Early Retirement Made Possible: A Guide to Retire by 40

It may seem that 40 is an early age to retire, but it is never too early to begin planning your retirement future.

Most of the time, people retire at the age of 65, which gives them a lot of time to save, but if you want to quit earlier, you need to save harder. 

You may think that the shorter time to save will not be enough for you, but it is possible to have enough by 40. 

The main idea on how to retire by 40 focuses on saving money, creating passive income, and adjusting your lifestyle.

In this guide, you’ll find 12 ways to help you live a comfortable life once you retire at 40.

How to Retire by 40 in 11 Ways

Create Your Retirement Goal

The way you want to retire is different from others because some may wish for an extravagant or comfortable future. 

If you are into traveling, you may want to retire with the vision of going on different adventures, which can mean more money. 

Consider retiring at home with your desired retirement lifestyle or a business to launch. 

As long as you know your position years from now, it can help you build a retirement goal that is realistic and possible.

Once you think about what you plan on doing during your retirement, it is time to develop a figure you plan to spend.

Some allocate a specific percentage of their income to save monthly, which they’ll spend during retirement. 

Knowing all the numbers, such as your income, annual expense budget, and how much you want to save, is essential.

For example, consider saving or earning 25 times your yearly expenses to set a goal. 

You can also consider investing half of your income into stocks or business to have more returns when the time comes. 

Establish a Savings Goal

Even in your teenage years, establishing a goal seems complicated and even more to achieve.  

However, if you want to retire at 40, you have to be strict about it so you won’t suffer financially after 40. 

If you created your retirement goal with an expected annual income or allowance, you could multiply it by 25 to make a savings target. 

For example, if you want to spend $75,000 annually for the next 25 years after retirement, you need to save $1,875,000.

But if you have another source of income, like business, aside from a full-time job, then you can set a lower goal. 

Change Your Lifestyle

You need to change your lifestyle if you want to maximize your savings during your younger years to harvest the fruit later in your 40s. 

Therefore, you need to get the “You only live once,” mindset and be strict with your material wants.

You may need a lot of self-control and not enjoy your youth because you aim to save more.

But it doesn’t mean you will not enjoy what your peers did in your 20s because you can do those later. 

If you don’t have big plans to move out, it is a great way to save on bills and basic expenses. 

Staying in your parent’s house means you don’t have to spend extra on rent and share daily expenses.

Also, avoid eating out and going on vacations because they can be expensive and hold off your savings. 

You may want to forgo data plans, paid streaming apps, and other monthly subscriptions you don’t need.

As much as possible, cut off your expenses and only purchase something you urgently need.

Aside from changing your lifestyle, you can also increase your work hours or find a part-time job to add income. 

Related Reading: What Is Liquid Networth – Dig In Here.

Track Your Savings

Track Your Savings - how to retire by 40

It is vital to track your personal finance, especially if you already have a long-term goal for your retirement income. 

When you monitor your savings, you can see how much you still need to earn until you turn 40.

This framework can guide and motivate you to save each month until you reach your savings target. 

But if you have a side hustle, business, or passive income, you can save faster and still have a balanced work-life.

You can also hire a certified financial planner to help manage your financial needs and prepare you for retirement planning.

Don’t Be Afraid to Miss Out 

Vacations, the latest gadgets, and other fun things can be tempting, and you may hesitate to take them. 

However, you can avoid missing out on these things because you have all the time to do them. 

You may feel regret at first, but you’ll find that avoiding this temptation is a great help in your retirement goal.

If you used to have a FOMO lifestyle, you could start small by changing a part of your lifestyle from time to time. 

Slowly, you will get used to the change and not even think of your past lifestyle, which can be financially draining. 

Also, it would be best to take out the mindset that earning more means you can spend more because your savings will never move. 

Increasing your income should mean increasing your savings, so you feel free before your 40s.

When you receive incentives or salary raises, you can use them immediately to put in your retirement savings. 

Choose Where to Put Your Money

Given that you have a shorter time frame to save for your retirement, you have to be brilliant about where you put your money. 

For example, the retirement account from your employment is an excellent choice, especially if you receive contributions from your company. 

You may also receive raises along the way to acquire more contributions over the years until you reach 40.

However, you also have to note that you owe income tax when you withdraw using a traditional 401(k) account.

Some banks offer high rates when you keep your savings with them, particularly those in a time-deposit account.

Your money can increase through the years by storing it in a bank and finally withdrawing it when it comes. 

You can start an individual retirement account to protect your after-tax income if your company doesn’t have retirement accounts. 

Put money into a health savings account because you can save on a pre-tax basis.

Find Another Source of Income

Although your full-time job can pay your bills and leave you to save money for retirement, it is better to have other income sources. 

