I Can’t Afford To Retire: Essential Tips On Filling The Gap

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I was on Reddit r/PersonalFinance last week, I was just browsing when I came across this  quote:

“There’s no insurance, no loans for retirement.”

If you’re short on cash to retire, well then you’re just SOL.  Straight up, prepare to be homeless if you don’t have family to help you out or are unable to continue working through your 60s and 70s.  It’s a rude awakening for so many of our elderly population.  I see older homeless people all the time and I wonder, “Why???”

When I think of my own retirement, I think about living in Florida, poolside somewhere in some assisted living luxury community.  I don’t think about the reality of just trying to keep my food costs down so I can pay the taxes on my house and not end up homeless.

The truth is that so many American families are living hand to mouth, check to check, that they are forced to decide between eating and saving for the future.  Where is the extra disposable income they can put in their 401K or IRA?

Here are some things to consider when trying to build a retirement fund.

Social Security Will Not Be There:

There are still some people holding on to the idea that Social Security will be enough. STOP IT.  There is not enough social security.  It is a Ponzi scheme.  And to be honest, to be a real conspiracist, Social Security’s main role is no longer to provide financial support for the elderly and other people unable to provide for themselves.  I mean, maybe that was never the purpose.  Social Security and their designated numbers are a means to track you for tax collection purpose.

I work with many elderly people to get them apartments and when I see their social security statements, I can’t even consider that income for the purpose of qualifying them for the apartments.  It’s a pitiful amount.

The other day my client Jenn had 1.4M between annuities, 401K and other investments.  She was sharp, I could tell she had been working her whole life.  She was earning $819 dollars a month from Social Security!  Try living in NYC with $819 a month, you wouldn’t last a week!  This is someone who probably paid into Social Security $100K+ over her lifetime and now when its time to collect she’s getting $819 a month? Something isn’t adding up…

Start Early.

Everyone tells you this but OMG this is the best and greatest financial advice anyone can give you.  At 18, nobody’s really thinking about their retirement.  They’re thinking about the future, “what career path will I choose, what will I major in at school?” But even putting $100 a month towards your retirement is a HUGE jump start.

I played around with a retirement calculator and here’s what I found:

When I was 18, I was working a shit job selling pretzels at Auntie Annes, working minimum wage.  I was lucky if I earned as little as 600-700 a month in pocket money.  If I started putting $100 a month into an IRA or 401K from the age of 18- 67,  I would have roughly $500K saved by the time I’m ready to retire.  And that’s ASSUMING, I don’t increase my contributions as my earnings increase over the years.  Not enough to retire.  But not a bad figure to start with.

Now let’s consider someone a little older:

Life got me good and I had all these expenses, children, a mortgage, an expensive marriage, an even more expensive divorce.  I wasn’t able to get it together until I’m 40 to start saving for retirement.  I would have to contribute $500 a month at the age of 40-67 in order to have roughly $500K saved by the time I’m ready to retire.  But that’s still not enough to retire with and at 40, time is no longer on my side.  I’ll need to double down and make monthly payments of $1100.  That’s the only way I can save enough so I have at least 1M available when I want to retire at 67.  I still don’t think that’s enough to retire on but you can work with that.

Moral of the story: If you’re able to start young (most people can) and save a modicum amount, you are still in a much better position than someone who is older and needs to play catch up.  Compound interest is a bitch like that.

Get a Side Hustle:

Money doesn’t grow on trees.  If you don’t have the money now to set aside for retirement, when will you?

“If you always do what you did, you’ll always get what you got.”

In this type of scenario, somethings gotta give.  You’ll need an additional source of income.  A lot of people reading this now are going to start shaking their heads thinking, “I don’t have money and I don’t have time.”

Well, make time because old age don’t feel so good when you’re broke.  The time to make a move is when you’re young and capable.  It might be hard, it might be challenging but side money is the kind of money you can put ASIDE for retirement.

