Yes, I’m Retiring With Just $500,000

* I’m in the process of moving, so my friend Purple from A Purple Life wrote an epic guest post for today. She has a not-so-harebrained-scheme to retire next year on half a million dollars. I admit that I wondered how exactly she was planning to pull it off when most early retirees save at least $1M. Here, she reveals her extraordinary plan to retire early (at age 30!) *

purple sunglasses on grey beach
Note: Some links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

We’ve all heard the proclamations: You’re going to run out of money in retirement because of X. Whether it’s an underperforming market, robot automation or climate change, more often than not, these headlines in mainstream media seem to be meant to strike fear into our hearts. “Do I have enough?! Will I have enough if I work another year?? When will I have enough to be completely secure that I will never run out of money in retirement?!?”

As you might have suspected, there is no such thing as completely secure. There is no guarantee that anyone’s retirement will work out as planned or at all. There are risks involved in every decision and our job is to choose our path based on what makes the most sense to us and what allows us to sleep at night.

So I’m retiring next year with $500,000 and I’m completely comfortable quitting my job after I’ve amassed that amount. Here’s why:


Overall I’m fortunate that my life preferences also happen to be choices that help keep my expenses low while giving me a happy life. I think of each of these choices as levers that allow me to regulate how much I spend. Let’s dive into a few of them.

Solo Retirement

I am a solo retiree. I am lucky that no one relies on me financially or will in the future. My partner and I are never getting married, never having kids and keeping our finances completely separate.

I’m lucky that my parents have their own nest egg and have been happily retired for over 4 years. This $500,000 only needs to support me – not a husband, a pet or any children down the line.

Based on my spending during the last few years in the expensive cities of Seattle and NYC, I spend between $17,000 and $20,000 so a portfolio of half a million should sustain me, especially since, when retired, I will not need to live in some of the most expensive cities in the country.


I have never dreamed of owning a home. I don’t know if it’s my natural skepticism, fear of commitment or both, but I’ve always looked at owning a home (for me personally) as a chain around my ankle instead of the idyllic ‘roots’ people talk about – and this is before I even saw the numbers!

Luckily the finances behind owning a house in the expensive cities where I’ve spent my adult life, have further cemented my opinion: I never want to own a house. I heard a quote recently that made me laugh at its accuracy and cringe at its harsh truth:

“Rent is the ceiling. A mortgage is the floor,”

Meaning that rent is the most you will pay while your monthly mortgage is the minimum.

Knowing how much my rent and utilities are every month gives me comfort. Knowing that I can email my landlord when something breaks and have it fixed with no sweat off my brow or money out of my pocket, makes me feel warm inside. I know a lot of people in the financial independence community (the lovely host of this blog included!) that are fantastic DIYers and mechanical thinkers. I sadly do not belong to that group.

When something is broken, I don’t want to have to call multiple contractors, figure out the cost, negotiate, schedule their visit and then pay an unknown amount afterward. At a recent happy hour, a friend lamented that she had to pay a plumber $500 earlier that day to come to her house…and they didn’t even fix the problem! I’m way too protective of my free time to give my energy and cash to a pile of bricks.

And this leads to one last reason I have never been interested in owning a home: it is (basically) immovable. My life plan involves almost constant travel and having a house sitting empty or having to manage AirBnB guests from afar is not my idea of a good time or a happy retirement.


As I mentioned in this post, I grew up in Atlanta, GA and its lack of public transit and sidewalks (my parents are just getting them NOW) coupled with its horrendous traffic quickly put me off using cars as my main form of transportation.

When I drive through the suburbs where I grew up, I feel trapped because you literally are trapped unless you have a car – no sidewalks, no buses, no trains. The only saving grace has been the proliferation of Uber, but using rideshares is exorbitantly expensive when crossing the widespread burbs.

So after escaping the gridlocked hell that is Atlanta’s 18 lane highways, I decided to only live places where I do not need a car to get around. This had the added perk of dropping me in locations that had sidewalks to feed my love of walking and public transit to go anywhere I want without having to fight for parking.

This decision has also had the added benefit of dropping my lifestyle costs while giving me the walking and fresh air filled life I want. I intend to keep this habit up in retirement and supplement in rural areas with car sharing services and rental cars as I do now.

But What If Large Unforeseen Expenses Pop Up?

The giant purple elephant in the room when discussing retirement for US citizens is our insanely expensive healthcare costs. This is the most often cited unforeseen expense I hear when discussing any nest egg in this country, but of course I have a plan:

Medical Tourism

Overall, if I am diagnosed with a disease that requires continuous treatment, I will move to another country with more affordable medical care (which is basically any other country…) However, if something happens to me while I’m in the US or I’m unable to travel, I will be carrying global insurance for those worst-case scenarios, such as breaking my leg or getting hit by a car. After my bills are paid I can reassess my plan and if I need to shift anything, which leads me to:


In case you haven’t heard the term before, geo-arbitrage is moving somewhere where the cost of living is less. In my case I will be looking for places where I can have a similar or better quality of life for less than I spend on that life in the US. Doing this introduces the ultimate spending flexibility: less cost for the same lifestyle. There are several countries I love that are on my travel list for the first few years of retirement and fit the bill, such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Thailand.

But Does The Math Even Work?

When running scenarios in cFIREsim, it shows that my $500,000 would suffice even in the worst market downturns of the last 147 years — even for a 70-year retirement. All it would take would be decreasing my spending to $16,500 during down markets, which is an easy feat for me if necessary.

The past obviously doesn’t predict the future, but even I was surprised that reducing my spending by such a small amount in a few cases could lead to such a high success rate despite everything our country has been through in the last 147 years.

Based on these calculations, I would have been safe retiring in any of the last 147 years and in many scenarios, I would have finished my 70-year retirement with a great deal more than I started with (inflation adjusted).

Oh and I forgot to mention that this calculation does not assume a spending ceiling – meaning in good years I can spend more than $20,000 if I so choose. That’s a concept I first read about in the awesome book Work Less, Live More which touts a flexible withdrawal rate of 4% of your current portfolio every year (instead of 4% of your starting amount as the Trinity Study uses). I have tweaked this idea to suit my purposes and was happily surprised at the optimistic result.

