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How Anyone Can Retire at 32

How Anyone Can Retire at 32

While this may sound like an outlandish statement, this goal remains more than achievable in 2014.

“Sure,” I can hear you say, “you could win the lottery, for example, or inherit a financial windfall from a beloved and wealthy relative.” Each of these eventualities may enable you to retire immediately, while also negating the need for you to ever work again.

While this is true, such a goal can also be accomplished through hard work, frugal living and sound financial planning. This is why early retirement is an option that remains accessible to everyone, although whether you not you choose to chase such a dream is entirely up to you.

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Retirement Age

    Leading by Example: A Template for Early Retirement

    In order to illustrate how this is possible, I will be using the example set by a close family friend of mine. He is now 33 and officially retired last year, although he still likes to invest some of his hard-earned income into profitable ventures and schemes. He no longer works for others, however, and nor does he operate full-time as a freelancer or independent contractor. This is a dream that he pursued relentlessly and strategically from the time when he was studying at university, as he decide at the age of nineteen that he had no desire to work full-time within a soulless corporation.

    The exact inspiration for this life goal is unclear, although he was obviously influenced by the experience of his parents. They toiled hard for an entire generation; retired in ill-health at 65 and barely had enough money to live the comfortable life that they deserved. He drew great inspiration from this, and vowed not to give so much of his life in pursuit of such intangible returns. Instead, he developed a clearly defined and fast-tracked plan for financial independence, which would begin in earnest at the age of 22 and ideally end with his official retirement a decade later.

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    As he was studying marketing, he initially decided to combine his studies with freelancing as a content writer and online consultant. He started during his second year at university, and spent 9 months or so developing his reputation and working for relatively low levels of remuneration. In year 3 he increased his client range and fees, however, and set out to earn £48,000 per annum after taxes during this 12 month period and repeat this throughout the following decade. While this figure was conservative, he would at least be able to avoid VAT liability and higher tax rates in the process.

    Execution and the Importance of Frugality

    In real terms, this plan translated into spendable income of roughly £4,000 per month. This is where the execution of the plan came into play, as he deemed it realistic to save an estimated 70% of this monthly income into a high-yield savings or investment account. The remaining 30%, or £1200 in simple terms, would be used to live on and settle all outstanding bills. This worked seamlessly during his final year of studying, and by the end of this, he had managed to save an annual total of £33,600 at a generous interest rate of 8%.

    Once he had left university, he found it far more challenging as he faced a constant struggle to keep living costs down. Although having just under £15,000 per annum to live on is far from ideal, he felt that his ability to adopt a frugal lifestyle would ultimately determine whether or not this could be done successfully. So he quickly began to minimize costs, initially by moving back in with his parents temporarily and accessing real-time promotions to cut everyday costs, such as food, beverages and those associated with energy consumption.

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    As the years progressed and he continued to hit his savings targets, so too he developed even more frugal living measures. These included embracing the thrift market, and investing in second-hand clothing and accessories. He also decided to travel exclusively on public transport, even cycling or walking where routes and distances permitted. Over time, his seemingly far-fetched dream became an actionable and strategic plan, which quickly evolved thanks to patience, discipline and an ability focus on a single-minded goal.

    How to Use This Lesson to Fund Your Own Retirement

    By the age of 32, my close friend had managed to save £33,600 at a fixed interest rate of 8% for 11 consecutive years. This had created cumulative savings of more than £520,000, which could then be used to fund his retirement and achieve life-long financial goals. Almost immediately, he plowed £150,000 into a modest but functional home of his own, and distributed £300,000 across various investment savings accounts with interest rates with variable risk and interest rates of between 6 and 8%. He then used the remaining £70,000 to create an investment portfolio that included shares and other derivatives, and strived to turn this into incremental profit over time

    He is now enjoying the fruits of his labor, and lives comfortably while having the power to determine when and how he invests. This is a template that can easily be followed by anyone, although each individual must apply their own interpretation and translate this into a retirement plan that suits you. It is imperative that you visualize your retirement and determine exactly what you want from it, before implementing a viable time frame and actionable strategy. You may not wish to invest your capital once you have officially retired from work, for example, which means that you may need to save for longer and create a large fund to live on.

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    Another key lesson to learn is the importance of frugality, which is crucial if you are to turn a seemingly fanciful vision into a realistic and achievable goal. As this example proves, early retirement of any description is only possible if you remain focused and are willing to make significant sacrifices with regard to your lifestyle, as otherwise you will be unable to save the requisite amount for the required period of time. Without a commitment to frugal living, you will be forced to work longer and delay your individual retirement plans.

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

    Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

    Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

    This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

    Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

    What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

    Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

    When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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    How It Leads to Financial Improvement

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

    Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

    Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

    It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

    Types of Personal Finance Software

    When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

    Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

    For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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    Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

    When to Use Personal Finance Software

    So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

    Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

    1. You Have Multiple Accounts

    There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

    If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

    Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

    2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

    Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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    There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

    With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

    3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

    Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

    Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

    Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

    4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

    Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

    You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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    How to Get Started

    From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

    Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

    It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

    When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

    Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

    Final Thoughts

    Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

    In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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