SERIOUS investing for retirement -
5 things YOU can do to get started TODAY

Serious investing for retirement has the power to set you free. 

Can you imagine early retirement? No more reporting into a boss you hate to be around. Set the alarm when you want. Travel when you want. Spend your days around your family or playing sports. Can you imagine that freedom!

This page is for you if you're just starting your serious long-term planning for retirement. If you want to know what to invest in, how best to structure your investments, then take a look at our investing lessons.

The reality is that early retirement is in your hands. You just need a lot of self discipline, patience, and determination. Countless people have done it so why can't you? The fact you have searched for this page means that you must have some determination to retire early. That alone is an important step - congratulations! Now, here are five more things you can do to start SERIOUS investing for retirement. 

Serious investing for retirement step #1
Pay off Your Debts!

Trying to build wealth when you have a lot of debt is like running into the wind.

Trying to do it with high cost debt (like credit cards) is like running into a hurricane. Do your absolute best to pay down (or pay off) debt so you can start putting cash aside to purchase assets that will pay you. If you take on debt then you are paying banks.

It's true that some low cost debt (like a mortgage) can be ok. Even here, though, make sure it is totally affordable (even if rates go up) and that any cash you use to purchase other assets earns a higher expected return than the cost of your debt.

The bottom line is - be very careful with debt. Ideally you would work on becoming the debt-free investor rather than the debtor.

Serious investing for retirement step #2
Increase your earnings!

Seems obvious right? If having a lot of debt is like running into the wind then increasing your earnings is like running with a tailwind.

The first place to look to pick up your earnings is your job. Think of ways to become more productive. Try to work on promotions or building up your skill set. A lot of employers will support you with training or qualifications so take them up on it as this can help you earn more in the future. Ultimately to get paid more at work, you need to produce more. If you personally cannot produce more, then can people who work for you increase their output?

You can also increase your earnings outside of work. How about a side hustle? You can set up your own website, have a youtube channel or maybe do some bookkeeping, gardening whatever... Find some more ideas at www.sidehustlenation.com/ideas/.

This website is our side hustle and we built it using Solobuildit - check out some of their case studies for inspiration on how you could use a web business building system to increase your income.

A second job might be another way to build your income. You can teach a class in the evenings or do some tutoring. We would say don't take a second job if it hurts your productivity in your main job. You wouldn't want your second job holding back your earning power in your main job.

Finally but importantly - make sure you build up your passive income. Stocks, bonds, and real estate are probably the most common sources of passive income but you could also consider building royalty income, trademarks or owning a private business or franchise that is under management.

Serious investing for retirement step #3
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

There's no point in increasing your earnings if you just squander that extra pay. To build wealth, you have to have cash working for you. That means that you set aside and invest as much of it as possible every time you get paid.

Have a look at these two pages for tips on how to save and budget effectively:

Remember Ben Franklin's saying "A penny saved is a penny earned." In reality, if you're a taxpayer, replaceing a penny unnecessarily wasted costs far more than a penny! In other words, saving is easier and more effective than earning more.

Serious investing for retirement step #4
Become a great investor!

This whole site is dedicated to helping you in investing for retirement and if you're going to do it why not do it properly?

Although it may feel superhuman to build a serious investment portfolio, what you're really looking for is an investment strategy that you can follow consistently and that gives you a decent chance of making safe returns. 

Leave the high-risk flashy stuff to Gordon Gekko.

Take a look at our investing lessons hub page to get started on becoming an intelligent investor, and follow our resident rookie investor as he takes his first steps along the way and learn from his successes and failures. Finally, why not read the about the experiences of the best-prepared retiree we've ever met, Peter Thornhill.

In the long run, being sensible and going for small, but believable dividend incomes  will make a big difference especially if you get started early. In fact, if you've started early and build a substantial portfolio, your investing returns will become more important than a job.

This is because a 10% return on $10,000 takes the same amount of effort as a 10% return on $1,000,000 but clearly in the latter case you'll earn $100,000. As we mentioned on our article on {compound interest}, both investing for a long time and earning slightly higher returns are the keys to great wealth in the long run.

Serious investing for retirement step #5
Avoid temptation as your wealth grows

As success builds for you, it will become more and more tempting to dip into your new found wealth. Maybe a bigger house, a nicer car or more foreign holidays will be tempting. We aren't saying you shouldn't enjoy your wealth but you should know that giving in to temptation is the main reason fortunes don't usually last. People start to overspend!

You need to know the long term cost of increasing your expenditure and it is up to you to work out if it's worth it. By all means spend a bit more and enjoy life more as your income grows but also, if you want greater wealth, make sure you invest more.

John Templeton agreed with his wife that they would always spend half their take home income and invest the rest. This meant that they could increase their expenditure as their incomes grew but made sure that they were always investing more as well. Make sure you remain just as vigilant about your expenditure as your wealth grows!


Mike - six-figure dividend earner

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