So those are my spending levers. The life I love already has some built-in efficiencies and I have plans for how to combat unexpected expenses in the most vulnerable first 5-10 years of retirement, but there is another set of levers to consider.


Going Back To Work

Unlike a lot of traditionally aged retirees that quit because of health issues or are forced out due to their age or ability – I can easily get another job if necessary. I don’t delude myself to think it would be at the same rate, since I would have been out of the workforce for a while, or even at the same level, but it would be more than I need to live on.

If I’ve learned anything after getting 6 jobs in 7 years it’s that it is not very difficult for me to find a job – even if it’s not in my field. There are so many ways to make money and the amount I need to live on (especially if I leave the US) is fairly small. Though outside of having a failed retirement and going back to full-time work, there is another possibility: that I will earn money accidentally in retirement.

“If You Earn Money You’re Not Retired!”

…Says who? Every retiree I know earns at least a little bit of money doing things they enjoy. Even my parents own a rental property. When I quit my job next year I’m looking at (hopefully) 70 years of retirement.

I never said I would never make another dime. I’m not planning on it and am not intentionally trying to (because: see my large amount of laziness), but based on other early retirees, it happens sometimes.

If it does, I wouldn’t be going after this money, but accepting it for something I enjoy doing and would happily do for free. While I am not factoring earning any more money (or collecting social security) into my plans, the possibility would of course also decrease my chance of retirement failure.

So I have several levers I can pull. In my mind, I have the ultimate flexibility because adjusting my life will not interrupt anyone else’s and I enjoy the variety inherent in change.


After reading the above you might think I’m a little off my rocker. Yes I have Plans A, B and C, but there’s no way this will work right? I share your concerns and that is exactly the reason I read everything I can about the risks of early retirement. The likes of Early Retirement Now and Our Next Life have made me seriously think about my plan from many angles and adjust accordingly. They make great and valid points about the risks inherent in pulling this trigger and I take what they say very seriously, but I also weigh those risks against another one (queue morbid organ music): Death.

Engaging Data creates absolutely amazing data visualizations and one of them struck me right in the heart (see below). It shows the possibility of my portfolio balance being at different levels during each year of retirement and compares it to the probability of me dying during that time. That grey ‘death’ section sure is large and imposing – and I suspect this longevity data is based on white female numbers – from everything I’ve read, me being a black female decreases my long living prospects further.

To be frank, I’m not afraid to be a failed retiree. My absolute worst case scenario is that I have a bad sequence of returns in the first 5-10 years and/or large unforeseen expenses that I can’t recover from and I have to go back to work. I will have just had a relaxing, multi-year sabbatical after a decade of working my ass off. Joel from FI 180 has a great quote that perfectly encapsulates my feelings on the subject:

“My worst case scenario is everyone else’s every day scenario.”

I’m not afraid to fail, but I am afraid to spend the most active years of my life attached to a computer doing someone else’s bidding. I am afraid of running out of time with the people I love. My main objective in retirement is to spend more time with my loved ones and I can’t do that if they’re not around. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Everything is a risk and this is the level of risk I am comfortable with.

I’m not afraid to fail, but I am afraid to spend the most active years of my life attached to a computer doing someone else’s bidding.Click To Tweet


Aside from attaching myself to the level of risk I’m comfortable with, I have another reason I feel confident in my plans. I will be a 3rd generation early retiree. My Mom retired at 55 and her parents retired at 50. The world has been through so many changes during that time and they have always been able to figure it out.

In retirement my only ‘job’ will be to plot, plan and discover how to keep my retirement going. That’s it. All I need to do is solve the challenges that come at me and after watching the last two generations of my family do just that with a lot more against them – I feel confident I can do the same.  

So what do you think? Am I going to fail? Am I saving too little? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Grrat read. You got this! I look forward to following your journey into retirement. Thanks for linking the cfire calculator. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find it.

        1. Great article. You are mindful of who you are and apply it in an inspirational way. There are no guarantees in life despite how hard we plan and prepare so yes..go for it..and have a great journey!

      1. Do you think you will look back in 50 years and regret your decision to stop contributing to life and society?

        1. Do you think that working a daily grind 9 to 5 job is the only way to contribute to life and society? Do you think it’s possible that she could still be earning money and paying taxes while not chained to her desk?

          I can see her writing books, speaking, and drawing income from her investments. She could always pick up an odd job here and there if she so desires.

          I personally think her options would be greater if she bumped her retirement goal up to 750,000 or 1 million, but I think in her situation, she will make it

          1. Very well put 🙂 . My job (marketing) definitely doesn’t contribute anything positive to society. I know that I could do a lot more for the world without spending 60 hours a week doing that nonsense.

            And you’re right: My options would definitely be greater with a higher sum 🙂 , but right now the trade off of working longer to reach that isn’t worth it to me. Surprisingly this pandemic has actually further solidified that for me. My time on this earth and with my loved ones is limited and unknown so I’m ready to take the leap now and see what happens. A job will always be there. And thank you!

          2. My apologies if this has already been asked – why do you consider it ethical to move to another country where you have not contributed in terms of taxes (or anything else to date) to take advantage of their healthcare system when you fall sick? Than you.

    1. This is so inspiring! May I ask, tho, how you can access your retirement money? My 401k doesn’t allow till I am 59 and a half. How can I follow your journey?

      1. I so admire your bravery! I have enough savings that I know I already reached my financial independence, and yet I’m so afraid to retire early. Good luck on your journey.

    2. Good luck to you. I was nervous about taking the gamble to leave the workforce at 56. Absolutely loving it. Both my parents died young so my decision was simplified. Hope it works out for you. I’m sure it will as you’ve looked at the variables.

  2. I love this so much!! That Engaging Data graph hit me right in the feels. Since I’m a little ways from our FI number (5.5 years isn’t that far but still), I’m finding it a good momentum for finding ways to add some of those mini-retirements in our plan ASAP. If you factor in these graphs for all of the people we love and want to spend time with it makes it even more important for us to do so.

    You’ve got a great plan that you’ve put so much thought into and I can’t wait to see you start putting it in place very soon! Great work!

