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Simple Secrets Anyone Can Use to Reach Early Retirement - October 24, 2019

Achieving the financial freedom to retire early a dream for most. Making that dream a reality isn't as tricky as it sounds. The secret is simple: Save a lot more each month. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast.

Typically, advisors peg 15% to 20% of total income saved each month as a goal - but if you want to retire earlier, you probably have to ratchet that number up to 40% or 50% of your income. Not a feat easily accomplished when you review your take into account that a good portion of your paycheck goes to essential, non-negotiable lifestyle items. However, if you are willing to make some serious lifestyle changes and sacrifices, it's possible.

A generally new development called Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) has been created around this "sacrifice and over-save now to retire early" idea. FIRE supporters create exacting savings plans (up to 75% of income) and make related compromises like living in small homes, walking to work every day, prohibitive weight control plans, etc. This way might be unreasonably prohibitive for many, yet the mentality offers a few takeaways that may merit consideration.

The first point is to adhere to the key principles of long-term investing, including developing a diversified portfolio that includes stocks with various styles, sizes, sectors and regions.

You may be able to accelerate your potential retirement earnings by consciously seeking higher returns (and also accepting more risk) in your investment portfolio. But whatever your risk tolerance, your portfolio must be diversified to protect against extreme market movements that could jeopardize your early retirement objective. You can choose from a number of ways to allocate investments to diversify your portfolio, and these should be informed by your individual goals, growth and income needs, appetite for risk, and age.

Once you've begun saving at a higher rate and you have an investment plan, put that money to work in your plan as quickly as you can. Don't worry about finding the "perfect time" to invest - simply put the money in and keep it in. Let compounding work to help you grow your retirement savings at an exponential rate.

You may want to look at growth stocks with attributes acceptable for retirement investing like low beta, strong earnings estimates, positive sales growth, and expected future growth.

The Zacks Rank regularly identifies attractive growth stocks ideal for retirement investing. Here are just a few that might be worth consideration: Sandy Spring Bancorp (SASR), AT&T (T) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY). These are top-ranked stocks, with at least 5% earnings and sales growth over the past five years, and boast beta equal to or lower than 1.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY): Free Stock Analysis Report

AT&T Inc. (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. (SASR): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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