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How He Retired At Age 30


When you picture a retiree, they most likely have white hair, really high-waisted pants, and glasses that are thicker than Coke bottles, right? Well, let me tell you that retirement doesn’t depend on age, it depends on your cash reserves and your income (and often, your ability to pay down your mortgage – P.S.  a mortgage calculator is your friend in these circumstances). What if you were able to save up nearly $2 million before you reached your fifties? You’d retire wouldn’t you?

One man did exactly that. He saved up a wad of cash and retired at age 30! The big question is, how did he do it?

How to Retire At Only 30 Years of Age

MSN Money conducted an interview with Mr. Money Mustache and came up with the following details.

Year 0

Fresh out of college. Escaped without an ounce of debt and found a job that paid him $41,000 a year. Housing costs were only $350 a month since he shared the expenses with friends.

Year 1

He worked like crazy and got a raise – he was now making $57,600 a year, and started contributing to his retirement fund as well (about $5,000 at this point). He still roomed with his buddies and paid out only $350 per month for housing. There was a foolish decision in this year though – he bought a nearly new Ford Probe which set him back $16,000.

Year 2

Continued to work and stashed some cash. He now had his $5,000 retirement account, a $3,000 employee stock purchase, and $10,000 in cash.

Year 3

Scored a new job and was now making $77,000/yr. He then saved up some cash and put $47,000 down on a new, $235,000 house. He now had a net worth of $67,000 ($47k in his home equity, $10k in the retirement account, and $10k in cash).

Year 4

Got married (that’s an extra salary of $44,000/yr.) and got a new job again. He was now making a salary of $83,000. Together, they took some nice vacations, but they also put extra money toward the house mortgage, and they invested in their company retirement programs. Net Worth: $150,000.

Year 5

Both of them got raises. He was now at $100,000/yr. and she earned her way up to $60,000/yr. They renovated the house, but still put quite a lot of money away into their retirement accounts and savings. Net Worth: $250,000.

Year 6

Received a company bonus and his wife increased her salary to $65,000. They saved their money wisely again, living very modest lives and saving most of their income. New net worth after year 6: $365,000.

Year 7

No bonuses or salary increases this year, but their investments were starting to take off. Net Worth: $490,000.

Year 8

The wife’s income increased to $70,000/yr and Mr. MM actually decided to work only 4 days a week (a taste of early retirement). Income was still good though, and those investments increased in value by $40,000! Net worth: $600,000.

Year 9

He quit his job and started a small house building company for his “semi-retirement income”. He earned about $50k that first year and his wife earned her regular income, but had to cut the year short on account of their first baby being born! Net Worth: $720,000.

Year 10

She quit her job too! They decided to both be a stay-at-home mom and dad. They moved into a new house and rented out the old one, and they also picked up another rental property for some additional income (perhaps they got a buy to let mortgage for this one). He still works occasionally, but for the most part, both he and his wife are retired and loving life!

Can you see yourself following this plan? It doesn’t seem too difficult to me!

This post brought to you by



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. They did a good job. We passed that age bracket but we can hit the next one if we follow some of the formula.

    • I think it’s definitely a formula for success. Sure, they had some pretty nice pay increases during the stretch, but even if they didn’t, I think they’d still be in great shape!

  2. I could definitely see myself following this plan. Very interesting.

    • I consider myself on this plan as well. It’d be pretty cool to be financially independant in five years or so.

  3. I follow MMM’s blog and his story is indeed inspirational. I’m not looking to retire early, but FI would be mighty nice!

    • It sure would be! Thanks for the comment!

  4. I love this plan! However, I’d need to tweak it a bit. My income level creeps up slowly (that’s the teaching profession for ya’.) and the only way to grow it is through side income. 🙂

    • Ha, yeah. My career income isn’t exactly rocketing either, but I think it really could within the next 5 years. Either way, as long as I keep living below my means, I’ll be financially independant as well.

  5. Sometimes I hate the Mr. Money Mustache example because most people don’t have the advantage or ability to increase income by over 100% in just 5 years. Both him and his wife must have had some mad skills to get increases in income at these rates.

    However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that by living well below your means you can accumulate a huge mound of passive investments that can support you early on in life. If my family can keep our living expenses extremely low, then we can stash lots of cash that will quickly grow enough to throw off passive income to cover our low expenses and we could technically retire.

    But most people don’t want to live like peasants. Most people don’t want to regret the decision to buy a lower model new car or to take a family vacation every once in awhile. It really all boils down to what you value in life.

    And possibly, I would say he isn’t really retired but rather self employed. As a self employed person doing side gig construction jobs it sounds like he still brings in what many people would consider a great income.

    • A big increase in income is possible, but it might not be through your work. With me, I had to turn to online income, but between my wife and I, we’ve doubled our income in the past 3 years!

  6. This is a serious question, not being nit picky, does this mean that Mr. BFS and I are “retired at age 28”? We are both now working from home too with a net worth over $250,000 and our house will be paid off by this May. I personally cannot possibly consider us retired since we still have 60 hour work weeks each between Monday-Thursday, but we do pretty much get 3 day weekends when we want them (like I am working today but only until 4pm and we are taking next Friday off).

    • I consider it retired if you work a few hours a day, even though you may not have to. I’m pretty sure that’s the position they’re in. Your position sounds pretty sweet too though. You work hard, yes, but you now have the opportunity to play hard as well! 😉

    • Hi! Thanks for the positive article Derek! It’s great to hear someone say that it is possible, as there are a lot of doubters out there. The comments here are really positive too – awesome!

