Apparently there’s a guy in Colorado who, along with his wife, retired by the time he was 30. He also has a blog that attracted a fair amount of attention. You can read his story in this article.
His story supports a conversation I’ve had many times. Someone will ask me, “When can I retire.” I say, “You can retire any time you want. It’s a question of lifestyle.” The gentleman in the story lives on about $25,000 annually, and says his family really can’t spend that much. So, they probably don’t do or have a lot of things in the typical retirement. They’re also not fully retired. In addition, to his blog, he has other activities, some of which bring in income. Not everyone can do this, but it’s an interesting tale, and many people can learn some lessons.
But I didn’t start saving and investing particularly early, I just maintained this desire not to waste anything. So I got through my engineering degree debt-free — by working a lot and not owning a car — and worked pretty hard early on to move up a bit in the career, relocating from Canada to the United States, attracted by the higher salaries and lower cost of living.
Then my future wife and I moved in together and DIY-renovated a junky house into a nice one, kept old cars while our friends drove fancy ones, biked to work instead of driving, cooked at home and went out to restaurants less, and it all just added up to saving more than half of what we earned. We invested this surplus as we went, never inflating our already-luxurious lives, and eventually the passive income from stock dividends and a rental house was more than enough to pay for our needs (about $25,000 per year for our family of three, with a paid-off house and no other debt).