Here are some ideas on low cost ways to make money:

  • Uber- Drive and get paid.  You already have your own car so thats already taken care of.  Keep track to mileage, maintenance and gas costs.  Hustle for tips.
  • Work a 2nd job.  Any job.  Work at the McDonalds across the street.  Let your kids hang in the seating area quietly if there’s no one to watch them.  Don’t worry if you get fired, it’s only a side job, so speak up for what you need and hustle until it works  for you.
  • Blog and Youtube- this is actually a very long process to build income off of.  I would only recommend this if you have the time and the means to do this.

Mortgage vs Retirement vs Kids College

The truth that none of the other retirement gurus really are able to touch on is that  99% of us will only be able to makes so much money in our life time.  Most of us are on a fixed income of salary and paying off fixed expenses.

A lot of us are still paying off student loans, we have mortgages, car payments, insurance costs and the list goes on and on.  This is just a reality for most Americans.  There might be some left over to save, but is it enough?

Probably not.

In this case it’s important to prioritize the most important needs first.

Mortgage- when deciding to buy a house, there are so many factors to consider. I’m not going to go into buying vs renting, that’s for another post, but here are my top tips on how to make sure the mortgage burden does not overtake the other financial responsibilities.

  • Live in the cheapest, smallest apartment you can comfortably manage. Of course you wanted the nicer and bigger house in the better neighborhood but you need to really consider your reasons for wanting that home.  Is it ego?  Is it an expectation you had for yourself?  Is it maintaining the lifestyle you had as a child?  It’s time to reconsider and evaluate your expectations. Times have changed, money don’t flow like it used to.
  • Only consider a more expensive neighborhood if it means a better school district for your children.  And even then, consider a cheaper neighborhood with the option of a good private school.  Compare the costs.
  • Small is good.  You can dress up small.  Trust me, I’m a real estate agent in Manhattan.  There’s no such thing as too small.  I’ve actually seen some charming 400sqft studios!  But more importantly, small is cheap.  You don’t need the extra bathroom, it’s just more space to clean.

Retirement: As I discussed earlier in my post, retirement is the main priority.  Make it so. Focus on maintaining a retirement fund that will at least allow you to maintain the same quality of life you’re used to.

Kids College: As someone who had to spend 12+ years paying student loans, I don’t think I want my children burdened with that same issue.  At the same time, I don’t think it would be fair for me to burden my children with my living costs if I don’t have adequate retirement funds.  Paying for the kids colleges is the least important financial concern you should have. It’s nice if you can afford it but the kids can take out student loans or go to community colleges, there’s no loan for retirement.

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To cut to the chase retirement is something we need to think about NOW.  Pensions and social security are out the window. They can be considered supplements but not a fall back.  Make efforts to educate yourself on what you need to do to meet your financial goals.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Check out my other posts:

Flashpass to Retirement: FiRE and LeanFiRe Strategies

Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

 

Lessons On How To Be An Entrepreneur & Salesperson

The first “Job” Job I ever had

How to become an entrepreneur and how to make money for yourself

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I’ll never forget How I learned to be an entrepreneur and build a business for myself. Who knew at 21, I would be learning how to make money instead of earning money from the rat race.

When I was 21, I started an online distribution company on Amazon.  I was working for this shady distribution company acting as their “Purchasing Manager” for like $15 dollars an hour.  They wanted me to get contacts for brands like MAC cosmetics, designer fragrances, coach bags, and other high end accounts.  My role was to buy at wholesale then ship oversees where the product was scarce and make a huge markup at the other offices.  It was super shady because we were dealing with an international Singapore office and selling goods that were unauthorized by the brands in certain locations.  Basically dealing in a gray market.  Turns out the whole beauty distribution industry is super shady in this regard.  Rather than discount certain goods to the public, companies like MAC cosmetics or Proctor & Gamble will sell to third party distributors old and unsold products, who will then sell it again to online sellers, third party shops and overseas.  So all those Ebay and Amazon stores selling cosmetics and goods are not necessarily fake, but are likely old product that’s been cycled through different distributors.

 I eventually had a contact for MAC cosmetics and decided to be bold and use it for my own use and become an Amazon pro-seller.  The money was just calling me.  I couldn’t help but think if I start selling this stuff people would buy it.  This was my first experience working for myself and how I learned to be an entrepreneur.   My online store  was for cosmetics and our main item for sale was MAC Cosmetics. You wouldn’t believe how popular MAC is online, we had this wholesaler who would sell it to us. (I swear it was authentic). That was literally the only thing we would sell. I sold 80k worth of it within the first year.