    1. Yay!! And right on the graph?! It’s crazy and a great way to think about these things. As you know, I love the idea of your mini-retirements. Get on it lady! And that’s a great point – the chart would be a lot more gray if we factor in older loved ones 🙁 . Even more motivation for us to live the life we want now! And thank you 🙂 . Let’s see what happens!

      1. I’m 42. Have saved 300k and very comfortably live on $700-$1000 a month. I will be retiring in 3-5 years. Sooner if my current employment were to end for some reason. I can always return to work. Odds are, I will be able to choose part time positions that enhance my retirement, such as volunteering.

    2. I think you are doing well in most areas, but selling yourself short in others. I take so much joy in problem solving and fixing issues in the properties that I have owned. Fixing things for $20 in raw materials that would typically be farmed out for thousands of dollars of repairs… I get a certain satisfaction from that. Working retirement? Yes! With some real-world problem solving to boot. Learning how things work and how things can be repaired is my way of engaging with the real world

    1. Thanks Nate! I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted. There seem to be so few blogs of retirees that writing regularly (which I totally understand, but wish wasn’t the case) so that’s my goal after I pull the trigger!

  3. Purple, it’s clear you’ve put thought into this, and I congratulate you in that regard. Personally I do know several single income people who retired on similar sums that have some regrets. Housing is a big one — all of them have changed their tune on the desire to own a home. I’m nearly 35 and so much of my perspective has changed since I was 30. I think so long as you plan for the all the unforeseen ways that we as individuals evolve, you won’t be eating puppy chow 😉 I enjoy following both of you (Mechanic and Purple Life) and I appreciate your perspectives.

    1. Hi There! That’s interesting to hear about your friends that have regrets after retiring on similar sums. I’m actually surprised to hear housing is one of them. While I do not pretend to know what Future Me will want – if I do change my tune on housing I don’t see that as a wrench in my plans. Outside major cities houses are quite affordable – even more so abroad in the countries I’m looking at traveling to for long periods of time. Totally agree I can’t know what Future me will want and I try to address that with my general flexibility. So glad you enjoy our perspectives! We’ll keep them coming 😉 .

      1. Hello there from South Africa!!
        I think what you are planning to do is AWESOME and I wish you nothing but the best!!!!

  4. Major well thought out plan. Nice! I like your ability to be able to pick up and go freely to obtain what you need (geoarbitrage, medical tourism,…). I think you’re going to do just fine. Even if you ‘fail’ doesn’t look like you’ll have an problems finding ways to suffice. And that is such a neat fact that you’re 3rd gen to a line of early retirees.

    1. Thank you! Being able to pick up and go at any time is a luxury for sure that really helps with my plan. And yeah ‘failure’ in this case is a pretty humorous concept to me because it’s still at the very least a long sabbatical. And yeah on 3rd gen FIRE – it’s pretty crazy. If my parents and grandparents can have a successful early retirement with wildcards like kids, houses and cars to take care of I think I can figure things out for just my little ol’ self 🙂 .

    1. Did I miss how you’re planning to pay for health insurance? I love how you have truly thought things out and it’s challenging me to rethink my spending.
      Thank you!

  5. You’re my hero! Not because you are retiring or that you’ll do so on $500k. You are a hero for educating yourself on finances and how to wisely spend YOUR time and YOUR money. It is clear you did your homework to determine what makes YOU happy and free to do as you chose. Not only do you have a plan, you have backup plans based on potential risks. That’s commendable and a smart move, an educated move.

    The “number” is different for everyone. One’s $500k can be $5 million for someone else. There are choices to be made for sure. I believe you and others can do a lot to increase the changes of success by focusing on establishing recurring revenue. Outside of your $500k investments/savings, setup a few income streams and get paid over and over without spending much additional time working. My wife and I do that by what we call income stacking.

    We play the credit card and online savings account game (sign-up bonuses), we own rental property, we download apps that pay us more when we shop at grocery stores, we blog and share the info to help others succeed, and so on.

    Thanks for spending the time to post your plan(s). It is inspiring.

    1. Haha – thank you! I don’t think I’ve been called a hero before. Completely agree the target number is completely based on the person involved. Great to hear about your recurring revenue. We’ll see if that happens for me accidentally 😉 , but if not as I mention it’s a possibility for combating sequence of returns risk if things go sideways early on. I don’t think I’ve heard the term “income stacking” before – will add it to my research list! I’m 4/5 on your revenue streams 😉 the only one I don’t have is a rental property. I just got into cash back apps recently and am loving how I get money for doing nothing basically. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good side hustles going! And anytime – so glad I could help inspire!

  6. I’m going to be forthright here. While the numbers might make sense for now I believe your making a mistake. You have the big surprises to your target covered. I commend your in depth well thought out analysis. But…
    People change a lot over time, especially in your early thirties. I am fundamentally not the same person at 38 I was at 29. Priorities change. Life changes and wants change.
    Your analysis is so cut to the bone that you haven’t allowed for those changes to occur. I’d at least ensure I have some optional income streams like a side hustle going if I were looking to cut at such a young age with such a low figure.

    1. It sounds like between your comment and Mr. CC I need to write another post about how I’m planning for Future Me and what she might want. I know that I have no idea who I’ll be in 5 or 10 years and that’s why I tried to base my plan around flexibility – if I change my mind about buying a house I’ll buy one. If I end up needing a car I’ll work that into my plans. The fact that my plan has no spending ceiling and will allow me to spend more than $20K in up years if I want to makes me comfortable with this plan, but like I said I can’t predict the future. As for a side hustle, I don’t want to rely on one for my plan to work, but if I accidentally start one that would be icing on the cake. We’ll see what happens.

    2. I agree with fulltimefunance. Your life expectation should be another 70 years. $500k for 70 years? That wont work. Not sure if the skills you have to offer the world but would it make more sense to quit your job and do something as a microbusiness that is fulfilling yet makes some income to offset inflation and economic shifts? We are in a bull market. It wont last. It never does.

      Check out for some alternative strategies including financial sustainability that might be a better fit for you.

      1. So what exactly is your argument behind your comment “That won’t work”? Genuinely curious. As for my skills: I’m in marketing and personally don’t want to do any type of work at a job if I don’t have to. I’m also not interested in starting a business myself – that sounds like more work than a full time job. As for the current bull market – I don’t see how that has any baring on my plan. Of course they don’t last forever – I didn’t imply they do.

