I Retired at 33!

In the WildThrough careful saving and planning, I managed to accumulate enough wealth to make me financially independent by age 33.  I could also be variously described as unemployed, in between jobs, a stay at home dad, retired, or a kept man with a sweet sugar momma.  Call me what you want!

I have a lovely wife that is still working (for now) at an awesome place that is very flexible, has great benefits and pays relatively well.  Easy money on good terms is hard to turn down.

We live in North Carolina with our three generally wonderful children aged 2,7, and 9.

If you want to see all the details, check out the much longer version of “How I Retired Early at 33“.

 

So what kind of stuff will you find on Root of Good?

  • Personal Finance
  • Financial Independence
  • Investing
  • Having Kids without Breaking the Bank
  • Travel
  • Moneyhacks
  • Anything else that makes life more awesome!

 

Ok, sir, but why should I listen to you since you’re just some dude on the internet?

Most folks blogging about money and financial freedom on the internet fall into two categories: (1) deep in debt and deftly paying it off, or (2) hard core savers that accumulated great wealth at a young age.

I would put myself in the latter group.  Our household has grown moderately rich by being frugal, saving a large proportion of our earnings, and investing our assets wisely.  No winning lottery ticket ever fell into our pockets (who wastes money on lottery tickets anyway right? ).  No unknown rich great uncles that hate their immediate family have left us massive inheritances.  Yet.  Unfortunately we were born without a trust fund.  Neither of us have ever worked at a dot com or start up that paid out huge stock options eventually worth millions when Google or Facebook bought the start up.

My wife and I had regular jobs working roughly 9 to 5 each day and we saved most of our paychecks.  When we first started working after college, collectively we made well under $100,000 annually.  In 2013 when I quit working, our household income topped out around $150,000 annually.  While working, we consistently pumped our savings into 401k’s, IRA’s, HSA’s, 529′s, and regular brokerage accounts.  These investments grew enormously over roughly ten years and made us financially independent today.

 

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Why Root of Good?

Money is the Root of All Good.  If someone tries to persuade you otherwise, then they probably want some of your money, so watch out!

Money is a powerful tool in your hands.  It lets you do anything you want to do with your life.

My goal is to share some wisdom about money without boring you to tears.  On Root of Good you will find timely, relevant content that tells you how to get more money, keep more of your hard earned money, and invest your money so that it works for you over time.

 

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41 comments

  • Pingback: Welcome to Root of Good! | Root of Good

  • Just dropped by to say Hi. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog.
    Cheers! -Joe

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joe! I enjoy your blog, and your latest post about the first days of preschool brought back (mostly) good memories of our children’s first days of kindergarten.

  • Great read, thanx for sharing wih us…

  • Congrats on making the plunge at 33. This website has a great setup!

  • Just found your website, looking forward to reading your posts.

    • Thanks, Lisa! If you would like, you can subscribe to the blog via email or “like” me on facebook (to get updated when I post something new. Email and facebook links are to the right ———->

  • Hey,I too believe that money is the root of all good!I’ts been great finding your blog.I’m having a great time looking around!.

  • Thanks, Keerthika. Glad you could stop by!

  • Just found you through your post on the MMM message board. Will add you as a site to follow!

  • I just found your blog today. Looking forward to learning more. It looks like you have an interesting story.

  • Just found you on the MMM boards. A compelling story and a beautiful site! I’m planning to be in your position in a couple years, so I’m really looking forward to more articles with your perspective from ‘the other side’.

    (Based on what I’ve seen so far, we would very likely be friends.)

  • I’m interested in starting a blog myself, on my own financial journey. I am fairly tech savvy, have built web sites etc so using some blogging software and hosting it seems easy. I’m more interested in how you learned (or are learning) to monetize your blog – ads/banners/clicks and all that stuff that turns a hobby and a sharing of information into passive income.

    All the wealthy financial people on TV seem to get rich by writing books about it – about the slow and steady pace, the discipline to LBYM, shrewd asset allocation etc. None of them have actually hit the lotto or made spectacularly smart single-stock investments.

