The traditional American Dream focused around working hard in a decent job and providing a good life for your family. Now, the modernized American Dream is all about leaving that decent job behind as quickly as possible! Retiring early is something many people hope for, but not always the reality for those who desire it. The average age of retirement in the U.S. is 63 – two years earlier than the official age of 65. However, when people talk about early retirement they aren’t shooting for a difference of a few years; they’re aiming for a much more premature departure from the workforce. If this sounds like you, then read on; these are the ways to save money now, so you can retire early.
1) Track Your Spending
Cutting back on spending is a logical starting place in terms of saving money. It’s easy to say that all your money is spoken for and there’s no room for pinching pennies. Your perspective will change once you actually start tracking your spending. Use a simple excel spreadsheet or online app to help map out your spending habits. Doing this clearly illustrates monthly expenses and highlights the areas in where you could cut back. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, it’s important to start with small savings. Trying to cut back too fast and too soon could feel like major deprivations! Start small and build up. Bring your lunch from home instead of buying it. Skip daily coffee shop purchases and brew your own at home instead. Take public transportation whenever possible instead of driving or hopping in a cab. These little life hacks will help hone your saving skills.
2) Sign up for a 401K
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people put off signing up for their employer’s 401K plan, especially young millennials. Saving money isn’t something most young people do well, and planning for an early retirement is the last thing on many young professionals’ minds. BUT, if you start saving for retirement as soon as you enter the work force, you may not have to wait until the golden age of 65 to retire. The 401K system is an easy way to save money for early retirement without feeling the hit in your paycheck. The beauty of a 401K is it takes however much money you want from your gross income, not your net. Some employers will even match the amount you decide to part with as well. This adds up quickly, especially if you’re willing to be generous with yourself! Hopefully your employer will follow suit!