How to Catch Up Your Investments and Retire Early

Dear DTA, 

I’ve been investing for almost 20 years. But I’m now entering my 50s and feeling behind. I just recently got interested in the whole early retirement movement. Any ideas on how to “catch up”? Appreciate it. 

-Dan H. 

Hi, Dan.

Thanks for writing in!

Having twenty years of investing experience under your belt is impressive. And a big advantage.

That means you started fairly young. You undoubtedly know what works for you – and what doesn’t.

Plus, you’ve had two decades of compounding to work for you.

Awesome stuff.

Now, I don’t know anything about your financial situation.

So I’m not sure what “catching up” means to you.

I’m also not sure where you’re at or where you’d like to be.

But I will do my best to give you some helpful insight.

I’ll provide concepts that you might be able to apply to your own situation.

Keep in mind, this insight is coming from a guy who became financially independent and retired at the age of 33.

I began blogging about FIRE (financial independence/retiring early) way back in 2011, before FIRE ever became a community and a movement.

It was a big goal of mine to document a real-life journey to FIRE. I thought that would help and inspire others out there.

My journey started off when I was 27 years old and below broke. I had less than zero dollars. And I had a regular, middle-class day job at that time. I worked at a car dealership making about $40,000/year.

But I had big dreams. I didn’t let my poor financial situation hold me back.

And I applied myself toward my dreams in a dedicated and consistent manner.

Believe me, Dan. Amazing things can happen if you’re dedicated and consistent.

If you have an unstoppable will to make something happen, nothing can get in your way.

Jason Fieber's Dividend Growth PortfolioNothing got in my way.

And I was able to quit my job in my early 30s, when the five-figure passive dividend income from my real-money FIRE Fund started to cover my essential expenses in life.

What I’m telling you is, you’ll have to harness your own dedication and consistency. You need an unstoppable will to kick things into the “next gear”.

You’ve had twenty years of compounding and experience building up.

So you just need to take what you’ve already got and elevate it.

I’d be willing to bet that a little bit of open-mindedness and a few small lifestyle tweaks can get you to where you want to be within just a few years.

With that in mind, I believe you’d find a ton of value in my Early Retirement Blueprint.

That’s a step-by-step guide that almost anyone can follow to their own early retirement dreams.

This Blueprint lays out what I did to go from zero to hero in six years.

Now, not every idea in the Blueprint will exactly apply to you as they exactly applied to me.

But there are broader themes I discuss in there that can be harnessed and applied in order to help you potentially speed up your own retirement timeline.

One of the broader themes I discuss is, of course, the very investment strategy I used to retire early.

I know you’ve been investing for almost two decades. You’re likely pretty comfortable with what you’re already doing.

But keep an open mind, Dan.

If you haven’t already tried out dividend growth investing, I implore you to take a good look at it.

I used this strategy to radically change my life.

And I believe it could radically change yours, too.

This investment strategy is beautiful in its simplicity.

It basically involves buying shares in high-quality companies that pay reliable and rising cash dividend payments to shareholders.

I’m talking about shares like those you can find on the Dividend Champions, Contenders, and Challengers list.

These shares are purchased when they’re cheap. They’re then held for the long term.

Collect and reinvest that growing dividend income. Watch your wealth and passive income pile up. Retire when the passive and growing dividend income is enough to cover your bills.

I know it sounds simple.

That’s because it is.

In fact, fellow contributor Dave Van Knapp wrote an excellent series on the strategy that demonstrates its simplicity.

His Dividend Growth Investing Lessons teaches readers the A-Z of DGI.

This series simplifies what’s already simple.

However, simple doesn’t mean easy.

It’s not easy to make lifestyle changes, consistently save a high percentage of your income, do the investment homework, buy stock, cast your emotions to the side, hold stock through volatility, remain dedicated, and patiently wait until the hard work bears fruit.

If it were easy, everyone would be retired early.

But anything worth having is worth working hard and waiting for.

Besides, I’m talking to a guy who’s clearly ready to do whatever is necessary to catch up and make his dreams come true.

Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week by Jason FieberIf you decide that dividend growth investing does make sense for you, we’ve got you covered with plenty of ideas.

For instance, I provide readers with a compelling long-term dividend growth stock investment idea every Sunday.

The ideas are shared for free in my Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week series.

I present these opportunities to the community only after they pass numerous hurdles for quality and valuation.

There’s no reason you can’t catch up, Dan.

In fact, I think it’s very possible you could find yourself retired within just a few years.

Depends on where you’re at, what you need, and how much you’re willing to do to bridge the gap.

Either way, I’ll leave you with my best piece of advice.

Start today. 

I wish you luck and success.

Jason Fieber

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Disclaimer: Jason Fieber is not a licensed financial advisor, tax professional, or stock broker. Please consult with a licensed investment professional before investing any of your money. If your money is not FDIC insured, it may decline in value. To protect the privacy of our readers, any names published in this article are under aliases. In addition, text may be edited, omitted or paraphrased for grammar or length.