Once you explore another way to earn, you can fulfill your retirement goals faster, so you don’t have to work extra harder. 

If you have other skills that you can use, it will be easier for you to find side hustles like freelancing or commission-based jobs.

The only compromise you have to consider is that by wanting a less stressful retirement, you have to spend extra time working now. 

But it can be different if you can find a passive income, so you don’t need to drain yourself physically.

For example, you can register your car through a rental site, invest in real estate, monetize your properties through Airbnb, and lease your storage rooms. 

Get Rid of Debts

Get Rid of Debts

You must be entirely debt-free to save appropriately in time for your retirement. 

Avoid taking debt with interest payments as much as possible because it can hinder you financially. 

Debts, in general, can take a toll on your health and financial condition, but quickly settling them can put you in a better light. 

If you have credit credits, use them only when necessary and pay the balance in full monthly to avoid penalties. 

You may even earn rewards like cash back, points, and discounts when you pay in full and on time. 

You can start with the smallest debt and then gradually move on to your highest debt if they don’t have interests. 

If you have debts under a high-interest rate, do the opposite and start with the highest one before going to the little high.

Consider putting your debts in one account with a low-interest rate through loans to help you pay wisely.

Build a Good Credit Score

A good credit score can give you better chances at saving money because you’ll receive lower interest rate offers. 

To build a good credit record, you must ensure that you settle your bills on time or earlier than their due date.

Also, avoid signing loans for family and friends because you can also be affected once they have a terrible record. 

You can also maintain your credit score by avoiding bankruptcies in your accounts and involvement in lawsuits. 

Finally, you can keep a good record using only 30% of your total available credit when transacting. 

Do Not Overdo Investments

While investing is an excellent way to add to your multiple income streams, you also need to be careful about the money you put into it. 

Investments also charge fees, so you have to consider that it is another money that did not go into your savings. 

When you pick the wrong investments, it can cost you more than you spend and cause a dent in your retirement goals. 

So as much as possible, set an expense ratio during investment so you still have money left, and it will be manageable. 

For passive index funds, the lower the ratio you set, the better because it ensures that your portfolio is still manageable. 

Create a Contingency Plan

A contingency plan, or your plan B, helps you respond to any situation flexibly when you save for your retirement budget.

For example, if you are a licensed professional, you may want to maintain or renew it so you can temporarily work if needed. 

You can also allocate a property of yours that you don’t use to put up for rent or as an Airbnb accommodation. 

Generally, this Plan B does not affect your early retirement plan whether you accomplish it or not. 

However, it is essential to ready your backup plan in emergencies with your resources, especially financially. 

Related Reading: The Best Budget Planners – Explore Them Here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is FIRE?

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early, a financial movement involving frugality and saving. 
It means you can retire early as long as you put your mind to saving and building income streams that gain financial independence. 

This movement aims to settle all your debts, so early retirees can focus on generating income and savings before they retire. 
It also promotes frugality, so if you are living luxuriously now but want to retire early, you may want to change things up a bit. 

Is FIRE for Everyone?

While creating a retirement plan applies to all, the FIRE method may only work for some on the same level. 
Realistically, FIRE may only be efficient for people with a high income, so people who earn below average may need help to follow.

It will be more challenging and extended before you can build savings that allow you to retire at 40, contrary to its purpose. 
Also, everyone’s life is different, so even if you make the same amount of money, your expenses may be different. 

There is also inflation that you must consider and other financial emergencies that can disrupt your retirement plans. 
If you are big on traveling and buying luxury goods, it will also be hard to give up if you want FIRE to work efficiently.

Is It Okay to Retire Early?

Early retirement is better than okay because the idea of enjoying life earlier than 65 can be exciting. 
You’ll have a lot of time to travel, start a business venture, or rest comfortably without thinking about work. 

However, preparing for your early retirement can cause many disadvantages in the present rather than the future.
You have to cut off expenses, immensely save, more minor Social Security benefits, and a decline in health. 

If you have full-time work, it can be more draining because you may need to work extra hours to reach your goal. 
Also, depending on your birth year, you may not receive your full Social Security benefits in your FIRE early retirement.

But if it is a sacrifice you are willing to make in your younger years to give your later years a comfortable life, then retiring early is worth it.



While it is possible to retire early at 40, you must consider that you need to be passionate to do it. 

This journey will include a lot of delayed gratification, material deprivation, cost-cutting, and strategic planning. 

If you focus on your goal, you can have a clearer vision of the path you are taking to enjoy life after 40. 

So take advantage of your youth and use the energy you have now to run the numbers and grow your savings. 

The earlier you plan for retirement, the better your chances of living a comfortable life at a younger age. 

It may seem ambitious, but with the right mindset, lifestyle, and plan, you can retire in your 40s or even 30s. 

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Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.