Could you imagine retiring in your 30s and traveling the world, enjoying the rest of your life and not worrying about your finances? You could always win the lottery and make that happen, right? Wrong; most people who win the lottery end up even more financially troubled than they were before they won, and that’s just a fact. However, that aside, what if I were to tell you that one couple was able to take control of their financial life and retire when they were in their 30s? And no, they were not trust fund babies or instant millionaires thanks to the fact that they began a successful business or something of that nature. In fact, they are two everyday people who worked their everyday jobs for a few years after graduating college, saved up $1 million and decided to retire. They’re now traveling the world and enjoying life, currently awaiting the birth of their first child in Taiwan, where they’ve decided to live for the time being.
Sounds pretty good, right? Being in your 30s, happily married, becoming parents and traveling the world doing what you want when you want; that’s the American dream. Forget being a homeowner; that’s what life is all about. Sadly, not everyone is capable of living life in the same manner as Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng. These two really did a number on their financial lives and it’s paid off for them in a way that most people just cannot believe. So how did they do it on a $40,000 a year income? They did it in a way that you might not actually believe. They saved their money and they made investment choices that paid off.
The first thing that this couple did was pay off their debts. Even though they were tens of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduated college, they applied every single dollar they had toward paying off their debts. If they were able to end the month with an additional $10 in their account, they would use that to pay down a debt. This couple was dedicated. Once their debts were paid, they decided to start investing. They put their retirement plan into place using index funds and 401(k) plans. They withdraw only 4% of their retirement each year, which they estimate is only their interest, which allows them to maintain the balance of their accounts without actually touching that money at all. With this thought process, they pay no taxes and they incur no taxes. They will manage to see an income of around $3 million in the next 30 years if they continue to save and spend the way that they do now.
But the most important thing that this couple does in their life is keep their expenses low. They both lived and worked in Seattle when they were working, and what they did was astounding. Even in a city with a relatively high cost of living, they were able to live on next to nothing, spending the bare minimum on food, rent and everything else. They did not own cars, which saved on gas and insurance. They rented an apartment that was barely big enough for the two of them, and they bought as few groceries as possible. It really paid off by allowing the couple to pay off their debts and then pay as much as possible to their retirement and savings accounts. At one point after college, they were making really good money and spending less than $2000 per month on every single expense they had. That left a lot of disposable income to invest and improve their financial future.
Now they are 38 and 33 and living their dream in Taiwan. They are a couple that knows how to save money and stretch a dollar, and they don’t feel as if they are missing out on anything at all. In fact, they are doing what they love to do, which is traveling the world. They’re now expecting their first child and have settled – for the time being – in Taiwan, where they will give birth and begin their new life as a family of 3. What’s particularly nice about this is that they are going to get to do what few other parents get to do; they are going to get to be with their child, both of them, on a daily basis.
For those wondering how it’s even possible; it is. You, too, can live just like this couple if only you make the decision to live as frugally as possible and invest as much as possible. What this couple has done is not all that far-fetched, either. They just did what many other people are incapable of doing, which is forgoing the materialistic things in life so that they can afford the important things in life. After all, designer shoes and luxury cars only last so long before they lose their novelty. Being able to travel the world and see everything they’ve ever wanted to see while spending their days and nights with their family and owing their time to no one but themselves is priceless.
If you want to change your life, take control of your finances and put a million dollars in your bank account; do it. It is not going to be easy. It’s going to take some serious adjustment, and it’s probably going to make you crazy at times. But if you do this now, imagine what your life will be like in 5 or 10 years. Imagine being able to raise your kids wherever you want, doing whatever you want and not having to worry about money or finances or retirement. That feeling is not one that I’m familiar with, but it’s something that I imagine would be a nice feeling. Of course, at 31, I’d be getting a late start in comparison to this couple, but there is a good chance I could do the same thing at 40. And that’s a lot younger than most people retire.
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