5 Rules of Early Retirement | Yahoo Finance

Being able to retire early is a goal that most people arguably share. Even if you love your job and want to work as long as you’re physically and mentally able, you probably would appreciate knowing that if you needed to retire earlier than expected, you could — without any serious financial hardship.

A successful early retirement can happen for anyone, experts say, but only if you follow certain rules. Sure, there are always exceptions, like winning the lottery or discovering a rich uncle has left behind a fortune. But for those of us who aren’t expecting a windfall of retirement cash, we’ll have to familiarize ourselves with these five rules.

Invest and save your money early. It makes perfect sense — if you want to retire early, and have a lot of money to fall back on, then you have to invest and save your money early. Of course, that doesn’t help you if you’re in your 50s now and thinking about an early retirement, but if you’re a millennial and hope to retire early, you’d better start making plans now.

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but the second-best time to do it is now,” says Marty Phelan, president of Phelan Financial Solutions in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. “The sooner a person starts saving, the sooner they can put the magic of compound interest to work for them.”