  7. This is a wonderfully unique plan, which is perfect. There are no guarantees and we all need unique plans that fit our lifestyles and goals. Best of luck on your amazing adventures!

    1. Yay – so glad you like it! Completely agree that there are no guarantees and that personal finance plans should be well…personal lol. And thank you!

  8. everything should be fine. i just quit a good job at your age with nothing lined up. it was like a mini-retirement but that phrase didn’t exist then. y’know what? i ended up with different priorities and ended up doing the same kind of work and the world didn’t end when i changed my mind and put down roots. you don’t sign any contract that says this is what you’ll do forever as changing course is always an option.

    1. “everything should be fine.” Haha – I always love your approach freddy: straight and to the point. That sounds like a fun mini-retirement! Completely agree that changing course is always an option and that I don’t know who I’ll be or what I’ll want specifically in a decade or more, but that’s half the fun 😉 .

  9. It looks like you’ve got a whole lot of good options to choose from, you’re not locked into any single plan or by dependents, and that very flexibility makes it seem like it’s much more likely to succeed. This reminds me of my grand-aunt who is done with kids, done with her grandkids who are grown, and lives on comfortably $900 a month because she doesn’t need much. I bet she still saves on that income, too!

    1. Yes – trying to have a lot of options and do my best to combat the uncertainty of the future. Also I might need to put this on my mirror so I can think of it daily: “that very flexibility makes it seem like it’s much more likely to succeed.” You’re completely right. And your grand-aunt sounds awesome – also $900 a month?! Where does she live?? I need to learn her secrets 🙂 .

  10. This was an awesome read! I think it really puts the idea of retirement in a different perspective in that, everyone’s number can and will be different. Although math is no fun, it’s important to run the numbers correctly if earlier retirement is in your plans.

    Seems like you got this nailed down, nice work and best of luck!

    1. So glad you liked it!! Completely agree everyone’s number (and risk tolerance) seems to be different. And what do you mean math is no fun?!?! 😉 Completely agree it’s important to run the numbers through many different calculators and scenarios while building your plan…and backup plans. Thanks so much!

  11. You’ve totally got this! Seeing your numbers makes me think that I’d actually need less to retire than I currently think. And that grey graph is so foreboding!

    1. Thank you! I think so too 🙂 . And oooh on you maybe needing less than you currently think – keep me posted on that! And yes – that grey graph kinda terrified me when I first saw it. Definitely a huge motivator!

  12. I think you’ve thought everything out pretty carefully. I’d still be worried about employability after several years out of the workforce, but I’m not well-versed in how much employers really care about such things. So I could be inflating it. And since you don’t need a lot of money, as you said you have a wider range of job options.

    I’m still figuring out how much I spend in a year now that I’m single, so I’ll be interested to see where I land. Certainly more than you spend, but no one’s perfect I suppose.

    1. Thank you! And the employability comment is totally fair. In marketing it’s pretty common for people to have pretty large gaps in their resume and so far I’ve never heard of it being an issue. Also having a gap doesn’t mean I was doing nothing – even if I just keep up with my blog that’s ‘building my content marketing/social media etc skills’ that applies to directly to my line of work and shows I wasn’t just out of the loop for years. Also even if I have to go back to an entry level job in my field (highly unlikely, but just in case) I would still be able to cover all my expenses easily. Super curious what your new calculation show! And that’s true – no one is perfect, including me 🙂 .

  13. You have such confidence and verve in your writing. Love your life plan and your awareness of what-if scenarios. You’re going to rock! I hope after you retire you write a book. I’d buy it. Thanks for posting this, FM!

    1. Aw thank you!! So glad you like it and yes – my planner brain loves to try and think of a plan for even the most obscure of scenarios, but I just stuck to the big ones here. That’s so flattering about the book, but I might have to leave that honor to awesome authors like Financial Mechanic 🙂 . I’m technically already a published author so I already checked that box 😉 .

  14. Fellow car-free person loving your post!

    I’ve heard the FI_180 quote about “My worst-case scenario is everyone else’s best-case scenario.” I thought about it for a while — the issue there is that I’d have no trouble going back to work now, but if I’m 75 years old or even 55, it could be much more difficult.

    The other thing I’ve considered is later in life expenses. For example, if I got a knee injury, I may not be able to walk / bike. Better transit areas are generally more expensive. I may want to go to a nursing home that costs more than social security will give me — or I may want to stay in my own home.

    I’m thinking about moving to Mexico at some point in the next 10 years for a while, but assuming I come back to the States, I may not want to move to Mexico when I’m 80 in order to afford a heart surgery.

    Our Next Life had a great post on this that talked more about the fact that while elderly people spend less on consumer goods, they often have huge health-related expenses.

    1. Hi fellow car-free person!

      Totally agree with your points and greatly enjoyed that ONL post – that one helped me shape my plan. I should know in the first 5-10 years if this thing is going to work long term (the window with the most sequence of returns risk) so I’d be max 40 when I try to get another job if all goes sideways.

      Personally I’m not concerned about it since marketing jobs are plentiful and a lot are remote. Also blogging has opened a whole new world of marketing work possibilities – even as small as helping blogger friends with their sites.

      As for healthcare and the consequences of aging (not being able to walk and needing a car) I’m thinking along the same lines: if I have large expenses when I get old and have passed that most vulnerable time without issue I should have the money to make it work.

      Also an aside (morbid alert): after my parents pass away I’m not planning to stay in the US so at least traveling to another country for a large surgery like you mention won’t be a problem since I’ll already be there and am planning to pick my new home based on healthcare affordability, outcomes and other important factors. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      1. I mean, I plan to stay healthy my whole life anyway. If all goes well, I’ll be biking well into my 80s and 90s. ? I’m just trying to plan around some extra contingencies.

        This is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed following you and am excited to continue to follow your adventures.

  15. It’s obvious you’ve thought this through. I personally think you will succeed, if nothing more than to spite those who said you can’t 😉
    Two observations:
    First, although you have separate finances from your partner, you do live together and split expenses, so it is *sort of* like you are retiring with $1M.
    Second, from reading many of your blog posts, you seem to like to go against societal norms… And maybe this extends to the FIRE society as well. I appreciate that you encourage people to question you so you can be sure you’ve looked at all angles.

