How to Retire Early – Where to Start?

Many people dream of retiring early, but they struggle with the idea of what to do withHow to retire early their free time. When you think about it, retirement is just life on your own terms.

The only difference is that you are in control of how you spend it. It’s not uncommon for people to take up new hobbies or learn new skills during retirement.

There are many benefits to retiring early. You can travel more, volunteer more or spend more time with your family and friends. Some people may be concerned that retirement will be boring because there’s no work to do, but this isn’t true. Everyone has hobbies and interests outside of work that they enjoy doing. So, why not use the time off from work to pursue them?

I retired at the age of 53 and it was life-changing in many ways and sometimes it was challenging. Hence, it can take a few years to settle into your crafted retirement but it is worth the effort.

7 Elements You Need to Consider Before Retiring

  1. Can you Afford to Retire now?
  2. How will you pay your Bills and Health cover?
  3. Can you Access your superannuation?
  4. Will you make more interest waiting?
  5. Will I need to work part-time?
  6. How will you fill in the time?
  7. A chance to make new friends

With the cost of living on the rise, retirement is becoming an increasingly unattainable goal.

In this section, we will explore how our generation can afford to retire in a world of rising costs. We will look at common mistakes that people make when they want to retire and why they should avoid them.

Let’s look at each of these elements to make sure you have a full picture before you say, ‘I quit.’

1. Can You Afford to Retire Now?

Grab a pen and paper and we will get down to the nitty-gritty. First, list all the expenses that you have at the moment that will continue even if you are not earning. If you are a couple, then grab your partner as they may remember something that you forget.

It’s no good deluding yourself at this moment, better to change jobs and stay working for some more years than leave and not have enough to survive.

If you already had an inkling that you were close to a retirement income this could be a fun exercise and you are ready to move on to the dreaming and planning stage.

2. How Will You Pay Your Bills and Health Cover?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when you stopped working the bills stopped coming in,Can you afford to retire now? unfortunately, that can never be. So, now is the time to consider how you will pay these monthly bills. You can get creative.

1. You may decide to sell your mortgage-free home and downsize to a less expensive area.

2. Lower your power costs by installing solar

3. Find hobbies that are not expensive and join senior citizen clubs for discounts

4. Look at all the benefits and subsidies offered by the Government

5. Reassess your health, car, and home insurance to see where you can save

6. Do any renovations on your home before leaving your job

7. Sell one car

3. Can You Access Your Superannuation or Pension?

Although you can retire early it will depend on your age whether you can access your super or get a pension. Generally, there are penalties for tapping your account before age 59 of 10% and you will miss out on all the compound interest that would have accrued before the retirement age of 67 for those born after 1960.

Again, you won’t receive a Government pension until you are 67, and depending on your assets and other income you may only receive a part pension. The best idea is to talk to a financial advisor who also understands the pension in your country. Often the first consultation is free.

4. Will You Make More Interest by Waiting?

Absolutely, without a doubt, you will make more interest by staying at work and letting your Super and savings accrue.

  • Consider that you started saving $250 at the age of 25 = $3000 a year until age 55.
  • This comes to $90,000 for 30 years of saving.
  • At a base annual interest rate of 6% and no withdrawals = $237,000 (not bad)
  • Wait 10 more years and retire at 65
  • Add an extra $30,000 in contributions and reap a whopping $464,000 to retire on!

5. Will I Need to Work Part-time?

Some people may choose to retire with plans to work part-time to pay their bills and have more control of their lives. What they may not know is that part-time work is rarely convenient unless it is work from home on tasks that don’t have a deadline.

Most part-time work has a deadline as you are usually filling in for someone else or getting it done to a schedule. This is a great plan if you are able to find work that is flexible so that you can travel, play golf and see your family as you wish.

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6. How Will You Fill in the Time?

This is the fun part of designing your retirement. It’s retirement from work (have to do, rather than must do) not retirement from life!

