Top Resources For Early Retirement Planning!


[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]

Top Resources For Early Retirement Planning!"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain

Twain's eloquence adds a golden luster to his beautiful vision which always inspires us to be adventurous. A couple of years ago, we set forth on a journey towards financial freedom by retiring early (FIRE). Please allow us the share the inspiration that set us on this road.

Like millions of people enmeshed in the rat race of corporate America we were living like automatons. We worked to live and lived to work. Caught in this infinite loop we were like horses running with blinders who were absolutely clueless about where we were being led to!

Fortunately we chanced upon a great book by Bob Clyatt, "Work Less Live More", which changed our perspective on life. In a way he took off our blinders and helped us visualize a stress free life minus the rat race! His successful story sowed the seeds of faith for a plausible life filled with joyful activities. Now we believe that such a life is within our reach and was not a mere wishful pipe dream. Quietly, with great vigor and cheerful enthusiasm, we set forth on a journey to achieve FIRE.

A journey towards FIRE can be broadly divided into three parts:
  • why we should undertake it? - it should help us live a joyful life with the financial freedom to do things that we love and enjoy.
  • what is the destination? - an identifiable and realistic goal that is achievable within a finite time window.
  • how to reach the goal? - a map along with a set of practical tools and guidelines to help us successfully reach our specific destination.
In the process of unfurling the why, what and how of our journey towards FIRE, we have compiled a list of resources for early retirement planning that will help fellow souls a similar venture.


BooksBooks


Work Less Live More - The New Way To Retire Early by Bob Clyatt, Robert Clyatt

Work Less Live More"Ready to pursue the rest of your life? Get going with Work Less, Live More. Professionally, you're experiencing the success that years of hard work brings, but the long hours are taking their toll and you're burning out fast. Fortunately, there's an alternative to the grind: Early semi-retirement. Work fewer hours, realize your goals and dreams, spend time with your loved ones, and do it all years, even decades, before the ""normal"" retirement age of 65.

With Work Less, Live More and a little planning, you can do it. The book provides a rational investment system based on Nobel Prize-winning research, a safe lifelong withdrawal plan and sensible spending guidelines. More importantly, the book provides inspiring stories and insights of many successful early semi-retirees, walking proof that meaningful work, rather than full-time work, is both fulfilling and rewarding. Are you ready to pursue the rest of your life? Turn to Work Less, Live More and get going. "


The Complete Idiot's Guide to Retiring Early
by Dee Lee, Jim Flewelling

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Retiring Early"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Retiring Early eases the pain of this seemingly complicated subject by walking readers through each step of determining how much they will need to retire early, including defining lifestyle expectations, estimating the retirement window, identifying retirement expenses, calculating net worth, determining how much more is needed, and adjusting for taxes and inflation. Its a retirement guide for average people who would like to take an early retirement and enjoy life. Offers easy-to-follow steps for determining how much money will need to be saved, and how to make it stretch as long, and far, as possible."


Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin

Your Money or Your Life"There's a big difference between "making a living" and making a life. Do you spend more than you earn? Does making a living feel more like making a dying? Do you dislike your job but can't afford to leave it? Is money fragmenting your time, your relationships with family and friends? If so, Your Money or Your Life is for you. From this inspiring book, learn how to
  • get out of debt and develop savings
  • reorder material priorities and live well for less
  • resolve inner conflicts between values and lifestyles
  • convert problems into opportunities to learn new skills
  • attain a wholeness of livelihood and lifestyle
  • save the planet while saving money"

How to Retire Early and Live Well With Less Than a Million Dollars by Gillette Edmunds

How to Retire Early and Live Well With Less Than a Million Dollars"In 1981, at the age of 29 the author of HOW TO RETIRE EARLY AND LIVE WELL WITH LESS THAN A MILLION DOLLARS, began living off his investments of just several hundred thousand dollars. In the intervening years, Gillette Edmunds has made more than $5 million in investment profits. Edmunds was not an investment advisor or a commissioned mutual funds sales representative: he was a financial journalist and an individual investor.

HOW TO RETIRE EARLY AND LIVE WELL WITH LESS THAN A MILLION DOLLARS describes step by step how a retiree can live comfortably on $500,000 or less. Americans will discover that they can walk away from work in less than five years. This is the first book to tackle these topics that is written by an actual retiree. Using simple, original investment strategies and formulas, the book shows how to assemble your nest egg and achieve steady, tax-advantaged returns every year for the rest of your life.

