(Money Talks News) - Whether you like your job or not, you'd probably like the freedom that comes with retirement. But while you may think early retirement is only available for those with big incomes, it's not the income that matters.
What's really more important are the decisions you make, especially when you're young.
If you want to retire early — or at all — keep these suggestions in mind:
1. Marry/partner with the right person
His/her love gives you such a thrill, but remember, love won't pay the bills. Although it's not unheard of for people to ask about credit scores on the first date, you probably shouldn't push it quite that hard.
2. Don't be in a rush to pair up
So what if all your friends from high school or college are getting engaged? That is no reason to rush into matrimony. Keep your eyes wide open with regard to financial as well as personal compatibility.
3. When you do get married/partnered, stay that way
Put bluntly, divorce is expensive as well as traumatic. It may also be unnecessary; some problems that feel insurmountable can be overcome through couples counseling.
4. Don't have kids too early
An unplanned pregnancy can take a major toll on your finances, and even on your emotional well-being. That is especially true if it turns out that the person you thought was Mr. or Ms. Right is the wrong fit.
5. Consider a smaller family
The fewer mouths you have to feed, the more you'll save. According to the USDA, the cost of raising a child born last year was nearly a quarter million dollars.
6. Be aware of the true cost of at-home parenthood
According to personal finance expert Liz Weston, the average annual earnings for women who leave work for up to three years decline as much as 30 percent overall. In addition, these women may have trouble getting jobs if they stay out for too long.
While quitting a job might be the right choice, Weston emphasizes not to do so simply because child care costs too much.
7. Live in a cheaper area
Big cities are more expensive than smaller ones. Coastal cities also tend to cost more.
Perhaps you could take in a roommate or two; even married couples sometimes rent out a room to help ease mortgage costs.
8. Don't keep up with the Joneses
Champagne tastes on a Kool-Aid budget will translate into debt that might keep you from ever retiring.
Put another way: The Joneses might be up to their hairlines in debt. Still want to be like them?
9. When it comes to investing, take (calculated) risks
Taking some risk with investments like stocks and real estate historically has made more than insured bank accounts. Over decades, that makes a huge difference.
10. Build an emergency fund
You need an emergency fund. Period.
You can easily make less than your friends and retire before they do. It's not a matter of how much you make, it's a matter of how much you save. And especially, how much you need to get by.