Who: Jeremy Jacobson, 40, and Winnie Tseng, 36, retired, formerly of Seattle
Our Early Retirement ‘Aha!’ Moment: “In 2002, I took my first real vacation, to the Philippines. After three weeks of scuba diving and eating great seafood, my goals were completely transformed — I wanted to do this every day for the rest of my life!
Over the next few years, I sold my house, car and motorcycle so I could ramp up my savings. A few years later, I met my future wife, Winnie, who is also a great saver and travel lover.
We moved in together in late 2005, and by keeping our expenses low, we were able to save over 70% of our income from my job as an electrical engineer and hers as a project manager.
Thanks to our thriftiness, we retired three years ago, and now blog about our travels at GoCurryCracker.
Our Frugal Moves: Most people spend their money on housing, food and transportation, so we knew reductions in these areas would go a long way.
In Seattle, we chose to rent a small apartment in a very walkable neighborhood, which eliminated the need for a car.
Winnie is a great cook, so we always ate and entertained at home. If we asked friends, ‘Do you want to go out for brunch and spend $50 on eggs, or would you rather come over for a home-cooked meal?’ there was really no debate.
We also saved on food by raising vegetables in a small garden plot, and making our own kimchi, kombucha and bread at home for pennies.
Most of our clothes were from thrift stores — before hipsters made it cool — and Winnie made any jewelry we wore by hand.
When I traveled for work, I brought home hotel soap and shampoo, so we almost never had to buy those things. And when we vacationed, we’d use rewards to get free flights and hotel stays.
We never viewed being frugal as a sacrifice — but as a way to spend efficiently while building a nest egg. Saving to travel forever, over buying more stuff, was an easy sell.
The Impact on Our Nest Egg: Before 2002, my expenses were $5,000 per month living on my own. Together, Winnie and I spent less than $2,000 per month during our peak savings years.
By saving so much, we watched our portfolio grow to more than $1 million — which we calculated was enough for us to retire at 38 and 33.
We are currently in Taiwan, where Winnie is originally from. We just had our first baby three months ago. Incidentally, we chose to undergo in vitro fertilization here because the cost would have been five times more in Seattle. Health care abroad is often a fraction of what it is in the US.
When our son is 6 months old, we plan to hit the road again.
Over the years, we could have bought most of the symbols of success: a big house, a couple of fancy cars, a nice watch. But for what purpose?
Instead, we travel to beautiful places, rent luxurious housing — and never have to mow a lawn or get the oil changed. This is the life.”
Author: Natasha Burton for Business Insider