How to Go From Broke to Retired in 10 Years

retire brokeYou’re in your 50’s and broke. Maybe you feel all alone, but so many others have been in your place. I was, back in 2012. Despite having a cushy corporate banking job, I was hemorrhaging cash. My earnings were down 50% since before the Great Financial Crisis. But 5 years later, I turned it all around and now have multiple streams of income. I’m not retired yet, but I’m definitely on the right track. I was determined to not retire broke. Here’s a crash course on how you can do it too.

Trim the fat from your expenses

This is the hardest part for many, but if you put yourself in the right mindset, you can succeed. Any wise financial advisor will tell you, now’s the time to reign in your spending in major areas:

  • Expensive vacations – Stop treating your annual bonus like it’s a treat. You might not even get one in the future. Instead start paying off debt and putting the money away.
  • Transportation costs – Does your family really need 3 vehicles? You can save a lot on insurance, repairs and maintenance by cutting back. According to AAA, the average vehicle costs $8,698 a year. That’s $725/month.
  • Housing – Is your home a money suck? Consider downsizing before retirement, not after.

And don’t forget about the minor areas:

  • Your cable/cell phone bill
  • Eating out
  • Other expensive hobbies

Cutting expenses is an essential first step if you want to avoid retiring broke.

Earn more money

I like to mention cutting back on expenses as an essential step to avoid retiring broke. But just spending less isn’t going to solve all your problems. You likely have debt to tackle, and years of retirement savings to make up on.

So you also need to earn more money. And don’t worry, I’m not talking about magically landing a promotion. Develop sources of income outside of your day job.

For example, you can make business investments, or invest in real estate (a strategy I used to use). My favorite option (and one I use now) is to start a side business while you’re still working.

Learn more about late-career entrepreneurship here: What Does Entrepreneurship Have to Do With Retirement?

Retire somewhere affordable

With the right business and financial planning, you can pull yourself out of debt and start building a respectable nest egg in 10 years. But that’s not the end of the story. Retirement is expensive. I like to say $5 million is the new $1 million. If you want to retire in the New York suburbs and maintain a respectable standard of living, you very will need millions to make it through retirement.

That’s why I recommend retiring abroad. Pick a middle income country where the cost of living is half of what it is in the US. Stretch your dollars even longer and enjoy the great weather as well.

I’m still not retired, but I moved abroad 2014 and started benefitting from a lower cost of living immediately. Now I have 2 successful business operations in addition to my day job, and am on the right track for retirement.

These days it’s easy to research and find perfect retirement locales using Numbeo to research their cost of living.

Here are some more resources to help you learn about retiring abroad: Living Abroad Resource Guide.

That was the briefest of overviews on how you can go from broke to retired in 10 years. And it all works – I can tell you from my own experience. If you want to dig deeper into the logistics of it all, join the Retirement Rehab community to learn more.

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