The Real Endgame: Here’s How to Retire Early in the Philippines

Your new decade’s resolution.

Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educate the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.

Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Lesson #16: How to retire early.

To kick off the new year, we’re starting the decade with a guide on how to achieve early retirement. This is one new year’s/new decade’s resolution you need to commit to. We’re only a few days into the decade, and a lot of us are already exhausted with the daily grind. Not all of us are genius inventors who made their millions in their 20s.

The millennial mentality has slowly accepted that their generation will work till they die, and in this economy, that’s not a foreign concept. But with the right financial education, we might be able to turn that around.

Before starting your retirement plan, you have to first consider what your ideal type of retirement is. Retirement isn’t about Netflix and chill 24 hours a day. You need to know what you want to do in that last leg of your life. Retirement is about being financially stable enough to finally do what you want to do on your own terms. For some people, it it’s when they trade the nine-to-five desk job with traveling, hobbies, and freelancing. Some might even work part-time in a dream job, do volunteer work, and launch a small business.


Once you’ve figured out the retirement lifestyle you want—and its cost—that’s when you can start planning your way to achieving your early retirement.

1| Start saving seriously

If you want to retire early, you’ll need to hustle in the time you have left. Depending on what age you plan to retire, you’ll need to calculate how much your retirement will require. If you plan to retire at 45, you’ll need to save up to 30 times your annual expenses in order to coast through the second half of your life. You’ll even need to save even more depending on your retirement lifestyle, like if you plan to travel post-retirement.

Saving up to 30 times your annual expenses seems like an impossible road, but this is where you need to focus on the other items on this list.

2| Investments are the key

Variable universal life insurance (VUL), personal equity and retirement account (PERA), mutual funds, the stock market—there are a number of vehicles of investments for those looking to play the long game. These can cost you P2,000 to P5,000 or more per month depending on how much you need for retirement. It’s simply a matter of finding the right retirement fund, fund manager, and financial adviser for you.

3| Diversify your investments

Take a page out of Warren Buffett’s book and diversify your investments. The more sources of income you have, the better and the more stable you willbe. Scour for blue chip stocks, invest in more than just one mutual fund, and even dabble in both residential and commercial real estate.

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4| Find good healthcare

Health issues are the price of growing old. As you get older, you also become more susceptible to health complications—and expensive healthcare. One way to nip big hospital bills in the bud is by starting a good healthcare plan as soon as possible—meaning now. Healthcare premiums, like life insurance, are more expensive for those who start late in life compared to those who start early. Plan ahead and start paying for a good healthcare plan for your future while the premiums are still affordable thanks to your age.

5| Stay ahead of inflation

Inflation is the biggest threat to your retirement plan. And the only way to beat it is to stay ahead of the curve. Start investing early, purchase real estate while you can, and most importantly, find a way to earn passive income. This refers to methods that will help you earn without having to do much. For one, you can rent out residential or commercial real estate. If you’ve got a creative streak, consider writing a book or producing a film so you can also gain income from the royalties a few years down the road.

6| Live below your means

Retiring early isn’t a walk in the park. Getting to your end goal will require sacrifice and discipline, and that means you’ll have to be willing to live the simple life for a few decades to achieve early retirement. Even as you earn more, the challenge will be to spend less. This is more of a mental feat than a financial one where you’ll have to decide what’s important in your life: Is it expensive trips and material things or an early retirement and financial freedom?


It’s all about knowing your priorities if you plan to retire early.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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