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Anyone who’s already retired knows that getting there takes a lot of time, hard work, and money.
Having enough saved for retirement can be a large task, and getting your money to grow enough over the years to support you for decades isn’t easy. However, plenty of people have done it, and many are willing to share the tips and tricks that got them there.
Here are four retirees’ main tips for saving enough to retire well.
1. Avoid lifestyle inflation
Writer Elizabeth Aldrich interviewed her dad, who retired at age 55, about how he saved enough to leave work. One of the points he stressed was avoiding lifestyle inflation, or increasing your spending as you start to earn more money.
“[My parents] invested at least half of any raise. My dad’s bonuses at work were invested in rental properties that could generate income. When they got married, my parents bought a house that was priced at half of what they could actually afford,” Aldrich wrote.
Lifestyle inflation, also called lifestyle creep, can quickly eat up extra money as soon as you start to earn it. Putting a damper on lifestyle costs helped Aldrich’s parents to not only retire well, but also years ahead of others their age.
2. Use the ‘pay yourself first’ strategy
Using the “pay yourself first” savings strategy, Jim White was able to leave full-time work at age 43. Pay yourself first is a savings strategy where you automate money to your savings and investment accounts before spending anything on your wants.
White automated all of his investments to make sure that money was always going where it should.
“Every payday, money automatically went into my 401(k), the same for my wife, as well as a health savings account,” he told Insider. Then, money was also invested into other accounts. “A day or two after payday, money automatically moved out of my checking and into a savings account, and more money was moved to a brokerage account where it was automatically invested.”
The pay yourself first strategy helped White and his family reach a net worth of $1.1 million when he retired in 2018.
3. Be frugal whenever possible
Writer Choncé Maddox shared her father-in-law’s retirement tips after he retired at age 63, writing that his frugality and budgeting skills helped him retire comfortably.
“My father-in-law often steers clear of things he can’t buy in cash. If he absolutely can’t pay cash, he’ll make a sizable down payment,” Maddox writes.
For example, he often buys used cars in cash, and opts for buying things used over new whenever possible to get better deals.
4. Avoid taking on credit card debt
Sandy, age 63, retired with a $1 million net worth. She told Insider’s Tanza Loudenback that staying out of credit card debt later in life made her retirement saving easier.
After having credit card debt when she was younger, she decided to avoid it going forward. “It led me to say never, never again,” she told Loudenback.
By avoiding credit card debt later on, she was able to save and contribute more for her retirement each month. And, by staying out of debt in retirement, she is also able to reduce her expenses and make money last longer.