This guest post from Joel is part of the “money stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all stages of financial maturity. Today, Joel shares how he and his wife made a “financial 180”, going from extreme spenders to extreme savers.
Hi, I’m Joel!
Last November, I quit my job as a software engineer to retire early at the ripe old age of thirty-three. I had reached financial independence — that point where you’ve saved enough money that you never need a job again.
Life’s been pretty great since then. I work on fun stuff — like writing and music — on my own schedule. I take care of the household chores and cook dinner for my wife (who still works…for now). I have plenty of time left in my days to spend goofing off with family and friends.
You might think that if I managed to retire at such a young age that must mean that I had this money thing figured out all along. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, just a few years ago, I was stuck in a job I hated with no way out. I wanted to escape.
This is the story of how my wife and I made a financial 180, going from zeroes to heroes in just a few short years.
An Expensive Past
In 2007, I graduated college with a degree in computer engineering, took a job with a fortune 500 company, and bought a brand new house. For the first time in my life, I felt like an adult. With a big paycheck coming in every two weeks, I could have anything I wanted. As luck would have it, I wanted a lot — and I had expensive tastes!
I decided my first purchase would be a $3500 high-def television. I added a PlayStation 3 and assorted accessories to the shopping cart, and raced back to my new house to get everything set up.
That night, as I sat on the floor in that empty house, watching The Simpsons, my girlfriend (now wife) convinced me that something was fundamentally wrong.
“Joel,” she said.
I glanced over to her. She looked beautiful in the glow of the giant television. “Yes my darling?” I said.
“We have no furniture,” she said. She was right. But we had an awesome TV! [Read more…]