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How to Retire

To most Americans, retirement planning is a mystery suretirement_roadrrounded in lore, fairy tales, and bad advice. With all the misinformation floating around, it’s no wonder most of the country remains in the work force until a ripe old age.

The Retirement Bucket Fallacy
A very common misconception is that retirement is like a bucket of water; you spend your life filling it and the last few years of your life draining it. This brings up questions like, “How much money do I need in savings to retire?” Wrong thinking like this will have you saving for far too long and outliving your retirement savings. Let’s consider a better way.

Passive Income

One concept you must familiarize yourself with is the concept of “Passive Income”. Chances are you go to work every day to earn a paycheck. You’re exchanging time for money, or work for money. More likely, you’re exchanging blood, sweat and tears for money. This is called Earned Income.

When you own an asset that produces cash flow for you without you having to work, this is called Passive Income. For example, you could own a stock or a REIT which pays monthly dividends. You make the investment once, and continue to collect passive income indefinitely.

Now this should not be confused with owning a job, as many entrepreneurs do. For example, if you own a sandwich shop and go to work behind the counter every day. Some portion of that income is earned from your daily efforts, while some part of the income comes from your ownership interest. Ask yourself, if I quit working in this sandwich shop today and hired somebody to replace me, how much money would I still get? That portion is passive income, the rest is earned income.

How to Retire
Straight out of the Robert Kiyosaki book Rich Dad Poor Dad… You can retire when your Passive Income is greater than your monthly expenses. Think about it. If your monthly passive income from investments is greater than your monthly expenses, you don’t need to go to work. If your ownership interests in assets produces an income, and that income meets or exceeds your expenses, you no longer need to work to earn income.

This means you have two options which can work well together.

1. Reduce your expenses.
2. Increase your passive income.

Reducing Expenses
You can take some pretty simple steps toward reducing your monthly expenses. For example, most Americans are used to having a car payment. You could pay off your car and drive it for the next 20 years. Sure you’ll need to budget some money for repairs and maintenance, and put a little aside for your next car. But living without a car payment can save you hundreds of dollars per month.

What about that home mortgage? A paid off home is a huge step toward retirement.

Think about the expenses you pay every month. Consider ways to reduce or eliminate every one of them.

Increasing Passive Income
Saving toward retirement should never be stuffing money under your mattress. Consider places you can put your retirement savings which will produce an income for you. There are many stocks and REITs which produce great dividends. Once you’ve amassed a few tens of thousands of dollars, you can start doing more advanced investments. Did you know you can own a business or rental property in your IRA with no income taxes or penalties? You can ask me personally for details.

Another option is to put your retirement savings in a Self Directed IRA, such as those offered through NuView IRA. You can then invest your retirement savings in real estate syndications to own an equitable interest in Apartment Buildings and other Commercial Real Estate. Check out ThatApartmentGuy.com for an example.

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