So you want to retire early? Follow these steps to success.

So you want to retire early? Follow these steps to success.
06 Apr 2016

There are two main components to a successful retirement, “emotional” and “financial” preparedness. Having both at retirement is the ultimate goal. I see people who are ready to retire emotionally, they just don’t have the money. I’ve also seen the other side of that equation. To retire early it’s even more important to have both. Here are a few steps to follow:

1) Reduce or eliminate as much debt as possible. Not only can debt be a massive emotional burden, it can often cause cash flow (financial) stress as well. So we suggest trying to pay off all debt prior to retirement. A small mortgage payment is OK; we just don’t want clients stuck with credit card debt, auto loans and the like.

2) Have “buckets” in place to coincide with the Premier Bucket System (PBS). This idea is to segment your money into responsibilities as opposed to looking at your money as one big pile of cash. This not only works well in times of investment chaos, (emotional) but can really help with liquidity needs (financial) as well.

Premier Bucket System Handout

3) Have a “plan”.  I mean literally. No successful coach goes into any athletic endeavor without a game-plan, nor should you. A written Financial Plan will validate what you are already doing well, expose areas of concern, and help come up with solutions.

4) Learn to enjoy your money!  I mean really enjoy. Please don’t become so consumed with achieving great wealth that you allow your money to control you. As I often say, “You don’t want to become a financial hoarder, do you?”  We are taught to save and invest but, unfortunately, we are never encouraged or educated on how to enjoy our money.

These simple steps will help you achieve a successful retirement. Remember, retirement is much more than about money. Your quality of life is much more important than your quantity of life!

Good luck!


Jeffrey Johnston

Jeffrey is originally from Solon, Iowa. He currently resides in Swisher, Iowa with his wife, Prudence, and his three children, Seth, Ian, and Roman. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989, where he majored in Finance and Investments. He has 24 years of experience in the investment and estate planning business. He is currently the President of “Premier Investments of Iowa, Inc.” Jeffrey’s main focus is Estate and Investment Planning for Senior Citizens and Pre Retirees. Jeffrey became a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) in 2001. He is the author of many articles on industry related topics and he is a frequent seminar presenter. He is a Board Member TRIAD Linn County Seniors Against Crime, and he is also a past Board Member of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging Task Force. He is a member of CEO Roundtable in Cedar Rapids, a Daybreak Rotary Member, and a member of the Cedar Rapids Estate Planning Council. In March of 2009, Jeffrey became the host of the Premier Investments of Iowa Financial Hour which airs every Tuesday Evening from 6PM -7PM, on WMT 600 AM Radio. In his free time he enjoys golf, fishing, scuba diving, traveling, and coaching son’s basketball teams.