    1. I mean, I plan to stay healthy my whole life anyway. If all goes well, I’ll be biking well into my 80s and 90s. 😀 I’m just trying to plan around some extra contingencies.

      This is fantastic. I’ve enjoyed following you and am excited to continue to follow your adventures.

    2. “It’s obvious you’ve thought this through. I personally think you will succeed, if nothing more than to spite those who said you can’t”: Another quote for my mirror 🙂 ! You’re right – when I hear $1M thrown around it’s for a couple, not individually. We do split expenses, but just to be careful I’m calculate my projected expenses as if we won’t always be together (pessimist alert) so if necessary I can cover all living expenses without splitting or getting a roommate. And indeed I do like to go against societal norms if they don’t work for me 😉 I never thought of that extending to FIRE, but it looks like that is the case. And thank you! That’s a serious goal of mine: encouraging people to think hard about their choices instead of just going with what’s ‘normal.’ Thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it.

    1. Thanks so much!! And yeah – Joel knows what’s up. Have you listened to the new podcast he co-hosts “In Love & Money”? Dude is killing it. And totally agree – ‘worst case’ seems a little too harsh of a description when we analyze what it actually means 🙂 .

  16. So Purple Lady, regarding that generally accepted understanding is that you need a million to retire on – are you saying that means a million EACH?
    Uh oh I was assuming for the last decade that the goal was a million for both me and my husband. Recalculating…..Well that’s OK I guess, if you say it is possible to retire on just half a mill each….I trust you! Nicely written article.

    1. Hi There! I love the title “Purple Lady” and haven’t heard it before so thank you 🙂 . That statement about some people needing a million to retire on was written by the owner of this site, Financial Mechanic, so I’ll let her address that. When I’ve heard $1M being thrown around it’s been for a couple, not an individual, but obviously your monetary goal is based on how much you spend and that can be a wide range between different people. Glad you liked the article!

    2. Good point, I never differentiated the $1M number based on a single person vs. a couple. It depends on your spending, and from what I see, some couples target the low spending of $40,000 as a household and then save $1M. So maybe it’s not too farfetched for Purple to save half of that as an individual!

  17. Love this. People can start afresh with a 1000 dollars and you have 500k, that’s a lot. Anyone who can save 500k by the time they are 30-ish is more intelligent and disciplined than the average person. So, even if things go sideways, it wont be a problem. My prediction is that you will get involved with some type of cause / dream / skill and money will flow in from unintended places. (Something like learning how to sculpture or paint or wood work or financial jugglery and then seeing a waiting list for your creations) I was wondering if you would inherit any wealth from your parents ? If so, that would be a boost in the next 30 years or so.

    1. So glad you like it! And that’s a great perspective to have. “Anyone who can save 500k by the time they are 30-ish is more intelligent and disciplined than the average person”: Oh my – thank you! I like your confidence! Your prediction does seem to hold true from the early retirees I know. We shall see! And a wait list? Flattery will get you everywhere 🙂 .

      Great question about an inheritance: I’m actually trying to convince my parents to leave all their money to charity, but if they don’t go with my suggestion I did look into the numbers and because they (hopefully) will be around until I’m 60 or 70, receiving an inheritance shockingly doesn’t really change anything monetarily. If my retirement would have survived until I’m that age it is rock solid on its own and additional money wouldn’t shift that really.

  18. I wish you all the best on your journey, and can’t wait to read about what comes next! Whatever happens, you’ll discover a lot about yourself and the world. It will be a great experience.

    I discovered the FIRE movement later than you unfortunately, and I’m planning to retire in four years’ time, aged 48. Assuming I can stomach another four years of rat race.

    I’m single with no kids, no pets, no car, a small house with little mortgage left. Like you, I won’t need a huge sum to live on. I live in the UK, so I can take advantage of free healthcare (creaking and underfunded, but still invaluable). I’ll pass on geo-arbitrage, since I’ve already been living in five countries and I’d like to settle down now. 🙂

    Of course there are risks, as you write, but they have to be balanced against the certainty of being chained to a desk for years to come.

    1. Thank you! I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted. And you’re completely right – no matter what it will be a learning experience at least 🙂 . Congratulations are your impending retirement! That’s soon. I hope you either find a way to stomach the rat race or find a way to pull the trigger sooner!

      Your lifestyle sounds strangely familiar 🙂 and awesome! And yes despite some flaws I’m still insanely jealous of UK healthcare. Totally hear you on geo-arbitrage. I have only lived in one other country in my life (Italy) and it was only for 6 months so I think I have a while until the desire is out of my system.

      “Of course there are risks, as you write, but they have to be balanced against the certainty of being chained to a desk for years to come” <- Fantastic summary!

  19. Given all of the research you seemed to have done and how you’ve detailed your plan, I think you’ll be able to do it. I also think it’s pretty neat that you’ll be a 3rd generation early retiree. Is your partner planning to retire early as well?

    1. Hi Kim – thank you! That’s nice to hear. Yes – he’s planning to retire early as well, but he enjoys his line or work so he doesn’t have a countdown or anything like I do. Luckily he works remotely so he should be able to travel around with me while I’m retired and he’s still working, but we’ll see what the future holds!

      1. You’re welcome! I was wondering if he was going to be able to travel with you or not. While we talk about retiring early, I’m not sure when that will be for us. Maybe in our 50’s or maybe before then. I work PRN right now (3 shifts in 6 weeks) and it’s like being retired. Lol. And my husband is enjoying his job right now. Looking forward to seeing how your journey plays out. All the best to you!

        1. Yeah – hopefully he will be able to, but if not we’ll figure it out like we always do 🙂 . It sounds like there’s definitely no rush if you already feel retired and your husband enjoys his job! That’s amazing. Good luck with your journey! And thanks so much! All to best to you too.

  20. Hey, It’s nice to see that you have such confidence in your plan! It helps me to feel more confident about mine. I wish you the best of luck.

