Welcome to Go Curry Cracker!
We are Jeremy, Winnie, & Julian, a nomadic family who retired in 2012 to travel the world and start a family, all while still in our 30s.
On our blog we share how we were able to become financially and location independent at a relatively young age, the details of a life of full time travel and child rearing, and photos, stories, and cost of living for each country we visit. To get the whole story, you can start at the very first post. Or look through the entire list of posts and start wherever grabs your attention. For some ideas of where to start, here are a few of the more popular posts:
- How we got over $10,000 of free travel to Europe.
- How we plan to Never Pay Taxes Again.
- How we invest our portfolio.
- Why we will be Renters for Life.
- So, uhhh…. what does Go Curry Cracker mean, anyway?
- For the people who hate math: How We Saved Multi-Millions
- For those who like it: 10 Years and A Day
- Frequently Asked Questions
We had normal lives. We both grew up in lower income families. We used student loans to attend college. Money was a skill we had to learn later in life.
We did unconventional things while working, such as live in a small apartment in a walkable neighborhood instead of a house in the suburbs, using a bicycle and our own feet instead of owning a car, and making most of our meals in our own kitchen (even our own bread.) This allowed us save an increasing percentage of our income, more than 70% for about 10 years until we were able to live completely off income generated by our investments.
When we first retired, we had grand ambitions to tour all of Latin America, Europe, and Asia in one monumental journey, but then… … we realized, “What’s the rush?!” We have 60 years of travel ahead of us. There is no competition to check off a list of countries or destinations (although we’ve been to ~40 countries to date.)
So we have traveled (very) slowly, immersing ourselves in local language and culture, meeting interesting people, and having adventures. Definitely not a backpacker lifestyle, we’ve rented places with a private pool, dine in restaurants 2 or 3 times a day, and had great adventures such as swimming with whale sharks.
All of this luxurious living costs a whole lot less than you would think, which is why we share every penny we spend. We even learned to harness the power of Travel Rewards Cards to get free flights and hotels, making our extraordinary travel lifestyle even more affordable.
Compare TOP travel cards here.
When we decided we were ready to start a family, we used our location independence for Medical Tourism, undergoing IVF treatments at 80% off US prices. Our son is a big fan of traveling as well, and loves meeting new people, spending time on the beach, and exploring new cities. Thank you for stopping by. Also check out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for fun day to day stuff.
Questions? Ask away.
Jeremy, Winnie & Julian
Getting Started with Free Travel
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorites. A BIG reason is you can combine points with other Chase cash back cards like Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited under the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program.
Chase Freedom Flex allows you to earn 5% cash back on the first $1500 in categories that change quarterly, and the Freedom Unlimited earns a flat 1.5% on all spend.
Using the right card for different types of spend means you earn free travel even faster! And they also have their own signup bonuses!
And all of these points can be transferred to numerous hotel and airline programs!
Learn more about these cards HERE.
Greetings! One of the questions that I have is how do you organize your monthly/yearly budget? Do you write everything down in a notebook, use an app? How do you stay on track??
We don’t budget, but we do track every penny we spend. We keep track of our assets and spending in Personal Capital. For cash spending, Winnie and I each have an iPhone and we write down any spending in an Evernote document
By focusing on efficient spending for housing, transportation, and food (see links in post above) it is almost impossible to spend more than we can support with our income from dividends and interest
Hi! It seem’s that Personal Capital is only available for use in US.. do you have any recommendations of similar sites for ASEAN countries such as Singapore/Malaysia? Thanks!
Sorry, I’m not aware of anything. Anybody else know?
Maybe you can try mint.com?
Mint only supports the US & Canada
As an expat, I’m a fan of Toshl Finance. I can input expenses in any currency and then chose a main currency (USD for me) for all the data
Pocketsmith is a solid app for tracking spending for international readers.
How comfortable are you with having to give programs like Personal Capital the account info and passwords for your bank and investment accounts?
I’m not uncomfortable at all. I wrote a bit about security here.
Hello Jeremy, When you were getting ready to quit the full time job , was it difficult to stop a great income? , What made it easy for you.? I have couple of more years left to become financially free . Currently 40 years old and Usually, when I talk to coworkers that have been at work for a while that think I am crazy talking about it and leaving a 6 weeks off vacation job with 5am-1pm schedule………
Hi Ted. Maybe 2 ways of thinking about it..
If you are asking the question, maybe continuing to work isn’t so bad. What are you retiring to?
Some people, especially those who have “been at work for awhile”, have lost all ability to think creatively. Some prisoners would rather stay in prison than return to the real world. 3 square meals a day, yo, life is good. What is better, 6 weeks of vacation or 52?
What would you suggest to someone who knows nothing about investing? Is there a guide or book you would recommend?
I have a recommended reading list.
Also check out Jim Collins’ stock series. Read the whole thing and you will be more knowledgeable than many financial advisers
Thank you! I’ve been looking all over for a where to start. I think I’ll start there ^
Thank you for sharing your insight on financial planning. I already checked out the personal capital app. On a separate note, I have a 9 months old. Hubby and I want to travel so badly but logistically very difficult with a baby. We eagerly await your insight on traveling with baby.
Traveling with a baby is something we are going to figure out as we go. How hard could it be ;)
“How hard can it be”? I guess you will find out…lol
We are on our 4th day in Japan with our 5 month old boy, and he is having a great time. He was so excited to be at the airport and see the airplanes. Everywhere we go, people get big smiles when they see him and it instantly opens doors of communication
Winnie is posting a picture of a day of our son on Instagram.
Update: In Jr’s first 16 months we traveled through 16 countries. Here is what we learned.
First of all, congratulations on actually making this your permanent lifestyle and sharing it with us!
What recommendations would you give to an undergraduate college student who is interested in something similar?
Work while going to school
Get a degree in a high income field
Contribute to a Roth IRA while you are at 0% tax bracket
Minimize debt (work, have room mates, ride a bike, walk, make your own meals)
After graduation, continue to live this way
Pay off the student loans like your life depends on it
When you are 30 and 100% financially independent, feel free to live a typical American Life (although you probably won’t want to)
A guaranteed way to never becoming financially independent, is to live like you are middle class while in college
What advice would you give to someone with close to 80k in school debt, about to graduate as an RN? We have two kids (9&6 yrs) and husband makes about 80k/yr. We are also 35 & 36 years old. Late bloomers :)
Do we have a shot?
Husband also has close to 100k in his 401k, only contributing up to the company match each year.
Absolutely, you have a shot
Consider travel nursing. My Mom and sister have both done it, with great pay and housing provided.
Be frugal, live close to work and public school for the kids, ride bikes and walk everywhere, pay off the student loans in record time, then contribute 50-70% of your after-tax income to index funds each month
I just listened to your podcast on Mad Fiendist and then came here to look around.
Travel Nursing! I am a nurse…I am on my way to early retirement and my plan is to be there in 6-8 years, maybe less. I am almost done a hefty amount of student debt. I will make my last payment in Dec 2017 but I have found a way to possibly make that sooner…we’ll see how that goes.
I have been looking at nursing away from the hospital and away from Canada. My first stop will be Colombia as part of a global health team.
To cut a long story short, I don’t know how to find a good legitimate site to apply for travel nursing. I have been extremely interested in pursuing that but even for volunteering, most sites seem to want (a lot of) my money.
Any ideas would be helpful.
Hi, this is Sara, Jeremy’s sister. Travel nursing is amazing! The money can be great, especially since you get so many tax perks as a traveler. Most of your money is paid to you in per diems to cover food and housing so your taxable income can actually be about a quarter of what you make.
There are so many great travel companies out there and you are a hot commodity. I would never pay a travel company to find me a job. At least not in the US. I had good experience with Talemed, Advance Med and Flexcare. I recommend talking to at least two or three because the rates they offer can vary by hundreds of dollars per week. And if you’re really looking to maximize your earnings look at the San Francisco Bay area. Rates are great here right now. So much so that I’ve relocated permanently.
I’m no seeing recent blog post to you blog. Stumbled on this by accident and since I was stationed in Taiwan in the early 70’s I was interested.
Hi Steve, I bet Taiwan looked much different in the 70s. The Xinyi neighborhood of Taipei was farmland 30 years ago and is now all skyscrapers… progress, maybe
I want to be just like you guys. If I stash most of my paycheck in 401k and IRA, how does that help me live day to day life? I can’t use money nor dividend income until I am 63? I am 32 now.
You can access those accounts starting at Age 59.5 without issue
Before then, you can access those funds via SEPP or Roth IRA Conversion. We use the latter
This post shows one example:
This post outlines the strategy and is fantastic:
Thanks. i’ve started on the path- acquired 2 rental properties for passive income. if i can get to 6, i can attain my freedom. or i can use that 200k in market and get about 8-9k dividend income annually. real estate sound better i think, i will get about 2k in monthly income- 24k annually.