Well I guess we didn’t tip the wholesaler enough because he stiffed us on the product and wouldn’t sell to us any more.

All the other product out there to buy was pretty much garbage and not giving us a high enough profit margin to make the effort worth it.

After that I closed the business but I learned a few good lessons about owning a business, how to make money and how to be an entrepreneur:

  1. Never go into business with a friend.
    1. It sounds fun at first but it’sa recipe for disaster. I had worked with her at the distribution company and it was a lot of fun.  I felt guilty for taking the contact and profiting on my own, when my best friend was sitting right next to me.  We had very different approaches to the business though.  She wanted to cash out too early so we were never able to reinvest or grow the company. If our orders were growing, it would have been more worthwhile for the supplier and he would have been less likely to drop us like that. We were unknowingly wasting his time by making him fill our small orders twice a month.
  2. Always tip the people who help you make money
    1. It’s just good karma and it good at relationship building. You won’t believe how good “You’ll scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” strategy works.  I was so stupid to not give a nice Christmas bonus, it’s such an obvious thing to do. When when your young and trying to start a business with absolutely no money, every dollar counts, but the dollars you spend on the people who help you be successful are the most important to spend.
  3. Never rely on one source of income or client for your business.
    1. When the MAC supply ran dry so did our business. We never bothered to diversify. We could have done videos on makeup or promoted our own products. But we never got that far.
    2. I’ve also read about other people making this mistake like YouTubers and Insta Influencers using only one platform to make their connections.  This is obviously risky since you are not in charge of the overall platform and if they decide to shut you down because of a “policy violation,” well then you’re SOL.

Lessons I learned From Being A Salesperson

When I stopped doing what the other salespeople were doing that’s when it clicked and I started to do so much more business.  There are 10,000 licensed real estate salespeople in  NYC.  There are only so many rental and sales deals for all those agents.  The reality is that not everyone will be successful in this industry and many are living hand to mouth and deal to deal.

They say 5% of salespeople make 80% of deals. To be the top sales person you need to do things other people aren’t willing to do or are too lazy to do.

In real estate that meant doing a mailing list. Many agents were too preoccupied with finding their next deal, they didn’t think ahead to do long term prospecting like email blasts and promotions.

I also prospected by cold calling leads for exclusives and following up relentlessly. All I needed was to have one door open and then I would snowball that opportunity into other opportunities.

Over time you want to create a snowball effect of success. Promoting yourself and showing off your accomplishments helps you get the confidence and business you need from new customers.  The snowball effect is probably the most important lesson I learned.  The more time you spend on a business, the more it should grow.  It should never be stagnant  unless there is a catastrophic economic collapse or recession.  The issue is that no one teaches you how to start the snowball.  In the beginning, it looks very small and almost useless to keep rolling.  Maybe a piece breaks off here and again there but over time all the cumulative effort you made over the years will be worth something, it will get stronger, and next thing you know you have a giant business! (Snowball!)

Once the snowball is huge, that’s when people notice you and give you more business with little prospecting. Until then, you’re still just learning to be an entrepreneur.

Things that will help you grow your snowball:

  • Mailing lists and email blasts with all the contacts you’ve ever had
  • Cold calls
  • Holiday cards
  • Quality business cards
  • Neat  work space
  • Requesting referrals
  • Gifts at closing
  • Following up with service, doing surveys
  • Having a business plan and marketing plan
  • Being consistent with the above items

I hope you’ve found this post really useful to learn how to be an entrepreneur. It was actually a discussion that I first started on Quora but it was so popular there, I decided to expand on the discussion.

Let me know your thoughts and feedback and feel free to follow, share and like.

If You Like “Lessons On How To Be An Entrepreneur & Salesperson” Check out my Other Posts

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How Did That B*tch Get Rich? How To Be Wealthy

How To Learn To Make Money Work For You How To Be Wealthy
How To Learn To Make Money Work For You How To Be Wealthy

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How Do You Learn To Make Money Work For You?

