You must have sufficient capital, mathematically determined before you can pursue early retirement. If you don't have the knowledge to make use of a financial calculator or financial software and factor in the impact of inflation, your current expenses, changes in future income, a safe withdrawal rate from your portfolio and use Monte Carlo simulation or other tool to estimate the probability of success, then hire a retirement planner. Too many people pursue early retirement with the notion, 'I think I have enough.' The lack of planning to retire early leaves people in their 80s eating dog food wishing they had invested a couple thousand dollars for a sound financial plan with an experienced retirement financial planner.
Retention of Capital
Assuming you retire early with sufficient capital, you must have a method to retain it—to limit draw downs that can be caused by a falling stock market and oversight to limit taxation and fees and expenses. If you don't feel you have sufficient personal knowledge of retirement income planning and how to retire early, then get help. For a few hundred dollars a year you can get a retirement planner to help monitor your results and give you direction, stay on course and make early retirement a success. Alternatively, hire a fee-based money manager and pay 1% of your portfolio (a typical fee) to have it managed full time.
You must have a budget that you will not violate. As a retirement planner, I placed a retired couple on a budget. But the wife always had reasons for 'special withdrawals' from the portfolio such as unexpected dental work and three plane trips to visit her dying brother. Even after my explanation that the couple could not afford these unplanned expenses, they continued and I resigned as their retirement planner. The couple was headed for the poor house because of their inability to understand that capital in retirement is limited and hard choices must be made and budgets adhered to. Their knowledge of how to retire early may have been sufficient, but their implementation and discipline was not.
Additionally, you must know enough about tax planning, tax minimization and minimzation of brokerage costs, investments fees and insurance costs. Many of these costs are hidden so if you don't know where to look, get a fee based planner to help you.
Anyone could go bankrupt from a single major illness without proper insurance. Make sure you have permanent coverage (i.e. non-cancellable) that you can renew for a lifetime. Note that many health insurance plans are regional and not national so before you retire, be sure you are content to remain living in the area in which you retire. Your health plan may not be portable. With these few areas being welled planned beforehand, your ability to retire early and successfully is enhanced.
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