Real Estate can be a great strategy. This is what Paula Pant at http://affordanything.com has focused on
First let me say you’re an inspiration and I hope to achieve a Financially Independent life too. Secondly, let me apologize if you’d already addressed this in your blog (I’m new to your blog)..
If you can’t pull out money from a 401k early without penality how are you able to “retire” early.. are you putting some money into your 401k for when you’re older and investing the rest into mutual fund type accounts and living off those until you can touch your 401k?
I’m sorry if my questions seem ignorant.. this is all new to me.
It is possible to withdraw money from your 401k penalty free before Age 59.5, but you have to follow some special rules to do so
The IRS outlines the exceptions here:
The 2 main methods are SEPP withdrawals and Roth IRA Conversion Ladder
This post outlines the strategy:
And this post is an example of that strategy in action:
In addition to this, when you are saving 70% or more of your income as we were, the 401k and IRA limits are too low. So you also have a lot of savings in a taxable brokerage account
Don’t worry, this was new to me and is new to everybody at some point. If you have any other questions, please ask
Your wife is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.
Thank you Iam. I am fond of her myself
quick question- i looked at your tax return and saw 23k or so in dividend income. and 44k or so in capital gain. I know you said most of your investment is in vanguard total stock market and international fund. is that where this dividend and capital gain coming from? or do you have a seperate REIT/dividend fund? i am trying to build my portfolio(pre and post tax- will max out IRA first then regular brokerage) with 70k of savings. trying to get an idea from you- if you don’t mind sharing. thanks again for your guidance.
At the bottom of this post is a snapshot of our asset allocation
Just came across your site and I love it-for once it is refreshing to hear that the typical 30 something couple is not buying the big white picket house in suburbia land, and is investing wisely to have an even better lifestyle. Many people hound us to buy a house in the suburbs because it will be “better” for a family of three. And what about the “schools”
Right now I live in a Chicago with my husband and 3 year old, and live in a two bedroom condo that we got for 50% below the market price- including indoor garage-to get a house in the suburbs of Chicago would mean paying an outstanding amount of taxes 6-10% annually! Not to mention the average house around here is 250,000 and up.
Of course my parents think otherwise and tell me “you guys can’t afford Chicago”. They would rather we buy an SUV in Indiana and just pay 1-2% in property taxes. The houses there are 250,000 and up too though and my commute would then be close to 3 hours with traffic one way.
We take public transportation everywhere depsite having a car and live walking distance to grocery stores,the bank,the pharmacy,etc.
We actually paid off our Honda that we bought in 2011. Our biggest thing now are my student loans,which we were able to knock half of it down to 22,000 at 4% interest rate. So we got a ways to go. Credit card bills if any get paid immediately to avoid paying interest fees and used for larger purchases.
My husband does not ever want to buy a house ever,because of it’s maintainence as well. We lack in the traveling department but are trying to change that. He is going to get his CDL and hope to be on the road soon to generate more income and to then invest it in different portfolios (is that the word).
I think despite not receiving any outside help we are doing good but can do better, we need to cook more at home, though that is one thing, and it is enticing because we live in the land of restaurants (yes including Giordanos).
Looking forward to seeing your adventures with baby! Love this blog and will be sure to follow!
Awesome story! It would be tough to turn down regular trips to Giordanos, but a weekly pizza addiction is much better than a lifetime car addiction
Driving 3 hours from Indiana is insane
Deanna, looking back a few years, I wish I had been more “non-traditional” when investing in the future (as you have been). So, while my wife and two six-month olds are doing just fine (financially), I am very much “locked-in” to a somewhat traditional job (notice I did not say “career” – what I have just a paycheck). Stay the course! You are doing fine! BTW, a recent job move (called “geographical diversification” by exec mgt) made me “eligible” for a layoff which was subsequently cancelled and ended up being transferred to a new job; but I have to spend almost three hours a day on the road commuting (my own definition of insanity).
Hey, so I am so curious and honestly desperate to get on the right track to financial freedom. I’m 21 years old with a 4 year old and my boyfriend of 7 years. We both work minimum wage jobs, now in order to achieve or be successful at saving to the point that in just a couple of years at the least own a home, am I already on the wrong path because of our low paying jobs? Will this not be the right way to go in our situation?
You will need to take steps to increase your income. See the comments on this post for more:
All the best
sorry for another question- hopefully one of the last. so you are living from your savings which is invested and generates dividend income and selling portion of your index funds every year. If there was a market correction- and you don’t have new income coming in, and your dividend income used to fund your day to day life- how do you get new funds to put to work? i guess you would need that in market correction- so you can buy more? tell me what i am missing here. that’s what is keeping me away from going on ur path. any help is great.
You don’t get new funds to put to work, and you don’t need to
Even during periods such as the Great Depression and the high inflation of the 1970’s, a ~4% withdrawal rate would have allowed the portfolio to recover as long as you were willing to be a little flexible
You can play with http://www.cfiresim.com to see how this works
This article also does a great job of explaining
I have also been working on my own “4% rule” post, stay tuned
Great website thank you so so much. Got to your site from the recent Forbes article. I’m planning to read through all of jlcollinsnh’s stock series as well.
My question here is on the Personal Capital service:
• Do you use their investment advising services or oversee your investments yourself?
• Do you use it to make investments or just as a tracker?
• How has your experience been overall with the service?
Also do you have any opinion on Mint.com?
I’m just starting out investing (have a solid job currently) and am unsure how to begin. I’ve started a Roth IRA and brokerage account with Schwab, but don’t feel confident setting up my portfolio there. Any insight would be appreciated.
Personal Capital is a bit like Mint, but with much better investment tracking tools. I’ve found Mint.com to be quite annoying recently, always full of ads, warning me that I need to start saving for retirement, and always assigning expenses to wrong categories
PC has a few things that could be improved (can’t split ATM withdrawals into multiple spending categories) but overall I love it
I don’t recommend paying for advising services with anybody, ever. I use PC solely for tracking purposes. You can’t investment with them, only track
There is nothing wrong with using Schwab.
Hi Jeremy and Winnie,
Read your article in Forbes and then your blog. Absolutely fascinating! My husband and I are in our 50’s, and I wish we knew in our 20’s and 30’s what we know now. You are ahead of your time! We also love to travel with our 2 girls, and we have taken a year off to do that, while home schooling them, but never considered doing it permanently. I have forwarded your article and blog to my teenagers, and I hope that they will learn from your experience and be able to do what you do. Love the blog and all your advice!
Getting started as a teenager, it would even be possible to be Financially Independent in their 20’s. What an incredible opportunity
We are excited about the idea of home schooling. Still a lot to figure out, but we have time. How was your experience in the year off?
Hi GCC! Great website! Came across it from a German news website, however I’m curious, I checked your avg expenses (https://gocurrycracker.com/expenses/), let’s say around 4kUSD/month. If you have a avg dividend yield of 3%/yr and not taking into account taxes, you would have to have over 1.6MioUSD in equity invested in dividend paying assets; in case there is a market drop, I would say you need even more, around 2MioUSD. In case you could really save 50% of your income over 10 yrs supposing you earned an avg annual gross salary of 100kUSD/yr, it would take at least 40 yrs to accumulate that equity. Even saving 90%, it would take then more than 20 yrs. I imagine you saved much more than 100k/yr. How did you do that?
How did we save more than $100k/year? We didn’t
What is missing from your calculations is the impact of compound interest and stock market growth. If you had $500k invested in the S&P500 on March 1, 2009, how much would you have today? About $1.5 million.
Also, it isn’t necessary to live exclusively off dividends, or to have extra assets just to manage a stock market decline (although it is important to be flexible.) Capturing capital gains is just as valid a way to live off a portfolio as spending dividends, and would survive the test of time. See this post for an example
Two possible conclusions from this might be:
– it is important to use the stock market as a long term investment tool
– when the next market collapse occurs, buy Buy BUY!
Ok, there was some luck and right timing factor during your accumulation phase besides the reduced tax over dividends and capital gains w/ your American ROTH IRA program, well done! However challenging to repeat outside the USA, especially in Germany without any deferred tax compensation program for couples or families, really a pity… Only for your knowledge, he a couple has 0% tax over earned income only is below 16kEUR/yr and dividends and any capital gains are taxes at 30% from day one and above 1600EUR gains, not like there w/ 70kUSD free of tax gains, this is really a wonderland there! Apropo, besides the passive income from dividends and selling out part of your deferred ROTH IRA funds, do you generate any income from the affiliate marketing links spread over your the website? I see many people writing and posting same style of articles about travel around the world, lifestyle design, etc but at the end they’re actually leaving from the website’s MLM affiliate marketing like http://www.smartpassiveincome.com w/ Pat Flynn, http://www.fourhourworkweek.com w/ Tim Ferris, http://www.akingslife.com somewhere in Indonesia/Bali, familytrek.org in Lake Tahoa, http://www.discovershareinspire.com w/ the Dennings in Costa Rica and http://www.chasingsummer.com and many others that preach to either save or create semi-passive income online biz while selling programs and/or tools that really generate their incomes in USD to then live in luxury in non-USD currency countries winning w/ the geo-arbitrage?