The big question on my mind.  On everybody’s mind, really. As I start to make my transition to my 30s, the money question seems to be everywhere. How to be wealthy?  We’re all so proud of the 401ks we started and the money moves we’ve made.  It’s all so nice to flash cash on Instagram and Snapchat.  Just like how (in our early 20s)  we used to show off how many times we went out in a week or all the people we knew, now the trend is to show off how we’ve got it like that. What I really wanted to know was how to make your money work for you…

I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch last Saturday and as we strolled around Chelsea we chatted about all the good things we were doing for ourselves.  Allie was a teacher and after years of partying and living with her parents was tired of being broke.  So she was taking things into her own hands and making moves of her own.  She got a new job that gave her benefits, she had a tutoring job on the side, and planned to work the after school program.  She was ready to make $$$ and I was really happy for her.

I said, “You’ve got to get if for yourself, no one’s going to give it to you.”

She was like, “Absolutely, but sometimes I look at some people and I’m like, how did that Bitch get rich?”  “Like really, of all people.”

I didn’t really know what people or bitches she was talking about but it was a question that I had been determined to answer since before we were really even friends.

I remember being in high school and watching MTVs “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and it was this stupid reality show about rich teenage girls planning their over the top sweet sixteen.  It would literally be 50K and up type parties.  Mini weddings.  At the end the birthday girls would get a new Mercedes or Ferrari or whatever they wanted and I was like WTH how do people live like this?

My super sweet 16

I became obsessed with understanding how rich people come to be and thats kind of how I got into NYC real estate.  I wanted to understand how do people get rich.  Maybe if I got close to it, I would be able to understand it and create wealth in my own life.

Well, being a NYC rental broker, you get to see the intimate details of someone’s wealth.  You see their tax returns, their employment letters, the professions they chose, the co-signers that they use to get an apartment, the assets in their bank accounts and more!  It blew my mind at first, how much wealth was needed to live in NYC.  It’s literally wealth I still don’t have but understanding it and seeing how wealth exists in our world helped me accept the fact that I’m not wealthy, at least not in the sense that “My Super Sweet Sixteen” portrayed.  Here are the top ways that I noticed people were able to live a wealthy lifestyle.

Generational Wealth

This is the most common way that wealth is accumulated for most people.  I call it, “Getting A Leg Up.”  People who come from generational wealth are already starting at 10.

To be generationally wealthy is a true privilege.  People with generational wealth not only have the resources and assets to seize more opportunities, they are already raised to learn how to make money work for them and are less likely to fall into debt and other problems that would detract from be wealthy.

Example: Jerry is a 3rd generation American.  His grandfather came to the USA and hustled 3 jobs to buy a house and raise his family of 3 children.  One of the 3 children starts a business and it becomes successful.  Meanwhile the house that their grandfather bought is now worth 3X as much due to inflation caused by the booming tech industry.  The grandfather allows one of the other children to take a loan against the home and flip 3 other houses.  Another child is successful.  The last child was able to go to college and build a career to manage to become a middle manager and make a good living.  All three of this grandfathers children were able to make it to middle or upper class. These children have 2 of their own children.  Jerry is one of those grandchildren.  The original siblings help each other out in raising their children by babysitting and offering advice on best school district.  They share resources with each other like baby clothes and books.  Grandfather dies and leaves his fully paid off house, pension, and other assets to all the 6 grandchildren in a trust.  Each grandchild gets $150K each in a trust to use when they turn 25.  Each child has the means to go to college, two of them specialize in a profession like medicine or law, two others start a new business with their trust, and the remaining 2 go into the family business.  Jerry is 30 years old, has an Ivy League degree, $150K in a trust and is a partner at his family’s company.  That is what generational wealth looks like. 

Beauty

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And while that’s true, there is a variety of beauty in this world.   But we must admit that conventional beauty has so much power in our society. To be beautiful is to have doors literally opened for us.  Now this section isn’t just about women being beautiful.  Men can be beautiful too.  Just yesterday my 20 year old intern with stunning blue eyes and a linebacker’s build was telling me how the girls at Chipotle gave him free Chipotle.  And that won’t be the last freebie or leg up he gets for being extraordinarily handsome.

