I think, for the majority of us, it is the strange and unexpected happenings in life that open our eyes to certain truths.
I happened to be 27 years old when I stumbled on one those happenings.
There was nothing special about that day.
I simply walked into a store and was met by the store’s greeter.
This frail, little, old, man looked like he could hardly stand.
His hands were shaking, his voice trembled, and he was just so weak.
We all go down different paths in life but I pitied this old man, who still needed to work when he should be enjoying the last of days and relaxing in his retirement.
It was at that moment when I realized, I wasn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore.
But I was young enough to work hard and plan for a retirement that wouldn’t have me struggling in a store at an age like that poor man was.
I knew I needed to start planning now!
The first thing I did was talk about my retirement plans with my financial institution.
They took into account; my salary, my goals, and my ideal retirement age.
We worked together to come up with Roth account that was matched by 4%.
This was a great way to boost my retirement savings with very little work to do, on my end.
My next plan of actions was cutting out expenses that I really didn’t need.
I was paying for cable, but streaming services offer almost just as much entertainment at a fraction of the cost.
I ditched my pricey gym membership for a less expensive one.
I changed my car insurance plan. I even stopped going out to eat as often.
I simply rearranged some of the places my money was going and I got rid of things that I found myself not really needing.
It was surprising to learn how much money I could save each month, just by making a few small changes to my subscriptions and purchases.
I then created a budget for myself.
I sat down and did some math then I took my monthly income and subtracted the total amount of all of my monthly bills.
Then, the money that was left over I divided into three ways.
One of the thirds was for emergencies.
I might break a tooth and that dentist appointment may cost me some unexpected cash, or maybe I’ll get a flat tire on the way to work.
Maybe a pipe will burst in my kitchen.
Life happens to us all and I knew, as well as anybody that unplanned things happen at the most inconveniencing moments.
But this little bit of money that I was putting aside, for those very situations, created a nice little cushion for me.
When one of life’s accidence came knocking at my door, I wouldn’t have to dip into the credit card to fix it.
I’d already have the funds and be prepared.
Another 1/3 of my extra money, would go to my savings.
This money was not to be touched.
Its sole purpose was to be put into a savings account, where it could grow and blossom.
The last 1/3 of that money would go to miscellaneous expenses, the fun stuff.
This is the money I would use when I wanted to shop, go out, or pay for a date.
This was my fun fund. If at the end of the month I still had some of this money left over, I’d deposit the remaining into my savings account.
Paying off all debt was another really big step to saving for retirement.
Your debt can accrue interest that only grows and grows with time. Unless you tackle it now and quickly, it can linger and stay with you for years.
So, I made a plan to always keep my credit purchases low, paid off, and minimal.
The less debt you have, the easier retirement will come.
Lastly, earning extra income with some side hustles can put a little extra cash into your savings as well. All of my side hustle work payments went straight into my bank, where they could rest easy.
I came to realize, after doing some math that I should be able to retire comfortably and happily, by the time I turned 57, I realized I could be happily retired by the age of 60.
I make only $80,000/year and if I can save enough money and create a retirement plan, by 60, then so can you.
It’s easier than you think – it just requires you to be smart, money savvy, and hard working. Make a plan, do the math, and if something works – stick with it! Don’t spend your whole life working for the man.
Sam Michael writes about saving money, how to budget your money, frugal living tips, and possible ways to make money and how to start a successful blog