Maybe there was some luck, although being prepared and having a plan had something to do with it. I was also unlucky to lose $400k when the market dropped in 2008
Tax wise, the US system is less burdensome. The burden comes from elsewhere compared to Germany, with a high cost of college education and healthcare/insurance. Maybe the best of both world’s is to go to college in Germany and then move to the US for work
The only one of those links I’ve heard of is Tim Ferriss, I like his books. We earned ~$2k last year from the blog (or really last 2 years, since we had $0 in income in year 1.) 96% of last year’s income was from dividends and interest (see 2014 tax return for more.) The idea of building a location independent income is great though
Thx Jeremy! Fair answer to the affiliate marketing income, I imagined more, thx for sharing though!
Yeah, I actually have a German friend living and working in CA planning to send his children over to Germany to reduce costs w/ education, this is a good mix, however w/ healthcare and insurance, you’re right, the USA are not the best place to be, I have not so good stories of the experiences of other friends over there to share; of course, planning is key without it does not work: I do also invest strategically on dividend growing stocks (Have you ever heard of http://www.stocksmetrics.com ?), these dividends currently finance my South American trips for kite surfing and other jungle adventures w/ the entire family once per year, but I did not achieve the equity to leave complete from monthly dividends so far, difficult when living in the Oktoberfest’s city and having the Alps for skiing only 150 km away… For that I would have to downsize lifestyle, which you very well mention when you did during your accumulation phase, sorry difficult to go with a bike 150km with sports equipment for skiing ;-) I still need to run the rat-race for more years, hopefully a big crash comes around then with enough cash that will be an unique time to buy more dividend paying and monthly cash-flowing assets! Keep in touch and drop an email in case you visit Bavaria middle Sept on, before first snow, but a lot of fun and good bier… Servus!
Investing in leveraged 2-3x funds is the bomb.
Many decry its dangers. Reality is 3x is fast forwarding 1x; compounding over time yields 5x.
Over time, it’s quite profitable.
Some of my favorites include TQQQ, BIB, CURE, RETL, JPNL. Most started in 2010.
Investing 500k in those then would yield 60%/yr. Or north of $3.2 million now.
Incidentally, I also worked for Microsoft for 11 years. I was a bit late retiring though at 40. I also read economics in university.
Economic history is a favorite hobby of mine. Or obsession.
Making money work harder for you I believe is one area that doesn’t get emphasized enough in personal finance.
Like you pointed out, if one invested in 2007-2009, they would have profited handsomely. Too many conflate volatile with risk. Not the same.
Risk is leaving your money in the market naively thinking that will take care of itself.
Leaving it to the market vs being more aggressive, charted. http://bit.ly/1yhSGnV
Missed one. Charted with TQQQ.
E.g. if one “left it to the market” during the 2000s, they would seen a flat line that whole time. http://bit.ly/1yjivE9
To add to what david says- I have 200k and at 3% modest div- it’s only 6k annually. at what point of your savings did you decide to quit? 1 millions? that’s still onlty 30k annually.
would that means i would have to work for another 20 years! i am 32- i want to retire in 6-8 years, how will i ever get there?
Arpit, take a look at my responses to your previous questions. The posts I linked should answer your question
You don’t need to live exclusively off dividends, see 4% rule
Your math for working 20 more years assumes all of your money is sitting under a mattress. Dividends increase in size and stock prices do too.
See this post: https://gocurrycracker.com/10-years-and-a-day/
You probably have to spend less now, so you can save a higher percentage of income
Hi GCC! I have a travel question related to “slow travel”. How do you find short term rentals in all of these different cities that you visit? Do you have any ” go to” websites that have worked well for you. Thanks!
We might rent a hotel room or something on Airbnb for a few days to see if we like the area, and then will find something longer term by using Google or walking around an area and looking at for rent signs
Someday I’ll write a more detailed post about this, it is now in my notes
Came across your blog from a Forbes article, very inspiring! We are now putting a plan together to retire in 10 years time, when I’ll be in my mid 40’s.
Hey GCC! My husband and I paid off all of our debt two weeks ago. Hooray! We figure that we will be able to save around $3k a month/$36k yearly starting this month, probably able to save a little more. My question: is it better to invest the $36k a year in our companies’ 401k’s to get the maximum tax savings or invest in our companies’ 401k’s just enough to get the matching and then invest the rest in index funds? We make about $84k a year, if that helps. Our plan is to retire in about 10 years. I’m 37 and he’s 33. Thanks and I appreciate your time and this blog! Your passion is helping a lot of people!
Congrats on killing the debt monster!
See this post for thoughts on using 401k:
Ideally you would invest in index funds in the 401k
Olá tudo bem? Gostaria de fazer uma pergunta, você acha que daria para colocar um projeto com esse em prática aqui no Brasil?
Ola Ana Paula, irei pro ingles p/ tds entenderem. If Jeremy allows me, I would like to leave here a comment to this question: In Brazil there are hidden options to the mainstream retail financial investors market, usually these are private equity and edge funds starting from 1-to-5MioUSD initial investment open for accredited investors (very similar to the USA classification) w/ high dividend yields and growth rates; in this case it would eventually be possible to implement and create such a project since there are 0% taxes on dividends from stock public traded companies, as well as, from REITs payouts (named FFIs in Brazil), additionally if you sell less then 20kReais/month from your funds even doing gains, there is no tax on this. There is also the “Tesouro Direto” notes which are the Brazilian treasury notes with different coupons and rolling years, however many do not compensate the biggest problem in Brazil, the inflation. Actually this is the biggest challenge in Brazil, to find investments that win the inflation. I’m not talking about the government faked inflation, I mean the real one felt every month when you go to the grocery or tank your car which is around 2-3 times faster corroding your fiat money. Unfortunately to build up financial (paper) equity in Brazil it’s close to a lost game against inflation if you are a normal salary-slave employee working for a normal job (just-over-broken); if you are lucky and an astute entrepreneur then if you build high ROIC businesses having the government as main customer and cashing out high amount of profits then there would be the chance to buy big stakes of public shares with dividend growing stocks and REITs listed funds. There are some public traded companies which absolute dividends growth rates are slightly above the inflation rate, but it will demand a long time to create enough equity to get payouts that sustain your cost of life in big cities in Brazil if you try by the saving mode every month. Unfortunately I left Brazil for a long time ago, I don’t know now if there are any government subsidized tax deferred investment programs similar to the ROTH IRA in the USA, this would be an interesting finding to share. Currently what I experience more and more are Brazilians location and time independent building online businesses which sell products at strong currency countries and using geo-arbitrage live in another one, e.g. sell in the USA or Europe currencies and live at the cost of life in South-East Asia, Central or South America currencies. Brazil has a wonderful nature and weather, perfect for short to middle term holidays, but if you wanna build something to live from there, I may wish you only good luck in case you did not inherited, wont the lotto ticket or married a rich senator. It is still a country w/ a messy infrastructure, high bureaucracy, beyond imagination corruption schemes every where you get in touch with the government, lack of people’s respect and in many cases human rights, unfortunately high levels of violence on out of control exploding mega-cities and it has a big lack of cultural and education awareness of its importance relative to BIP. Last but not least, Gustavo Cerbasi (a very well known financial guru in Brazil) might be an interesting reading, but be aware that he did not build up his financial equity by saving money like he preaches on his books, he got eventually financially free after having sold over one Million books and bringing out two films last couple of years generating a lot of license fees and roaylties, additionally to hundreds of national hold seminars, public presentations, affiliate marketing and other financial education programs with third parties, he might be in any case worth a check. Well, hope all these data helps… Cheers
I came across your blog recently while doing some research on early retirement. Embarrassingly enough, even though early retirement has always been a goal of mine, I have always defined it as “work for 30 years and retire at 53”. Since most people retire in their 60’s, retiring at 53 is retiring early, right? :( I guess I am just not aggressive/creative/out-of-the-box enough.
Nevertheless, having early retirement as a goal has motivated me to save 50% of my income from day 1, and I’m very glad that I have adhered to that principle throughout my career. Even though I have many of the things you advise against, including a house in the suburb and two cars, my net worth excluding the equity of my primary residence has just exceeded seven figures. Still, my expenses right now far exceed $40K a year, and I just don’t think I can get them to that level abruptly. For one thing, it would mean selling our house since the mortgage payment alone is $3K a month, and we bought this house four years ago specifically because it’s in a good school district and we were planning to have kids. (Yes, we are very “American” that way.) Ironically, my 2-year old son and 4-month old daughter are precisely the reasons why I find myself enjoying work less these days. I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I like. And that’s the one thing you have going which I’m most jealous of: not traveling around the world, not retiring early, but being able to spend all the time in the world with your kid (or kids :)).
