There is more to retirement than just leaving work. As far as retiring is concerned, I have always observed that young people are either in the dark or know so little about planning for their retirement. Ask anyone who has been on the job for some time and they will tell you that financial freedom after you leave work results from meticulous planning. As a retiree who has seen and done it all, I have always believed that anyone who wants to leave work someday has a right to be informed. In light of this, here are some of my best pieces of advice for anyone who is planning for his or her retirement.
When any young man tells me about his intention to leave work, the first question I ask them is, ”do you have a financial planner?” If not, what are you doing to secure your financial future? I’m always not surprised to realize that these people do not have an elaborate plan on how to secure their financial lives. Planning for retirement can be tasking. I have always believed that getting out of this financial maze requires an objective approach, which is where a financial planner’s service comes in.
Like I shared, I did not know much about planning for my retirement at a young age, but at least I was able to forge a plan. Though I started late, from 36 – 47, my passion for retiring sooner was critical in helping me. This meant that I had to make some sacrifices, some of which meant saving more and struggling with investments. If I had been able to start again, which is just a wish, I would start investing and putting away anything I can afford for the future.
I always see young people getting themselves into a financial mess when they could liberate themselves from financial woes later in life. Looking back, I can confidently affirm that instant gratification will never bring happiness, but experience and investments will. I often feel sorry when I come across a young man with a luxury vehicle but not even a single investment. The key to enjoying life past your 40s is to focus on experiences and not material possessions.
Having been a financial student to some godfather who understood things finances, I can confirm that I got some good advice early in life. Therefore, I always purposed to ensure that I had a perfect credit score, which meant that I avoided using credit to finance lifestyle pleasures. Because I am also human, I made my mistakes and later corrected them. I have lived a full life with a near-perfect credit score. This means whenever my wife and I decide to tour some exotic destinations, I move freely, knowing that I am not tied to unnecessary debts.
Having a home is key to enjoying life after work. But this does not mean burdening yourself with life-long mortgages when you can live comfortably in a small and affordable home. I had a small and environment-friendly home before I left work. I had always dreamt of owning a luxury home, but my wife was of a different opinion. After serious consideration, I bought my wife’s idea and built a simple house that I could afford. The fact that mortgages and expensive bills do not burden us means most of our paycheck is devoted to family and travel expenses.
Some people are tempted to believe that I had a decent income back in the day, looking at my life. But when we share, they are often left in awe. My salary, at the time, was average, if not meager. But thanks to strategic investments and savings, I managed to get the best out of my average take home. If I had to mentor anyone, I would advise him or her to live within their means and always have the bigger picture in mind: to retire early. Well, it is not easy, especially when those around you are enjoying life with a big spoon, but the focus is key to securing your financial future.