By: Jocelyn Schwalm
Retiring at the age of 30 seems like a luxury limited to young heirs who’ve managed to inherit millions of dollars from their wealthy parents. However, for this particular blogger, inheritance wasn’t a necessity for success. In fact no six-figure job was required at all. An anonymous man named Pete, whose last name has been withheld on his blog, retired at the age of 30 with enough money to sustain him for the rest of his life. He now operates a blog dedicated to demonstrating the financial tricks and minimalistic lifestyle which have allowed him to turn his dream of early retirement to raise his child, into a reality.
Mr. Money Moustache and his wife both had careers as hard-working engineers before retirement. With the average salary of an engineer being $65,496, the two had a decent starting point for saving around 66% of their income. The concept seems rather ludicrous for those who live normal middle-class lifestyles and keep close tabs on their money.
Mr. Money Moustache gives simple reasoning for our excessive debts, saying that this is because we live in a society of luxury and decadence, which is now confused as the norm. Once establishing this, he started to spend around 50% less money than his peers. While everyone else was spending money on nights out at restaurants, brand new cars and expensive engagement rings, he prides himself on not getting sucked into the excessive lifestyle his peers had been leading without question. For someone who sees luxury as weakness, he seems to have his life together in other ways. Albeit tough, the whole process isn’t impossible as demonstrated by another 30-something professional who made the decision to retire at the age of 33.
Thrifty-gal, a lawyer who had a law career for a total of 5 years, chose to follow the same path and quit her job not long after it took off. She says that although she understands that overall she has relatively little control, she feels extremely grateful to be in control of her financial situation as it offers her freedom in all aspects of her life. She rationalizes that being thrifty for a set period of time is worth the ability to live a life by your own terms.
These two seemingly normal individuals have managed to set themselves up for financial freedom without any unusual monetary rewards. They have even offered insightful tips into setting yourself up for early retirement. Just to name a few, Mr. Money Moustache stresses the importance of focusing on happiness instead of convenience. This covers a broad spectrum of ideas, but is mostly bringing attention to the fact that we are living in a society that wants everything now, and although that may bring with it momentary happiness, it won’t supply long-term fulfillment.
He says the two investments you should be making are in yourself and your house – nothing else. This includes using a bike instead of a car, although it would be much more convenient to own a car, the exercise and lack of costs makes the bike a much more fitting mode of transportation. Food also seems to be a big area in which we accidentally dispense loads of money. Millennials as a cohort tend to eat out almost daily, losing plenty of money weekly, without even realizing the damage to our wallets.
The final tip is to place more emphasis on the experience of a vacation than the luxury aspect. Instead of going to New York City and staying in a 5-star hotel, opt for a family camping trip close to home. So if happy hour with your coworkers is calling your name, where a glass of wine is priced at 15 dollars for 6oz., you may want to step back and ask yourself: do I want to live a life of extravagance or freedom?