Can I Retire Early? Not Only That, But Should I Retire Early?

In 1989, my father accepted an early retirement package from Ma Bell, and in 1990 he retired…at age 52. He had worked his entire life (I was born when he was just 18) and he loved his leisurely retirement years.

Unfortunately, he died when he was 64 – when most people officially reach retirement age. Our family was distraught, of course, but we were grateful that he’d had the chance to retire early. And each of us made a vow to do what our father had done…to live life to the fullest extent and to retire as soon as possible.

Most of us would like to retire early, of course. And up until this past year of economic turbulence, many of us were on track to doing exactly that. But many who were on the fast track to early retirement have now seen their retirement savings depleted and their retirement plans sidetracked. Many wonder if they can retire at all, much less before they’re well past admission age to the old folk’s home.

There are a couple of ways, though, to salvage your early retirement plans. Here are a few:

Planning for Retirement

Funding your retirement: No matter what your age, start your retirement planning now. If you retire early, you probably won’t be eligible yet for any Social Security income. So you’ll need to be sure you have enough money saved, or have other sources of income, to finance your retirement.

In this new age of frugality, there’s never been a better time to stop spending and start saving. Every little bit of money you sock away now can be enjoyed later … especially if you invest it wisely. But that’s a topic for another article. The point is to continue to build your retirement investment nest egg.

(By the way, if you’re interested in earning some additional income after you retire, International Living offers extensive advice about adventuresome, fun, and exciting ways to do just that. Best of all, we tell you how you can work from anywhere in the world.)

Where to retire: One of the key strategies of your retirement planning should be deciding where you will spend your retirement years. There are several resources … like Where to Retire magazine, for example … where you can find information about places with better weather, lower taxes, or lower crime rates than where you may be living now. The problem is that you may not get the entire picture from these resources.

You need to know the best place to retire where you can live very well on your retirement savings, a Social Security income, or even less.

For 30 years, International Living has been reporting on the world’s top retirement destinations. Places where you can live in comfort and security and not have to forego a single necessity, luxury or activity that you so well deserve after a lifetime of working.

We’ve scoured the globe and left no country un-scrutinized. Every day in our free Daily E-Letter we tell you about our most recent discovery. Every month in our monthly International Living magazine or our online e-zines like we offer even more, in-depth information. You’ll find even more details in the publications available in our Bookstore. And every fall, we compile our annual Global Retirement Index that lists the world’s best places to retire and helps you contrast and compare those places you may be considering.

If you’re serious about retiring early, we’ve compiled a free special report that can help.

Called “Escape to a Better Life: How to Become a Retire in the Next 12 months” it details the 12 critical steps you must take to make your early retirement dreams come true, including how to develop your own personal list of priorities and preferences – issues you need to think long and hard about.

Plus, we profile the very best places to retire. If you’re wondering about where to retire, you’ll soon have some clear-cut ideas – we profile about the best retirement destinations where you can live comfortably and even luxuriously on the smallest retirement budget. Get your copy of this free special report here.

You’ll also receive a free subscription to our daily e-mail messages from our roving reporters, experienced lifestyle and investment experts, friends and expats from around the world. At absolutely no cost, you get a daily dose of the dream life abroad and valuable leads and insights on how you can live it yourself, starting today.

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Use any and all of these resources in your research. The point is to be as prepared as possible. This is the rest of your life we’re talking about – and the more information, the better.

I’ll let you in on my own strategy for early retirement: I currently live and work outside the U.S. and plan to continue to do so once I retire. In my adopted country, I qualify for a top-rate but low-cost health insurance policy. (Better than I had at home.) And I couldn’t be happier with the medical treatment I receive here. (Better than I had at home.) My car insurance is vastly lower, too. And my annual property taxes are laughably low…would you believe $160 for a 6,400-sq.-ft. property?

Overall, my cost of living here is well under one-third what it would be if I were still in the States – yet I am just two hours away from home by plane.

Certainly, retiring outside the U.S. isn’t for everyone. So consider this: by spending just part of the year in a lower-cost destination, you may be able to enjoy a far better lifestyle during your retirement years. It’s worth investigating.

So should you retire early? If you can, you should. And if you ‘re prepared, you can.

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