Anyway, just want to let you know that your story is inspiring and it gets me thinking that I should try to achieve FIRE more aggressively. I don’t think I can completely mimic what you are doing, but sometimes a gentle nudge is more than enough. Thank you!
Thanks! I’m really glad to hear that this got you thinking. I really couldn’t ask for a better reason to keep blogging
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The root of this all is having the financial means to do what is most important to you. For some, that will be travel. For others, the arts. And perhaps the most important, family
It is really hard to explain truly how amazing it has been to be able to put pregnancy and baby first. Things were stressful enough without having to add work time commitments and problems to the mix
In your case, maybe it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You have a really solid base ($1 million) and could perhaps work part time until the kids are in school. My sister does this now, prioritizing time with her children over more income. It will mean more working years later, but the kids are only kids once
Best of luck, Thomas
Thanks Jeremy! Your suggestion to work part time is intriguing. I’ll need to think about it some more. I’ll probably have to change jobs to make that work though since I don’t think my current job is very suitable for part time.
At this point I’m planning to tough it out for a few more years and then just call it quit for good. I went through my numbers again last night and realized something which should have been obvious earlier: I would have “too much” money had I stuck with my original plan to retire at 53. My wife and I are not nearly as frugal as you or some of the other early retirees are, but we are inherently not huge spenders either (which is why we have been able to save 50% of our income without being very disciplined). Anyway, based on our current saving rate and a projected 7% return on investment, we should be able to amass another $1M or so in another 7 years, when I turn 43. I know, it doesn’t sound as good as “I retire in my 30s!”, but it sure beats “I retire in my 50s!”. ;)
There are still too many unknowns at this point though. How is the market going to behave in the relatively short time span? Will my parents need help financially? Am I going to get that next promotion? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
By the way, how do you feel about the 4% “safe” withdrawal rate? I did some research on it and found that the paper which popularized this concept only concluded that with a 4% withdrawal rate, there is a 98% chance your nest egg is going to last 30 years. 30 years are long enough for people retiring in their 60s, but definitely not enough for people such as yourself. Also, there’s some new research which shows that a 4% withdrawal rate is too high if the market drops significantly in the first few years of one’s retirement. I’m wondering if I should be using 3% in my calculations instead.
By the way, it kind of makes me sick how little tax your good friend Mr. Root of Good paid in 2013. I made more than both of them combined, but nearly half of the delta went to Uncle Sam, since my wife didn’t work (and so we could only contribute to one 401k), and I made too much for our IRA contributions to be tax-deductible or to qualify for the child tax credit. :( All the more reason to quit the rat race…….
Today’s post happens to be about the 4% Rule
If playing Roulette in Vegas had a 98% chance of winning, I would be a billionaire many times over.
Our own 2013 tax rate was pretty interesting as well (0%.) Don’t hate the player, hate the game, so they say
You are doing awesome with a 50% savings rate. It isn’t a competition, and nobody gets bonus points for retiring earlier than somebody else
Yep, I just read it. Thanks again for sharing your insight!
“Somebody with low risk tolerance and great resistance to change will need a larger bank account than somebody that goes with the flow and enjoys a bit of excitement.”
I guess I fall into that category……
I saw your tax return as well, but at least your situation is very different from mine since your income was mostly passive. Not to say it’s not impressive though. In fact, I didn’t even know that capital gain and qualified dividends are not taxed if you are in the 15% bracket. I have added this as something to do more research on.
This blog gives me new inspiration. All I ever wanted to do in my life was travel; it was a big part in my choice to not have children! However, I feel a bit trapped in Silicon Valley (which as you noted is extremely expensive to afford.) My biggest reservation is selling our house and not being able to afford coming back to it in older age. People keep telling us we are at our prime “monkey-making years” since we are both 40-45. It does seem scary to leave and rely solely on the portfolio but we are big savers and when I look at the 4% rule I feel like it is totally do-able. Thanks!
Hi! What advice can you give me, My husband and I only make 55000 year have no saving, I pay medical bills and i feel like i leave pay check to pay check I have no roth account no Ira no 401 k how do i get started? I feel like i get no where while not making enough. I have 15,000 in debt I transferred that’s in to low interest cards, i don’t qualify for any loans, I have a home, cars what do I do to get started?
Take a look at this post:
Maybe sometime you will visit Bucharest, too. Until then, you can take a look here:
I hope it it will make you curious :)
I am curious to get your comments on this. I feel the idea of greatly increasing your savings rate is awesome but currently in 2015 with markets at all time highs the prospects for greatly benefiting from compound interest seems minor. Obviously having a high rate of savings during 2008-2010 would produce incredible gains and fantastic buying opportunities but that very well may have been a once in a lifetime event. Someone saving as much as 50k a yr in today’s economic environment will have a hard time retiring in 10yrs as it seems unlikely we will see a massive market crash followed by a quick and aggressive recovery like 2008. So if one is starting today, is there realistic hope?
First, let me cover our experience. We didn’t retire early because we got lucky in 2008, we retired early because we saved like crazy for a long period of time. Maybe about 10% of our net worth is a result of deciding to put all of our (limited) cash and bond position into stock as the market fell in 2008, not a significant amount
Benefiting greatly from compound interest seldom happens in such a short period as 10 years. Compound interest is a force that generates great wealth over long periods of time, say 30-50 years. In the short term, it does little
If you were to invest $50k/year for the next 10 years, you would have directly contributed about $500k. If market returns were a lowly 4% (real), you would have about $600k. If returns were instead 7%, you would have about $725k. $125k seems like a big difference, but it is only 2.5 years of savings. Maybe less if you take advantage of tax deferred accounts, and definitely less if you save your pay raises and promotions instead of spending them https://gocurrycracker.com/turbocharge-savings/
Would you be upset if it took you 12.5 – 15 years to become Financially Independent instead of 10?
I would say not only is their realistic hope, there is a great probability of success. Focus on saving a high percentage of income, and the rest will follow https://gocurrycracker.com/10-years-and-a-day/
What a great adventure! We love traveling (especially Taipei!), and personal finances and travel are my 2 favorite things. We’re on the road to a (hopefully) early retirement. I just started following a few similar blogs. Not sure if I missed it, but do you share your net worth? I know you follow the 4% rule, so I can take an educated guess! :) Thanks for sharing!
We haven’t shared it. There are 100+ pf bloggers who do though
Jermy- hi, you mentioned a book about blogging and making money to get started as a side income- what’s the name? Can’t find it in recommendation. I need to find way to make extra income.
I haven’t read any books about it, but if you Google there are many. This is a classic post
I just want to say: thank you for opening my eyes to early retirement!
This is the site that opened my eyes to the world of personal finance and I haven’t looked back since. You’ve also inspired me to start tracking my own investments with the goal of financial independence.
Keep on doing what you’re doing!
I’m super excited for your journey. You can do it!
Wow! You guys are living the life my husband and I dream about! I’m a professional photographer too and he works 45+ hours a week. We’ve ALWAYS wanted to travel and live more than just a default lifestyle. I can’t wait to start reading your blog and implement your ideas/strategies into our lives! Maybe one day we’ll meet randomly in a cafe in Europe and it will be thanks to you guys! :)
The 1st cappuccino is on me
Although some may find your achievements impossible I certainly don’t. Most people don’t realize how much they waste throughout the years on frivolous things. I too retired at an early age (47) but did it through a different way. I have have an annual retirement income around 80-85K a year with complete medical/dental coverage. Have no credit card debt and travel the world as you all do. Bottom line: regardless of how we both got to where we are at you have to work hard and sacrifice through the years and they too can find early retirement as we both accomplished. Congrats to you both.
Awesome Tony, congratulations!
Thanks for sharing your story and advice. I noticed that you both started on your journey when you were young and without any children. Do you have any advice for an older family, with a high and middle schooler children (and a mortgage plus 2 car payments)?
Long term commitments like children and mortgages do make it more interesting, but it is hard to say without going into specifics
I would question everything, and look for examples of people who make less than you and save more. They are out there. For example, many people raise children without two cars. Can you do the same?
Once the kids are both college age, down sizing on houses and cars can help accelerate savings
Great info and thanks for passing on the knowledge you’ve gained for others to use. I would like to know what your advise would be for people who live pay check to check and only expenses are already minimal in starting on the road to financial freedom. Just seems making $15 an hour and being single would make it a little harder to achieve a similar goal then if making $135,000 a year (combined). I currently take advantage of my company’s matching 401k plan but know that’s not going to be enough.
The idea is simple, but not always easy. Earn as much as you can, live on very little, and invest the difference and wait.
You are worth much more than $15/hour. Make it your mission to get a job with higher income. This may involve developing skills.
Also use your youth and energy to work more than 40 hours per week. Live off only 1/2 the income from one job (roommates, no car, make your own food) and invest 100% of the income from a second job
That is what I would do if I were young and single
I work 12 hours a day like crazy for 500€ (really good salary for programmer), and when i pay everthing at end of month i have -100€ … crap of country!
