Monday, January 2, 2012

How to retire. Part 1

Afraid you won't ever be able to retire?  Don't worry-- you're in very good company.  Retired or not, everyone is worrying about money these days--

Here are a few ideas for preparing for your future retirement, or maintaining your current retirement:
  1. Figure out how much money you need to live.  There are a blizzard of books and articles to help you figure out how much you must save, but many of them don't address the reality of what you need.  How do you do this?  First read this article from the NY Times: Having, Needing and Wanting.
  2. Now make a list of your monthly expenses.  Cross out those that you think you can live without.  
  3. Now try living without them.  Can you live for a month on your new reduced budget?  Can you live for a quarter?  Your goal should be to live for a year on the money you will receive once retired.  (And you can get to that magic date faster if you save the money you aren't spending!)  
  4. Even if you decide it isn't possible to reduce your spending, at least now you are dealing in reality.  Here's another short article from Bucks-- the NY Times blog about money, called Self-delusion on finances.  You can't manage what you don't measure-- so start today.  Quicken makes it easier, but it's possible to do it with Excel or a piece of paper, so no excuses!
Stay tuned for part 2--

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