The following is a guest post from Michael Dinich at .
Retirement takes effort, planning, and consistency. Living an extremely frugal life has never been a requirement. If you love reading financial content, you may have noticed financial experts preaching about the best ways to retire early and be set for life. Their ideas may be good in theory and may work for some, but may not work for everyone.
Extremist may make you feel as if you are behind and not worthy of your own financial goals and aspirations.
Everyone has different ideas of retirement. But the truth is, everyone has different goals for retirement. Some retirees may strive to read 60 books in 6 months and go for daily walks. Others may want to travel the world and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Is your current lifestyle aligned with your retirement goals?
It's not so important to be extremely frugal to get to where you want to be. What’s important is that your current lifestyle is aligned with your retirement goals.
Let’s say you are 35 and your goal is to retire by 45. You make about 100k a year and you have 200k in savings. If you could pay off your home and have no bills in the next 10 years and live a very conservative lifestyle, you may be able to accomplish early retirement. However, if you plan to take a lavished vacation every other week and have homes in 3 different cities, that may not be enough to retire.
So, decide when you want to retire and the life you would like to live. Be as specific as possible and leave nothing out. Then you may want to sit down with a financial planner to help you determine if your goals are realistic with your spending and saving habits.
You may need to make a few adjustments. If you need to live a bit more frugality to get to where you want to go, that’s a decision you will have to make and feel comfortable with.
Know what is best for your lifestyle
Often you see stories on the news about a couple who quit their job and retired to be world nomads. You think, “wouldn’t that be great”. But what you don’t see, is all of the changes they had to make in their lives in order to get there. You also don’t see all the sacrifices they had to make to be financially free.
If this is how you see yourself in retirement, great! Then extreme frugality may be the way to go, but if you are comfortable with your current job and your 3.5 weeks of vacation, for now, you may need to be as extreme with your savings.
If you are a free spirit you may not enjoy penny pinching, you may just want to live your life and automate your savings. Conversely, some people really enjoy watching every penny, and strive for extreme frugality. It’ a way of life. Remember .
Pay yourself first and enjoy the rest
If you want to retire by a certain date then work with a financial planner to help you determine what you will need to save and invest in order to achieve this goal. Automate your savings and investing. This way you can make sure you pay yourself first. You can use the rest of your funds to enjoy your “latte money” or spend it however you would like.
This lifestyle may be easier to manage and let you feel as though there are fewer restrictions on your life.
Consider the people you surround yourself with
If all of your friends are trying to keep up with the Joneses, you may feel like you need to as well. and the accomplishment of your retirement goals.
Surround yourself with like-minded people who support you. People who enjoy doing the same things you like to do and can celebrate your financial victories.
Try not to compare
It’s easy to see the latest internet sensation telling you they paid off $200,000 of debt in 2 years by just eating ramen noodles or they made $150,000 last month by selling a how-to guide. Don’t be swept away. It is great that they were able to achieve these accomplishments but their step 20 may be your step one.
Look for an easy first step and big wins. Instead of comparing yourself to some internet sensation that may or may not is saving 70 percent of their money. The key to taking the first step. Cut one thing out of the budget that’s not important to you and save.
You could also consider working with a tax professional to do some tax planning to save a few thousand dollars, or for the big win. As you save and keeping having “big” wins saving money will become more enjoyable. You will feel one step closer to your retirement goals.
Do what is best for you and your retirement goals. There is not one retirement plan that will works for everyone. Establish your goals and then make it happen at your own pace.