      Crystal – good question! The definition of being “retired” to me is that you can live off your investment income. We need $20-$24K annually to live our current lifestyle and we get that from our investments. If your net worth is all in a paid off mortgage, for example, then it’s not generating income for you. We don’t need to work, but choose to occasionally.

      MMM hasn’t done any paid work since January (he helped with a renovation project). Last year he made about $10K. I work part-time, but all the money I make is saved.

      Bottom line is, we work for enjoyment and quality of life, not because we have to. We’re also not limited by our work. We can stop and travel for a year if we wanted to, but right now we have a kid to raise. When our child was young, neither of us worked for some time. And, we definitely don’t work 60 hour work weeks!!

      • Thanks for the details Mrs. MM! I really appreciate both you and your husband for leaving your comments. You have been a great motivation for many people I’m sure!

  7. Everything is possible, but the stars have to align just right. Most people are glad they have jobs and increases are not as common at those levels. Can you still do it? Yes, but it will take more effort.

    • I’m really getting sick of that phrase, “Most people are glad they have jobs….” There are jobs everywhere, they just might not have the perfect title and may not be in the most desired location….but if people are truly looking for work, they can find it. If they believe that there is no work out there for them, then why not create some? Start your own business for $50 and see what happens! Maybe it’ll turn into something!

  8. I guess it depends on some other factors:
    -more children?
    -put money away for kids’ college?
    -send kids to private school or public?

    This looks good on paper and there is no doubt that they did a lot of things right, but more factors could come their way depending on plans they have made, or depending on uncertainty in investments and rentals etc…

    • Yep, there are always variables, but I believe there are always options to combat the expenses of certain variables. Retirement is an option for everyone, no matter what the current circumstance is.

  9. That’s amazing how disciplined they are. If I work hard enough I can see myself following in his foot steps in the next few years. At least career wise.

    • It is pretty impressive. I’d like to say that we could do the same, but we are spending more money now than just 2 years ago. It’s important to make memories along the way and not just sit in the house eating PB&J. 😉

  10. Alas his plan won’t work for me because I’m 50 :). It’s very impressive what he has been able to pull off though. Right now I’m working on my 15 year plan. Get debt free and save like hell for the next 15 years and call it quits at 65. I’m seriously considering CFP school and would like to transition from a computer geek to a money geek over those 15 years. We’ll see how things turn out.

    • Haha! Yeah, I guess you might have some difficulty retiring by 30 if you’re already 50 years old…. It sounds like you have a plan for retirement though! Keep plugging away and it will happen!

  11. I really like MMM’s perspective. Had I though this way 20 yeara ago, I think I could have done similar. I am now in my prime earning years 40’s. This is why maximizing now is important to me. If one lives to be 90, will they have enough money and not be a burden on anyone.

    • That is a good question. It seems that most financial planners base the nest egg on the average lifespan, but what if you live to 90? or even 100? I’m going to have a nice big cushion, just in case. 🙂

  12. This is a great example of partnership at its finest. With two people operating as a team, sharing the same philosphy in terms of savings and other goals, great success is possible!

    • You’ve got that right TTMK! When two people are working together, great things can happen!!

  13. This is like interviewing someone who lives off playing poker. It is not possible for everyone to get the exact puzzle pieces fall in place. But good for him on retiring that early!
    What field was he working in?

    • BTI. You’re right, not everyone can follow the exact model as MM, but it can give us a good idea on how to live frugally, stash the cash, and then do what we want later in life. As for his occupation, I believe he was a computer programmer or something.

  14. There great thing is that their investments went UP in the most brutal financial downturn of our lives! If that’s not George Soros type investment acumen, I dont know what is. I’d totally try and get a job at a HEdge Fund or somethig bc the vast majority of people lost money!

    Any way to find out how they did it?



    • Based on the book I just read, I would say Index Funds, but that’s purely speculation. Thanks for the comment Sam!

  15. Very nice; always good to read how other people have managed to achieve their financial goals. As others have pointed out, it’s not always as straightforward as laid out here, but it’s always nice to have goals for which to shoot.

    • It’s nice to see how other people did it. Hardly ever do people wake up as millionaires and think to themselves, “Hmm, it sure is nice being a millionaire – I never even predicted this would happen.” Typically, it’s by hard work and determination that financial success happens.

  16. Wow Derek, I can see from these comments that you have much more positive readers than MSN on average! 🙂

    I think almost everyone in the US and other wealthy countries can get great life benefits (both financial and otherwise) by learning to enjoy a less expensive lifestyle. If you get good enough at it, this naturally leads to financial independence – no “sacrifice” needed!

    In my own example, my wife and I worked as software engineers, and our income was totally normal for that field. You could call it good luck, but even picking that field was done deliberately: in high school, my first inclination was to become a high school science teacher. Then I looked at the pay rates for that vs. engineering and I picked the higher paying one and got that degree instead.

    But the REAL point of my blog, back when I first started it, was to try to get higher-income people to stop wasting all their money. Most of the people I worked with earned the same amount of money as I did, but they were perpetually broke even on 100k salaries. Now it is almost seven years later – some of them are still working, and still broke, even after I’ve been retired all this time.

    The key to riches and retirement for families making higher incomes (say over 100k per couple) is in THE SPENDING rather than the income.

    • Thanks for stopping by to comment MMM! I think our messages are very similar (you’re just farther along in your journey), so my readers are naturally more receptive than MSN’s. I love your story, and can’t wait to see the results of our (my wife and I) efforts as well. Perhaps we should catch up sometime!

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