The list is sorted in order of retirement age. If you know of someone who should be added here, let me know via the comment section below. The age of financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) is in parenthesis after the name. Other people achieved financial freedom on average household incomes below. So can you. If you get busy with side hustles, maybe you can retire even earlier.
If you think financial independence is impossible, you’re wrong. Even if you’ve paid thousands due to the knowledge tax, like I did, there’s always still time to get your finances in order and be financially independent one day. If you’re weary of spending money to fix your financial life, here are 20 free money tools you can use to get your financial life in order.
What if you’re the kind of person who wants a blueprint to follow, here’s a step by step guide for how to invest your money. If you’ve never been sure of which order you should fill your accounts with (401k, IRA, 529, bank accounts, broker accounts, etc), there is a tax optimized order, which I describe above in the step by step guide.
The Ultimate List of People Who Reached Financial Independence Before 40
1). JP Livingston (28) – She retired at 28 with $2.25M in NYC. She worked in finance and managed to save upwards of 70 percent of her income. She blogs about advanced investment and tax strategies and just had baby Livingston.
2). Michelle (28) – She blogs at Making Sense of Cents and has one of the biggest followings out of personal finance blogs out there. She managed to quit her analyst job and work on her blog full time, eventually building it to become a blog that makes $1M in yearly revenue. She currently lives in a RV and travels across the country with a penchant for hiking and the outdoors.
3). Pauline (29) – Her motto is “Work Smarter Live More”, which everyone should take to heart. She ventured off the beaten path by retiring to Guatemala. She’s travelled the world on a one year trip around the world, and has also taken two six month motorcycle trips.
4). Grant (30) – He became financially independent at 30 when he started a company and socked away enough money to cross the millionaire mark in 5 years. He’s a SEO guru and has a book coming out next year whose topic is financial freedom.
5). Jacob (30) – He writes Early Retirement Extreme, which advocates for retiring in less than 5 years. He falls into the more leanFIRE category and feels you should run your finances like a company. Concentrate on growth, and pay down your liabilities while increasing your assets, are his main pieces of advice.
6). MMM (Peter) (30) – Everyone knows MMM. He’s the guy everyone first quotes when you think of frugality and financial independence. His forums are pretty popular as well. He’s originally from Canada, so maybe that’s why he never caught the consumerism bug and loves to DIY and optimize his life. He’s even started a MMM headquarters!
7). Kristy (31) – Known better as Canada’s youngest retiree, Kristy runs the blog over at Millennial Revolution. She and her husband retired at 31 to travel the world. They’ve since done some real good in retirement, as they’ve helped code some non-profit apps.
8). Jay (31) – He graduated with an engineering degree and retired at 31 and writes over at FI fighter. If you’re looking for someone who talks about alternative investments because you’ve heard too much about index funds, check him out.
9). Elizabeth (32)- She writes at Frugalwoods and just released her new book, which chronicles her path towards reaching financial independence. They live in a cabin in the woods in Vermont and have their own family farm. Simple living at its finest and one of the sweetest bloggers out there.
10). Anita (33) – She loves books and reviews them on her blog along with travel stories and her enchanting bucket list. Now that she’s reached financial independence, she has plenty of time to cross things off her bucket list!
11). Brandon (33) – One of the biggest names out there in the financial independence space, the Mad Fientist has a an awesome blog and podcast filled with complex topics like how to minimize taxes and travel hacking. He’s traveled to over 45 countries and isn’t stopping there!
12). Jason (33) – He has a heart breaking story, and if there’s ever a true story of adversity for FI bloggers, his is it. Despite it all, he managed to retire at 33 and has utilized geographic arbitrage to relocate to Chang Mai.
13). Justin (33) – Mr. Root of Good got his law degree but worked as an engineer instead. His family just traveled to Europe for 2 months and he’s got an upcoming month in the Bahamas with the family. He’s definitely living the life with early retirement.
14). Sam (34) – One of the largest blogs in the finance sector, Sam’s blog at Financial Samurai focuses on advanced investing, tax strategies, and interesting analytics of US demographics. Prior to retirement, Sam worked on Wall Street and got his MBA. He’s also consulted with a number of startups. He’s financially independent, but finds fun in working on his blog.
