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Brian is a very recent college graduate who just started his first job last fall. At 22 years old he is starting his career with a simple strategy to reach financial freedom in just 10 years! We absolutely love hearing about early retirement stories and reached out to have him share is the journey. Starting early has been Brian’s greatest advantage and he’s already saved $50,000, quite impressive! You can follow his journey on his new blog Get Money Got Money. – T$C
If you’ve ever had a job you didn’t particularly love, you know the feeling. Wake up, sit in traffic, make small talk at the office, get home, watch tv, sleep for a few hours, repeat. In a few words, it’s monotonous and boring, to say the least. You spend the majority of your waking hours there with bills to pay and no end in sight. Every day is more of the same.
I’ve been working as an engineer near Philadelphia for the past 6 months. What I described above has been my life to a tee. Sure, it brings in decent money, especially for a recent college grad, but at what point do you have to ignore the amount of money you’re making and simply find a job you love? Personally, I’m not sure, but I’m right at the line.
I imagine during the day what I could be doing instead. Learning to play an instrument, traveling, reading, starting a business, my list is endless. It’s not that I can’t currently do these things, but my options are pretty limited with a full-time job. Contrary to popular belief and even as an engineer, I like to be creative.
Growing up, I wouldn’t necessarily say I had many passions controlling my life. I enjoyed hanging out with friends and playing hockey but that was about it. When college came around, all that changed.
After my freshman year, I decided to drive across the country and work in Yellowstone National Park for the summer. This decision – a naïve and spontaneous one – has shaped the last 4 years of my life. Not only did I get to interact with people from around the world on a daily basis, I fell in love with traveling and the outdoors.
That summer led to my decision to complete a study abroad trip to South Africa and backpacking trip to Europe the following summer. A few months later, I met up with some friends I made backpacking in their hometown of Sydney, Australia. After my junior year, I went to northern Wisconsin to work as a rafting guide and the summer of 2016 was spent hiking a large section of the Pacific Crest Trail. I became addicted to the freedom and new experiences these trips brought me. But having graduated college in the spring of 2016, I knew this couldn’t go on forever.
I would need to get a real job.
Discovering Early Retirement & Financial Freedom
Shortly after graduation, I began applying to engineering firms around the country. This got old quickly and I got bored waiting to hear back from potential employers, so like I had done in the past, I took off. I started a road trip to the east coast, trying to make the most of hopefully my last free summer for a while. As I was driving one day, I put on a podcast that briefly touched on the concept of retiring early, but I didn’t think much of it. I was 21, I wasn’t exactly thinking about retirement. But, my curiosity got the better of me and I did a little research online. I was impressed by some of the stories I read but all these early retirees generally had something I did not. That is a well-paying salary from a real job.
A couple days later I received a call from an engineering firm about 30 minutes from my home near Philadelphia. They wanted to bring me on board. The salary? Competitive to all the early retirees I had been reading about less than a week ago. The pieces started falling into place.
Once I started working last fall, I knew I wanted to commit to a financial freedom journey. Although I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work for a major engineering firm, I can’t imagine many kids wishing they could grow up to work in an office cube from 9 to 5 every day. While I’m a little more grown up now, I’m not any different. I want to make my money, then get out.
How to Retire in Under a Decade
It kind of blows my mind that financial freedom and early retirement isn’t all that common. But then, I talk to my friends whose first purchase out of college is a luxury car or overpriced apartment and realize why.
Retiring early is easy! I’m not kidding, literally, anyone can do it. The thing is, you have to be aware of your priorities. Do you value freedom more than a new Mercedes? If your answer is yes, you’re on the right track. If not, you’ve got some work to do.
The first day I started working, I started tracking my expenses and recording my income in a personal spreadsheet. I set goals for how long I wanted to work and how much I’d have saved by the end of it. I made plans for how I would save that much money and even considered what I might want to do when I was free. Right now, my goal is to be able to retire from engineering entirely within 10 years (shooting for 8 honestly) with a minimum net worth of $500,000. Just a month or so ago, my net worth eclipsed the $50,000 mark. 10% of my goal down within a year of college graduation and 6 months after starting to work. I can walk the walk, too.
How? Well, for one I was debt free coming out of college. More importantly, I’ve focused on a two step plan that consists of spending less than you earn and investing the difference. It’s really that simple.
The Big Picture of Financial Freedom
I should mention, being rich is great and all, but not unless you can see the bigger picture. Money can easily be wasted on a new car or fancy house to impress your neighbors. That stuff won’t make you any happier. Someone richer is bound to come along making you desire more. I plan to use my money for freedom instead and encourage you to consider the reasons why you are chasing financial freedom and decide what you really want to get out of it.
Starting my new job, my site, and this journey has been quite the experience so far. I’m incredibly grateful for the wonderful people who have shared their stories, and while I may just be beginning I’m happy to share mine and hopefully inspire others to get started. I am beyond excited to keep things in motion and see what the world has in store for me over the next few years!
Are you planning on working until you die?
What steps are you taking to achieve financial freedom?