5 ‘Normal’ People Who Retired Early by Age 32



If you haven’t heard of the FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) movement yet, here’s what you need to know. People are retiring early. Not like, at age 55 instead of 65- but at 25 and 35 years old. Oftentimes, these normal people who retired early, are pretty down-to-earth, and have average salaries, normal IQ’s, and typical American circumstances- most are W-2 employees.

Sometimes, upon reach FIRE, they quit working- other times, they just work less, or even continue to work the same amount. But, what sets them apart from the rest of the world isn’t the ‘retirement’ aspect, so much as the ‘Financial Independence’. Each person has a net worth of 25x’s their annual expenses.  Work is optional at this point. 

So how did many of them do it?

They cut expenses, a lot.

  • Many write down what’s important to them, by creating a dream day, or a list. Things that don’t make the list, get chopped from spending. So for example, if your big goals are traveling, being active, taking photos, and seeing the world- you probably don’t need a big house- or even a house at all. This is Intentional Living.
  • Even little cuts, such as driving an older car, cutting the cable, lowering grocery costs, using cheaper cell phones, lowering utility bills, or downsizing your house, is impactful and powerful.
  • Every little cut makes a huge difference. For every $100 per month you cut from your spending, is $30,000 less that you need to be Financially Independent. If you need $3,000 per month to live well- you need $900,000 in your nest egg to be FI. If you cut 0your monthly expenses back to $2,800 though, you only need $840,000. Thats a $60,000 difference!

They created passive income streams.

  • Some got into rental property– this is the fastest, yet riskiest way to retire. It’s not really considered passive though, until you hire a property manager. As a rule of thumb, you should charge 1% of what the house is worth every month as rent. So a $100,000 house costs $1,000 a month. The house will bring in 12% ($12,000) of its value every year. After your expenses (such as taxes, insurance, a mortgage, repairs) you should have around 6-8% ($6,000 to $8,000) of the house’s total value, as profit, every year.
  • Many invested in index funds. This is much slower, but also much safer. Betterment is one way, and a three fund portfolio in Vanguard is another popular route.  If you want to see an experiment between Betterment and Vanguard, check this out.
  • They started blogs. Blogs are arguably passive income. Researching and writing for money is not passive, but researching and writing as a hobby, while making money in your sleep from advertisements and affiliate links, is.
  • Several created products– such as books, and online courses. They wrote and published the material once, and it still continues to earn an income, month after month.
Read this:  35 Lies about Money that Keep you Poor

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get into the good stuff! Meet 6 people who retired by age 32!

5 Normal People Who Retired Early by Age 32

Jillian, age 32

  • At 19, she and her husband, Adam, started out with $50k debt
  • Lived in a travel trailer, and paid $3k in debt that first year, while earning $12k as a couple
  • Adam joined the Army, as it offered to pay off $35k of loans, plus an $8k joining bonus
  • While Adam was away, Jillian moved back in with family, and by year 2, they paid off all debt
  • Moved to DC, lived off Adam’s income while saving all of Jillian’s annual $20k, (plus some of his income)
  • Within 4 years, they has saved $100k (by the time Jillian was 24)
  • They paid cash for their house in Montana, and bought 2 rental properties, plus they’ve also lived abroad for 4 years, traveled 27 countries, had 6 children (4 were adopted), and have taken 5 mini-retirements so far, rather than retiring full time.
  • Now runs Montana Money Adventures, a blog and mentoring program

Mr. Money Mustache, age 30.

  • Lived a lifestyle 50% cheaper than people in his area
  • Invested the savings into index funds
  • Cut expenses, mostly rides his bike instead of driving everywhere
  • Bought two rental houses
  • Started the Mr. Money Mustache blog six years into retirement

Ryan, age 30

  • In college, put away $5k in a Roth IRA
  • Graduated with $30k debt, no job
  • Became a bartender, moved around 4 times to 3 different cities, learned how to build websites
  • Landed a job as a commercial property manager, but continued to live like a college student, saving 100% of that income, living off his side jobs
  • Replaced bar tending with running a photo booth business he bought
  • Paid off debt within 5 years of graduating
  • Bought a fixer upper house to live in, paid it off within 1 year
  • Invested in office buildings, and residential rentals
  • Became financially independent in 2016, but still continues to buy property
  • Never inflated his expenses, still drives the same 2003 car, always lived in cheap homes, rarely went out to eat, annual expenses did not exceed $15k annually.
  • Now runs his blog Planting Dollars, 100% of it’s income is donated to World Wildlife Fund.
Read this:  I have a 16 Piece Wardrobe

J.P. Livingston, age 28.

  • Wanted to become a writer, but saw how unsteady that income was
  • Knew that you can do whatever you want in retirement, so she decided to retire to become a writer
  • Graduated one year early, and started working at an investment firm, earning $100,000 (including bonuses) annually.
  • Despite the high costs of New Yorks City, she diligently built up her portfolio- 60% coming from savings, and 40% from investing
  • Age age 28, she retired with $2.25 million.
  • Started her blog, The Money Habit

Travis, age 25

  • Graduated debt free because of a scholarship to a state school
  • Saved money during college, worked tutoring gigs, and bought stocks- when he graduated he had $40k.
  • After college, despite having a good job, he didn’t inflate his expenses, and saved 55% of his income/compensation
  • Continued his 55% savings rate for 3 years
  • At the end of those 3 years, he had $234k in his portfolio
  • This means he can draw $9k every year, which he supplements with a part time tutoring job- for a total of $16k a year
  • Now runs his blog, The Millennial Moola

Let’s Talk!

  • Who did I miss? I’d love to add more brilliant names to the list!
  • Does early retirement interest you?

Like this post?

If this is something that inspires, helps, or just plain entertains you, please don’t hesitate to share it! The goal of Diamonds N’ Denim is to reach as many people as possible, so be sure to talk about it to your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors, share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, or pin it on Pinterest- I even made a pretty pin for you below! Just click the image once, in the upper left corner there will be a red P, click that, and get to pinning! 🙂

As always, thank you for stopping by!

Read this:  The Best Foods to Buy When You're Broke

2 thoughts on “5 ‘Normal’ People Who Retired Early by Age 32”

  1. Even though I’m past this age range, it would be great for my kids starting out. I really wish they would teach this in schools, so beneficial!

Comments are closed.