I am reviewing “Financial Freedom” by Grant Sabatier (Chapter 14 – Living a Richer Life) for Rockstar Finance and Millenial Money).
music selection: “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town” — Pearl Jam
Chapter 14 is about living a richer life. It is the “why” of the whole book and to me the most interesting chapter. Grant notes, “When I was broke, money meant anxiety, stress, and missed opportunities. When I didn’t have money, it was all I thought about.” Six years into early retirement this really spoke to me. Those of you are still working have only the faintest idea of early retirement really means. The peace, the joy, the freedom, and the satisfaction of a life well lived.
I agree with the book’s premise that so long as you make a somewhat decent salary and save 40-50% of your take home pay you can realistically retire in 10-15 years without even needed any type of special luck. Heck, really hit the accelerator and save 75%; you’ll do it in 5 to 7. Grant proves it with case studies like the ones below.
Steve and Courtney committed to saving 70% of their income. It opened up opportunity to travel the country in an Airstream trailer. They hit their goal of 890,000 at the tender age of 35. They expected to live off of 25-30k a year into perpetuity. They spent less and are now millionaires. You can follow Steve at Think, Save, Retire.
Michelle was a financial analyst. She walked away from that in 2013 to blog full time after blogging part time at Making Sense of Cents. After paying off student loans, Michelle realized she could be free if she saved. Peak savings rate hit 90%! Her blog made 1.5 million and she was financially free. She could close down the blog but she loves it. Money is no longer an object. She works for love.
Anita suffered from clinical depression. Her first job out of college earned about 40k a year working in insurance. She wanted to be free of 70 hour work weeks and decided to take out 100,000 in loans to attend law school. She soon landed an attorney job doing corporate merger and acquisition work. She made between 160k to 310k over a 5 year legal career. She saved 85% by living frugally in a modest apartment and avoiding the typical hot shot attorney lifestyle inflation. She paid off her student loans in her first year working and walked away from the world of traditional work at thirty three. She blogs at The Power of Thrift.
Justin was a civil engineer making between 48k and 69k a year over a ten year career. He found he had money left over at the end of the month and started saving. He and his wife saved between 50 and 70% without ever setting a formal savings target. Eventually, Justin was let go by his employer. But after running the numbers, he realized it was a blessing. He didn’t need no stinkin’ job. He blogs at Root Of Good.
Kristy and Bryce worked in IT in Canada. Their corporate lives were a grind but they were happy savers. They eschewed the traditional wisdom of buying a house. With their primary focus on saving, they reached financial independence at 31 and 32 with a little over a million saved. They now do charity work. You can follow them at Millennial Revolution.
J.P. retired at the tender age of 28 after making good money in financial services. She was a liberal arts major but quickly discovered after her interview with a financial services firm she could retire early by avoiding lifestyle inflation. She lived in a 300 square foot NY apartment and saved over 80% of her income. It only took five years to walk away. You can read more about J.P. at The Money Habit.
Brandon worked in web development. He was able to attract 15 to 25% raises by changing jobs. He and his wife Jill, determined through trial and error they could be perfectly happy on a budget between 38k and 45k a year. By saving aggressively, focusing on tax advantaged accounts, and keeping taxes low, they were able to retire at thirty two.
I hope you found that motivating if you are still wondering if it is really possible. More and more, regular every day people achieve financial independence and transform their lives. But start with gratitude. If you make $34,000 a year or more, you are already in the top 1% of the entire world. Your life is probably already more rich than you realize. Capitalize on that by making the most of the things that matter and not the things that require the most spending. You will join the FIRE cohort any day now!
Devour your prey raptors!