How to Retire Early in the Real World

Wondering how to retire early? Frankly, retiring early is the easy part. The real challenge is in an extended retirement.

Most of us dream about our retirement for many years while working long hours under severe stress. If your priority is retirement provision, it is amazing how quickly you can reach your financial goals that would enable you to retire.

I know. I did exactly that. But there is a price. My wife and I had to change our lifestyle radically. From consumer orientated to minimalism.

You've got to save every surplus penny. You've got to get out of debt. You've got to maximize your tax advantaged retirement provision contributions. And more than that, you've got to save as much taxed money as you can.

You see, at normal retirement age you have at least 120 more months to contribute to your total retirement savings account. You need to accumulate a nest egg that would support you and your spouse for an average of 20 years.

But with early retirement you are looking at 30 years or more of retirement. And a much shorter period in which you can contribute to your provision plans.

However, the bright side of early retirement is that you have the energy and the good health to do all those things that you dreamt about. My wife and I traveled extensively in Europe. We lived in Southern Switzerland and we were well placed to explore Italy, France, and Switzerland. Even Austria and Germany too. If we were not on a trip we were planning the next one! When we look back we know it was the best time of our lives.

We've both been fit and healthy all our lives and we were totally unprepared when I suffered a massive heart attack in 7005. Since then I had to make peace with the fact that my heart is not that of a young man anymore.

In 2010 my wife fell ill and had to undergo a series of serious operations.

The health issues put a serious damper on our traveling. Firstly, in spite of medical insurance, our medical related expenses went through the roof. This was something we didn't anticipate in our retirement planning! Secondly, our portfolio suffered the consequences of the depression that started in 2007. The anticipated income from our portfolio evaporated during this period.

Immediately after retirement I had the opportunity to do some part time consulting, but I did it very half-heartedly. It interfered with our traveling!

Today, as I approach 70, the opportunities for part time work for me to supplement retirement income are very very limited.

How to retire early is one thing. How to outlive your funds during your retirement is another issue!

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