    Appreciate if you can include some of the “how to blog” in your blog because making money on the blog is all part of financial independence, right?

    thanks.

    • I mostly learned on the fly how to use Google Adsense and incorporate it onto the blog. It is relatively easy using wordpress as the blog software.

      Good tip on putting up something about “how to blog”. I’m no expert by any means, but I can certainly relate my experience starting a blog and the various steps to go through.

      The best advice I have heard is to just start writing. Put up good content and don’t worry about monetizing too much at the very beginning.

      As for making money at blogging, I think of it as the NBA. A number of bloggers make a decent income, many more make a little. Maybe not quite NBA disparities in income, but you get the gist. I made $32 in my first month of blogging for reference. Enough to pay for a few months of website hosting! My financial independence will be funded by income from my investment portfolio, and not blogging income. Any income from blogging is just gravy. It’ll probably mean slightly nicer or longer vacations or something fun.

      If you are interested in blogging and eventually monetizing your content, consider starting your blog at a paid internet host. I think all the free blogger websites won’t allow you to do any real monetization like adsense advertising or affiliate links. If you are interested in setting up a new site, Hostgator was extremely easy to use and configure with WordPress. Also very affordable (around $80 for a year). Check out hostgator from my recommendations page at http://rootofgood.com/recommendations/ and you can save 25% off the regular price using my coupon code ROOTOFGOOD25 . Shameless plug there, but they were very easy to use to get started and have worked well so far.

      • Thanks again for the information. I dont mind paying a little bit to get a blog going on a site that will eventually allow me to monetize.

        I’m a regular reader of Joe’s blog Retireby40 and Financial Samurai to name a few. I also enjoy the ER.org forum and the Bogleheads forum. I am also a Dave Ramsey fan — skipping the religious stuff he spews, his common sense (your grandma gives this same advice) is spot on, although his target audience is generally the financially handicapped who are struggling to climb their way (snowball their way) out of debt or on the verge of a major crisis…. versus the financially more sophisticated which you tend to find in the aforementioned blogs and forums. He makes a LOT of money on his money programs – materials – books – podcasts – etc.

        As I talk to my peers, I think I have a somewhat unique angle to FI , which i think will differentiate me from other bloggers and make my content interesting. That said, I am not such a well versed writer – but i enjoy writing (A’s in english in high school and an older sister who is a writer/author). Nor am I actually retired yet….

        I would plan to Blog as a means of keeping busy when I retire early…. likely discussing how I got to that point in my career and financial life…. and then blog about my explorations and my personal path to find and implement an Act II “how I spend retirement” of sorts (such as forging a new career or launching a business etc not for financial reasons, more for mental health reasons).

        What do you think? What was the deciding factor to launch your blog?

        Do you recommend inviting other bloggers in to be “guest bloggers” or just sticking with my own content at first?

        • Sounds like we are reading many of the same things (except I don’t do Dave Ramsay and kind of made fun of him here just a bit!).

          The beauty of the blog is that you can make it what you want. I think “interesting” is better than regurgitated personal finance advice. I recall seeing Sam at Financial Samurai struggling with writing generic personal finance advice instead of his normally more interesting posts. I say do what is fun and interesting for you. It may not be the optimal way to get traffic, but individuals who like reading your blog will be likely to come back for more, and subscribe, and comment, and share you on facebook, or mention you to their friends.

          I think your ideas of writing about your story to FI and what you plan on doing post-retirement in terms of hobbies and business startups sounds interesting. I’d read it.

          I remember sitting in a cube years ago reading tales of people traveling the world, doing outrageous things. Bring a little of the excitement that comes with being FI. Share it with your readers.

          Why did I decide to blog? I have toyed with the idea for a while. I figured I have plenty of free time, so why not learn the technical side of blogging? The technical side interests me as much as the writing/research side of blogging. Like you said, good mental exercise.

