8 Tips to Retire by 40

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Early retirement

Lianne Laroya earned her first million at the age of 23.  She narrates her financial journey in The Wise Living – a personal finance, business, lifestyle, and self-development website for young professionals which she hopes inspires and enriches them to do same. Having already earned a million when most her age were just starting their first jobs, MoneyMax.ph asked if she could retire earlier than 65.

Yes, she can. She answers, “I actually consider myself as already retired because I’m working with a purpose and on my passions.”

Most people work to keep up the pattern in their lives – go to work, pay the bills, go on a vacation once a year, and repeat. Lianne wants people to retire not so they can go on a dream vacation when they’re old and it’s too late. Instead, she advocates early retirement for all Filipinos so they can pursue their passions and hobbies as early as possible, and even monetize them.

“I’ve met a lot of people who want to stop working because they dislike their jobs, so yes, I recommend early retirement for everyone because I want everyone to work for his or her purpose or passion.”

Early retirement doesn’t have to be an unattainable dream. Lianne shares 8 tips to retire by 40:

Find out your retirement number

Before you start stashing away money into savings and investment funds, it’s important to know how much you need come retirement. Knowing the number – which is in the millions – serves as a wake-up call for you to get started.

How to do this: There are numerous online retirement calculators you can use to know your number. Once you know your retirement number, work to achieve that and start as soon as possible.

If you look at the table below, you can see that a twenty-five year old who saves Php 8,000 a month can earn Php 3 million by the time he is 40. That is assuming a 10% ROI; however, if you do your due diligence in learning to invest in UITFs and stocks, you can earn higher than 10% annually. Find out how much your monthly investment should be to have Php 3 million by 40 (assuming a 10% ROI).

Age

Years until 40

Monthly Investment

Annual Investment

Investment at 40

25

15

8,000

96,000

3,050,000

26

14

9,000

108,000

3,020,000

27

13

10,200

122,400

3,000,000

28

12

11,800

141,600

3,000,000

29

11

13,700

164,400

3,000,000

30

10

15,900

190,800

3,040,000

31

9 18,700 224,400

3,040,000

32

8 22,200 266,400

3,040,000

33

7 26,800 321,600

3,050,000

34

6 32,900 394,800

3,040,000

35

5 41,500 498,000

3,040,000

Make saving a habit

It’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much you save. Lianne remembers the first time she first started saving her paycheck. She was stashing 60% of her salary into investments – but she doesn’t advise others to that. It’s like going on a crash diet, where you bounce back into your old ways due to deprivation.

If you’re having difficulty saving, start with a small percentage. “I know a lot of people who started saving only 5% of their salaries, then just gradually increased the rate over time.”

How to do this: Don’t wait until you have doubled your salary to start saving. How sure are you that when you’re older and with a larger paycheck, you’ll have the discipline to limit your expenses and stick to your budget?

What’s important is the habit you build. Start working on this early on to get the benefits of compounding interest, which brings you closer to early retirement.

Communicate with your dependents and parents

We Filipinos have the filial culture of funding our parents’ retirement. They put us through school and brought us up. Isn’t it just right that we help them when they retire? While it’s understandable to want to assist our parents, we should not be their retirement plan. Lianne stresses the importance of communication.

“Make your parents realize that it’s not possible for you to provide for everything,” she suggests. You also have your own retirement to save up and plan for.

How to do this: “What I suggest is to help them with their basic needs and set up a retirement fund for them.” Direct communication is important because this allows you to plan ahead as a family and be clear about everyone’s goals and intentions, so there is no room for surprises when the time is too late.

Talking with your parents and letting them know beforehand that you’ll be assisting them (but not funding their entire retirement) allows you to save more for yourself which can speed up your journey to early retirement.

Protect yourself with insurance

“I knew someone who was earning Php 500,000 a month as a seaman. He also had multiple assets,” Lianne says, when asked about insurance in relation to retirement. “When his wife got sick and he suffered multiple strokes, all their assets were wiped out. They didn’t have insurance.”

Lianne sees insurance as a tool where “you pay centavos to get thousands in return.” Insurance protects you from unforeseen events and gives you a guaranteed payout during events such as a critical illness and an accidental death among others. Even better, the payout you receive when you make an insurance claim is much larger than the total amount you paid in premiums.

How to do this: Consider life insurance with a living benefit (e.g. insurance for critical illness) or health insurance. Don’t be like the example above where all their assets were wiped out due to a series of health issues. In addition, if you have assets such as properties and vehicles, insure them as well. When high-worth assets are damaged, you can expect repair or replacement costs to be pricey as well.

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Insurance, be it life insurance, health insurance, or car insurance, allows you to stay on track for early retirement by insuring you from unforeseen events instead of wiping out the assets you worked hard for.

Lianne Laroya

Lianne Laroya (center), founder of The Wise Living – a personal finance and lifestyle blog for young professionals

Have more than one income stream

Having more than one income stream prepares you for a brighter future and speeds up your journey to early retirement. You will earn more on a monthly basis, and thus, you have more to put towards savings and investments. If you have both a job and a sideline, build the habit of only using up your monthly salary towards your expenses while stashing all your earnings from sidelines to building up your retirement fund.

How to do this: Lianne has at least three income streams – her blog, her books, and her investments – and she advises all Filipinos to not be 100% dependent on only one source of income. To have more than one income stream, look for freelance opportunities, start a business, or invest in mutual funds or UITFs.

Monetize your hobbies and passions

When asked if everyone should start a blog and write a book, Lianne says: “For me, writing on my blog or a book is my passion. If that’s not your passion, then it will be useless.”

Generating income from your hobbies and passion is advisable because you are having fun and earning at the same time.

How to do this: Find what you enjoy doing and find ways to monetize it. If you love to dance or sing, then you can offer dancing or singing classes. If you love to paint, you can sell your artwork. As mentioned above, put your earnings from your secondary income sources to your savings and investments to speed up the road to early retirement.

Invest

Investing is the best example of making your money work for you. Instead of leaving your hard-earn money in a savings account with a 0.25% interest rate, put the cash into mutual funds, UITFs, and/or stocks which have much higher returns on investment.

How to do this: If you are a newbie investor, read the following articles to learn more about investing: Mutual Funds and UITFs: Investing for Beginners and Best Investments for Every Risk Appetite.

Plan your day in advance

Planning your day in advance allows you a glimpse of which among your priorities you should focus on the most. Planning allows you to focus on action steps that will generate more income instead of wasting time figuring out what you can do.

How to do this: Lianne suggests, “Before you sleep or once you wake up, write down five things that will add to your productivity and earnings. If that activity is not as valuable as the others, it’s better to delegate or automate that instead.”

I can retire by 40

Early retirement allows you the freedom to pursue your passions and goals. At the same time, it gives you the peace of mind that you can both sustain yourself and enjoy what life has to offer without relying on government pension or your family members. Know your retirement number and start working on the tips above to be able to retire by 40.