Published January 24th, 2017
This is a guest contribution by Go Curry Cracker. It proves that early retirement through conscious living and intelligent investing is attainable.
Jeremy, Winnie, and Julian are a nomadic family, currently somewhere in Asia. They share lifestyle design and money optimization ideas on their blog Go Curry Cracker, and wicked cool travel photos on Instagram.
Vacation was coming to an end. 3 weeks of jumbo shrimp, tropical cocktails, and scuba diving went by much too fast, and I could feel the tension creeping back into my neck and shoulders.
I liked my job, I think… but work-life balance was anything but balanced.
Who decided that long holidays and summers off were only for school children? Why do I need to be in an office full of distractions when I do my best work elsewhere?
I wondered if it was possible to create such freedom. What if work revolved around life rather than the other way around?
Yet… aren’t there ways to make money other than a job? Could I earn an income while reading books on the beach, playing music, or creating art?
Could interest income be a way to a new life? Just recently I had finally paid off my student loans and built up a small savings.
I quickly checked my savings account. Last month I earned… six cents!
Something needed to change.
And change it did.
Exactly 10 years and a day later I completely retired from full time work while still in my 30s. Investment income grew from $0.06 per month to more than $8,000, completely tax-free.
Now instead of 3 weeks of vacation per year, we have fifty-two. My wife and I have spent the past 4 1/2 years roaming the globe. Our first child joined us nearly 2 years ago, visiting 16 countries in his first 16 months.
The path we walked was simple, but not necessarily easy.
I’m a complete numbers geek and focused my engineering degree on revolutionizing our lifestyle and finances.
Most households spend the lion’s share of their income on housing, transportation, and food. I ruthlessly slashed spending on the “Big 3.”
I sold my house and moved into a rented room close to work.
I sold my car and motorcycle and rode a bike everywhere.
I shunned restaurants and made simple meals at home.
When we got married, we did so at the county courthouse with no rings. Our first honeymoon was spent hiking the Wonderland Trail, for free. (Our 2nd honeymoon was to Hawaii, also for free.)
With spending on the Big 3 under control, we focused on skill development to reduce costs even further.
I once paid a CPA and Financial advisor, but now I manage our own taxes and investments with better results.
My wife wanted to be a world-class chef, and now the best meals in town come from her kitchen.
Over time, we increased our savings rate to more than 70% of after-tax income.
During my final 3 years of work, we lived off dividends and my entire paycheck went straight to our freedom fund.
People are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of things, the advertisers say.
Do we really want things? Or experiences? Or would we rather have freedom?
Thanks to the miracle of compound interest, we no longer have to choose.