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Subject:  Re: Late Start but still want to retire early! Date:  3/24/2004  10:50 AM
Author:  tmeri Number:  158918 of 876458

1HappyCamper writes:

Due to many events and circumstances in my life, I find that I am now 51 with barely a start on my retirement planning. I am trying to design a strategy that will allow me to retire in 10 years or less and would like to here any thoughts and suggestions on ways to do so.

Good for you! The secret is to be committed to this goal. I suggest you start by reading extensively from intercst's website. Here's a nice page to start from:

I am fairly new to investing and would welcome any thoughts or tips on how others, who started late, have are successfully building for their retirement.

My best tip would be to lower your expectations for retirement. That is controversial, but it worked for me. As soon as I stopped "needing" a house in a really nice neighborhood, etc., I found I could retire much quicker. Since then, I've been working on ways to increase the comfort and enjoyment I can get from a frugal lifestyle.

I am making around $90k+/year but at this time I have only $8,000 in my 401k. I just increased monthly additions to about $900/month. $1500 in savings and am paying down my credit card balance of $15k by about $1000 per month.

You're off to a great start! Do this:

1. Pay off all debts, and don't acquire any more.
2. Save as much as you can. As soon as you are finished paying off the CC debt, start putting that sum into investments.
3. Start tracking your expenses now. Write down every penny you spend. This does two things for you. The first is absolutely essential. You have to know how much money you need to live comfortably before you can know how big of a portfolio you need. Secondly, when you track your spending, you start to find ways to reduce that spending. It's hard not to when it stares you in the face. Don't keep ANYTHING off the books.

Right now, you just need to focus on the above steps. (I'm sure other people will address the issue of how to invest.) In a few years, you will need to start figuring out how to get at your investments. intercst's website has a bunch of information on that.

Good luck, and ask lots of questions.

- tmeri
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