Learn About Extreme Early Retirement


Let’s be honest here:

There are only a few people in the world who are truly able to carry out a successful early retirement, especially when they do not have the gift of a pension to supplement their extreme savings. While I have been (and continue to be) greatly inspired by the likes of Jacob Lund Fisk, Mr. Money Mustache, and Financial Samurai, I have found that while we may never quite match the behavior of these financial mavericks, we need to learn as much about “extreme early retirement” in order to even come close to having a normal retirement for ourselves.

Most of the extreme early retirement folk have one thing in common: They have stripped their lives down to the bare bones for an extended period of time with the full intention of never going back to being a consumer. Saving 50%-80% of their incomes, early retirement was attainable for them at ages between 30 and 40. While this is admirable (and sometimes enviable) to me, I am not sure it is realistic in my case, although I am going to try my hardest to even come close!

First off, I live and work in a highly taxed area of the country (NJ). While I do not plan on living here forever, I plan on staying until my kids are done with school. Every time an extreme retirement author/blogger throws monthly budget numbers out there for us to read, I never see high taxes in the mix. Maybe most important, most early retirement extremists hate (or extremely dislike) their jobs. That is not the case with me. I feel lucky and privileged to do the work I do; I am just eager to see what would happen if I put all of my energy into one of my passions (specifically my non-profit work). I suppose if I hated the work I did, I would be motivated to change my ways even more.

All said and done, I have learned a ton from the early retirement books and blogs I have read. As is the case in many areas of life, I believe it is best to get your information from the “extreme hard core” in any field you are interested in so that you can make an educated decision as to how much of their plan you want to adopt. I think it is way better for go this route, as opposed to relying on some rookie at Charles Schwab to tell us how to save for retirement. I mean, how is that working out for everyone these days?

I have learned so much from the extreme early retirement people, though. As you have read in my previous posts, I have uncluttered my life, viciously paid down debt, created budgets that work for me and my family, and spent time increasing knowledge and skills that will hopefully allow me to do work that I have previously paid specialists to do instead.   Ultimately, I am never going to stop working. It is simply not in my DNA. I do believe, though, that the more we prepare ourselves fiscally to not have to work, the more freedom we will have to choose paths that really speak to our passions and life mission when the opportunity arises.

To that end, I will keep following my extreme retirement books and blogs!  If you choose to read some of the above mentioned material and you come out saving 5% more of your salary, you got something out of it!

Have any of you attempted the extreme retirement blueprint?  How is it working out for you?


  1. Carol Irish says:

    Tony is retiring next Friday. It feels so weird to count down the days not months or years. I, of course, have to work so we won’t be becoming snow birds just yet. If Kodak wasn’t bankrupt he probably would stay on a little longer. Too many layoffs. He qualified last year for his pension so he finally made the decision to go for it. Big lifestyle changes ahead. I am loving your blog. You write so well Anthony!! I relate to a lot of what you say not that I am great with budgeting but I am a saver. It’s not what u make but how much you save (or something like that). Also, I have said this for years-if you live below your means you can grow your savings. I read the book “The Millionaire next door” years and years ago. I highly recommend it. I also watch Suzi Orman almost every Saturday nite. She can get annoying but her advice is top notch. Smart lady. Great job getting out of your debt….I bet it feels so liberating!!!

  2. I love reading MMM and ERE (and just found your blog). I fall someone in between their levels of comfort. I don’t mind not having a car but I want a comfortable house. I live in a travel trailer 2 months out of the year and wouldn’t want to make it my full time residence.

    I do want to point out that pensions aren’t “gifts” though…at least not for me. I’ve been paying into mine for 17 years.

    • Thanks for finding me, Lisa! I am the same way; not going extreme hardcore, but I’m constantly adding the principles that those guys discuss.

      To be clear, I meant that pensions are so rare these days that it is a “gift” to have the opportunity to pay into one. Perhaps I should have crafted my words more carefully. I too have been paying into one for 13 years.

      Thanks for the post!

  3. I would agree that ER is not so much about not working at all but to better be able to do what you want. If you have a nice cushion it would be a lot easier to leave a high paying job to do something you enjoy more for less pay. I understand that you can do this anyway, but a nice stash of cash lessens the potential risks involved. I find the stuff absolutely fascinating. The basis of it is fairly simple too. By taking more control over your spending, a modest salary can go a long way.

    • I am completely with you, Ian! It’s all about spending less than you earn, of course! After I get out of debt (in a few short months!!) it will be very interesting to see how much I need to have enough “and then some”, and then what I decide to do about it (keep working and save a ton, or change course). Thanks for the post!

  4. I read a lot of those early retirement blogs too. I am actually in or close to that extreme frugal category but because of my debit I’m still probably 15/20 years away from retiring (currently 30), unless I significantly increase my income (working on it). Although it isn’t for everyone like you mentioned, there are always little takeaways people can use to reduce expenses. Everyone can find at least $50 a month to save without really trying.

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