15). Mr Crazy Kicks (34) – His blog has a lot of DIY hacks, such as brewing your own beer and growing your own food via a DIY greenhouse. He also has a ton of travel and weather arb posts.
16). Stop Ironing Shirts (34) – He reached FI at 34, but hasn’t officially stopped working yet. His blog name is a nod to the fact that he hates ironing his shirts for the corporate world. Dry cleaning is expensive! They love Hawaii and hope to move there for a bit once they’ve fully started their life of financial freedom.
17). Paul + Vicki (35) – These are the only people on the list who’ve retired nearly 30 years ago. They’ve been living out their life out of the country for the past three decades, occasionally coming back to the US to see family. They’ve travelled to over 80 countries and have had an amazing time.
18). ER Dude (36)- He blogs over at Early Retirement Dude and has been retired for 12 years. He’s one of the few who have been retired prior to 2008. Along the way he house hacked and utilized geographic arbitrage.
19). Steve (36) – He currently lives in an Airstream trailer even though his new worth has climbed north of $1M. He has a fun YouTube channel and helps run RockStar Finance and is a CNBC contributor. Steve was in IT and hustled to FIRE in less than a decade when he realized he could retire early.
20). Michael (36) – He founded an IT company at 25 and worked hard to get it off the ground before selling it and getting a nice severance package. He’s read an incredible amount of books on personal finance and has an incredibly grateful attitude.
21). Jeremy (38)- His niche is traveling the world and saving on the taxes that come with that. Did you know the IRS excludes up to $102k per taxpayer if you’re outside of the country for 330 days a year? His adorable kid, GCC Jr. also makes an appearance and has been to 26 countries! Jeremy has taken financial freedom to the next level by becoming a nomad that travels all across the world.
22). Joe (38)- He’s currently a stay at home dad and blogger, which sounds pretty fun and retired to me! Joe was an engineer at Intel before retiring. For him, financial freedom allows him to spend time with his sons.
23). Mr. Tako (38)- He writes about things that are not just index funds, and has interesting trade ideas every few months that he shares with the public. Also, his blog is partially a food and travel blog I feel, which I love! I think retiring should be all about eating good food and traveling and he has absolutely done that.
24). Mr Doom (38)- He blogs over at Living a FI on more advanced finance and FI topics. He blogs throughout his journey and touches on philosophical quandaries.
25). Tanja (38) – She runs the blog Our Next Life as well as the podcast, Fairer Cents. They retired just at the end of 2017, so follow their blog to see what retirement is like. They’ve traded jobs that gave money for more fulfilling things in life.
26). Physician on FIRE (39) – Though PoF hasn’t retired from the workforce, he has enough to be financially independent. He takes his kids on month-long trips to volunteer in South America or immerse themselves in Mexico, so that’s a pretty liberal work life. He blogs about advanced finance and resources for doctors so they can retire early too.
27). Slow Dad (39) – He’s got an fascination with Lego minifigs and has migrated 5 times. He’s has insight into working visas and residency permits and even certified to become a financial planner! Even though he doesn’t practice.
28). Paula Pant (30s)- She reached financial independence in her 30s by house hacking and investing in multiple rental properties. She also built an insane online business with 50,000 subscribers. Though financially independent, she still finds it fun to work on her business.
Honorary Financial Freedom Mentions
While these three didn’t necessarily achieve financial freedom before 40, they’re pretty close. Plus they’re awesome bloggers! Check them out.
29). Carl (43) – Let’s round the retirement age down and we’re at 40! Carl has one of the funniest FIRE blogs out there with memes and gifs up the wazoo. Follow his house DIY fixer-upper story and his half-marathon training.
30). Karsten (43) – The best analytical mind on the topic of FIRE out there in the form of a blogger. With a Phd and a quantitative role, I expected no less. He has a paper with SSRI and his series on SWR is simply mind-blowing. He just retired in early 2018 and will be skiing and traveling. Look out for his life after FIRE!
We define retirement here as being financially independent. If they choose to do work after being financially independent, that’s up to them. You should only care about getting to financial independence so you can do whatever you’d like to do in life. So, I consider them all to have retired early because they don’t need to work anymore as they’ve achieved financial freedom.
If you think they don’t count as retired, Google the Early Retirement FIRE police.
Just try and become financially independent yourself and stop judging what others choose to do with their lives after they amass enough money to never work again.
Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.
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