NEW YORK — Dreams of early retirement are often reserved for Silicon Valley startup nerds, athletic superstars and lottery winners. But run-of-the-mill working stiffs like us? No chance, right? Well, don’t count us out yet. More than a quarter (26 percent) of 3,449 currently employed workers who took part in a recent study said they plan to retire before they turn 65. The Allianz LoveFamilyMoney report surveyed 35- to 65-year-old Americans with household incomes of at least $50,000.
So, maybe there is still a chance. The study also revealed four interesting traits shared by the optimistic early retirement hopefuls among us. It’s a good chance you haven’t heard these tips before: they go well beyond the typical retirement saving advice of “start early,” “live below your means” and “earn your 401(k) match.”
For example, Tip One: Stay Married.
The survey found workers on-target for an early retirement are more likely to be married — 76 percent of people on track for an early retirement are married versus 68 percent who never plan to retire. And they’re making it stick. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of the respondents are still in their first marriage, compared with 70 percent of those who never plan to retire.
Secondly, they share similar financial habits. The study discovered most of the couples were just naturally “savers” instead of “spenders” and shared a “practical” approach to financial matters compared with those who plan to work forever.
And they talk things out. You’ve probably heard the stories of couples who hide money from each other, engage in “secret spending” and don’t have a full debt disclosure policy. However, these couples — well on their way to an early retirement — find it “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to talk with their spouse or significant other about matters of money (90 percent compared with 77 percent of those who plan to be work bound).
And rather than benchmarking their financial success to their neighbors or the S&P 500, the early retirees-to-be compare themselves to their parents’ financial status (21 percent compared with 14 percent of those who never plan to retire).