How a Teacher Thinking About Early Retirement Does Money
Nicole Dieker

Good luck, Julie! You’re doing well so far and are miles ahead of your peers when it comes to planning for your future. Assuming an average rate of return on your investments (7–8 percent), you likely won’t be able to retire at 40 (esp. if you have a mortgage and kids), but you’ll be in good shape. It’s good go measure your progress, so may I suggest some targets for age 40 and beyond?

Age 40:

  • Be debt free (with possible exception of mortgage) and live moderately
  • Have house paid off or on track to be paid off by the age of 50
  • Have car(s) paid off (maintain them and they should last a long time; buy used, not new)
  • Have $400K in investments
  • Open a 529 to save for college for your kid(s)
  • You’ll probably be married, so find a husband with the same goals

Age 50:

  • Have house paid off
  • Have $800K in investments
  • Be in position to retire and live off investments/dividends or start a second career
  • Have enough money to pay for your kids college (at least at in-state public schools) and apply for lots of scholarships
  • Consider investing in real estate in order to diversify your investments
  • Travel while you’re still healthy and relatively young


  • Buy stocks of good companies and hold them a long time
  • If a stock doubles, consider selling half so you can’t do worse than break even
  • Don’t look at your investments every day or even every week
  • The stock market will go up and down like waves in the ocean, so go up and down with them; you’ll be OK in the long run
  • Consider teaching longer, if you enjoy it; you’ll get a bigger pension (find out at what age you can start receiving your pension)
  • Remember money is not the end — it is the means to an end
  • Your friends and family are the most important things in your life; stay close to them
  • Have fun!!

All right, that’s just my two cents worth.

Like what you read? Give Charles Dean a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.