Regardless, doors will open for him because beauty is attractive.  And people are drawn to what is attractive.  But this won’t necessary result in wealth.  Unlike generational wealth, people won’t hand you money just for being beautiful.  Often, beautiful people have to leverage their youth and beauty for opportunities for wealth.  I once had these model clients.  They were REAL models.  The types that walk runways for Gucci and Balmain.  They made well over six figures just in the US for their beauty.  One girl showed 200K from her contract with IMG Modeling. These girls also worked for other modeling agencies in Europe.  But wealth is real for these beauties. Once their modeling days are behind them, they could easily marry well to do men in finance who want a wife with good genes and beautiful skin to match. I don’t think many women have that kind of opportunity just handed to them.

The good thing is that the genetic lottery isn’t the only way to cash in on beauty.  With youth comes natural beauty.  Men and women are realizing this and capitalizing on their youth, building online businesses and brands for their youtube channels and Instagram accounts. From ages 16-35 women are at the peak of their beauty/youth.  For men that time frame is 20-40.  Just imagine how big of a business you can build in 20 years.  You can build an empire.  I could go on and on about how pretty privilege is a thing but I think I’ll save that for another post.  The good thing is that beauty and youth can truly be the stepping stone to success for those willing to step out of their shell and grab it.

Hustle

How to be wealthy? Well, some people are more hustlers.  I think I fall into that category over beauty.  I’m sure my youth has helped me a lot in gaining opportunities and getting my foot in the door.  But I’m not THAT pretty.  More like a girl next door type of look to me.   So I’ve had to rely more on my hustle and charm.  Hustle and charm are not easy skills to attain.  You need a mix of street-smart, hunger, people skills, charisma and intelligence to really win in this category of wealthy.  A talent or two won’t hurt either.

To be be clear, the definition of [hustle] according to Urban Dictionary is: To have the courage, confidence, self belief, and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.

There are a million ways to make money hustling.  I truly believe there’s enough pie for everyone.  Hell, you can all bake your own pies. We live in a world that is rapidly changing with growths in technology and change in culture and opportunity.  Youtube stars are making millions, Instagram influencers are getting paychecks.  You can literally open a new store on Etsy and sell those handmade bracelets you always get compliments for or those handmade soaps.  You can become a motivational speaker.  Or you can be like me and do real estate and work your way up. Or start in any industry and work your way up.

This, to me, is the backbone for all wealth. There had to be someone to get the moneyball rolling whether it’s you or your grandfather. There really isn’t much substitute for grit, perseverance and grind when it comes to breaking socioeconomic barriers.

Smarts

Being book smart is important and if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with book-smart. It’s the type of hustle your parents always pushed for. “Education is everything,” my father said, “No one will ever be able to take your education away from you.” This was his lesson on how to be wealthy and learn to make money work for you.

And that’s true, I just wasn’t prepared to face the level of intellectual competition that I would face in that one year of law school.

My sister was, though. She finished her studies to become a doctor. After watching her go through 4 years of premed, 4 years of med school, 2 years of residency, another two years of fellowship and enough testing and studying to make your eyes bleed, I’m not sure I would say that I envy her life now. She truly earned it and now makes 250K a year working 32 hours a week. 32 hours a week!

Being smart is not just reading books and stating facts. It’s competing with all the other smart and intelligent people to be the best. I never felt more insecure of my own intelligence that I did during that one year of law school.

Think about beauty pageants that line women up according to their beauty and grace. Intellectual pursuits is kinda like that except with your brain and how smart you are.

No thanks, wasn’t for me.

Summary

I think the bulk of what I’m trying to get at is that obtaining wealth for a majority of people is not easy. But it’s not unattainable. And as long as it’s possible for you to get to the next level, you should be striving to make that happen. I’ve been broke and now I’m comfortable; I wouldn’t say wealthy but I anticipate maybe 10 years from that. Being broke sucks, staying broke is tougher. A lot of people don’t realize they can get up and change their situation. I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN.

I like to call it “bootstrapping it.” And IMO gaining wealth from your own hard work and grit is more satisfying than having it handed to you. Most of us reading this are not from generational wealth, it’s up to us to make our own wealth. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error, a lot of failure, but all you need is that one moment. All you need is one big win and all that failure will be erased.

