Can you retire at 40? An introduction.

Who knows, but I’m going to give it a good go.

Fundamentally I have no interest in working until I’m over 70 but due to me being under the age of 30, that is my lot in life unless I actively work to change it. I want to explore the world, I want to be able to do what I want when I want and I want that lifestyle for as long as it’s possible to do so.  Right now I’m 21, just out of university and in a full-time retail based job. My debts are fairly minimal but my savings sit at the rather impressive number of zero. I essentially have no money to be blunt. I’ve lived away from my parents for just over two years now and have done so purely with student finance and part time work, regular income has never been something I’ve had.  So now that I have a regular job, what are my plans to get to my goal?

Well first off I have my wedding to tackle in less than a year which I’m adamant to not get into debt for meaning that a big chunk of my income will be going into that. Afterwards, the goal is to own a home. Something that I want to pay cash for. Now that sounds mental, but hear me out. My partner wants to stay in education until the bitter end, and I fully support that but a part time working student and a retail job does not for a big mortgage make. We did some research and the amount we’d be able to get just wouldn’t get us a home that would be suitable for what we need. We ultimately want to buy once and have a base for us to return to for our entire lives regardless of if we have children or not. As tempting as it would be to just take what we could get and settle for a one bedroom flat just because we’d own it is, holding out for a few years and going full steam ahead with savings and then having the freedom of owning a house outright is much more rewarding.

There are many ways to accumulate wealth, especially with the massive online earning potential. I personally believe however that saving is the most secure way to get to where you want to go. That isn’t to say that I will not be learning how to invest and looking at things like matched betting, however, it’s going to be by savings that I make the most regular contributions to my goal.

So how are you going to go about this then?

If you’ve found my blog by searching terms related to this specific article then you probably know all about Dave Ramsey. If you haven’t heard about his method for managing money I whole heartedly recommend doing your research and reading up on his methods. His 7 step debt management plan is amazing even if you have little to no debts. His seven steps are going to be the backbone of my retirement plan even though I won’t be following them 100%. Here are the steps in brief :

 

  • Baby Step 1 – $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
  • Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
  • Baby Step 3 – 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
  • Baby Step 4 – Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
  • Baby Step 5 – College funding for children
  • Baby Step 6 – Pay off home early
  • Baby Step 7 – Build wealth and give!

As you can see, this is obviously an American based method, but that doesn’t’ mean that it can’t be carried over, especially to the UK. As of right now, I am very much in Step 1. However, within 12 to 16 months I fully expect to be at step 4. This is going to be an amazing learning curve for me as any sort of complex maths makes me want to ball up in a corner and cry and I imagine learning about investment has to come with at least a little bit of maths. Here’s how I plan on deviating from the plan somewhat though, I want to own a home as soon as I can because I live in a university town and rent prices reflect this. So I will always be saving towards that goal, regardless of what baby step I am at. I will be working out the percentage that I can currently manage to put away and reviewing that figure every six months as obviously situations change, I will also be putting any money I earn online into the house fund.

Step 5 and 6 I will also be swapped around or omitting step 5 altogether. As of right now, I don’t have children and I’ve no plan to have them for a good few years so saving for their education seems to be somewhat jumping the gun as from their birth I’ll have at least 18 years to save. The step is obviously aimed at people a lot further along than me, but still, I thought I’d throw that in there.

Step 7 is again something that I’d hope to be doing from the get go also. I think diversifying income is really important, especially if your plan is to leave traditional work. Buying property as an investment is a popular option but something I could never do. So that leaves me to find less traditional means of diversifying income. Blogging is something that I enjoy so I will also have this avenue but with income, especially passive income, the more really is the merrier so I will definitely be looking into more ways to capitalise on that as I go on my journey.

Every month I’ll be doing an update on how I’m getting on. I won’t be sharing my specific income with you all (sorry, folks) but I will be working in percentages to show you just how much of my wages are going where.

Next week I’ll talk more in depth about my plan to buy a house in cash in the next five years.

See you then,

Beth. X

 

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