In Part One, the reader is shown step by step how to determine if they have enough money to retire, and if not, how to get enough. For those that have enough, Part Two shows how to divide their money into different asset classes like stocks, bonds, real estate, foreign stocks, and small business interests so they will achieve steady high returns every year. Then for each asset class, they are shown how to get the highest returns with the lowest taxes. Part Three shows those still saving for retirement how to quickly amass their nest egg. Finally, for the rare years when all asset classes go down, The Epilogue shows the reader how to prosper emotionally while waiting for the markets to come back. "


Engineering Your Retirement: Retirement Planning for Technology Professionals
by Mike Golio

Engineering Your Retirement"In 1995, Dr. Mike Golio, an electrical engineer, became seriously interested in planning for early retirement. In 2003, at the age of 49, he and his wife achieved their goal of financial independence and retired. Engineering Your Retirement is an outgrowth of his research. Whether retirement is imminent or many years off, this valuable guide's straightforward, analytical approach to financial independence answers the critical questions to achieving successful, comfortable, and meaningful retirement. Written specifically for professionals in the engineering, science, and math fields, Engineering Your Retirement examines such important questions as:
  • How much money will I need to retire?
  • How long will it take for me to accumulate it?
  • What types of post-retirement activities are available to technical professionals?"

You CAN Retire Young: How to Retire in Your 40s or 50s Without Being Rich
by Larry A. Ferstenou

You CAN Retire Young"If your goal is to retire before 60, this book is for you. Author Larry Ferstenou retired at age 42, even though his family’s overall income averaged less than $50,000 per year. You can do it too! You will learn:
  • Why you should plan to retire as early as possible,
  • How much is "enough" to retire young,
  • How to control spending, live on less, and save more,
  • What you can and cannot expect from Social Security,
  • How to wisely invest your savings and grow net worth,
  • How to apply the 3 Keys to retiring young
This no-nonsense guide focuses on retirement in your 40s or 50s and reveals the strategies essential for a comfortable retirement at any age. If retiring as young as possible with as much money as possible appeals to you, then this straightforward, easy-to-read book is one you cannot afford to be without."



ForumForums


Early Retirement Forums

This is one of the most comprehensive forums covering a lot of topics related to FIRE. It has an active community of over 5000 members with nearly 18000 threads comprising of an enormous 350,000 posts! There are sub-forums covering specific topics in details.


Young Dreamers

This forum is for young folks who dream about retiring early one day. It is a good starting point for beginners wanting to know what early retirement is about and how to work towards it. The elders from other forums i.e. folks who have attained FIRE, drop in and offer some great advice. The FIRE community has great support for the newbies.


FIRE & Money

Here you will find folks who are actively working towards FIRE and investing money and time to achieve it. There are lot of threads covering various investing tactics, the market and how to get the best returns on our investments.


Life After FIRE

This is a fantastic place to hang around to see what it feels like to be financially independent. There are some great discussions from people who are in their 40's and 50's and living in early retirement. Also, it gives an insight into the places where we can retire, cost of living, physical and emotional challenges that come with age and many more aspects of an early retired life.


Raddr Pages

This is Raddr's Early Retirement and Financial Strategy Board, where you will find useful discussion of issues pertaining to FIRE. It covers financial strategy for FIRE in its subforums titled FIRE Board, Market Theory & Investment Strategy, Personal Finance, and HomeOwnership & Real Estate Investment. Also, there are sepearte forums for discussions on health (body and mind) and fitness as well as general news.


WebpageWebsites


The Retire Early Home Page

An online magazine for people who used to work for a living. This is John Greaney's treasure trove of resources and research about FIRE. John is the author of a spreadsheet that was the inspiration for FIRECalc in 1999. We really like his "Top 10 reasons to Retire Early."


'Plan B' Retirement

If you think you can't retire, this is website will help you get rid of that notion. It offers articles with step-by-step checklists on how to develop a healthy mindset for retirement, jumpstarting your retirement savings, making wise housing choices and setting up an internet business with your know-how.


