It’s a big myth that you have to have $1 million dollars in order to retire. Now that might be true if you are living in a gated community, member of the local country club and drive a new BMW or Audi every two years during retirement. However, most people can get away with a lot less and still pull off a very successful retirement.

Whether you are retiring early at 55 or retiring at age 65, your thought process is going to be similar. You’re going to wonder if you have enough money to get you through the rest of your life. You’ll collect all of the information in order to make the best decision possible but even after that you’ll second guess your decision. Is this the right time?  Is it best to take social security early or delay it?  Should I become more conservative with my investments?

I get it. After a long career as a financial advisor and retirement planner, all of these thoughts go through my brain as well. This is why I created the DIAL into Early Retirement™ system.

Retirement shouldn’t be age based.  We all tend to look at age 65 or beyond as the age we can retire because that is what society has pushed us to think. In reality, you can retire when you get your DIAL™ in order. Retirement shouldn’t be littered with worry and concern. Rather, once you know you have a solid plan, you will be ready to retire with confidence.


Assets are the third part of the DIAL™. Assets are anything you own that has value to it. It includes your home, bank accounts, brokerage and retirement accounts, other real estate, your business, collectables, etc.  If it has value to it, it can be used to fund your early retirement plan.

Ideally, you need Assets for three reasons.

  • Assets can be used to create income. You can setup income from your brokerage and retirement accounts. You can owner-finance your business and receive income. You might even have some income producing real estate properties.
  • Assets can be used to create an emergency fund for the unexpected. Having an emergency fund, in my opinion, is the most important financial account you can have. We all know that a car breaking down or a hot water heater going bad is not likely to happen at a “good time”. It’s best to have money available to take care of the unexpected. You can read more about having an emergency fund in a previous blog post here.
  • Assets will provide you with a cushion for the expected expenses. At some point you’re going to want to give a grand child a gift, or finish that update to your house, or take that long awaited trip to Europe. Assets set aside can be used to fund these expenditures.

The key here is having leverage and control to deal with needs, and take care of plans and wants, without delving into income critical streams or going into debt.

We’ll discuss creating income from your assets at length in future posts.

Be sure to check out the two previous posts to get up to speed.

Let’s get your DIAL™ in order and get going…

Investment Advisory Services offered through Shankland Financial Advisors, LLC, Registered Investment Advisor