I would move to a different country. Get a programming job in the UK, share a flat with 4 people, save like crazy… then return to a country where you can live on 500 Euros
Hi! Can you share the details of your investments without going into any specific investments. I’m interested to know the distribution of your investment kitty and the consolidated return. Many thanks!
We seek to track the performance of the stock market through index funds
Thank you both for the inspiration, I am soaking up all of the financial advise that I can! I am in my early 30’s, with $50K in school debt for a degree that I don’t use, and terrible credit.
I own my car, which I need since I just got licensed as a Realtor.
I looked at your recommended blogs, but didn’t see much in the way of real estate investing. I am going to focus on that more than on other investments, at least starting off (I’m basically fighting my way out of the massive pit I dug for myself!). Are there any that you would suggest?
Also, congratulations on the addition to your family!
Paula built her retirement fund through RE investing
Hi, this is great but according to calculations after taxes and ten years you would have only around 1.2 million and after 4000 a month that would last 25 years and u will need to find more money after that. Where did you get more if you did not work for it?
Hi Marie, welcome. You ask a good question
There is a flaw in these calculations that has to do with compound interest. This is income that our money earns without any work on our part.
While working, instead of spending all of our income each year we used it to buy ownership of many businesses, just like Warren Buffet. Since we don’t have his level of wealth, we could only buy small parts of a business though. We did this by buying stocks
Those stocks grew in value each year, and now just the dividends provide enough income for us to live. And yet the companies we own continue to grow and increase in value
Compound interest is an amazing thing.
All the best
Impressive. You are a very savvy couple. So young and already have 1.2 millions !!!!
Aprox. how much money do you received on dividends each year ? is not the same amount every time? (I guest not , it might depend on what companies decided to paid).
Stocks value change every time, so your 1.2 m …could be $200,000 any time. How much ($) do you have in cash ?(like an emergency fund).
You have a much more pessimistic view of the downside of stock investing than history would warrant.
We don’t keep much of an emergency fund
You can see our dividend income from last year’s tax return
Totally true. I am a very conservative and pessimistic type of person. Your life style and financial decisions are very different than mine.
I will work until retirement age on a regular job. Nevertheless we follow a moderate frugal life which allow us to plan for a good retirement.
Thanks for sharing all this information. There are many areas which still apply for us.
Hi Jeremy and Winnie,
Congratulations on your financial independence. My fiance and I were looking into your methods and we are actually to give your approach a try. Maybe not as aggressive but still try to retire early.
I did have a few questions that I was hoping you can help us with as we try to get set up:
1. Could you let me the % breakdown for each of your monthly expenses while approaching this retirement approach? You probably have a link, i just haven’t found it yet.
2. Could you describe a bit more the process of transferring money from an IRA to a Roth account? I read that you only do a max of ~12K/year to be truly tax free, is this correct?
Thanks in advance!!
Awesome news! Saving a ton is a great journey
Here is our old expense breakdown. I did it from memory so it isn’t perfect, but it is close enough
For TIRA to Roth, check out this post
Thanks for the quick response, Jeremy!
We are going to take a look into the links you provided. I’m ridiculously excited about starting our path. Hopefully, we’ll make it work.
Yesica & Akshaan.
I cannot stop perusing and reading your site. It contains so much information !!!!.
When you say “a few individual dividend stocks” can you tell us which stocks?
Nothing I would recommend. If the few individual stocks were items of clothing, they would be old stinky socks.
I love your site. It’s opened up my eyes to so many things.
My wife and I feel like we’re starting out at square one, so-to-speak. Need to reverse a lot of our spending habits like taking vacations (as if we deserve them in our 20s haha). My wife has a medical school debt of around 250k and currently works in a government job. That number is very overwhelming to us with a combined income of 100k so we were thinking about making minimum payments and relying on the 10-year Public Service Loan forgiveness. She’s invested in a TSP, and myself in a 401k and we’re thinking of maximizing our contributions to those for starters. Our housing is low but unfortunately we live in an area that requires a car for transportation.
Are we going about it the wrong way? Should we try to aggressively chip away at that debt? Though I feel at this point it would mean less in savings…
As long as you know you’ll be in Public Service for 10 years, the loan forgiveness path is a fine way to go. Thanks for serving the public. Typically the forgiven amount is subject to income tax, so that could be a good year to take a sabbatical…
You should definitely contribute enough to TSP and 401k to get the complete employer match (if applicable.) With the match and tax savings, that can be an immediate 100% return on investment, well above any interest rate you would be paying on any debt.
It is fair to think of debt as the opposite of savings. If you have $10k in a savings account and have a $10k loan, the total is $0. You have to get to zero before you can start accumulating wealth, so the debt has to go. The exception would be for the student loan since there is the forgiveness pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so you would pay the minimum
All the best
Jeremy, where do I found in your site your source of income and the amounts?
What are you trying to figure out?
You could look at a tax return or blog income.
Found your site via the article in Business Insider a few weeks back, and I’ve been soaking it up for a few weeks now, along with the Jim Collins site you recommend. I’ve pretty much made these two sites my new financial go-to’s, so thank you.
We’re a 1 income family. I’m 44, married, 3 kids (youngest is 7), have a decent job ($80K annual) where I max my 401k with match (currently about $60k), and contribute 4% to the ESPP (save 10% in all monthly). We have a business we just started that generates ok income that will increase over time where we’re looking to save 75-80% monthly. We have about $350k in an Edward Jones account that is in mutual funds, and roughly $70K equity in the house currently. The goal is to be FI in 11 years when the youngest graduates HS.
2 questions for you:
1) I learned today what the Vanguard Fund VTSAX is actually comprised of. The talking heads all talk about diversification, but would you recommend dumping all available funds into VTSAX? Seems like a easy and safe way to grow over time?
2) I met with my insurance agent last night, and he was explaining a LIRP to me, the benefits of a LIRP vs a ROTH IRA, and the benefits of maxing the LIRP. It appears to have outstanding tax benefits. Should I consider maxing a LIRP as a viable investment tool?
Thanks, Jeremy. I look forward to your feedback.
Hi Mike. Welcome.
A LIRP is a wonderful thing for insurance agents. For everybody else… not so much. I would fire that guy, purchase a term life policy to support your family in case something happens to you, and focus on contributing to a Roth for you and your wife (you are effectively at a 0% tax rate after Child Tax Credits.) If you can do an HSA too, all the better.
See Jim Collins’ thoughts on Asset Allocation. I would have no problem going 100% VTSAX for us (although we aren’t there), but it is a matter of temperament and several margins of safety.
Hi, I would love some advice. I’m a single mom of a junior high kiddo. I work as a teacher and also as a part-time professor at our state university. Both pay very poorly. I have large amount of student loans, a car note, and about $3,500 in credit cards. I live in Arizona, and my biggest challenge right now is housing, and I’d really appreciate the support and guidance. My rent is 1350 for a large house. We don’t need a large house, but it was really the cheapest I could find in our area (landlord cut me a deal). I could probably get it down to about 1,200 if we moved. If I were to buy, my mortgage would be comparable. The cheapest housing I’m fining in my town is about $180K. Most homes here have high HOA’s. I am so torn as to what to do. I really can’t afford rent and I often think that if I invest in a home at least I’ll build some equity (unless the bubble pops again) and won’t have to worry about my rent going up. My rent payment is crushing. Next school year, I’m hoping to go back to all part-time college work. Working at a high school is using up all of my time and locking me into a salary of about $38K per year. I can only do so much outside work when I’m teaching all day. At least if I’m doing part-time college work I can get as much work as I can find. The problem is that if I do this, I’ll never qualify for a mortgage with a string of part-time jobs. The thought of ever retiring at all is feeling a bit hopeless right now. Last year I worked five jobs (AGI about 65K) and don’t have much to show for it. Any thoughts?
If you own a house and somebody offers you a job at double the pay far from where you live, it makes it hard to make the move. If you have credit card debt, paying that off is more important than saving for a down payment. My overall opinion is nobody should buy a house unless they have long term stability.
With $65k income, you are paying about 25% of your income in rent. That is fairly normal. If you are renting more than you need, you might consider roommates? I would look at all expenses and see what is truly a need, pay off debt like your life depends on it, and proceed from there.
After reading all of these posts, I’m wondering if I’m better off forgetting the idea of buying a house and just focus on investing in accounts that will help me to build dividend income. ?
Thank you for the much-needed advice. With a young child, I’m pretty hesitant to get a roommate. If I were child-less, I would definitely do it. I’ve applied for more work, so hopefully that will help. Thanks again. :)
I have been devouring your website. Thank you so much for making this available for everybody!
I would like your advice.
I am 29, a physician still in training with a salary of 60K, pay 1400 in rent, and with about 25k in debt (between an engagement ring, a wedding and my car). No student loans. Married, no kids (yet). I finish my training in about 3 years and will see a jump in salary to what I expect to be around 300k.
