Do you want to retire early? They don't want to stop working in the golden age of their lives, rather than at the normal retirement age. With a little strategy and a lot of frugality, you can call yourself retired before 50 or even 40, and you don't have to be the next rich-to-poor technology tycoon. This concept even spawned a movement: fire, which stands for "financial independence and early retirement". (For more information, see six signs that you are ready to retire early.)
Early retirement means low cost of living
Your financial plan should revolve around a key strategy: to save as much as possible by drastically reducing the cost of living. It's almost impossible if you live in some parts of the country, but other parts of the country may give you enough capacity to save until one day to realize your dream.
Magifymoney, a website that compares the prices of financial products, wrote a report entitled Best Place to Retire in Early 2017. The report ranked 217 American cities. Everyone scored 100 points, of which 50% was linked to the cost of living, 30% to the quality of life, and 20% to employment opportunities in case early retirees wanted to return to work.
Why pay so much attention to the cost of living, because to become a successful early retiree, the first thing is to live in an area where the cost of living makes positive savings possible. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2015, average household spending on food, housing and transportation was $34,035. According to a recent survey of 5,100 people trying to become members of the Reddit Financial Independent Sub-Forum, early retirees have to find a way to reduce spending by about a third.
Here's a general rule: If you want a low cost of living, look in the South or the Midwest. Eight of the top ten cities are located there. Drilling down, Tennessee may be your choice, because three of the top ten cities are in it. Put your mouse on the map below to see that cities with higher ranking of details have larger markers.
Next, stay away from the northeast. Although the average score of quality of life in northeastern cities is 67, the highest score of cost of living is 17 in all regions. (The national average is 50) Well, it's bad news for the western United States. It ranks low in all three subcategories.
The worst-ranked cities included Arlington, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Fairbanks, Alaska, Honolululu (with zero cost-of-living score) and Stockton, California. The cities ranked by the best regions were in the south, the middle and west, the West and the northeast.
If your dream is to retire before the traditional age of 65, you have to make some very unconventional savings. For average earners, accumulating enough money to retire 10 or 20 years earlier may mean moving to a cheaper city or region. The most important thing is to find a place with low cost of living so that you can save the money. (For more information, see Early Retirement: Strategies to Sustain Wealth.)