It took many months reading and learning about frugality and tiny houses and wanting to downsize before I really began to appreciate what I have. But it seems I am destined to finally get my head in order now that I’m heading toward 40.
I just finished reading How to Retire the Cheapskate Way by Jeff Yeager. There are tips for saving money and creating income streams during retirement. Really though, the book is about changing your thinking about what retirement means. For many people, retirement is the long, slow decline after you’ve finished your productive years. Jeff yeager wants to change that idea. He wants you to understand that you don’t need the million dollars that financial planners all say you do, with a little frugality you can thrive on much less.
Jeff believes that retirement can and should be a time to finally fulfill all those dreams you were too busy working to make time for. Travel. Write that book. Start a small, home-based business. Learn to sew. Whatever it was, retirement is the time to do it. You already have an income stream from Social Security (in the U.S.) and hopefully some investments and savings so you don’t have to worry about what you’ll do if your dog walking business fails, or you don’t sell the book. You weren’t counting on that money, and you’ve done it purely for love.
It’s, as always, a bit disheartening to read so many stories of people who have been frugal their whole lives, or who started saving much younger than I. But, the silver lining is that I don’t have to have a million dollars. It would certainly be nice, and I’m going to try for it, but most people naturally spend less as they age. Debts are paid off, there are no kids to pay for, health care costs go up, but most everything else goes down. You don’t need to replace 100% of your highest income in order to have a comfortable retirement.
Many of the people in the book were able to retire early simply by being smart with their spending and living frugally. The book is not about investing. It is about how, by living frugally, you can have, “a better, earlier, happier retirement.” It changed my perspective and made me think about why I am working and what retirement is going to mean for me.