How We Plan To Hack Early Retirement

Early Retirement sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Mr. Mad Money Monster and I subscribe to the school of thought that the little stuff pays off big, and the big stuff pays off BIGGER.

Create The GAP

Don’t get me wrong, we are constantly racking our brains trying to implement savings hacks for all of life’s little expenses. When we do find a new one, we end being happier than a cat high on nip. Yup. But our main wealth-building strategy on the path to FIRE is the process of creating a gap between our income and our housing costs and investing the difference. Keeping our housing costs low has a trickle down economic ef

five-cat-joints-red-tray-1933

Yes I Did

fect. Not only does it keep our mortgage reasonable, it also keeps other associated expenses low.

Think:  Property Taxes, School Taxes, Electricity, Heating, Maintenance, etc.

After nearly falling into the bigger is better housing trap over a year ago, we have learned our lesson and are refusing to upsize our home to match our income. This is not the NORM when we look at our peers. And we’re totally okay with that. Since last year, our income has increased and we could easily afford to live in a bigger (AKA more expensive) home; however, we have chosen to be content in our small, easily affordable home while watching our available financial resources go up, up, and away! Staying put has created a huge financial gap that we are now using to invest for early retirement.

housing costs.jpgThe income – housing gap is the Main Course of our early retirement hack.

Of course, vehicles are the second biggest money suck for the average person. We like the idea of buying pre-owned vehicles for reasonable prices. It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – we also like our vehicles to be payment free. This is another gap that can be created to build wealth. If the housing gap is the main course of our wealth-building strategy, then the vehicle gap is the side salad. Toghether, we almost have a complete meal. Nom Nom Nom!

Invest The GAP

 If I allowed myself to operate unchecked, I would happily spend The GAP on fancy restaurant outings, highfalutin vacations, or those to-die-for $300 boots I’ve had my eyes on for YEARS. Yes, years. But, since I know better than to allow myself to operate unchecked, I make sure Mr. MMM and I invest that money. Investing, for us, means we either pay down our mortgages (on our primary home or rental) or actually invest it in stocks. Either way, our Net Worth gets a boost. When we do invest the difference in the market, we prefer the stodgy old man method of investing. That means low-fee index funds. It’s minimalistic (which we LOVE) and it works! Thank you, John Bogle! Plus, since neither one of us has a PhD in finance, we can both understand this method. Woot Woot!

Hint: See The Boglehead investing philosphy here

Here’s The Super Simple 5-Step Guide To Increasing The Gap

  1. Track Your Net Worth
  2. Track Your Spending
  3. Know Your Income
  4. Know Your Expenses
  5. Do EVERYTHING Possible To Increase Your Income And Decrease Your Expenses

HINT: HOUSING IS LIKELY YOUR BIGGEST EXPENSE

How Do You Plan On Hacking An Early Retirement?

Bailey Gato BWAs always, Mad Money Cat encourages you to read Our Story and use the super convenient social media buttons to spread the LOVE!  Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  You can also Sign Up for Emails so you know exactly when we hit PUBLISH!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dan Palmer Feb 22, 2017, 8:33 pm

    You nailed it on buying a smaller house! To many people pick up big houses for the investment benefit (which is less than is often touted), ignoring all the extra costs.

  • zeejaythorne May 25, 2016, 1:19 am

    I just convinced my roommates that they should pay me to mow our lawn since I’m cheaper than the service they had hired, which I did not want to pay for. I get the workout and their money. They sleep in and pay for a gym. Or “deduct” it from my housing costs. Always looking to prevent costs from creeping up on me.

  • Our Frugal Escapades May 19, 2016, 11:32 am

    I love how you refer to living below your means as “increasing the gap”. We also fell victim to too much spending and learned the error of our ways. By saving more of our income, we were able to gain more confidence in our goal of achieving financial independence. – Mrs. FE

  • memorialbenchstories May 19, 2016, 9:57 am

    We have always stayed small when it comes to housing – we can’t do with all that cleaning! In the UK housing has become a massive cost and we’re glad we never got in to the race to the top. That said, it remains equally useful to track the spending and watch the small stuff.
    I have also sold loads of stuff on Ebay and my total sales over the years have come to around £10,000 – no small amount as many of these sales have been for just a few pounds.

  • thejollyledger May 19, 2016, 8:32 am

    Housing is indeed our biggest expense. I struggle with trying to find a hack that the whole family can live with regarding this issue. I Ping-Pong between thinking I have a good deal and I am throwing money away. I still haven’t landed on one yet.

  • youmeanme May 19, 2016, 6:18 am

    Thanks for the tips! I must confess I feel like Charlie Brown listening to an adult every time investing comes up. I’ve got money coming out monthly that is invested with a financial advisor but I have I blindly follow his lead. I want to take more control but really need to get over my mental block.

    • Mad Money Monster May 19, 2016, 6:50 am

      You’re on the right path by reading financial blogs. Just keep learning and before you know it, you’ll be dispensing advice of your own 🙂

    • Ernie Jan 9, 2017, 11:59 am

      A great place to get started is at JL Collins’ stock series: http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/ He also just released a book called The Simple Path to Wealth that contains those same principles (and posts) but in a much more organized and thorough way. It’s an absolutely fantastic and easy to read book, and it completely demystified investing for me!

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons