Most kids hear the same advice – go to college and work hard so you can get a “good” job. So that is what I did. After getting a computer around the age of 10, I taught myself to program in Visual Basic and knew that I could get a “good” job developing software. So I spent 4 years studying Computer Science and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Ariana went down a similar path. She was told to do what she loved. She loved animals, so she spent 4 years and received a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology. And that was the start of us getting into debt young.
A Book That Changed My Life
Towards the end of my senior year, one of my classmates gave me a book called The Automatic Millionaire and told me to read it. I wasn’t a big fan of reading, but since most of the classes were coming to an end, I did have some free time. I started reading it and was so hooked that I finished it in 1 night! The concept of the book is that anyone can become a millionaire. The biggest thing that I took away from the book was the power of compounding interest. Even through I had taken several math courses that dealt with interest, I had never thought of interest in the context of money and my life.
The timing could not have been better. As I closed the end of my college “career”, I began to really wonder what I should do with my life. Ariana and I had been together nearly 4 years and were planning to get an apartment together, but neither of us yet had jobs in our field of study. I had just sold off the last of my stock of books from my used book business which provided me extra cash during college and began to think about what was next.
Where would we be in a year?
What did we want out of life?
As I began to ponder these questions, one thing that I knew for sure was that I did not want to work for the traditional 45 years before I could retire. After reading the book, I realized that the most important years to invest were the early ones. I forget the specific details, but the point was the person who starts early and invests the longest typically wins. So you will be much further ahead financially if you invest from ages 20-40 instead of waiting and investing from ages 40-60, since you money will have an additional 20 years to grow from interest.
Setting a Big Goal
So without much thought, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to enjoy life, so I decided that I would like to have the option to retire from working for someone else within 15 years. This seemed like a reasonable amount of time to work and save money, and followed the guideline of investing young as I would be investing from 21-36.
It has been ~7.5 years since I set that goal. Stay tuned for a future post where I post an update on where I stand now in terms of retiring.
Do you want to earlier early? If so, what motivates you?