Save before you leap
When Mark Meritt's daughter was born in 2003, he and his wife wanted to work less and spend more time with their daughter. But before Meritt left his job to become self-employed, he and his wife built up their savings and 401(k) investments, "to ease the initial burden while transitioning to this more satisfying life."
The secret to saving for retirement even when your work is low-paying is to make sure you prioritize your retirement savings, says Meritt, "even if it means being more frugal with other things."
Ongoing general frugality, as Meritt calls it, has served his family well. During the years they were earning more, saving money before they transitioned to their new life involved diligent savings and frugality. "That set the groundwork for our current situation and made it possible," he says.