I do not want to work forever and would love to be financially independent – since I have no money in savings at all, my goal is to achieve that in 10 years. My current employer offers no retirement plan, so currently I do not have one – but expect to be given a 401K in 3 years when I finish my training.
What steps can I take to start the path to being financially independent by the time I am 40?
Take a look at my post, How to Retire in Your 30s.
You are doing well on Maximizing Income (and with no student loans?), but maybe take a look at the section titled Live Well Below Your Means. It suggests some things like don’t buy $25k engagement rings (only partially kidding.)
Point taken. I am beating myself for having made debts that I really did not have to make. I could be in a better position today, but I am happy I am finally waking up and the best time to start is now.
My biggest mistake has been ignorance; and thanks to you and others alike, I hope to correct that asap. I do not yet have a retirement plan available to me at work like I said before, but my spouse does, and I would like to make smarter decisions. She is 34 years old btw.
Currently she has 14k in her 403b, and she is not contributing to the max (which we will quickly fix) but I also do not like the investment choices she has (that due to our ignorance, were simply assigned to her). These funds have higher expense rations that others such as Vanguard and according to my beginner’s analysis, they are underperforming the market.
This is what her portfolio looks like:
BlackRock LifePath® Index 2045 Fund Class K Shares (LIHKX ) – about 10k (70%)
Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Institutional Shares (VBAIX ) – about 4k (29%)
BlackRock LifePath® Index Retirement Fund Class K Shares (LIRKX ) – 0.05%
Here are the Vanguard options in her plan: Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Institutional Shares (VBAIX); Vanguard Institutional Index Fund Institutional Shares (VINIX); Vanguard Extended Market Index Fun Institutional Shares; Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Institutional Shares (VTSNX); and Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Institutional Shares (VBTIX).
My questions to you are:
1. Should we leave whatever she already has invested in those 3 funds and simply assign all new contributions to other Vanguard Funds such as VINIX?
2. Should we exchange all the existing Black Rock and eliminate it from the Portfolio and substitute it for Vanguard instead? And if we do that, are there any fees or taxes we need to pay in order to do that? She has held those funds for about 5 years.
Definitely increase contributions to the 403b, especially for dollars in the 25% marginal tax bracket. And don’t sweat not having a 401k, you can still contribute to an IRA.
There are no tax implications of selling funds in the 403b. You can change your portfolio as you see fit, and VINIX would be a great choice. That Blackrock fund isn’t that bad (er of 0.14%) but still not as good as the Vanguard options.
Because you will join the 1% in a few years, it wouldn’t hurt for you and your wife to both contribute to Roth IRAs now with funds that would only be taxed at 15%. See this post for a deeper explanation of the marginal tax rates. This will seem like a low tax rate to pay when you start making $300k and are paying 33%+. (Note that this is contrary to what I would recommend normally, but with at least a decade of big earnings ahead a Roth may serve you well.)
Consider 3x funds like TQQQ.
You guys are NAILING life
Hi! I’m so glad I found this I would have never known this was possible. I’m really new to all this and IRA sounds a little complicated I know I’d like to start off with traditional but I’m not sure where. Do you have an article that talks a little more about that?
Try Investopedia for an overview of IRAs and all investment topics.
I have one post that details the tax advantages as well.
So I love your lifestyle. One thing that has kept me from doing this is fear of getting sick or acquiring tropical illness malaria dengue et. We have the best treatment in us- was that even an issue for you how did you overcome if that was. I am but more anxious in g eneral so that doesn’t help. Thanks
Hi Arpit. Statistics are your friend. We are all more likely to die in a car accident or falling in the shower than from any of those diseases, yet that stops no one from driving or showering. For the same reasons, fear of improbable things should stop no one from traveling.
Thanks man I’ve gotten malaria and dengue from my last 2 travel to india. So I’ve become paranoid. But I am going to fight it and live the dream like you are.
I started my new job… and just starting putting money into my retirement account. I would like to know where I can learn more about how to withdraw money early when the time comes. I read a lot about ways to withdraw retirement funds early without penalty but am having trouble finding actual documentation.
Here you go.
Hey guys, love the site. I’m a 29 year old American, interested in eventually being financially independent so I can retire to a cheaper country to live/travel. I save about 40% currently and every year that goes up as I get a raise/bonuses. Can you give me any your advice on the cheapest countries in Europe or Asia to retire to? I’m hoping to just make money in America and spend it abroad. :)
Maybe look at this cost of living map
I’m curious as to where you lived when you said you didn’t have a car and rode a bike and walked. Living in Orange County, CA I can’t even imagine that could actually be feasible.
I lived in Seattle. But I did the same when I lived in LA, where the weather is perfect for walking/biking.
Living where walking and biking are easy, not just possible, is not an accident. It may require moving.
Love the site. I may have asked this before but I couldn’t find my comment in your posts. I am stuck in a rut where I dislike my business/job and my living expenses are high. Sloppy savings plans and tons of waste due to a busy lifestyle.
My wife and I actually have a net worth around 2 million like you. My question is:
How would you hand schooling if I chose to live a traveling retirement lifestyle with a 3 year old and 1 year old.
Also have you thought about college costs for the kids, I’m sure you have. What would our spending rate be if we wanted to leave some money for the kids college? And maybe something for them in the form of inheritance?
College is cheap when you plan 20 years in advance.
Spend less than 4% of your invested net worth (the house doesn’t count) and the odds are high the portfolio will continue to grow.
Hello I just found your blog and I am very inspired! Traveling is all I have ever wanted to do! I am 21 years old living at home about to graduate with an associates degree debt free with around $5,000 in savings. I want to invest the money I have saved up, but don’t know where to start. I want the money to grow, and be able to retire in my 30s or 40s. What would you suggest?
Congrats on graduating debt free! Your timing couldn’t be better to be thinking about retirement, because you are about to experience a jump in income.
The main thing is to focus on saving a high percentage of income. Don’t fall for the trap of lifestyle inflation. This is a decent start for a 10 year plan, and this is a good start for learning to invest.
I should be sleeping but instead I am dreaming of financial independence. I am a nomadic soul myself. I have done the travel Nursing thing and just recently got an even better situation, similar to travel Nursing situation. I am going to pay off my house this year.. that’s the goal. I am 32 and single. I want what ya’ll have. I love traveling, giving, and living life. Thanks for the inspiration. Any tips on lowering my taxable income? I have read a bunch and I plan on maxing out my 401K and Roth IRA. I could end up making anywhere from 100-150k this year. Any other tips…
Thank you for sharing all these. I love your blog :)
I found your blog through a link from a jlcollinsnh.com article and love it! Seems right up my alley after a lot of different looks at different investment/wealth building strategies (entrepreneur, real estate, online passive income sources, etc).
Single, male, almost 26 years old, good income (about 110k gross annual, but it’s a down year due to it being linked to oil and gas, so it’s usually higher), about 12k of debt from a loan and a credit card which I anticipate being rid of by July. My tragic misstep was buying a house last year tricking myself into it being an “investment” it feels more like an anchor even though I have a good interest rate (3.125 on a 15 year mortgage). Luckily it is brand new in a good gated community so I’m looking to lease it starting next month for a few years until the market here (Houston, Texas) makes me take a little less of a loss on it after building some equity at a discount for a year or two (I know I know, most of the mortgage is going to insurance, taxes, and interest, but still).
I’m also blessed that my job is in shipping, so I typically work for three weeks straight, followed by three weeks completely off, which many consider semi-retirement already. While my house is leased and what few physical possessions I have are in storage (planning on selling my car and motorcycle, both of which I bought for cash money anyway, but still seem entangling due to the need for registration/inspections/maintenance) I’m planning on being fairly nomadic, having a PO box for any “important mail” (what self-respecting company can’t do everything through paperless email these days anyway?).
My travels revolve about a destination list of UNESCO world heritage sites http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/ and I find that I can keep travel costs very low through hosteling or air bnb for a week or so at a time. The largest expense by far is airfare, what is your best piece of advice for someone looking to travel in 3 or 4 week chunks until I’ve reached my FI point (projected in my late 30s) and travel full time…or start a family and “settle down” who knows?
Any thoughts or feedback from yourselves or other readers are very much appreciated, any pitfalls I can avoid along the way would be great!
All the best!
I’d work on flying for free. Pass as many of your expenses as possible through rewards credit cards.
No need to settle down if you start a family. Our little guy just passed the 1-year mark and has been to 7 countries.
I just found your blog and am inspired! My husband and I have a desire to travel, and have an alternative lifestyle, but just clueless as to how to get there. =) He’s in a $15/hr FT job in the financial industry, and and I’m in a $12/hr 30 hr/week job. He’s almost done with his AA in business, and we’ve not taken on any debt in that area! We’re trying to figure out how to do the BA and afford that, and in what field and where…and it’s overwhelming! We rent, don’t have kids yet (really want to), and taking 1 college class at a time is taking us forever to get to the point of affording to have a baby.
