About 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. say their biggest retirement worry is that they will never be able to retire, according to a Bankrate survey.
But that doesn’t stop us from dreaming about it. Nor does it mean you can’t reach that goal.
Some lucky and hardworking few retire in their 30s and 40s, or even earlier. If you’re hoping to retire early, you should be doing every one of these things:
1. Define your dream retirement
For some people, retirement might mean the freedom to travel and eat at every single Michelin 3-star restaurant in the world.
For others, it might just mean no longer needing a job so they can spend all day writing novels in a remote mountain cabin.
Others just want to own their home, be debt-free and spend lots of time with their grandkids.
Different visions require different amounts of money, so it’s important to nail down in as much detail as possible what you actually want out of retirement. It will make your goal more real and let you start figuring out the financial milestones you need to hit.
2. Cut costs where you’re willing
If you’ve ever read about a millennial millionaire, you’ve probably heard some extreme examples of frugality. Frugality is in the eye of the wallet holder, but for example’s sake, it might mean sharing a cramped studio with three roommates.
You don’t have to do that unless it makes you happy, though. Our day-to-day lives vary as much as our visions of retirement do. We all have different values and priorities.
What matters is taking a hard look at your costs, figuring out what is important to you and trimming what you can.
You’ll likely find more success cutting expenses that are easier to drop. Check out “15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2019” before turning to bigger sacrifices.
That said, the biggest gains can come from cutting your biggest expenses. So, if you have the flexibility and willingness to, say, live somewhere cheaper — with roommates or family, or further from cities — your savings will add up faster.
3. Boost your earnings
There’s a limit to how much you can cut costs, but the sky’s the limit on what you earn.
Check out “10 Tips to Remember When Asking for a Raise.” Keep an eye out for higher-paying opportunities. Learn new skills, and consider ways to earn extra cash on the side, including with passive sources of income.
Then, manage lifestyle inflation. As you make more, don’t spend more. Direct most or all of that raise or side hustle cash into your long-term savings.