I wish you all the best of luck on your journey for progress and wealth. This game is about learning to make money work for you. Please share like and follow if you liked this post. I follow back!

If you like “How Did That B*tch Get Rich? How To Be Wealthy,” Check out my other posts!

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Get to early retirement Reddit LeanFiRe
Get to early retirement Reddit LeanFiRe

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“If only I didn’t have to go back to work.” I think this WAYY to often, especially on my Sundays before I have to clock back in for my work week. I often daydream about how to get to early retirement as I surf through reddit leanFiRe strategies.

My friends say, “Alex, I think it’s time for a new job. You’re burnt out. There’s another company that can be the right fit for you.”

But I think it’s much more than that. I think I just don’t like work. I don’t like feeling obligated to go and be somewhere at a certain time.  I don’t like commuting. I don’t like being on teams I didn’t choose for myself. I don’t like not being able to spend my time as I choose. And at the bottom of all those things I don’t like is the basis for a job. In college, I didn’t like not having money either so I went into the world and made a career for myself.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to grow up.  Like, having a job is just part of life. A majority of our society NEEDS to work in order to put food on the table or clothes on their back. But then I started to wonder about an alternative. What if, I didn’t have to work? What would it take to live like that? Is it possible for me?

That’s when I came across FiRe or Financial Independence and Retire Early. I’ve been following Personal Finance on Reddit for a while and stumbled across the subreddit. On reddit I also found LeanFiRe strategies. It’s not just people retiring early at 50 instead of 63. It’s people retiring earlier and younger at 35 and 40! I honestly can’t look through Reddit LeanFiRe without feeling a tinge of jealousy. I really want to be those people.  I want to know how to retire early. I also want to know how much I need to retire early.

The concept of FiRe goes beyond Personal Finance-which discusses getting out of debt, buying a house and paying for college, as well as other difficult financial choices that neither high school nor college ever prepared us for. FiRe is just specifically about retiring early and what it will take to get there and the kind of sacrifices you need to be willing to make.

Looking through the subreddit, I can’t help but feel…what’s the word for it? Ah yes, INADEQUATE. I feel inadequate because here are these 19 year old kids that are planning their hustle for the next 10-15 years to be totally independent off a job! At 19, I was buying Frappachino this and coach shoes that.  I was twiddling away my hard earned money because, at the time, I didn’t consider my minimum wage slave money to be……real money.  It was just money I was earning before I had a career; before I made a real salary.  Talk about regret over missed opportunity. Regardless, now that I’m aware this is possible maybe there’s time for me to turn things around.  I’m making 3-4X what I was making on minimum wage, so hopefully I didn’t miss too much of an opportunity.

Personal Finance and FiRe pretty much go hand in hand but FiRe is a long term game. Once you pay all of your debts and start really gaining wealth, FiRe commits to continuing to live a modest lifestyle until you reach your FiRe goal date. For people that are successful at FiRe, this means living at your parents home until you’re 30 or putting a $10K pay increase towards a portfolio option instead of taking a much needed vacation. It means couponing; living on a cash basis and giving up the convenience of the credit card.  It sounds so simple, “Just don’t spend money? I hate spending money, I only spend money when I need to!” But DO you? Do you REALLY??  Credit cards/subscriptions, Venmo are super convenient. For credit cards, any points you earn on the card are already spent on the overspending you did due to the “convenience.”  And we all like convenience. Retiring early means less convenience and less money spent on pleasures that we usually indulge in as a reward for hard work.

It takes an incredible amount of self control to retire early. Year after year, you’ll need to make sacrifices in your own indulgence, spending habits and choices. Vacation to Miami with friends? Nix that. Those really nice designer shoes? Nope. Weekly happy hour bar tabs with coworkers?  Um, no. Forget about the new car lease and living without roommates.  What you’re sacrificing in quality of life now, you’re planning to get back later when you’re able to retire 15-20 years early.

