How This Couple Saved $1 Million and Retired in Their 30s

early retirement
Photo courtesy of Go Curry Cracker

Do you dream of retiring early and traveling the world? Don’t we all? But what does it take to make this dream a reality?

Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng retired at ages 38 and 33. In the years since, they’ve explored more than 50 countries, and their son Julian, who is now 2, has been to 27 of them.

How to Retire Early: One Couple’s Story

The couple shared how they managed this feat — including real numbers behind their financial decisions — in an interview with Forbes.

Here’s what you can learn from their story.

Minimize Your Expenses

This is key to freeing up more of your income to go toward other priorities, like saving.

“Even in Seattle, we spent $40,000 a year,” says Winnie.

Jeremy estimates that by the end of their time there, they were spending less than $2,000 a month — and putting more than 70% or more of their income straight into savings.

For the biggest impact on your budget, the couple said, focus on cutting spending in big areas like housing, transportation and food. They rented a 900-square-foot apartment, didn’t own a car, biked everywhere and joined a CSA.

Pay Off Debt First

A photo of Plitvice National Park in Croatia.
Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng took this photo when they were at Plitvice National Park in Croatia. Photo courtesy of Go Curry Cracker

When Jeremy graduated from college, he was $40,000 in debt. Even on his $40,000 salary, he focused on paying those loans off as quickly as possible.

“If I had $10 at the end of the month, I paid an extra $10 to the student loan,” he told Forbes.

Make a Plan

Jeremy and Winnie built their retirement plan on the 4% rule of investing, which says if you withdraw 4% each year from your retirement account, you’ll likely only be touching interest and dividends and will maintain your account balance.

“We can fund our whole lifestyle on $1 million,” Jeremy explained. That number is “just a straight up 25 times our annual expenses.”

The couple mostly invested in index funds, and they share their tax returns in detail on their blog, Go Curry Cracker.

“Our plan is to, over the next 30 years, convert our entire 401(k) into a Roth IRA so we pay no tax going in and no tax going out,” said Jeremy. “Overall, we’ll be looking at $3 million in income over the next 30 years all tax-free.”

Want more details? Read the full story at Forbes.

Heather van der Hoop is a freelance editor. When she’s not reading, you can usually find her playing along with Jeopardy! or climbing rocks, mountains and trees.