Melissa Myers, CFP®

(231) 733-1166

Personal Finance Myth #2

Personal Finance Myth #2

| December 16, 2019
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“Early Retirement Isn’t Realistic”

Still Working?

Do you wish you could retire early, like in your 50’s?  Or even earlier?

Few will tell you that they absolutely love their job and are completely fulfilled by working. 

Some haven’t given any thought to the possibility of retiring early.

Many buy into the myth that early retirement isn’t an option.

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog post, that you might be at least a little curious about an early retirement.  Read on.

If you plan for an early retirement it’s more likely to become your reality.  While I love a plan, a plan alone isn’t enough. 

Goals are good, purpose is better

A plan to retire early along with clarity around the reasons why you want to retire early is essential.  Knowing your purpose, your why, your motivation will help you do two very important things: 

  1. Stay focused on your goal of retiring early, and
  2. Experience fulfillment when you choose to stop working.

Identify your values

Understanding what and who you value in life is important both while you’re working and when you’re retired.  What do you value?

  • Health
  • Family
  • Faith
  • Friends
  • Causes

Are your actions congruent with your values? 

What do you say you value, but give little attention to because of the demands you face at work? 

If you could wave your magic wand, what would you prioritize if you weren’t working? 

Who would you spend more time with? 

What activities would you engage in?

Are there causes, charities, or needs in your community for which you’d volunteer?

Wanting Out

Lack of job satisfaction is a common reason for wanting to quit working and take an early retirement.  High stress levels, pressures from the C-suite and toxic corporate cultures contribute to dissatisfaction in the work place.  Remember your why.  And prepare.

Have a Plan

If you aren’t working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and want a retirement where you get to maintain your lifestyle, now is the time.  One of the first things I help my clients do is to get clear on their lifestyle costs.  The next step is identifying the gaps or barriers between where they stand with their finances and where they want to be.

Not understanding the cost of your lifestyle and avoiding looking at your numbers will keep you working longer than you want to be working.  Once you know your numbers and have gotten crystal clear on your values and goals your CFP® will help you by creating and guiding you in the process of implementing your plan. 

You’ll understand what you’ve done so far that is working in your favor, and you’ll learn what you could be doing differently to help you pursue your goals.  Chances are you’ve put some money away for your future. 

Is it in the right types of accounts? 

Are you leaving money on the table? 

Are you taking unnecessary risks? 

Is there a plan in place for the unexpected?

Break away from conventional wisdom

If you want to retire before you’re 59 ½ years old, you need to have an income plan.  Too many Americans invest solely in tax deferred retirement accounts.  From the time we start working, we’ve been told to start investing for retirement and to do so in tax deferred retirement accounts.  Both pieces of advice have merit, but what if you want to retire before you’re 59 ½ and what if you don’t want a 10% IRS penalty for accessing YOUR money just because you aren’t old enough?

To make non-traditional retirement a reality, you plan ahead to create sources of income that will provide for your lifestyle and values.  Sources of income may include one or more of the following:  rental income, business income, income from a “come-back” career, part-time work, or investment accounts that aren’t retirement accounts.


Consumer debt is a ball and chain that will keep you working the grind until you’re “retirement age” or longer.  Living within your means now is great preparation for success at living within your means as a retiree.  Do you want to return to work because you’ve run out of money?

Get clear on why you have debt.  Create a plan to pay down debt and you’ll find that the fewer debts you have the faster and easier it is to manage your cash flow.  Having too many payments to creditors isn’t serving you in your quest for an early retirement.


Stay with me here.  How much equity do you have in your home?  If you were to sell your home what could you do with the equity?  Could you use the equity to buy a smaller home or condo?  What about renting?  Or traveling the country in an RV or boating the Great Loop?  

Less could be more.  The popular trends of embracing minimalism and living in tiny houses aren't just for millennials.  

Who says that the only place you can retire is in the United States?  Have you ever gone on vacation and checked the local real estate listings?  Retiring abroad is another way to leverage your assets.  

Little to no equity in your house won’t give you much leverage with one of your largest assets. If you've been refinancing and pulling the equity out with each refinance downsizing won't be as significant as a source of capital to finance your retirement.


You say you want to retire early, but what’s the real problem?  Fear of the unknown?  Failure?

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  Do you have an idea, but are afraid of starting a business?  Are you terrified by the thought of paying insurance premiums and health care costs out of pocket?

What about down the road.  At some point it is likely that you’ll become frail.  Are you concerned about becoming a burden to others?

And here’s the kicker…In the back of your mind, maybe even just a little bit, are you afraid that you might get bored?  Or become lonely?  That you’ll lose your sense of purpose or significance?

Life by Design

You can have everything you want in life.  It just comes at a price.  You pay with time and/or money. 

I encourage you to get creative with your dreams, goals and purpose.  Money shouldn’t be your excuse.  Decide on what is important to you and commit to doing whatever it takes to make it happen.  Get in the right frame of mind.  Surround yourself with like-minded people.  Maintain focus.

You can default into retirement or you can live your life by design.

It’s never too late.

The earlier you plan, the more choices you’ll have.

Contact Melissa Myers, CFP® today for your work-optional lifestyle plan today.

(231) 733-1166

Facebook:  Melissa Myers, Kar-Mel Financial Planners

Linked In:  Melissa Myers, CFP® Wealth Manager and Founding Partner, Kar-Mel Financial Planners

Securities, Advisory Services, and Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA and SIPC.  

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal.  No strategy assures success or guarantees against loss.

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