You’ll also need to be somewhat knowledgeable on tax laws. Should I invest in a 401K or IRA or both? What should I do after I max on my contributions? I’m about to surpass my income tax bracket, what can I do to minimize this years taxes? These are decisions you can’t just leave to the wind when planning an early retirement. Because year after year the wrong decision will cost you.

Once you start saving all this additional money, how do you optimize it to allow an early retirement? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Some people invest in individual stocks, mutual funds or rental properties, or a mix of diversified options. The choice is yours depending on the skill set you have. Some people like to park their money and not think about it again until they need it, some like to be more involved in the trades, others like the idea of home equity. Some enjoy high risk, others low risk. To make FiRe truly effective you’ll need to take some risk to optimize your hard earned money.

Now let’s talk Reddit LeanFiRe. What is that? How could FiRe get any leaner, you’re already cutting out the pleasures of life! Oh it can get leaner.  Way leaner. Some of you may have read this article rolling your eyes, like “I don’t make that kind of money, Alex. I’m not overspending and there’s nowhere to cut.” Lean FiRe is early retirement for those who make an average or below average earnings. I swear, the Lean FiRe Reddit is no joke! They will make feel shame for your current lack of retirement plans. These are people making 40K -70k a year (or less!), and killing it with their retirement goals.

How do they do it? Incredible sacrifice and resourcefulness. These are people who really hate their job and are like, “Oh hell no! I can’t be doing this forever!”

I read about this one guy that ditched his car even though it was a 40 minute bike ride each way. Luckily he lived in a place where the weather was nice nearly all year round. He was saving money off of the weather! Other people are gardening and living off the literal fruits of their labor and land, thus cutting down food costs.

Then there are the people who are extreme in their housing solutions. One guy was homeless for a year! You heard that, homeless! Like, living in his car and showering at the gym while going to work every day and pretending he had a home. The moral of that story is that he really saved a lot at the time since housing is probably our largest expense. A lot of the Reddit LeanFiRe people take to frugality and minimalistic living. There was one couple that bought a Tiny Home and lived in a trailer park. Their Tiny Home cost 15k and they bought it outright, then parked their home for a couple hundred dollars a month at a trailer park. They really didn’t need to earn so much money after that.

Theres also strategy to increase their income and put that money aside for retirement purposes only. These people were resourceful with their talents and skills.  They started blogging, and you-tubing to earn some extra cash. It’s a slow income stream but it’s cheap and easy to get into. Some opened etsy shops, making homemade soaps, balms, greeting cards, ornaments and whatnot. Some just did the good old fashioned way of getting a second job and driving Uber on the side.

Those Reddit subreddits really put me to shame. When I hear real life stories like that, I wonder WHY CAN’T I BE LIKE THAT?

Because I don’t want it enough. I’m not willing to sacrifice my daily pleasures or I do, and then I can’t stick with it long term. But practice makes perfect, and I’ll keep at it until I’m finally willing to make the sacrifice long term. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading the inspirational stories FiRe and LeanFiRe have to share with me. Because with a little inspiration, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to retire early too.

Feel free to like, share and follow this post if you found it interesting.

If you like “How To Get To Early Retirement: FiRE and Reddit LeanFiRe Strategies” Check out my other similar posts:

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Why Make A Blog: It Helps With Coping With Work

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Things have certainly changed a lot since I wrote my first post “My Job Is Killing Me.” I wrote that post and, subsequently, my blog because I was so sick of my work environment. Honestly, I’m still sick of it.  I’m feeling worn out from work and tired.  The one thing I can say is that I know I’m better suited for entrepreneurial pursuits.  Employment feels too much like modern slavery. Why make a blog? Where’s my time? Well, let’s just say it’s my way of coping with work.

I reached my breaking point and began to ask myself: can I really make a change in career? I really thought it over. My two talents that I have that are worth any salt are: real estate sales and writing.  I’m think I’m over real estate; the whole showing apartments in the city and renting homes is getting old. But can I really make a career out of writing?

I started my blog as a way to cope with work stress. I was also frustrated with not finding any solid advice on the internet. You can google, “Coping at Work,” and “Job Is Killing Me” and you find these BS answers to reducing stress. Like basically, suck it up and deal articles. Nobody really wants to say, “Hey! There’s something wrong with a work culture that forces you to be constantly connected, places unreasonable demands and gives you no job security.”  Specificially, American work culture is toxic with no means to negotiate work conditions, pitting employees against each other and manipulation.

