WHEN I REACHED my mid-40s and realized I was halfway through my working life, I figured it was time to get serious about retirement planning. A scientist by training, I began to dissect the details of my retirement accounts, including how my money was invested and at what age I could begin penalty-free withdrawals. I discovered retirement at age 55 might be a viable option, but only if I started saving a larger percentage of my income and made intelligent investment decisions.
I scoured the internet for information on early retirement, as well as on savings and investment strategies. I found the most frequently referenced website was MrMoneyMustache.com, a site filled with information about living frugally. The MMM forum includes numerous journal entries from people who, like Mr. Money Mustache himself, were able to retire in their 30s and 40s by saving and investing a large percentage of their income.
Next, I stumbled upon JL Collins’s book, The Simple Path to Wealth, and the accompanying website. I appreciate the simplicity of his investing advice. His manifesto on personal finance is one I try to live by.
After reading Jonathan Clements’s book How to Think About Money, I discovered Dinkytown.net, a website with a plethora of financial calculators. The Retirement Planner Calculator allows me to experiment with different retirement-related savings and investment strategies to predict how long my nest egg will last, given different investment returns and inflation values.
On AssetBuilder.com, the Knowledge Center is full of short articles on a variety of financial topics. Several of the posts were penned by Scott Burns, a financial writer who recently retired after a 40-year career. His couch potato investing strategy focuses on investing primarily in index mutual funds.
Forum.EarlyRetirementExtreme.com is another great resource for frugal living ideas, retirement planning tips and real-life stories about people who have made their early retirement dreams come true. Filled with lots of personal journals and notes, it documents what has—and hasn’t—worked for many early retirees.
This is the second in a series of articles devoted to the favorites websites of HumbleDollar’s writers. The first article appeared May 23.