How the Path to Early Retirement is Like Learning to Drive a Car.

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed. – David Viscott

Want to take control of your finances and reach for early retirement, but you're confused with where you should start? Let me help you with the first step.

How many of you were scared to learn how to drive a car?  I know I was!  I was scared, nervous and excited.  And you know what?  Taking control of your money and fighting for financial independence and early retirement gives me those same feelings!

Scared that once I am retired something will happen and I’ll have to go back to work.

Nervous because I’m doing so well on this journey so far and I don’t want to mess it up!

Excited because the thought of freedom and financial independence is exhilarating!

This post has been stewing in my head for about a week now and when I finally was able to start writing, the thought hit me.  The road to FIRE is like the road to getting your driver’s license.

There are so many steps to achieve both.

The first step is learning.

Before you actually get your license you have to take a class and learn the rules of the road, right?  When is it safe to pass?  What does that sign mean?  Should you use your high beams or low beams in the fog?

While financial independence doesn’t require you to pass a test, it is a good idea to learn about 401k’s and IRA’s, fees, taxes, investments, withdrawal rates and so much more.  It’ll make the journey a lot less confusing.

Start reading books on financial independence.  Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is great and one that I’ve read about five times now.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is also great for helping you get out of debt.  He also has a radio show that is pretty entertaining and I highly suggest checking out.  I listen to it on my drive home from work.

Then there are the hundreds of personal finance blogs with tons of tips and tricks to help you along your journey.  Mr. Money Mustache and jlcollinsnh are two of my favorites and provide a ton of information on the FIRE movement.

I started reading books and websites when I was deep in debt.  Like $50k in debt.  I knew I had a long way to go, but I wasn’t sure what I needed to do exactly.  After doing a bunch of reading I started doing Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. Continue reading “How the Path to Early Retirement is Like Learning to Drive a Car.”

If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now

If you can implement some or all of the items on this list your journey to early retirement will be short and sweet. The hardest part is actually starting.“The thing to do is to make so much money that you don’t have to work after the age of twenty-seven. In case this is impracticable, stop work at the earliest possible moment, even if it is at a quarter past eleven on the morning of the day when you find you do have enough money.”-Robert Benchley

Dreaming of Early Retirement

While I won’t retire by the time I’m 27(I’m 36), I’m hoping to retire before I’m 45.  I’m getting more and more antsy at work.  I pretty much daydream about early retirement whenever there’s downtime.

Even though I’m not retired yet, the following list are things that I have done or currently do to help me reach early retirement as fast as possible.  If you follow this list, or do only some of the items on the list, it should help you reach early retirement as well!

Max Out Your 401k and IRA if Possible

Look, I know it’s really hard to save that much money.  Start small!  It was only 4 years ago that I was putting in 3% every paycheck.  3% was the amount I needed to contribute to get the match.  I wanted to pay down my debts before I really started investing.

Once I was debt free I slowly started contributing more and more until I was comfortable contributing the max amount.  I’m pretty sure I changed my contribution amount like four times in one year!

Pay Off Debt

Some people suggest paying off all debt before investing anything.  When I was in debt, I saved enough to get the 401k match and then focused on paying off my debts.  Making sure that my emergency fund was fully funded when I was paying off my debt was also a high priority for me.

I kept a fully funded emergency fund because I had been laid off before at a time when I wasn’t in a secure financial situation and IT SUCKED! Thanks to parental help, I made it through, but it’s a situation that I never wanted to be in again. Continue reading “If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now”

Guest Post: Who Honked at Me? Or, Why You Should Walk to Work

Awesome guest post by blogger thefutureFIT on the benefits of walking to work.Hi everyone! I’m thefutureFIT (FIT is short for Financially Independent Teacher.) I’ve recently learned of the ideas of FIRE, and I’m changing my life around. I teach English in a middle school. I want to capture some thoughts about what it means to live frugally as a teacher because I think we have some interesting experiences. You can catch more of my journey and these thoughts at theFIteacher.com. Thanks!

Who Honked at Me?

Or, Why You Should Walk to Work

Somebody honked at me on the way to work the other day. I was on the side of the road, a 4 lane road, on a sidewalk, walking to school. I was feeling pretty great about life. Walking really does improve your mood, even near traffic. In fact, I was feeling ecstatic. I was thinking about how I’m saving money lately, how I’m getting in better shape, how I’m having an overall fun time. Then it happened. Some jerk honked at me.