I went into the workforce with a lot of hope and promises to myself that I would find purpose and happiness in my work. I envisioned work to have meaning, to make sense and to be a part of a team environment. Boy was I wrong. Maybe that’s not what I’ll find in a corporate environment but maybe I can coach people to find their way.  And even though that dream hasn’t happened for me yet, I’m determined to reach that goal of happiness and peace at work and not settle.  I mean, work takes up 40-50% of your “awake” time a year. That’s a lot of time devoted to one specific endeavor. And when I think of it that way, it’s like, you better make it count otherwise you need something to help with coping at work.

There are a lot of problems with my job. Mostly it’s caused by the bureaucracy and celebration of mediocrity. They literally hire people because they’re just sick of the whole hiring process and need to fill a role.  Rather then promote within and promote loyalty and hard work, they would rather hire outside and negotiate a lower pay rate. It stresses me out so much to think of how unfair it is, writing is my way of coping with work.

Since I’ve started my blog, we’ve lost a manager, two receptionists, two other managers in different departments, a director and two of the office staff. Like, 80% of our teams are gone! Due mainly to overwork and being overlooked for a raise or promotion. It’s horrible. Yet the organizational machine chugs on and continues to make a profit.

After my manager left, I confirmed she was cheating me out of my earnings for the past year. I also confirmed she was talking sh*t about me to upper Management.  She was a toxic manager.  That was pretty messed up considering she would tell me, “Don’t worry I’ve got your back.” I guess that teaches you to never take someone’s word for it and only look at their actions.  I learned that I needed to stand up for myself more in the workplace and not be afraid to rock the boat, even if it means there’s a period of discomfort.

I held the office together during her departure by working 6 days a week. My director was on site to help with the transition but she was a HOT MESS. Literally, barely getting by on her job and delegating her work to other people who are more knowledgeable and beneath her. She made sure she was getting her hourly lunch and leaving on time. She did NOT invest any time in helping me in the interim or doing more than her job required. I personally would not recommend working 60-70 hours a week like I was. And if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t have done the company a SOLID like that and worked myself to death. It was nice that I made some extra commissions, but still…no raise. And the recognition I got was pretty forced. “I can tell you put a lot of care in your work, and most importantly, it shows in your results.”

But I did learn a lot from her, her attitude about works was, “It’s only work.” She wasn’t going out of her way to make sure I was OK, she didn’t care that I was overdoing it. She actually encouraged me to take 2 hour breaks with her!!! I realized I needed to take a leaf out of her book and take a step back from work. Hard worker or slacker, you don’t get paid more for doing extra. Doing more, only causes burnout and anxiety, I need to care less about my job.

Now I’m in the middle of training our new staff, including our receptionist, intern and manager. It just feels so strange. I’m like the fake manager. I hired my receptionists and our intern. I’m training everyone, telling everyone what to do, overseeing all the work. But I’m not paid more and I’m not getting a better title. I posted on Reddit about this and they said that my career there is just going to stagnate and I should be looking for other work. I have put myself out there for other positions but I’m in such a niche industry right now. And the job offers I’m getting are not cutting it, in terms of benefits and pay.

Right now my solution is to keep building a side hustle (this blog) and try not to over invest in my job. It’s literally a circus like any other corporate machine.  It’s just hard to stay positive when you’re not recognized at work. They “promised” me a bonus and I decided that I would stay until the end of the year and see what happened. If things don’t progress, I can jump ship then.

For those of you who are in the same boat as me, stick with it until your next opportunity arises. Keep your head up and keep applying for better work. Start a new business idea! Make plans to back to school and grow professionally. But don’t give up! Things can be crap, people might treat you shitty but that’s just the path you’ll need to take before you’re next opportunity opens up for you! Trust the process and get going!  That’s the best way to cope with burnout and get back in the game.

I want to thank you all for following my progress and following where I’ve been. This blog has been a godsend and has helped me with coping with work.

Please follow, share, like and subscribe!  Check out these other posts

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