One problem that comes up after couples retire that generally isn’t known is that divorces rise, mostly instigated by women over 50. Why?

Consider for a moment that if you have been married for 35 odd years and you have had a family etc. You have both been working hard, very busy. Your wife has a whole life that hasn’t included you that she has been juggling for a long time and she wishes to retire too.

She probably dreams of not doing all the housework and meals, all the children’s activities, and being available 24/7 for her partner. In fact, she probably dreams of having time to pursue her own hobbies and see more of her friends.

Forcing or bullying her into your plan for retirement activities, which include you planning out her time too could bring you a whole lot of trouble. You wouldn’t like your wife to plan out your retirement. Remember she has dreams too. It’s about mutual respect.

Make Lists and Map it Out

This is the time to speak openly of what you both want in retirement, the hobbies that you will pursue as individuals, and those that you will enjoy doing together. She will want to keep up her social contacts and you may want to look at male groups or joint groups doing hobbies that interest you.

Perhaps playing golf once a week and walks with your dog may feature weekly. A lunch or dinner out, alone or with friends. Planned travel together and separate?

Take the time to write lists together, share the housework out fairly or engage a housekeeper regularly. See if you will be having morning tea together each day or out and about in the mornings. Don’t assume anything about your partner or their dreams. Ask!

7. A Chance to Make New Friends

Studies have proven that we all need to be social to be healthy and balanced in our lives. Early retirement may mean that some of your friends are still working. So, what better time to expand your friend’s circle by joining hobby groups.

When I retired, I was just over 50 and many of my friends were still working full-time jobs, managing their families, and trying to have an hour to themselves once a week. I was a little sad about this but I quickly thought about the hobbies that I hadn’t done for years and decided to join a choir and help out at the Riding for the Disabled.

5 years later I have a lovely circle of new friends that I see regularly and the new topics of conversation keep it fresh for my husband and me.

I also jumped online to find a business that I could run part-time from home and found myself at the center of a warm supportive community online. I love chatting with them each day and learning from their business experience. It’s flexible and also helps to keep my mind sharp.

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Just as you planned your working career when you were young this is the chance for you to structure a retirement that everyone will envy. It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. If you have paid off your mortgage, can pay your basic bills, and have some super to live on and play with you can live a wonderful life.

Not everything is costly and even most part pensions cover some utilities from the government, travel vouchers, and in Australia most healthcare in a public hospital.

If you are not planning to live the high life and want to travel once a year you can afford this on about $60,000 a year. You can even get creative and do house sitting around the world for free and save on rates and home expenses by selling your home and investing the money. Caravan travel by buying a van could be an option or even putting out the call on a caravanning website to join a couple on the road and share costs.

All you need to do is design your retirement and find solutions to the various challenges and this can be done at any age.

Wishing you a wonderful early retirement.

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Warm Regards,


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4 thoughts on “How to Retire Early – Where to Start?”

  1. Personally, financial freedom is my goal! I’m sure that a wholesome retirement will be more than possible once that goal is met. And in addition to that, if I achieve the goal before retirement age and begin to reap the benefits early, it would help me become well versed on how to best live on my own terms – not just in retirement. Nonetheless, you have provided some great pointers to keep in mind about how time can best be managed (individually and/or jointly) upon retirement! 

  2. Retiring is something I would love to do but I’m about a decade or more away from that yet. I notice you mention pensions and superannuation. Unfortunately here in the US these investment instruments as exceedingly rare. Most people these days have a 401 (k) or 403 (b) or if self-employed an IRA of some sort. It would be nice to have the piece of mind of a pension instead of having to figure things out yourself.

    • I agree Jamie. It’s nice knowing that if all else fails that the government will give you enough to put a roof over your head and bread on the table and cover all your medical. A lot of retirees on pensions get together to live on the one pension to make it go further. 

      It’s still a good idea to get yourself a 401 and start saving for the day you can retire, it will make it all that much sweeter.


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