          For content, I would depend on yourself initially. Network with other bloggers. Joe at retireby40 stops by here sometime, and I stop by his site. I imagine other bloggers that would potentially guest post are likely to agree to guest post if they like your content. I personally get way more excited reading solid interesting content than seeing a really pretty website design.

          I have a blog swap/guest post coming up soon with Nick at pretired.org. It seems we have some philosophies in common, and we like each other’s writing.

          If you think you might want to start the blog, go for it! Block off a Saturday or some time, and just sit down and jump in. Most of the internet hosting sites let you buy just a month up front, so you could really be out of pocket almost nothing (maybe $15-20 including domain registration), and see how your first month or two goes. Maybe you get 2 months in and decide it is stupid, no one reads your blog, you hate writing, etc. Just cancel your web hosting and close it down! You’ll never know if you never try it. I think hostgator (where I am) offers 30 or 45 days 100% refund if you want to cancel, but check the terms on that.

          Good luck with whatever you decide!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. I found you through MMM.

  • Hey Justin…Very interesting story and I think we went very similar paths. Except you’re financially independent and probably smarter! =) I’m also 33, have always been frugal…went to state university…worked one year and then went to law school part time while working full time. There was no state option where I lived (NYC), unless I moved 7 hours away. There is a city university but then I’d have to quit my job which I don’t know if I could have done. But my student loans would definitely be a lot less. I also work in government and the pension is a bit of a golden handcuff. I’ve been scanning a few of your articles…but will read them more when I get the chance. Glad I found your blog!

    • Those pensions can be curses in disguise. I wish my former employer had an opt out available where they would give you a 4-6% 401k match instead of spending 15% of your salary (on top of the 6% withheld from your paycheck) to prop up their pension. If you leave before vesting in the pension, the 15% they put into the pension on your behalf is worthless. I think the governmental employers would be better served having market rate pay and market benefits to include defined contribution plans with matches. If employees come and go between the public and private side, awesome! More exchange of information and ideas.

      Glad you stopped by! Do you have a target year to reach financial independence, or is it 20+ years to get a pension?

      • I agree about pensions…unlike my co-workers/other union members, I would prefer a good 401k match. My wife just started a government job and they keep diluting the pension and now it takes 10 years to vest. I used to work in the federal government where there is a match and a pension (though a less generous pension). I don’t have a target date to reach financial independence…and would like it to happen earlier than 20+ years! But it is very generous…works out to about 60% of my salary. Also, living in NYC doesn’t help as housing is ridiculously expensive, but we have so much family and friends here so no plans to leave.

        • I would run your numbers and see if you can retire comfortably at an earlier date than 20+ years. If your pension rules were like mine, you could still get something at age 65 with as little as 5 years service.

          In my case it would have been $100/month in 2013 dollars, and I never intended to put in more than 5 years or so at the government job, so I was planning on pulling out my pension contributions anyway.

          When I was doing the analysis, I figured somewhere around 10-15 years of service is the point at which it made sense to leave the money in the pension plan. Also check to see if you can buy extra years of service. I know people who bought back time for periods when they worked in temp or part time jobs for cities, the state, or state universities. Apparently it is a great return on investment, but I never researched it further.

  • Pingback: Pretirement story: Leaving work for good at age 33 | Pretired.org

  • Just discovered your blog, but congrats on being able to retire at 33! That’s so awesome!

  • Great story! Thanks for sharing, I’m impressed that you retired so young and am hoping to do the same one day!

  • Looking forward to seeing more of your blog! Awesome job!

  • “Money is the root of all good”.. I love it..:)

    Frank

  • Nice Blog and truly inspiring stuff..will be following your blog regularly

  • Great story and inspiration for anyone looking for some FI wisdom. Thanks for sharing your life story and look forward to many more updates.

  • An impressive achievement, so inspiring how you’ve managed to do it by 33.

  • I remember coming by here long ago and gaining a big part of my inspiration – thanks so much and I’ll try to comment more and lurk less!

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