I’ve delved into some of the travel hacking, and we just took our first trip to Europe for almost free. Exciting stuff! We want to do more of that….but we don’t have much saved (even though we spend little and very frugally) or in a Roth. We’re in our late 20’s and just not sure where to begin…our lives have not had much financial help by parents and such, so we’re figuring this out on our own. It’s been slow going, but good.
What would your tips be on where to start for the schooling/financial freedom? We love the area, have a good church, and family nearby, but I’d be ok renting someplace. Rent here is definitely climbing…Our car is old and needing replaced and public transport isn’t good/reliable…so you really have to have a car (both of us do for jobs in separate areas). We’re thinking an online school would be the only option due to work schedules, but figuring out how to do that, fix/buy a car, AND do some sort of investing….is seemingly impossible! Other than that, we thrift shop, don’t own a TV/have cable, and rarely go to the movies/pay for hotels/theme parks/do pay activities. Any advice would be amazing!
Hi dailydeal, apologies in advance, your question needs more time and thought than I have to give.
A few things to consider though:
– public transit is terrible everywhere, and yet millions of people use it daily, oblivious to the idea that you absolutely must have a car to get by. As in most things, attitude is probably more important than any other factor.
– nobody needs a car to get to a $12/hr part time job. There are plenty of similar paying jobs within walking distance of where you live now. Or ride a bike or take public transit. See Jenny’s comment below, and look at the benefits as well as the hourly rate.
– I had a 30 hr/week job while taking 18 credits in an engineering program. Working more hours is one way to bring in more income – watch the movie The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, for a good example of how using public transit and working 80 hours a week can yield results. Use the resources you have available (youth, energy, desire.)
– With combined income of $27/hour, your annual earnings are at the median income level for the US. If you aren’t saving anything with that level of income, your spending is probably higher than it needs to be.
I guess my comparison was public transit in Budapest and Vienna….which was AMAZING. Here…my husband took the bus the first year of living in Iowa, it’s very unreliable. And you’re stuck out in the snow at a very early time of morning. But, that may be what we have to do…
My job is *almost* unnegotiable. It’s been a major blessing. It’s midday work, no weekends, casual, not retail, pays great benefits, and gives me about a month off in PTO each year, a week off in sick leave, and then normal holidays on top of that. I have a health condition that requires I miss a day each month, and they’ve been very understanding, given that I have to give them quite late notice. I haven’t found anything that compares. But a different job is something I’ve considered. My husband got this better job, and now the bus stop is nowhere near his work. It’s a pain, and we’d love to figure out something that would work to walk/bike/public transport to. Winter and lots of snow is a difficulty when biking/walking to work. We live in a VERY residential area and businesses are quite spread out…and just renewed our lease. :’\ But maybe moving is in the cards for next year to make all that easier!
Thanks for the encouragement in the working arena. We definitely can explore those options more!
We are saving, which I didn’t really clarify. However, it’s nowhere near as much as we’d like. We do have a charity donation (church) that we do, which takes some of that money, then we put some to various areas of our budget like medical/auto/gifts/saving/school/Roth IRA etc. I’m working on a side Etsy business, to hopefully start bringing in a little bit extra. We’ve wracked our brains for ages trying to figure out a means of a side gig…nothing yet for my husband. But we are continuing to try to be creative there!
Thank you, Jenny, for your recommendation! We’ll definitely check it out!
We just stumbled upon this blog from The Penny Hoarder, and both have read quite a few of your posts…and it’s very much given us a lot to think about! You pretty much changed our minds when it came to renting vs. buying! Now with all of these new ideas and dreams bouncing around our heads, we’re just trying to figure out step 1 and 2. :) Keep doing what you’re doing! It’s encouraging and motivating. We are going to try to create a plan and see what areas we can tweak to save quicker. Examine what we’re doing right now and hopefully see some areas to change or improve in.
One other question…do you see more benefits to your future for getting the engineering degree, other than helping you to save quicker to get you to the place you’re at now? We’ll be taking a closer look at higher-paying degrees in the near future…
I think an online education is a great start. I teach for ASU online and I would highly recommend their program. By the way, they have a partnership with Starbucks. Employees at Starbucks get either a free or highly discounted tuition. I would definitely check it out. I believe you only have to work part-time for the benefits, but double check.
awesome blog! inspiring on many levels and in many directions!
I was wondering if I can pick your brain!
My mother is planning on moving to the US after she retires (currently she lives in South America, but because of many reasons she wants to spend her retirement here in the USA).
I want to help her have the best financial situation possible. Her money is worth way less here than it is in her country, unfortunately.
But this is what she will be dealing with:
170K home in South america, available for sale if that’s the best option, vs renting it out for 600 dollars a month
30k year pension
What should she do with her money? Would you recommend investing the whole thing in a vanguard account, and pull 4% per year? That would give her 42,800 yearly income. I will be able to supplement that income by paying some of her expenses, such as rent or health insurance if necessary. If your recommendation is to invest, what portfolio allocation would you advise?
BTW she will be 62 when the move occurs.
Thanks in advance!
Hi, I stumbled across your site and I agree with most of your statements. I basically did the same thing as you about a decade ago but built it on different assumptions. You seem to have faith in the US Stock Market to generate your dividends. I di-vested from the US Stock Market about 10 years ago and bought a couple of multi-units and use this for passive income. Yes, I know the tax advantages are in your favor. Even though I agree if one is disciplined, by renting you can save a ton of money.. at least I did. However, I just didn’t like the fact I wasn’t in control of my living habitat. Therefore, I blended the concept of renting and wanting to control my living situation. I bought a couple of multi-units and my tenants pay my mortgage. So, I feel I have the best of both worlds where I live rent-free and mortgage-free but still own my property. Granted, I had to put 25% down on my property but the ROI was about 5 years and that has passed 5 years ago. Even though the stock market is outrageous and over-inflated, and you guys are making a great dividend, I found it hard to invest in US companies that treat their employees like slaves and would outsource their mother if they could. I don’t want to make a profit off of other US worker’s misery. So, I rent in a very hot rental market but I just keep my rates reasonable (probably 30% below rental market value) for the working class to be able to still live in the city. So, far, most of my tenants get it and great.
I still work but only if I want to. Since I am single, I could have retired in my 30’s. I never found my soul mate to travel the world like you guys did so I work on and off on computer gigs where I take 11 months off or 3 months or 8 months off. However, I travel over the world and hike, take care of my properties, and gardens, volunteer on projects to save parks, green spaces, AT trail maintenance, etc. I like to still keep my head in the game even though I am considered an “old” consultant… it doesn’t matter because I am at my prime with my skill set mixing business skills with my technical skills.
Consequently, I think what you are doing and explaining to Americans there is a world out there to explore and this is how you do it, is great.
Keep Up the Good Blogging… :)
Hi Jeremy and Winnie,
Your story really inspires me! I am from Malaysia, age 22 now, just started working and in the mid of repaying a 3 yr education loan provided by my employer. Do you have any advice to this circumstances of financial planning? I am still quite lost and confused on what I can actually start praparing now for my future.
There are some core principles to follow:
– target saving 50% (or more) of after-tax income (while minimizing taxes)
– invest those savings such that they grow faster than inflation (usually equities)
Hi Jeremy. First thank you. For sharing. I have new lightbulbs go on all the time as I read your blogs and the comments exchanged. My curiosity is forever piquied. I look forward to a new kind of journey to getting to FI.
One comment you made once has me stumped. You mentioned the last three years before you retired, you were contributing 100% of your income to your savings. I haven’t come across the story behind that in your blogs yet. I realize back then you were living a very low spend lifestyle, but how did you cover your basic living expenses?
Hi Lori, thank you kindly.
Those last 3 years of work our dividend income was sufficiently high to pay all of our (fairly low) expenses. All of my paychecks could be sent straight to the brokerage account.
i enjoy reading the your stories, and i share a lot the similarities with you on attitudes toward personal finance. out of the millionaire friends of mine including myself all share two things in common i think. save like crazy, and invest like crazy. this is i think the easiest way to get to financial freedom. you don’t need rich parents, you don’t need to win the lottery. no one is born as a perfect saver or perfect investor. but with an open mind, and constant self education. you will get better at it. it’s very doable.
Have to admit feeling ridiculous anxiety reading because I have no idea what anything means.
Do you have any references for finance noobs, such as myself, (the noob in this example went to school for music on a full ride and wound up being a waitress full time because she made no $$ as a musician) on what to read/where to start?
Thank you regardless for sharing such wonderful stories and information.
Hi Charity. A great place to start is the book The Simple Path to Wealth. You can get it for free at the local library or on Amazon.
Thanks for the inspiration!
My husband and I, with our little one, will test the waters by staying in Asia for 3 months. I’m wondering if you have any advise on what could be a cost effective way of withdrawing funds there. We have CAD so we are thinking of using Amazon Chaze to convert it to USD since it will cost just 1%, then withdraw thru ATMs into local currency, which could be costly.