    One question for you though. I’ve followed your blog for a while and know that you are targeting ~$18-$20k a year in expenses. Does that amount already contemplate the tax implications owed each year for the amount of investment income you withdraw? I noticed on your chart from Engaging Data it was 0% and while there is no federal capital gains tax you will need to pay, depending on what state you are in, there could be a state tax. Is the plan to keep your primary address in Washington for the foreseeable future while you travel?

    1. Hi Mary – and thank you! So happy it makes you feel more confident.

      You’re spot on 🙂 . Planning to continue being a Washington resident for the foreseeable future and we don’t have income tax or a specific cap gains state tax. The current amount of cap gains I’m planning to take out is low enough to keep me in the tax bracket that pays 0% tax on them. Though if I want to withdraw more and spill over into the higher tax bracket I’ll just spend a little less to include that tax hit in my $20K annual spending. I’m all about that flexibility 😉 .

  21. That seems like a low number for some people as I’ve seen in the comments. But then again, retiring at 30 with half a million, APurpleLife still has her youth to fall into a backup plan if she does need it. And I’m sure she won’t just laze around all day drinking margritas. Most people at FI earn money in some form anyway.

    Plans might change with a family though. But that’s the great thing about FI life, it’s flexible!

    1. Yep – I’ve got backup plans in place so I’m personally not worried about it. And haha I don’t have time to laze about drinking – I’ve got a whole world to see! As for a family (I assume you mean kids): that is one thing I’m 100% on. I’m never having kids. I don’t want them, never have, and I believe they should be had by people who want them wholeheartedly. But yes – flexibility is key!

  22. I think you’ll do just fine.
    It’s amazing how things just opened up when you are happy and simplify your life. Which to begin with you have the advantage of being just you. Kids and family complicate things quite a bit.
    Maybe you’ll find something that feel passionate about and can earn some extra $$$ to keep cementing that retirement for future years.
    I love the quote ” Your worst case scenario is everyone else’s every day scenario.”
    Can’t wait for you to be retired. I hope you keep posting. I want to see pics from Thailand.

    1. That’s nice to hear – thank you! Just having to care for myself definitely helps me feel more comfortable with this plan. And totally agree – maybe I will find something I love that accidentally makes money after I decompress for a while. And haha I can’t wait either 😉 . I will definitely keep posting so don’t worry about that. Currently planning to keep up my weekly Tuesday schedule! And I’ll make a note to definitely post some Thailand pictures for you.

  23. You did a fantastic job accumulating half a million by age 30. What is your stock/bond allocation going to look like in retirement?

    1. Thanks Marc! Not quite there yet, but it’s looking good. My allocation now and in retirement is 100% stocks. I don’t mind the volatility that brings (compared to having bonds as well) because of the flexibility options I mention above.

  24. Wow! So little! But congrats.

    $500,000 can generate about $10,000-$20,000 a year in income. I definitely can’t live like that. Cool you can.

    Do you think you’re suffering from FIRE FOMO?

    1. Haha thanks. I haven’t heard the phrase FIRE FOMO before, but if I understand it correctly no I’m not. I’ve been saving for this goal for over 5 years – not trying to take a shortcut or anything because I’m afraid to be missing out 😉 .

    2. I think Purple can do it. Plus she is very articulate, I could see her writing books and doing very well.
      I know you said you were 100% stocks and that’s cool.

      If I was in your spot, I might do this. Put 50 grand in value stocks on the dip, 12-15 big gain days each year can add nice extra income! If you gain 1000 or more in a day, set the gains aside for extra cash.

      The other 450 grand, I would do 55% VTI and 45% BND while VTI is at or near its high. Then sell bonds and buy VTI at 140, 130, and 120. Reallocate to 55/45 when VTI comes back to its high.

      Not for everyone, but this is what I think I would do. My risk tolerance is not as great I guess.

  25. Forgot to say that my goal would be to keep as close to 50 grand in the value stock portfolio as possible and pocket the gains

    1. I appreciate your vote of confidence and the compliment – thank you!! As for your portfolio, I’m all for people doing what makes them feel most comfortable so you do you obviously. Personally I prefer the simplicity of my allocation for myself.

  26. We appreciate your willingness to take the time to dialogue with everybody on here. And your diligence and hard work are inspiring! We wish you all the best – have a wonderful life.

    1. Thank you Marc! Interacting with people in comments is my favorite part of blogging 🙂 . I’ll try to live up to such an awesome distinction 😉 . Hope you’re having a great day and a great life!

  27. How exciting! I love the observation that your worst-case scenario (going back to employment) is most everyone else’s everyday scenario. So true, which is of course why you should definitely go for it. I think you’ll find it even easier to make money when you’re untethered from needing a traditional job b/c you’ll be more creative about where the money comes from.

    1. Yay! And yeah it’s a pretty wild revelation that one – we talk so much about the possibility of retirement failure, but not what that actually means (going back to your current life, which isn’t that bad). I suspect you’re spot on about money in retirement – that seems to be the case with the people I’ve seen retire before me.

  28. That is an amazing read – enjoyed the article! I love how you’re approaching (early) retirement from a different point of view. Everyone’s numbers are always going to be different, since everyone’s spending habits, needs, and wants are different.

    Great how you’ve run the numbers on your early retirement, I love graphs and numbers. It’s important to analyze the different scenario, but you’ve got it covered. I have no doubt that you’re going to enjoy retirement for the full 100%.

    Like you said, the worst case scenario is your everyday life now. It’s good to give it some thought, and good that you don’t focus too much on it.

    Let the countdown to early retirement begin!

    1. She really nailed sharing all the different aspects, from monetary goals to emotional factors as well!

  29. This was such a good read.

    I think it’s great that you’re able to live on less and start your FIRE life now, rather than waiting another 10 to 15 years.

    You can’t put a price on freedom.

    Plus, who could say no to traveling to cool places, eating good food, hanging with fun people, and basically living your best life as soon as possible? 😉

    Congrats, Purple! I’m eager to see what awaits you in your post-job life!

    1. Yay! So glad you liked it. I’m all about those calculated risks! Thank you – excited to see what happens so you can learn from my mistakes 😉 …and there will be many.

  30. Love this! I 1000% agree with you on not wanting to own a home and not wanting to live somewhere with no public transit…and no sidewalks! WTF is with no sidewalks!? You’d think that were a given, but we are so utterly car dependent. It makes me sad.

