Retire at Any Age

Today, retirement is just another word for “financial independence,” because independence is the true goal, regardless of your age. So, how can you become financially independent? Now is the best time to learn, isn't it?

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By Jeff Fischer (TMF Jeff)
October 26, 2000

Fools, one day, "it" is going to look you square in the eye and say, "Brother, what were you doing all those years?" Or, it will say, "Sister, great job! You're ready to play the retirement game with pizzazz!"

"It" is retirement.

The first order of business is to define retirement, because the word and the actual notion of retirement are being redefined as the world and our lives change. Rather than seeing retirement as a time to sit under a palm tree and watch crabs scuttle by, many of us now see retirement as an active endeavor -- one during which our lives and health will improve because we'll have more time and we hope to be young enough to use it!

Given this, a renewed definition of retirement is needed. The following is how I define retirement. See if this helps you redefine it:

"Retirement is a time when you do precisely what you want to do, when you live how and where you want to live, and you do all this without fear of running out of means or money. You are financially independent and secure."

In this definition, it is possible to "retire" at any age. And, when you do, you should be in a position to pursue your dreams without any meaningful financial worries. For most of us, though, reaching this sort of financial independence is an uphill challenge.

There are monthly food, clothing, and shelter bills. There are daily transportation costs. There may be children. And, there are gifts to buy and trips to go on. In sum, there is fun to be had right now! We're also supposed to save enough money to become financially independent -- ha! How!?

The Fool is here to help you. In our four-week, personalized, Roadmap to Retirement Online Seminar, you will:

-- Be guided to decide when you want to retire
-- Identify how much money you'll need and where it can come from
-- Develop and refine an investment strategy to build long-term wealth
-- Overall, build a comprehensive plan for your successful "retirement," or financial independence

Although this seminar requires many Fool resources and costs money to produce, it needn't cost you anything to enroll. If you register for a free BuyandHold.com account, they will enroll you in the Fool's Retirement Seminar for free. (As an aside, I opened an account and, so far, I like it a lot. I'm keeping this account alongside my other brokerage account and my Drips as a way to dollar cost average into companies, such as America Online (NYSE: AOL), for $2.99 per trade.)

If you'd rather not open the free account, you can enroll in the Fool's Roadmap to Retirement seminar for $46.75. As the seminar-producing Fools write, this seminar is designed to let you learn at your own pace. By the end of the month, you'll build your own personal roadmap to your financial independence. Or, if you're not satisfied, the Fool will give you a 100% refund at the drop of an email.

For most of us, if we don't plan and invest for an early retirement, we almost certainly will not achieve it. So, as you dream of the years ahead -- what we hope will be the best years to come -- consider the Roadmap to Retirement Seminar right now. Enrollment closes on November 1.

Our High-Growth Study
Other than our ongoing study of Corning (NYSE: GLW) and Pathfinder companies in recent columns (now in the Drip Port archives), our high-growth investment study has been on hold during earnings season. We will jump back into the high-growth fray soon. (Remember our list of companies?) Meanwhile, many of the companies have been whacked along with the Nasdaq and, well, we don't mind.

Fool on!

Drip Portfolio

10/26/00 as of ~8:30:00 PM EDT

Ticker Company Price
Daily Price
% Change
CPBCAMPBELL SOUP0.632.23%28.63
INTCINTEL CORP3.388.17%44.69
JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON(0.81)(0.86%)93.13
PEPPEPSICO INC(1.50)(3.09%)47.00

  Day Week Month Year
To Date
S&P 500(0.03%)(2.33%)(5.02%)(7.13%)45.34%12.19%
S&P 500 (DA)(0.03%)(2.29%)(4.93%)(7.02%)47.96%12.81%

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Cost/Share Price Total % Ret

Trade Date # Shares Ticker Total Cost Current Value Total Gain

• S&P 500 (DA) = dividend adjusted. Dividends have been added to the total return of the index.

Drip Port launched with $500 on July 28, 1997, adds $100 to invest every month, and the goal is to own $150,000 in stock by August of the year 2017. Due to the slow nature of dollar-cost-averaging and our relatively significant starting costs, we do not expect to seriously challenge the S&P 500 for the first three to five years as we build an investment base. The long-term advantages of dollar-cost-averaging still overcome the short-term disadvantages, however. Final note: our investment in Campbell Soup is frozen due to fees instituted in its investment plan. Click here for a history of all Drip Port transactions.