I’d appreciate any advice.
It is best to avoid multiple currency conversions. We pay for everything on credit cards first, and just then use the ATM to get cash. ATM exchange rates are typically as good as credit cards. See this post for more.
Thanks for your reply. I guess we are all set. Have packed all our stuff and just put it to storage so we don’t have to pay the whole rent.
Meeting new people and learning new cultures sounds amazing. Visiting another country is life changing, especially if you can do it full time! Also, thanks for the great tips. I appreciate the advice with managing currency conversions.
Jeremy, what are your thoughts on this research by Wade Pfau that the 4% is more an anomaly and it should not be relied on for FIRE https://retirementresearcher.com/4-rule-work-around-world/
Mr Pfau has a great number of articles stating the 4% rule will fail. In this particular example, my main take away is that if the country in which you are 100% invested loses a world war, you probably have bigger things to worry about.
you mentioned in the ‘budets are sexy’ article that Winnie started working again….? so you are not completely retired anymore?
that was your quote: ‘… Pretty decent… Our household income this year will be around $110,000 between my wife’s new job and my online projects…’
You are lucky not to have to pay 50% or more taxes on your income as in Belgium.
A lot of people in the US pay ~50% tax rates – 25% federal, 15% social security, 9% state.
We just don’t get good health insurance and reasonably priced college education out of the deal.
Let’s say I hit it big on an individual stock and get the number I need to be FI. Would I have to sell the entire thing just in case the company tanks or are there other options??
This “thank you” is way overdue. I first learned of your story via a Forbes article. After clicking on the article I came to your website and BOOM, my life changed forever. It was through your blog I first learned of the early retirement and the whole FIRE movement. It’s been an incredible journey and I am so grateful you shared your story. Thank you, and I hope you continue to share all of your tax tips! It’s been incredibly helpful. Thanks for sharing your journey.
I think your site is curated so I would not expect to see this question on the site but would appreciate a return answer. Why is your instagram site gocurry cookie all of a sudden private? I loved looking at the pictures of GCCjr and the surrounding areas.
I think it is public now.
Brand new to the forum. Recently chose to turn it in. Brief story: 51, retired engineer, 100% debt-free, 3 children with college funding completely paid in full. Interested in beginning to hear others’ stories who are in similar situations. Considering doing the RV-thing over the next 5 – 10 years, but we have two boys still in college. Both are fully funded, but bride and I are concerned about being halfway across the country when something happens where one of our boys needs us.
Also trying to determine what to do with home. We own it outright but do NOT want to live at this location, or even use it as a home-base for the rest of our lives. Currently live in the Midwest but want to move back down to the southeast where most of our family resides and where my bride and I met, courted and married nearly 30 years ago.
Interested in finding the best literature for how to effectively come up with a realistic budget for traveling. Also interested in coming up with the best withdrawal method to fund our retirement. Been considering 72t distributions from IRA but not sure if that is the most appropriate. I traveled quite a bit for work but never with the bride. We want to start out by seeing the USA. The rest of the world is something we can tackle as time/opportunity permits. I’m honestly nowhere near as interested in seeing the world as I was 20 years ago.
You could look at The Earth Awaits for cost estimates on living abroad.
David, I traveled the USA in my 20’s – I’m in my 50’s now as well and also financially independent, but not retired. I own my own business (for a few decades now) and I still enjoy what I do, but I plan to retire soon. Most folks don’t realize how spectacular it is to travel and see the entire USA.
I was blessed to be invited to teach “Field Camps” while I was young – a required class for those obtaining a degree in geology (I have a B.S. and M.S. in Geology/Geophysics). The classes I taught with Univ. of NC at Charlotte and UF went to several national parks. Within a few year period, I visited places, such as: the Grand Canyon, Brice, Arches, Dinosaur, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Glacier, Yellowstone, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison (one of my favs), and we stopped at numerous state/local parks while driving across the USA. I spent a summer living in Yosemite and I’ve been to every state in the US except Alaska; will be going to check that off the bucket list for sure.
The US is still relatively pristine compared to many of the older European countries, which I like to visit as well but haven’t done much of that overall. I have visited some foreign countries such as: Prague, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Australia (all highly recommended). My view, see the USA first. Always plenty of time to visit historical sites in Europe (it ain’t getting much older and it won’t change much). The US, on the other hand, is getting developed and slowly aging.
I think your plan to see the USA now is a good one. Enjoy!
Thank you for the response Greg. You are in an enviable position inasmuch as you have your own business that you enjoy, yet you have been able to do what many in this country will never be able to do. Well done!!
Starting a small biz/pursuing occasional extra income is a topic I will want to discuss on the forum in the future. However, for the time being, I am much more concerned with figuring out the next phase(s) of my marriages life. Up until now, our lives were always on a trajectory where I knew what we were doing, where we were going (or at least I told myself I did), how we were going to get there, where to go after that, etc. etc. etc. Considering I was an engineer, and eventually a department manager in my former life, my entire life was based on planning, executing and learning from my mistakes such that they did not happen again.
I am now officially in uncharted territory. I have no designs on passing the way in which both of my grandfathers died: One of a massive heart attack on the job, the other on the operating table from a massive coronary embolism.
I do not know if this was pure coincidence or not, but I actually received my BS in Electrical Engineering from UNC Charlotte. I moved to MO shortly after graduation and have not been able to get back ever since, but that is one problem I plan to resolve within the next 3 – 5 years. Youngest is a freshman at UMKC and older is a junior at University of Missouri School of Science and Technology (plans to follow my lead into engineering as a dbl major in EE and comp sci). Anyway, I am in the process of getting our home in the shape to sell, we have already begun looking at various areas in the Carolinas, and I feel quite confident that my bride and I will be back in the Carolinas for good before we’re 60.
Once we’ve re-established our home-base, it will be time to hit the road. I’m at the very early stages of planning out a 12 – 18 month road-trip, starting out on the coast and following it south and west until we get to the upper northwest. Once we get up there and explore the great redwoods, follow I-5 up the coast, work out way through wine country, etc. etc., then we will start working our way back down through the Sierras and kind of loosely zig-zag our way across the rest of the country until we end up back in the Carolinas.
Due to my former career, I was able to see much of the country on the companies dime. However, I designed control systems for power plants. For anyone who knows anything about power plants, they need to be 1. near a water supply and 2. out in the middle of NOWHERE b/c no one wanted to see those old coal-fired power plants spewing out what many people believed was coal-dust laden exhaust gas. So, much of my career included seeing America, but I saw the parts of the country that only the hardiest of souls chose to live. Now it’s my time.
Sorry for the rambling response. Just getting into the planning phase of a new way of life so I’m trying to make certain I don’t get too excited without being realistic, but what I/we want to do seems more than somewhat reasonable.
I have really enjoyed reading your blog, especially the sections on finance, investing and living off these. Having worked online as a programmer, marketer and product owner, I now have a semi-retired lifestyle living in Malaysia with my family. Whilst I am not comfortable looking to living off our investment just yet, we’re fine for a number of years ahead.
I am keen to invest into creating online income streams to supplement investment income and am working on these now.
Thanks for providing so much information and wish you guys all the best, enjoy family life and even more travel!
Imagine someone being proud of never paying taxes. That’s Trump (who paid $750 in his lifetime). Taxes are the price of living in a civilized society. He’s living off the investments of others. Sad commentary that someone is proud of living off others’ backs.
I don’t live in your country, ma’am. How much should I pay in taxes?
Also, the rules clearly state no whining until after you answer the question.
I read on one of your posts, can’t find it now, that you utilized 0% credit cards to get an edge on paying off your student loans. I currently have Federal student loans and have taken advantage of the 0% interest. However, come Feb 1st the interest rate goes back up to 5.18%. We could pay it off by Jan 31st but that would drain our savings and probably not the wisest move. We have Chase cards that we love. The Chase Slate Edge offers a 0% balance transfer and 0% APR for 12 months. But Chase said I cannot transfer (consolidate) my student loans to the credit card. Plus, the Fed gov will not let me pay for my student loans with a credit card. So, my question is, how did you utilize your credit card(s) to pay your student loans? I’m stumped!
I used those cash advance checks – you can use them to pay anybody that will take a check. At the time there was a promotion for no fees and 0% APR… so I was paying 0% instead of 7-8%.
I did this 3 times – for student loans, for a car loan, and to eliminate PMI on a mortgage. The post you are referencing might be this one: Clawing Out of Debt.
If you can get no/low fees for cash advance checks, this could be a good option for you also. Or… if you don’t expect to use an emergency fund in the near future, it is better to pay off a 5.18% loan with cash savings than to let it linger in an account earning 0.01% – net worth is the same either way. Money is fungible. You’ll have improved cash flow after eliminating the loan to help rebuild the savings.