    1. Glad you like it! And it sounds like we need to form a homefree and public transit loving group since there appear to be dozens of us 😉 . Don’t even get me started on all the weird and horrible ways the US is built for cars instead of people. Someone take me back to Europe please! It makes me sad too. Hopefully we can work on changing it.

      1. I mean the only reason I’m not temporarily living in Europe right now is my lack of income to sustain me. Hah. Because yeah, this country was definitely designed to force people to drive.

        1. Count me in on that one. I live in Albuquerque NM. Love the desert but am now widower. I’m on the fence about owning a house but loathe the neighborhood I’m in and that’s with sidewalks. I find renting anywhere is as expensive as owning except for maintenance costs.

  31. Love the article and wish I had done the same plan when I was 30. As a senior aged bachelor who has never owned a house (although I had a RE Brokers license in California for over 20 years), I can appreciate the “mobility” and uncomplicated nature of it all. As a lifelong renter (and great handyman), I still love just picking up the phone to handle repairs etc. and never see a property tax bill. My experience tells me that it is usually the dreams and ambitions of a spouse that drive us into home ownership rather than our own desires to be foot loose and fancy free (to travel or whatever). My career has also included more than 20 years as a Certified Financial Planner and rendering tons of financial and debt advice so these thoughts are not without merit. That said the Stock Market has almost an unblemished history of providing average annual returns of between 10-11%. Investing accordingly even after taxes that should more than support the living expenses you have outlined. (the main caveat being that brokers/advisors etc. care more about their own commission interests than your future well-being). So by all means GO FOR IT and enjoy your retirement years assuming you stay flexible enough to reassess your plan every 5 or 10 years and make adjustments accordingly. It should be a walk in the park – even if that park is in a foreign country.
    PS I spend considerable time viewing articles about living in a foreign country.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! That’s really interesting that you’re a lifelong renter who had their brokers license (aka you’ve been in the thick of it). Awesome you’re a great handyman – that’s an area of life I’ve only dipped my toe in slightly so far, but am looking to improve over time.

      Awesome to hear your thoughts as a veteran CFP! Totally hear you on brokers and advisors and that’s why I don’t (and never have) used them. Self-taught investor and life long learner over here. I’m all for that flexibility and will be assessing my plan annually to see how it’s going. Also this is hilarious “It should be a walk in the park – even if that park is in a foreign country.” I spend a lot of time reading about living in other countries too. The world is so big and interesting that living in one country my whole life is just not something I’m interested in. Thank so much for stopping by!

  32. Back when I was unhappy at my day job, I pretty much made sure to wake up early every single work day. While I was tired, I knew that waking up early allowed me to have just a little bit more time so that I could work on reaching my goals.

    1. That’s a great life hack! I’ve been getting up earlier lately too because the sun in Seattle sets near 10pm and rises near 5am, but I’d like to keep it up in the fall and winter if I could. Congratulations on working towards your goals!

  33. Hello, Love the article and wish I had done the same plan when I was 30. As a senior aged bachelor who has never owned a house (although I had a RE Brokers license in California for over 20 years), I can appreciate the “mobility” and uncomplicated nature of it all. As a lifelong renter (and great handyman), I still love just picking up the phone to handle repairs etc. and never see a property tax bill. My experience tells me that it is usually the dreams and ambitions of a spouse that drive us into home ownership rather than our own desires to be foot loose and fancy free (to travel or whatever). My career has also included more than 20 years as a Certified Financial Planner and rendering tons of financial and debt advice so these thoughts are not without merit. That said the Stock Market has almost an unblemished history of providing average annual returns of between 10-11%. Investing accordingly even after taxes that should more than support the living expenses you have outlined. (the main caveat being that brokers/advisors etc. care more about their own commission interests than your future well-being). So by all means GO FOR IT and enjoy your retirement years assuming you stay flexible enough to reassess your plan every 5 or 10 years and make adjustments accordingly. It should be a walk in the park – even if that park is in a foreign country.

    1. Hi! So glad you liked it 🙂 . I’m obviously completely with you on renting – I emailed my landlord the other day to fix 3 things, which apparently involved 2 visits and going to several stores, but I didn’t have to do any of it. Heaven!

      Hearing that you as a CFP think my plan is solid makes my heart so happy! And yep – no brokers for me and I’ll be assessing my plan annually to make adjustments as needed. I absolutely love this line: “It should be a walk in the park – even if that park is in a foreign country.” Thanks so much for stopping by!

  34. I think you have a solid plan. The only addition to it that I would suggest is purchasing two or more rental homes cash in the 40-60k range (midwest markets have plenty of these) you should be able to cash flow 1000+ a month between the two of these paid off homes which would allow you to have a sub 2% withdrawal rate at your current spending levels.this likely means your portfolio will grow year on year, therby giving you more security during prolonged bear markets and providing some additional diversity. Alot of people dont want to deal with the hassle of managing the properties, which is understandable, but a property manager is in my opinion worth the nominal cost.

    1. Hi Caleb – thank you for the suggestion. I actually have no interest in rental properties. My parents have had one for a decade and it’s been a nightmare and not great cashflow wise. It’s also more work than I’m interested in (even finding a management company). If I get bored in retirement maybe I’ll look into it 😉 .

    1. Yep! Retiring at all is risky 🙂 and 100% stocks is a level of risk I’m comfortable with. Let’s see what happens if that kind of bear market comes to pass soon! No plan is foolproof and I am completely open to ‘failure’ aka a sabbatical. I’d rather try and see what happens.

  35. Amazing that quote says it all… what’s the worst that can happen? The same thing as everyone else!!

    Fricking love this!

    I’m actually taking a “year off” teaching next year and recently worked out we actually have put in around £200k into a rental property (pulling £120k) out soon (cash flow is £750 a month conservative) we also have a bit in index funds, silver and got some crypto.

    Reading things like this make me realise how close we could actually be to just kicking back and sipping cocktails on beaches!!

    So excited to hear how it all goes ?

    1. Right?! It’s a great one. Congratulations on your year off next year! That’s so exciting. And yeah it sounds like they’re pretty close to being able to pull the plug completely (if you’re not already there)! Thanks so much – I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated!

