How to retire really, really, really young


A recent story on CNBC (H/T: FWF) about people who try to retire by age 40 piqued our interest. Here’s the intro:

To most people, “retiring early,” means 55. But to Jason Fieber, that’s too long to wait.

Everything Fieber does is with one goal: Retiring well before he hits the big 4-0. Fieber, a 30-year-old service adviser at a car dealership in Sarasota, Fla., even moved to the Sunshine State from his Michigan home, in large part to live in a state without income tax. The sunnier climate has a side benefit, too, in that it allows him to more comfortably use the bus to get everywhere without a car.

By keeping costs down, Fieber, who earns $50,000 a year, is saving 60% of his net income each year and has saved more than $100,000 in three years. He figures he can bank more than $400,000 by the time he’s 35. That’s plenty for him to retire on, he figures, since he only spends $15,000 a year.

In a nutshell, the early-early-retirement game is about extreme expense management, thus enabling some pretty hefty savings until you’re throwing off enough income to support yourself. It’s not for everybody. As another super-early retiree says, “The key is living like you did when you were a student.”

We can’t speak for everybody, but we didn’t live particularly well when we were students and have no desire to replicate that lifestyle. But to each his own–the whole point of taking an interest in personal finance is to live the life you want, so more power to these folks.

Of course, some people think age 40 is too long to wait, and that $15,000 is way too much to spend in a year. There’s an fascinating website called Early Retirement Extreme for just such an audience. Website founder Jacob Fisker retired at age 33–here is his story, and here is how he lives on $7,000 per year. (One piece of advice for you who aspire to this lifestyle: don’t have kids.)

Again, not our cup of tea exactly, but whether the topic is signing up for 11 credit cards at once, getting by on $583 per month, or the Forbes billionaire list, it’s always fun to read tales of those who dwell on the tail ends of any particular financial bell curve to see what we can learn.

(This article was an Editor’s Pick on the Carnival of Personal Finance at Reach Financial Independence.)

4 comments… add one

  • Why would anyone sign up for 11 credit cards at once? That’s crazy! 😉

    • Please tell me you made it to a million points. I’m living vicariously through you this month.

  • I have a few thousand more to go to get to a million. One more day…

  • I retired from the corporate world at 29, but wouldn’t want to live like a student again, eating rice only and having no luxuries. If he reverts to a normal lifestyle at 35 it can be worth the sacrifice instead of working 25 more years to pay for things he can do without.


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