Is it really possible to quit your career and leave it all behind before you’re 40? That’s the question I had when I started Retire By 40 in 2010. I had been a computer engineer at Intel since 1996, but the job wasn’t the right fit for me anymore. They needed senior engineers who can lead people and projects. That wasn’t me and the job became more and more stressful. My physical and mental health deteriorated and I knew I had to get out.
Journey to early retirement
I started Retire By 40 to keep tab of my early retirement journey. It was a place to share my aspiration for Financial Independence. This was where I planned my exit strategy from the corporate world and our readers kept me accountable. I had to make a detailed plan and follow through. Eventually, I gave my notice and left the corporate world forever (hopefully) in July 2012.
Wow, did it take just 2 years to achieve my early retirement goal? Not really. I had been saving and investing since I started working full time in 1996. My wife was also a huge part of the equation. She is generally frugal and now fully supportive of my endeavors. She was pregnant when I told her I’m starting a blog named Retire By 40. Of course, she didn’t like that one bit. However, she got onboard when I showed her that we could maintain our lifestyle without my engineering income.
We tracked our cash flow and saved all my income since 2010. Those 2 years gave us a chance to see if we could really survive with just one paycheck, our passive income, and my online income. Yes, Mrs. RB40 is still working. She likes working, which is great for our situation.
Can early retirement last?
It’s been over 4 years since I had to sit in a stuffy cubicle and life has been glorious. I’m ridiculously busy as a stay at home dad/blogger, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Notice that I didn’t say ‘quit working’ in the first paragraph. You don’t have to quit working when you retire. Many people volunteer, turn a hobby into a business, or start a second career when they retire. Every early retiree I know is still working in some capacity. It’s not good for your mental health to stop working completely while you’re still productive.
Here is how we pay the bills.
- Mrs. RB40’s job – I’m extremely lucky that Mrs. RB40 likes to work. The employer sponsored health insurance saves us a ton of money. She plans to retire by 2020.
- Dividend Income Portfolio – Since 2010, I moved most of our after tax investment into dividend stocks. Dividend is the best passive income and it will grow as time goes by.
- Rental properties – We have a couple of rental properties and they are making us a little bit of money. They should pay off very well in the long run.
- Peer to peer lending – P2P lending has been a little disappointing for me. My ROI is a bit low at 7.5% and I think it’s probably too risky for that return.
- Online income – I’m making some money from Retire By 40 and other online ventures. This is nowhere near my old paycheck, but I’m my own boss and nobody tells me what to do. Also, I can spend most of my time being a dad and that’s priceless. I will break down the business income and expense in our monthly newsletter so if you’re curious, sign up with our email list.
We still live modestly and continue to save over $50,000 every year. Our monthly expense is mostly covered by our passive and online income. At this point, we are saving most of Mrs. RB40’s income.
Where Joe goes from here?
Can my brand of early retirement last? After 4 years of early retirement, it looks like we will be fine financially. The big question mark here is the online income. It’s good now, but who knows if it will last. We could always downsize a bit if we have less income. I’m 99% sure we’ll be okay financially.
However, my time as a full time stay at home dad will be up soon. RB40 Junior will go to kindergarten in a couple of years and I will have a lot more time on my hands. It would be nice to spend more time on the blog and try to expand my other sites. Perhaps I could start a microbusiness and get on the Shark Tank. One thing I won’t be doing is going back to work for a corporation. That’s over for me. I love being self employed and would never trade it for a bigger paycheck.
If you have any questions or comments, write me through the contact page. It might take me a little time to respond, but I will try my best to get back to you.
Don’t wait until retirement to enjoy life!
Follow up – How Is Life One Year Into Retirement?
How’s life 2 years after retirement? – Pretty darn good. 🙂
3 years after retirement and still living the dream.
4 years after early retirement and I feel really good about my life.