    1. Also, in order to emigrate to some countries it is required to prove having a stable pension(like social security). If you relly on variable income, the countries that you may be thinking to move into, may not accept you.

      1. Sure – expected inheritance: $0. I’m encouraging them to leave any money they have left to charity and even if I do inherit anything I’ve done the math and it doesn’t change the likelihood of a successful retirement because it would happen about 40 years into my own retirement. I would have succeeded or failed long before then.

        And yep I’m aware of the requirements to visit and move to other countries. Currently only planning to visit, which has less of those kinds of stable income requirements. I will receive social security though I don’t include those numbers in my plans or rely on them since the program might change – that’ll just be extra money on top.

  36. Hey, very nice blog. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

  37. This in my opinion is part of what’s going wrong with the next generation coming through the US. I love the idea of early retirement and think it should be pursued. However, don’t you think it’s a bit ironic that this person references the cost of healthcare yet they’ll be doing nothing to help pay for that if it were changed and subsidized further by the government? It’s always someone else’s reasonability. In this case, they’d want someone else’s higher income to help sustain their lifestyle choice to not be working and allow them to have lower healthcare costs.

  38. You worked hard, you saved your money, you’re responsible, you have the right to live your life according to conscious and I think you’re doing amazing. I wish for you all the best.

  39. I’ve taken several long employment breaks in my 52 years. Even if your retirement turns into a long break, in my experience, it’ll be worth it. You can’t buy that time back when you’re 70, no .after how much money you’ve squirreled away. Good luck with this plan and I hope you enjoy your 70 year retirement.

    1. That’s lovely! And yep – even if it’s a break I’ll be happy to take that. I’m totally with you on not being able to buy back time. Thank you!

  40. 70 years and 20K per year (without counting any inflation in 70 years) is 1.4Mil.
    I can’t see how you will survive with 500K

  41. Really, good post. Very similar to our own analysis on using all the levers. We even use the levers analogy. We also look at the expense side as variable. If need be? Adjust lifestyle to fit the then present income. At some point going back to work as an option may be impractical due to health or disability. But we expect that combination of chance and necessity to be out on the tail of the distribution curve. Unlikely to both need to go back to work and be unable to do so. Why? In most circumstances we would have seen the need coming by watching the trend lines. And already adjusted accordingly. We already live in a low cost rural environment with income earned from urban or national work. Ain’t tech great? (sic) A couple of really good mantras to remember. Rent is the ceiling. Even though we are homeowners. But we are mortgage free, so we’re focused on controlling the unknowns above the mortgage line. For instance, we really hate paying energy utilities. So investing in conservation, energy management, and renewable energy.

  42. I’m curious to know if you’ve looked at the immigration process for countries with universal healthcare, as it seems that your plan is, if you are diagnosed with an expensive health condition, to simply move to, say, Canada or some other country with universal healthcare and/or lower healthcare costs.

    In my experience (I’ve lived in three different countries) you need to pass a medical exam where they will take the cost of any healthcare you need into account and will refuse your immigration application if you are diagnosed with an expensive-to-treat condition. Some medications, even in those countries where prescription costs are lower, can run 10s of thousands of dollars a year.

    Of course, I’m sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your health, but sadly you can’t eliminate the risk of disease altogether.

    I’m sure you’ve thought about this and got it in hand!

    1. This is what I’m curious about also. I really like this plan overall but my parents at 60 both haven’t retired yet because of healthcare in the US.

      I’ve lived in 3 countries now on work visas and planning to retire early. One thing we’ve factored in is staying long enough in a country with free healthcare to gain citizenship & it will likely be where we end up settling down to in older age instead of the US.

      I’ve only lived in the US & Europe, though, so perhaps the contries mentioned are more leniant/welcoming?

  43. This is naive and so many ways. it is typical thinking of young people that think they have it all figured out, then grow older and find out that they don’t. Nevertheless I applaud you for at least putting pieces together with the knowledge you currently have. Here is hoping that you make the right adjustments along the way.

  44. Great job.

    I am retiring next year with $450,000 CAN. Even less than you.
    I get some occasional income from my website, but I am not counting on it.
    I live on $1,500/month CAN
    I live in Canada where we get free health care.

  45. Rent is not the ceiling in a lot of countries, so be careful there. In many countries you’re responsible for all the maintenance except items that would make the place uninhabitable. It is also common in many countries for the tenant to pay the HOA (most countries I’ve been to exclude the “non-ordinary” part of the HOA, which is paid by the landlord). There are even a few countries (the ones I know of are in Latam) where landlords will charge you the full property tax on top of the rent.

  46. I put APurpleLife’s same numbers into that exact Post-Retirement Calculator on Engaging Data and I came up with a different result. The chart shows about a 7% chance of going broke in red which is not on her screenshot. Was this edited out? Admittedly it’s not much, but it makes me doubt the veracity of her story.

    1. I was curious, so I went ahead and put in all of the same numbers and got the same result as she did. Did you remember to change the investment fees? Before going straight to: ‘was this edited out,’ my first thought was that maybe the calculator had been updated since 2019 when this article was written, however the results look exactly the same to me.

  47. OK, I see what it is. A new field called “Flex Threshold” wasn’t on APurpleLife’s screenshot. Depends on what’s entered into this field.

  48. There are even a few countries where landlords will charge you the full property tax on top of the is typical thinking of young people that think they have it all figured out, then grow older and find out that they don’t. We already live in a low cost rural environment with income earned from urban or national work.

  49. I’m rereading this years later and it’s interesting that my initial reaction then was “great for purple, but this is crazy and I could never do this”. A couple of years later, I’m trying to convince my partner that we are pretty much there! If u have the cajones and resourcefulness to plan for FI, you’re not the type of person to do nothing and sink with the titanic- whatever comes in the next decades, you will do your best to figure it out. Just the same as if you were still working in a 9-5.

    1. Wow congrats to you for getting so far in just a couple of years! You have the right attitude, you can adjust as life comes. Good luck on the next stage of your journey!

      1. Double Congratulations to you 🙂 . I had a similar reaction when I first learned about FIRE and now here I am promoting it – life’s wild. Good luck!!

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