In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

Want to start to plan for retirement but don't know where to start?

Today I'm going to share how you can build your finances step by step so you can get to financial independence and retirement!

Planning for Retirement

Financial Freedom, Financial Independence, retirement – a lot of couples have that goal but they don't know how to get there.

What are the phases and the steps so that you can make that journey towards retirement (whether it be early or if you just want to be financially independent)?

When people approach retirement they're typicaqlly looking at one big number, one big goal, one destination.

That's completely wrong.

Many times with couples the best approach is to take it step by step.

You may be familiar with the book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

I read and loved it.

Millions of lives have been changed people have gotten out of debt.

I think a huge part of that success is that a path is laid step by step on how to organize and work through your money.

That's how I think couples can win with retirement – by approaching it as a journey with certain milestones along the way.

You can watch me break them down in this week’s Marriage and Money Tips or check out my take right below!

Treading Financially

The first milestone is making sure you're able to pay the bills.

You may not be making any progress if you have debt but you're not going further into debt and you're taking care of those necessities.

You have to make sure that you're bringing enough income to make sure that your expenses are paid.

Financial Stability

Your next goal is going to be focused on making sure that you have some stability and that means having some sort of savings.

So not only are you able to pay the bills and take care of the necessities but should an emergency happen you can manage that hiccup and it's not going to completely throw off your budget.

You might not call this paycheck to paycheck but it's tight. The good news, though, is you still have some buffer some flexibility.

You're moving forward.

Debt Freedom

Now the next step I hope you're not in it but we started our marriage off in debt. And a lot of others have as well.

Your next goal is going to be paying off those high interest and unnecessary debts.

We'll worry about the mortgage later but for the most part, this is the phase where you're looking at your income and your expenses and you want to have a good enough gap that you are starting to pay off your debts.

Attack them one by one. There are two main methods of doing that – you can either attack your debts based on the interest rate or based on the balance.

Both can be effective depending on your personality.

What's more important is that you focus on your debts one at a time.

With those debts paid off, you're giving yourselves more options.

Financial Freedom

Financial freedom is the next phase and it's a really fun spot.

You might not be able to completely quit your job and live off of that income but you're now in a phase where you don't have debt taking up most your income.

Your money is now going towards paying your essentials, you have some ‘fun' money but you also have money you're investing.

Your money is starting to work for you.

Financial Independence

As you're building those investments there's going to be a point where your investments can cover your expenses.

Many people call this financial independence, where in theory if you want you could quit your job and your bills are going to be taken care of.


When you're financially independent, you may decide to enter the last phase which is retirement.

Believe or not, some couples find that the traditional retirement isn't what they really want and they look at exploring other options like diving into volunteer work or starting a second career.

Figuring Out Your Retirement Plan Together

If you guys are looking to talk about retirement and figure out what's the best number for you, please pick up my book Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money.

It takes you through step by step what you need to do to work together, get on that same page, dump your debt faster, and get on that path to financial freedom!

Your Take on Financial Freedom, Independence, and Retirement

How do you view retirement? Is financial freedom or independence part of your plan?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..