Eleven Ways to Accelerate Your Retirement Plan

Do you want to have the option of spending less time working? Whether you are fifteen or fifty, now is the time to start working toward this important goal! By following any of the 11 recommendations below, you will reduce your time on the job by weeks, months, or years. Or maybe even decades!

 

1. Eliminate Debt

If Debt had a face, it would probably look like this.

If you have credit card debt, pay it off as soon as possible and go to step 2. Once you have a solid emergency fund, credit card debt will no longer need to be a part of your life.

And kill the student loan debt! One of our nieces had a $30k student loan debt that Mr. Grumby nicknamed “Butthole Satan”. If she had made only minimum payments, she would have ended up paying around $48k. Pure evil, right? Now she’s committed to paying it off ASAP and minimizing the amount that will go to the lender.

If you are considering financing a car or if you currently have car/lease payments, please read Mr. Grumby’s post about the horrors of car debt and delayed retirement.

 

2. Establish an Emergency Fund

Be sure you have enough money to cover medical emergencies for yourself, your family, and your pets. And enough to cover urgent repairs for your home and your vehicle.

How much do you need? I would recommend at least 2x your annual out-of-pocket maximum. If you own a house, at least $10,000. A safer bet would enough to cover 6 months of essential living expenses.

 

3. Make Your Health a Priority

I am not this strong OR this flexible!

Remember, you only have one body. Carefully consider the fuel (you know – food & beverages) you consume to keep it running properly. Also, evaluate how your daily activities provide your body with adequate rest while maintaining strength and flexibility. If you’re experiencing pain, especially chronic pain, take care of yourself!

Your brain deserves special attention, too. Reward your mind with daily practices like gratitude and kindness. Start meditating. Downsize stress and negativity. Cultivate positive relationships. And let your curiosity lead you to opportunities to learn and grow.

 

4. Re-think How You Think About Money

If you want to explore your relationship with money, you need to know where your money is going. Start tracking your expenses with an easy app like Monefy.

Go to the Rockstar Finance website, sign up for the Daily Digest, and read one personal finance blog post each day. If the recommendations for the day don’t pique your interest, choose from Rockstar’s many categories to find something that that catches your attention.

snapshot of Rockstar Finance Categories

Your curiosity will lead you to interesting discoveries and you may even re-think how you think about money!

 

5. Be The Boss of Your Money!

Once you know where all of your money is going, you can start making decisions about how to use it more efficiently.

Maybe you could travel to spend time with family or friends instead of treating yourself to that daily mocha frappuccino?

Take a look at a compound interest calculator to see how much you could earn by investing the money that you currently spend on x, y, or z.

 

6. Consume Mindfully

Observe your consumption (spending, eating, drinking) behaviors with awareness and curiosity. Pay close attention to any patterns that do not contribute to your physical, mental, or financial health. Then take what you learn, set up a 1-month habit change experiment, and document the improvements that you see.

Recommended reading:

 

7. Evaluate Your Housing Needs

Hmmm. A little cottage might be a nice home someday.

If you think you are spending too much money or time or both on your current home, maybe it’s time for a change? Some ideas you might explore for reducing your housing expense:

 

8. Choose Efficient and Cost-effective Transportation

What if your car was …

  • a statement about how much money you are saving
  • a symbol of how many months/years you could could subtract from your projected retirement date
  • a reasonably safe and comfortable tool that you use to get from point A to point B
  • the most fuel efficient way to meet 90% or more of your transportation needs

Does that describe the car you are driving right now? If not, please read Financial Samurai’s post, The 1/10th Rule for Buying a Car Everyone Must Follow.

If you are physically able and live in an area where a car is not required for all transportation, find out how much you could save by riding your bicycle, walking or using public transportation once in a while. We’ve been living without a car for over 2 years now and have loved it. Here are a couple of related posts:

 

9. Increase your Savings Rate

If any of the above ideas have resonated with you, you are in a dynamite position to reduce your spending and increase your savings rate. The more you save, the earlier you can retire!

Check Mr. Money Mustache’s inspiring article The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement.

