By: Nick Callos
You want freedom…the freedom to spend time with friends and family, enjoy new experiences, and chase your dreams. You want to do the things that matter.
That’s why you’ve chosen to semi-retire.
The only thing is: You must watch your money carefully.
In short, you don’t want to fall into a financial trap. Because that means having to go back to the 9-5 grind. Oh no!
So, what’s the solution? It’s simple really. Before you semi-retired, you probably accumulated savings. You need to put that money to work, especially if your semi-retirement job keeps you cash-flow positive. That’s how you continue to live the good life.
Enter investments for semi-retirement—your way for money to make money.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Please DO NOT consider any content as investment, financial, legal, tax, or other advice. With any investment, past performance does NOT guarantee a certain future performance. Seek advice from an independent financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
1. Index Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
While Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and others have been great investments, buying at the wrong price means you won’t get the returns you could. You also won’t be able to diversify as much as experts advise.
Simply put, handpicking stocks and timing the market can get difficult and time-consuming. And you still may not achieve your goals.
Want to simplify your investments for semi-retirement?
Index funds can do that for you. As Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment companies notes, index funds track the performance of a specific market benchmark. It’s a passive investment strategy that offers diversification, low costs, and tax efficiency. You can invest in stock indexes through a mutual fund that follows that index.
For example, you could invest in a mutual fund that follows the S&P 500—a stock market index that measures the performance of the 500 largest companies on US stock exchanges. Since 1928, the S&P 500 has delivered average annual returns of 9.8%. That’s solid, right?
One of the greatest investors of all time, Warren Buffett, champions index funds as the investment that “makes the most sense practically all the time.” Buffett famously made a $1 million bet with an asset manager that an S&P 500 index fund would beat his fund, and won.
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, offer a similar approach to index funds (diversification, low costs, tax efficiency). They differ in that ETFs are baskets of securities while index funds are pooled investment vehicles that represent a segment of the market.
Additionally, ETFs may suit you if you want to more actively manage your investment. Managed by money managers, index funds are priced at the end of the day (and can only be bought and sold at that price). You can trade ETFs like stocks, meaning you can buy and sell throughout the trading period.
2. High-Yield Dividend Stocks
Note: You can choose ETFs or index funds focused on high-yield dividend stocks. That would make less work for you.
Companies with higher than average dividend yields have moved beyond the high-growth stage. They’ve matured and don’t have the same volatility that growth stocks do. These companies can afford to distribute profits to shareholders instead of reinvesting that money back in the business (like companies in the growth stage do).
So, what advantages do dividend stocks offer as investments for semi-retirement?
The first is cash flow
Picture this: You retire with $400K in savings. You invest that money in a variety of high-yield dividend stocks, such as AT&T, Nielsen, CenturyLink, and Chevron. Your portfolio’s dividends average a yield of 6%. That means you’ll have $24,000 in income each year. You could use that money to fund your FIRE lifestyle.
The second is stability
When you look at investments for semi-retirement, you want to protect your nest egg. Depending on your risk tolerance, you may not want to endure a sharp decline during a market downturn. As experts note, many dividend stocks are less volatile and will hold up better than others during recessions. Also, as an article in Merrill Lynch notes, dividend-paying stocks offer the chance to make an income, regardless of market conditions. They allow you to weather the storm, without having to sell low to get cash.
3. Real Estate and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)
Real estate may mint more millionaires than any other investment. That’s why many today’s rich have considerable assets in real estate, from Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong tycoon, to Barbara Corcoran, an American businesswoman and Shark Tank judge.
So, how do you invest in real estate while in semi-retirement?
Well, you can be a passive or active investor. The choice depends on your plans.
Why you may want to be an active real estate investor
Let’s say you plan to stay in your hometown and retire with $400K. And you’ll still work at a local park or library to pay for living expenses. So, you decide you want more control over your investment. You can play the landlord!
You look around town. You decide to invest that $400K in a multi-family property and rent it. Each month, you get cash flow from rent. That money can be used for other retirement investments, buying more properties, or paying for living expenses. It’s entirely up to your needs and goals.
Additionally, that property offers the benefit of appreciation. If you buy a home for $400K and it appreciates at an average of 4% per year, it will be worth $592,092 after 10 years. That’s awesome!
Why you may want to be a passive real estate investor
Let’s say you plan to become a digital nomad. As you travel the world, you’ll work a little to support yourself. You have savings you’d like to invest, but you don’t have time to manage it.
Enter passive real estate investments for semi-retirement.
Here, a real estate investment trust (REIT) may suit you. A REIT is a company that owns and/or finances commercial and residential real estate. Some of the best REITs have yielded average annual returns of 8%+ for investors in recent years.
4. Roth IRA
Perhaps you already have a retirement plan through your previous employer (401K, 403(b), 457(b), federal pension, etc). Leave those accounts be until you reach full retirement age, unless it’s a pension you can withdraw now.
While you may not be able to continue contributing to that plan, you can still save for full retirement. An increasingly popular investment for retirement is a Roth IRA. Many even say it’s one of the best investments for millennials. Here’s why:
- Tax benefits: You pay taxes first. All savings into a Roth IRA have already been taxed. That means they can’t be taxed upon withdrawal. That’s tax-free income in retirement! The tax benefits are why experts say it’s one of the best investments for millennials. They can pay taxes early and let that money grow for decades.
- Flexibility: If needed, you can take out contributions to fund your semi-retirement lifestyle—that’s a good safety cushion to have. Note, there is a penalty for withdrawing earnings before age 59.5.
So, when does a Roth IRA make sense?
Ideally, you put money in a Roth IRA because you have enough income and savings to fund your semi-retirement. That means you can let that nest egg grow tax-free, which makes it a popular early retirement investment. It can serve as a bridge from semi-retirement to full retirement.
Even better, if you earn income off of other investments for retirement, like those listed above, you can invest that money into your Roth IRA.
Keep in mind that Roth IRA contributions have limits: $6,000 per year if you’re under 50; $7,000 per year if you’re 50 or older. Be sure to understand all of the ins and outs if you think this route makes sense for when looking at investments for semi-retirement goals!
Taking care of your nest egg in semi-retirement
Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”
You want to listen to Einstein, right?
The point is this: Put your money to work. With the right strategy, you can semi-retire or retire with $200K, $400K, or whatever other number.
For example, let’s say you retire with $400K but still work part-time to fund your lifestyle (doing something you love, of course). You invest that money in a growth-oriented mutual fund with an asset management company. The fund invests in blue-chip stocks. And you earn an average annual return of 10% over 15 years. After 15 years, you’ll have $1,670,889!
That’s nice, right?
Anyway, we hope the information on investments for semi-retirement has helped. Before investing, educate yourself and talk with a financial advisor. Choose the investments that suit your needs and goals. And you’ll be off to a good life in semi-retirement.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. Please DO NOT consider any content as investment, financial, legal, tax, or other advice. With any investment, past performance does not guarantee a certain future performance. Seek advice from an independent financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
About the Author
Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.