For all you retirement pessimists out there

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I have many friends and family who are convinced that retirement is either impossible or won’t happen until their 60’s or 70’s. I have provided a link to a project that I have been working on (at the bottom of the page) to give my readers a glimpse as to how easy it is to retire early, like… really early.

Before you go clicking on any links we are going to need to have a brief chat on how to interpret the spreadsheet. The sheet is riddled with embedded comments to inform you as to where to plug in numbers. A basic principle, if it doesn’t have a comment attached to it, don’t touch it. Otherwise, it will break. You can start by plugging in the top 5 numbers relating to age, and a few assumptions that you can adjust, although you should be presented with the numbers that I use.

Entering in your budget…

Next, you have to write out your income, and expenses. I recommend doing 2 things. First, save 1 copy that is a budget of assumptions or where you want your spending to be (like let’s say you are trying to get you grocery budget under 300 dollar per month or something). Now, dive into your bank and credit card accounts to find out what you actually spend in each category. It really isn’t that hard and takes maybe 20-30 minutes.

The spreadsheet then assumes that anything that you haven’t put under expenses, you are instead investing in an account of some kind. It’s not perfect so it doesn’t get into taxes. Although, there is a note about how to apply your 401(k) contributions. Keep in mind that these are estimates. Make sure you are plugging in all of your expenses which includes discretionary spending like entertainment and restaurant spending.

Another thing to touch base on is “Your yearly withdrawal”. This is based on the 4% safe withdrawal rate discovered by William Bengen. It was further investigated and popularized by the trinity study. I have taken a more moderate percentage at 3.5% to account for the fact that you are financially curious and therefore will be financially prosperous. This means you will retire for longer than the 33 years that Bengen had accounted for. More info on that can be found here.

Can I have the spreadsheet now?!

Alright alright! It’s simple, just hit this link right here, press file at the top left, and press “make a copy.”

Make sure you check off “Copy Comments.”

Press OK and follow the directions in the comments. Now marvel at just how attainable early retirement is, (or retirement in general for you pessimists out there). Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments section or by emailing me at

Don’t stop here!

To investigate how to invest, start here.

To learn how to save more, click this one.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.

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