 

10. Simplify Your Investments

Investing does not have to be scary or complicated. And when you pay someone else to manage your investments for you, you’re giving yourself a pay cut in retirement. If you are currently using a financial advisor, be sure you have information on both their fees and on the expense ratios of  their recommended funds.

Last year, after reading JL Collins’ book The Simple Path to Wealth, Mr. Grumby and I decided to manage our own investments. All of our investments (taxable, tax-advantaged, and Roth) are now in low-fee Vanguard and Fidelity index funds. When we retire, we’ll roll everything over to Vanguard.
If you’d like an online peek at some of the great knowledge covered in JL Collins’ book, check out the stock series on his blog.

 

11. Be Happy!

Happy shell art on beach in Kauai: free!

Surround yourself with habits, decisions, information, and relationships that build your happiness. I’m not much of a gambler, but I bet you’ll discover that some of the best things in life are free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus: Share Your Financial Journey with Others

If you are committed to making this Accelerated Retirement thing happen, keep yourself on track by sharing your financial journey. If your family and friends aren’t on board yet, share comments with your favorite personal finance bloggers … or maybe even start your own blog!

 

 

 

 

  12 Replies to “Eleven Ways to Accelerate Your Retirement Plan”

  1. January 10, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Thanks for shouting out Mr. G’s post!

    #5. is a pillar for me. I love Dave Ramsey and he always says that you tell your money where to go; it doesn’t tell you. Along with that, I think automating or paying yourself first (I also love David Bach) is extremely important. Automate work contributions, Roths, etc. and on the other side, automate all your essential bill-paying.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      January 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      You and Mr. Groovy are our geoarbitrage role models. So cool that you are sharing all that you learn in the Groovy Ranch phase of your geoarbitrage adventures. The best is yet to come!

      Good call on automating everything possible! The power of set it and forget it is pretty amazing. Bills get paid and, more importantly, investments grow. For those that have a company match to add to the automatic investments, it adds up quickly.

      Just checked out David Bach’s blog and there it is: “My number one piece of advice … PAY YOURSELF FIRST, ONE HOUR A DAY OF YOUR INCOME—AUTOMATICALLY!” Cool video to go with it, too.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. G!

  2. January 10, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Wow, Mrs. G. I don’t know what I like more. Mr. G’s “Butthole Satan” nickname? Or that great post from that nut in Charlotte about geoarbitrage? Seriously, Mrs. G, this is one kick-ass post. Everything one needs to get one’s financial life in order is right here. Now if we can only get the millions of financial boobs out there to land on this page. Sigh. No one said educating masses was going to be easy.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      January 10, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      “Millions of Financial Boobs”… now that’s worthy of an appearance in a post title!

      I wish you and Mrs. G could have been there to see the birth of Butthole Satan. Mr. G. was helping our niece set up automatic payments and when they got to the field for ‘Account Nickname’ Mr. G’s fingers flew over the keyboard, “Butthole Satan” appeared, and we all laughed hysterically for what felt like 20 minutes.

      Here’s to the education of the masses! With tales of geoarbitrage and Butthole Satan, how can the financial boobs not see the light?

      • January 17, 2018 at 8:08 am

        Haha! I never considered that a worthy title of a blog post. Until now. Would you mind if I gave it a whirl?

        • Mrs. Grumby
          January 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

          Oh, please do! It’s sure to be a highlight of the Groovy archives. Can’t wait to see the wit and wisdom that are paired with such a great title. :o)

        • January 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

          Financial boobs! Huh huh huh! Ok I’m done. I think.

    • January 11, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      You said “boobs”! Huh huh!

      • January 17, 2018 at 8:09 am

        I love it. Channeling your inner Beavis and Butthead. I knew there was a reason why I liked you.

  3. January 13, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    You had me with the “face of debt” . That was just perfect! And any time Mr. and Mrs. Groovy both comment then you are just the bee’s knee’s Mrs G.

    • Mrs. Grumby
      January 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Ha! Thanks Steve. Debt is a scary creature, indeed, no? Mr. Grumby and I are always thrilled to hear from the other Mr. and Mrs. G. And I’m very glad to receive your comment, too! Thanks for stopping by.

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