ToolsTools


FIRE Calc

FIRE Calc is one of the most effective tools for retirement planning. In our opinion, it is one of the best simulators to see how our portfolio would perform under various economic scenarios (past data). Here is a clip from Wall Street Journal's review of FIRECalc.
"The site's calculator will ask you to enter items such as your portfolio's value, what percentage is in stocks, how much you hope to spend each year and how long you think your retirement will last. To gauge your strategy's likely success, the calculator looks at investment returns since 1871. But the calculator doesn't use average historical rates of return. Instead, it analyzes what would have happened if you retired in 1871, in 1872, in 1873 and so on. It then calculates how often your strategy would have panned out historically.

Suppose you retired with $400,000 invested in a low-cost portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and were looking to spend $20,000 a year for the next 30 years, with your spending rising each year along with inflation. According to the calculator, that strategy would have succeeded 81.5% of the time. What's success? You died before your portfolio did."

The Optimal Retirement Planner

The ORP is a Web-based optimizer based on linear programming. It can be used for planning and managing retirement cash flow to optimize your withdrawals and minimize taxes. ORP maximizes the cash available for spending during retirement by modeling compounding investment returns, inflation, income taxes and minimum withdrawal requirements.


The SmartMoney Retirement Worksheets

Figuring out how much money you need for retirement is a highly personal calculation. It depends on any number of factors, from your current lifestyle to your general state of health to whether you plan to retire early. Smart Money has designed this set of five interactive worksheets to let you tailor your estimate to your own circumstances. These worksheets will take some time to complete. But when you're done, you'll have a dependable estimate of 1) How much annual retirement income you'll need. 2) How much you can count on from your pension and Social Security benefits. 3) What your total nest egg must be, and 4) How much you need to put away this year to begin to reach that goal.



People Who Have Retired Early i.e. reached FIRE!


Retire Early Lifestyle

Bill & Akaisha KaderliBill & Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38 in 1991. Now, into their 18th year of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience. They have published their travels, their adventures, and their insights in electronic formats which can be purchased at affordable prices. Famous financial websites like Kiplinger, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, AOL Money & Finance, CNN and many more have interviewed them and published their story!


Vicki and Paul Terhorst

Vicki and Paul TerhorstThey are the "granpa" and "granma" of the FIRE movement. Paul is the author of popular book "Cashing in on the American Dream: How to Retire at 35." They log their travels, current coordinates and latest projects at this web page. You can also read articles written by them at the International Living postcards. At present they happily reside in a house that they built in a rural development near Cardales, about an hour outside of Buenos Aires.


Tioga and George

Tioga and GeorgeThis site is a fascinating log of early retiree George and the TiogaRV team of explorers as they travel to various places of North America and live the vagabonder's lifestyle. Together with his RV, the world famous MsTioga and the rest of The Team, they travel the roads of the west. The Team has a huge solar electric system and satellite internet connection. As a result, everywhere they go, they are fully hooked up. Tioga and George camp on high mountains, in deserts, along a beautiful river and they log their adventures on this website.


Millionaire Mommy Next Door


Millionaire Mommy Next DoorMMND is a self-made millionaire and 100% debt-free. She achieved financial freedom by the age of 40. Currently she is 43. Her serious pursuit of financial freedom began when she was about 30 years old. At present, she and her husband have retired and are having a great time raising their young daughter. Needless to say they are instilling the seeds of financial discipline and a millionaire mind set in their offspring too. They lead a typical middle-class lifestyle with one fantastic exception, they don't work unless they want to. During her working life, she has never worked more than 40 hours a week! Their income came from owning a simple, small business that she managed from home, often while wearing her pajamas! She shares her experience and knowledge regarding personal finance and the beauty of financial freedom in a simple yet warm way at her blog.


My Wealth Builder


Super Saver has retired early (in his forties) in October 2007. He is enjoying his flexible time and dream projects. Its a great break from his 60+ hour work week in a global corporation with moderate travel. FIRE has helped Super Saver to heal both mentally and physically. At present, he has more time for his three year old daughter and is thoroughly enjoying it. He has been kind enough to share his insights, experience and planning in the series The Practice of Personal Finance.


As we progress on our journey towards FIRE and unravel more gems of useful information we shall spontaneously update this page of resources. Meanwhile we are looking forward towards your experiences, comments and feedback regarding further resources on FIRE. Please leave a comment with your link and information and we shall include it in this page after reviewing it. Bon Voyage to all souls aspiring for FIRE!

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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