I knew this would happen…

Since I’ve started walking to school, I’ve been wondering about what the drivers are seeing. Are they seeing me? Are they going by too fast to even notice? Would they stoop so low as to spend a second of their precious time gazing at a passerby?

I began to think, for the first few days, that everyone that drove by noticed me. I began to stress that everyone was looking and judging.

This is not the case! Since I’ve been walking, now about a month and a half, I’ve seen many of my coworkers drive by in the onslaught of the commute. But hardly anyone has ever mentioned anything about it. I think for the most part everyone is pretty much in the zone when they are driving.

It isn’t all bad/Get in your own zone!

Walking frees up some time to think. Whereas all those drivers whizzing past get caught up in the traffic, in the lights, in the noise, and in the danger, you, the walker, can think freely. You can smell the fresh air, the still-crisp winter mornings. You can see that the trees are beginning to bloom. These blooms are small, and only a few trees have them, but they are already there! That is insane; it is only February! Continue reading “Guest Post: Who Honked at Me? Or, Why You Should Walk to Work”

My First $100k Was Definitely The Hardest

Hello everyone!

I Made My $100k Net Worth Goal!

I made my goal of reaching $100k net worth by the end of 2016. This post details how I started on my journey to early retirement.So I made my goal of having a $100k net worth by the end of 2016.

I’m so happy!

Most of the year I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to hit my goal, but then November came and the markets have been going up and up ever since.

I felt like I had my foot trapped in a hole in the ground and I couldn’t go anywhere.  I was just struggling to break free and then suddenly I was able to yank my foot out and now I’m just running and running.

Lately I was just feeling like I was clawing and fighting to get ahead financially.  Now that I’ve reached the magical $100k I can calm down. Maybe.

In my spare time I read a lot of financial blogs and they always say if you save a lot of money, consistently, retirement will happen in 10, 15 years.  They always make it seem like those years will fly by.  Retirement will happen before I know it.

It’s not like that at all.

It’s slow.  It’s frustrating.  It seems like I’m never going to get there. Huge gains are followed by large expenses.  My net worth is increasing at the slowest rate ever!

At the age of 17 I got my first job.  I’ve worked consistently since then.  It’s taken me 19 years to reach a net worth of $100k.  I feel like I should have been here a long time ago.

The Day My Life Changed

It was about 9 years ago that I added up all my debt-all the credit cards, car loans and school loans that were in my name.  The total stunned me.  $50k.  How in the hell did I get that far in debt?? Continue reading “My First $100k Was Definitely The Hardest”

November Financial Update with Net Worth

November Financial Update Hello!

I’m here with November’s financial update.  November was a pretty good month!  I spent a large part of it in the kitchen.

You see, Mr. Frugal Turtle loves pumpkin.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in pie, bread, muffins, bars, or cake.  If pumpkin is in a dessert.  He’s going to love it.

I love pumpkin also.  Maybe not quite as much as Mr. Frugal Turtle, but pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts.

My brother, knowing our love for pumpkins, decided to gift us around 30 pie pumpkins from his garden.  That’s a lot of pumpkin!

I don’t know how many hours I spent in the kitchen roasting, pureeing, draining, measuring, and scooping into freezer bags said pumpkin.  It was a lot!  I told Mr. Frugal Turtle that 2017 will be known as the Year of the Pumpkin in our household!  We’ll be baking and eating pumpkin desserts a couple of times a month if we want to use up all the pumpkin by the end of the year.

Spending so much time in the kitchen must have helped keep my expenses down, because I didn’t spend a whole lot!

The only unusual expenses for that month include an oil change for my car and a badly needed hair cut for me.  I still haven’t jumped on the cut your own hair bandwagon.  I’m scared! So, until I get over my fear, I’ll happily pay to get my hair cut a couple of times a year.

On to the numbers!

November net worth

By the end of November I had a net worth of $101,538.45.  I made my goal of $100k by the end of the year!!  I kept that little number to myself for a couple of days while I soaked it in.  Eventually I told Mr. Frugal Turtle.  He was pretty happy for me.

My net worth includes my retirement accounts and my regular savings account. Continue reading “November Financial Update with Net Worth”