Even if you love your job (and a lot of us probably don’t love it that much), most of us would jump at the chance for an early retirement. Retiring early may sound a bit frightening, especially if you don’t have a plan, but there are quite a few simple things you can do — now — to start planning for your own early retirement. 

Lifestyle Planning

First of all, you need to decide what kind of lifestyle you want to live once you’re no longer working. Do you want to retire in a country home and raise chickens? Maybe you want to travel the world with your spouse. The point is, you need to figure out what you’ll be doing with your time when you’re no longer sitting in an office.

Calculate Your Budget

Once you’ve figured out what sort of lifestyle you want to live, you need to sit down and actually come up with a realistic monthly budget. You should plan for the things you want to do, of course (plane tickets, unfortunately, aren’t free) but you also need to eat and have a roof over your head. With your budget in hand, you can start making investments that will get you there.

Financial Advisors Are Your Friend

Budget planning for your retirement, and how to get there, can sound pretty daunting. But don’t worry: you don’t need to be a financial expert! There are lots of financial advisors who can answer questions and help you decide what sort of investments are best for your goals. Find one, and meet with them regularly to make sure you stay on track.

Save like There Are a Lot of Tomorrows

Your retirement funds can start today (and they should). Every month, aim to set aside at least 20% of your income after you’ve contributed to your 401(k) and other potential retirement funds. If you’d like to really build up some money, you should save and invest closer to 50%. It sounds hard, but it will be worth it.

Hands Off!

After spending so much time saving and investing your money to build towards early retirement, you don’t want all that work to go down the drain. As tempting as it might be, don’t withdraw from your retirement accounts! A lot of people make this mistake, and their plans suffer as a result. Keep your hands off your retirement money until you’re ready to take that step into freedom.