your career path(s) is your own creation.

    Don't be concerned if your vision changes. Your life changes. Your career path will likely change. Don't be surprised if your vision of retirement changes as well.

  3. Start financial resource planning. You'll need a pension or a personal retirement plan, a steady revenue stream, or at least a pile of money to start with. What you'll need all depends on what your vision is.

    If you wait until you're in your 50s to start thinking about financial planning, you need to be kicked in the ass all around the block. Start financial planning and implementing the plan in your 20s. It only get's harder to implement a successful long range plan when you're much older because your time before retirement is much shorter.

  4. Protect the money you set aside for retirement. I know a guy who cashed in several retirement plans to fund a business that was driven into the ground by someone else (who didn't fund it at all). If you want to run a business, then do some financial planning for that separate from your retirement financial planning. Leave the retirement funds alone until you retire. Don't ever put them at risk.

  5. Consider early retirement. This is retirement advice from someone who has retired early. Life is for living, not for working until you can't anymore. There are plenty of people who have been "cheated" as they approached retirement. I know of one individual who learned that he had less than a year to live when he was about 6 months from retirement. That's an individual who worked until he died.

    Early retirement will give you a chance to live your life in better health than if you knocked yourself out at a job until you turned 65 or 72, or whatever age the government designates as "full retirement."

  6. Start to lay a good foundation for retirement as early as you can so as you get older, you won't be burdened with liability, and you'll have more assets and more opportunities. That could mean: paying down the mortgage so you can become debt free well in advance of retirement; investing in a piece of land so as you retire, all you have to do is build your retirement home; or, investing and managing a growing enterprise so you can step into a new career as you retire from the one you have.

  7. Be realistic about retirement in terms of income, expenses and other expectations. If you haven't saved much and you have no retirement account to speak of, don't expect to be traveling around the world as part of your retirement activities.

    If your physical condition isn't what it used to be, then don't expect to start homesteading out in the wilderness on your own, or hiking the Appalachian Trail as your form of recreation.

  8. Watch for your opportunity to retire and then act on it if things fall in place the way you want them to. This retirement advice comes from the horses mouth. I had my eyes on early retirement, and when my business started to drop off a bit, I let it do so precipitously. I never tried to revive it because I was ready to retire and get on with the next episode.

    Retirement doesn't necessarily come at a certain age. It comes when things fall into place and you can see your retirement lifestyle coming into focus for the foreseeable future.

  9. Be ready for a shift in life priorities and habits, and be prepared for a transition in your lifestyle. This is more retirement advice from one whose been there.

    If you work full time up until retirement on Friday afternoon, you'll have about 60 hours of additional time on your hands each week, starting on the following Monday morning. No more 8 hour days. No more commuting. No more late nights at the office. No more business travel. It all adds up to more time that you have to work with.

    Also, don't be surprised if it takes years before you come to the realization that weekdays and weekends are pretty much the same except when it comes to interacting with others that have employment or businesses to be concerned about.

    In other words, have a plan for your time so it provides you with fulfillment and joy and achievement, and whatever else you value.

I think that's enough retirement advice from me. I'll keep adding to this list as I think of things worth mentioning. It seems that most of the basics are addressed. At least sufficiently to get your thinking headed in the right direction.

In the meantime, start thinking about your retirement and what it means to you, and then plan and work to make it happen. The best things in life are often the ones that you orchestrate for yourself. It's your life, and you should have full say as to how you live it.

Done with Retirement Advice, back to Are You Frugal?

Done with Retirement Advice, back to Clair Schwan

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.