Accomplishing the financial cushion to retire early is a fantasy for most. Bringing the fantasy to reality is not as difficult as it sounds. The key is straightforward: Save significantly more every month. Sounds simple, correct? One moment.
Typically, advisors peg 15% to 20% of total income saved each month as a goal - but if you want to retire earlier, you probably have to ratchet that number up to 40% or 50% of your income. Not a feat easily accomplished when you review your take into account that a good portion of your paycheck goes to essential, non-negotiable lifestyle items. However, if you are willing to make some serious lifestyle changes and sacrifices, it's possible.
A relatively new movement called Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) has been developed around this "sacrifice and over-save now to retire early" concept. FIRE followers develop strict savings programs (up to 75% of income) and make associated sacrifices like living in small apartments, walking to work every day, restrictive diets, and so on. This path may be too restrictive for many, but the mindset offers some takeaways that might be worth considering.
To start, stick with the essentials of long-term growth investing: Build a diversified portfolio of stocks with exposure to various styles, sizes, sectors, and regions.
You may be able to accelerate your potential retirement earnings by consciously seeking higher returns (and also accepting more risk) in your investment portfolio. But whatever your risk tolerance, your portfolio must be diversified to protect against extreme market movements that could jeopardize your early retirement objective. You can choose from a number of ways to allocate investments to diversify your portfolio, and these should be informed by your individual goals, growth and income needs, appetite for risk, and age.
Once you've begun saving at a higher rate and you have an investment plan, put that money to work in your plan as quickly as you can. Don't worry about finding the "perfect time" to invest - simply put the money in and keep it in. Let compounding work to help you grow your retirement savings at an exponential rate.
You may want to look at growth stocks with attributes acceptable for retirement investing like low beta, strong earnings estimates, positive sales growth, and expected future growth.
Zacks offers investors useful rankings for lower risk growth stocks for retirement portfolios. The following are a few selections that merit a closer look: EPR Properties (EPR), Civista Bancshares (CIVB) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). Earnings and revenue has seen growth of at least 5% or higher over the last five years, with a beta of 1 or lower.
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American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Civista Bancshares, Inc. (CIVB) : Free Stock Analysis Report
EPR Properties (EPR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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