Retirement Might Be Closer Than You Think—If You Do These Two Things

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You can retire earlier and better than you think if you make the right choices today.

The vast majority of Americans are far from prepared for retirement. Most are so far behind that the chances of catching up by conventional means are low. This is only compounded by the choices they continue to make on a daily basis. So, if you are not yet one of the top 1 percent on track to retire with confidence at a high quality of life, what can you do to change things for the better?

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Spend Smart

Despite living in one of the wealthiest countries ever, Americans are in poor financial shape and live in anguish because they have simply allowed themselves to become nothing more than consumers. TV evolved into “smart” phones, and now we are on the verge of seeing all of our “smart” homes installed with devices that feed us constant shopping suggestions or even shop for us.

Related: 5 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Cash Flow in Retirement (Regardless of When You Retire)

One way to change this dynamic is to question and evaluate every dollar we spend and borrow. Ask whether your purchase is really taking you closer to your real goals. If not, it is taking you further from them. Perhaps we could be spending less on depreciating items and invest in cash-producing things instead.


Start Investing ASAP

By investing in income-producing assets first, we are able to change this dynamic. We can multiply our income, and we can earn while we sleep, eat, spend time with family, or work 9-5 jobs. That surplus can be used to cover expenses, reinvest, or grow a nest egg for retirement and beyond.

I got started very early. At a young age, I would buy products low and resell them for a profit. That enabled me to build up enough cash to get into flipping houses and then rental properties.

Related: 3 Feasible Ways to Escape a Soul-Crushing Job, Reclaim Free Time or Retire Early

Of course, what we invest in matters. Stocks have surged to new highs, but few believe this run will last. I prefer investing in real estate for a variety of reasons. It offers passive income and a hedge against inflation. It’s also a tangible asset that won’t be vaporized by emotional trading, and it can simultaneously build wealth and cash flow.

Not everyone has the cash or credit to go out and buy a bunch of rental houses, though you can partner up with others. If you can combine your capital with others, you can invest passively now. If you do not have any capital, partner with someone who does, and use your time as a resource and invest actively.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]

How are you investing for retirement?

Leave your questions and comments below!

About Author

Sterling White

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.


  1. JL Hut

    Amen, I this country we love to “invest” in electronics that are outdated and almost worthless in 3 years. To make matter worse we buy electronics on a credit card at 18% interest to make sure we lose the max amount in the shortest time possible.

    A wise man once told me ” You can work for money or have money work for you”
    We need more wise people in the world.
    Its amazing how easily we have been led down the path of destruction in the past 50 years.

    Thanks for shinning the light in the right direction. If you enlighten enough gullible people maybe we wont end up exactly like the Roman Empire did in our next fifty years.

  2. Rose C

    Good advice. Without a doubt we have become a consumer centric society, even in the REI arena. The overwhelming offerings from so many REI Guru’s and legit investors/mentors leaves me with investor paralysis. I managed to sell my home last year at a profit, and have a small nest egg to invest in, but it sits while I try to figure out where to invest. I would love to invest in a few rental properties close to home but too expensive. Out of state investing, while affordable is risky and I don’t have a lot of time to recover (again) before retirement. So I continue to search for a successful & experienced mentor. And yes, I attend local REI meetings.

  3. Excellent advice. We tend to take advantage of utilizing electronic gadgets to so call make our lives easier. But these same things we ‘need’ is putting us in debt! Lets get back to basics like you have learned Mr. White, buy low, buy more, sell high, rent more!

  4. Excellent advice. We tend to take advantage of utilizing electronic gadgets to so call make our lives easier. But these same things we \’need\’ is putting us in debt! Lets get back to basics like you have learned Mr. White, buy low, buy more, sell high, rent more!

  5. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately especially after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. Building income-producing assets and lowering expenses is my new goal. It’s something I get excited about. After my parents recently lost their home to foreclosure it created a new profound mission in my life to one day give my parents a chance at financial freedom and to experience it for myself. Yes their own mistakes landed them where they currently are, but it has taught me to be careful with every dollar and put as much money away as possible and question all my expenses or purchases. I sometimes feel I may be missing out on things, but I figure that I can find ways to balance sacrifice and enjoying the present moment in my 20s. I want to learn to invest in Real Estate but don’t know where to start. I have around 50k and live in NY and suspect I’ll have to invest outside of this market. I’m hoping I can learn a bunch from this community. But this article was a great quick reminder to think above the consumer mentality. Partner up if possible. And always remembering your money should work for you, not you working for the money. That’s a rat race I don’t want to be in forever.

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