Its never too soon to think about when you would like to retire. Recent research from T D Ameritrade shows that millennials are expecting to retire at 56, a full decade earlier than previous generations. Younger people have the benefit of time and compound interest. People in their 40, 50’s and 60’s need to take urgent action if retiring early is your goal. It’s not too late. Following these 8 steps will get you into action immediately. 
  1. Create a vision for your retirement. You may have been planning your retirement for many years and have a clear vision of how you want your retirement to look. Fantastic! Or – this may be the first time you’ve thought about it. Either way, you need to spend time now to get your vision crystal clear. Without that, you will not be able to stay on track towards achieving it.
  2. Create a ‘Mind Map (a diagram in which information is represented visually). Work backwards. Start with your vision of you doing all the wonderful things you are planning for retirement. Then ask yourself – ‘If I want to do X then, what would I have needed to do to get there?’
  3. Research the facts. Once you have drawn your mind map, spend time researching all the information you need to determine what needs to be done, how, and the costs associated with doing it. Invest your time now as, without the facts, you are dealing in fantasy and disappointment or failure is likely.
  4. Prepare the budget. Now that you have the facts, it’s time to do the budget. This will give you the true and accurate answer to the question ‘How much money do I need to retire?’ If you find you need to top up your retirement funds (as I did), don’t despair, there is help available.
  5. Create an action plan. This is not a checklist or a ‘To Do’ list. It is a comprehensive list of each step you will need to take to move towards your dream. This includes how you will do each action, and the date you will complete it. Make sure that you then open your calendar and fill it with reminders to start and finish each action. Without a comprehensive Action Plan that sits in a prominent place where you will see it daily, I can almost guarantee that you will get busy and the actions will lie on a shelf or in a folder forgotten. Isn’t that what always happens? You need to keep the actions ‘in your face’.

  6. Find an accountability buddy. If you are serious about succeeding in achieving your dream, you will need an accountability buddy. An accountability buddy is someone who will hold you to account for staying on track. He or she cares about you so will point out when the usual reasons and excuses start to show up. These will be very familiar to you as they have stopped you achieving goals before. ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘I’m under too much pressure’ will show up in your conversations. Your accountability buddy will tell you straight that you are sabotaging yourself and you will not achieve your goals unless you get back into action.
  7. Schedule reviews. Make appointments in your calendar for a bi-annual review of your vision, map and action plan with your Accountability Buddy.
  8. Put your plan into action. With careful planning and taking the actions you have mapped out at the right times, you will retire early. You can head off into the sunset to start living your dream retirement. Let me know how it goes, won’t you?


Detailed step-by-step instructions on how to complete each of these steps are available The Ultimate Guide for people 55+ planning to retire early  (This links to another story in the blog)


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