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Anyone for retirement at 29?

I thought I’d share with you a financial blog set up by a woman whom I read about on Yahoo! Finance as she was featured in an article there.

See, she retired at 29. Yep, you read that right and no, she’s not a professional football/soccer player/gymnast/golfer. Sorry to disappoint you people but she did it the old fashion way — through diligent saving and investments.

Here are excerpts from the full article available here:

DuPaix got hooked on saving at age 16. “My mom, an accountant, did my taxes from my first job working in retail, and I ended up losing a lot of the money I made to taxes,” she says. “I was really upset, and my mom explained that if you open an Individual Retirement Account you would be able to get most of your money back. I saw it as a choice between getting the money after a long time and never getting it at all.”

 

DuPaix put away $600 that year. “That piqued my interest; it was this world that I didn’t understand, and I realized you could play around with things and make things happen. That started to intrigue me.”

Later, she got a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, where she double-majored in finance, investments, and banking, and risk management and insurance. While her college roommates were taking out student loans, she was investing her part-time earnings in low-cost index funds. (She switched her retirement savings to a Roth IRA when that vehicle became available.)

DuPaix worked for a year after graduation before going back for a master’s degree. She then took a full-time position in 2002, saving half of her take-home pay. “I started maxing out my retirement accounts right away and investing outside of retirement accounts in index funds,” she says. “Personal finance was my hobby.”

 

 

DuPaix frequented online forums about early retirement, and read books such as “Cashing In On the American Dream” by Paul Terhorst (who retired at 35 to travel the world). Part of her success was good timing: She and her spouse rented for a few years, then bought a condo with an adjustable-rate mortgage at 3.625 percent. They sold at the top of the market and rolled the profits into a new home.

Another key to success was her decision to super-save in her 20s before she had children; DuPaix says she simply extended the frugal habits of her college years. “I’ve always saved for something first before I buy it — it makes everything cheaper in the long run,” she says. “I never spent a lot on things people typically spend money on, like dressing great or coffee every day. When we went on vacation, we used frequent-flyer miles and hotel points. I always tried to work whatever system was available. My family teases me because they know I’ll find best bargain to do something or I won’t do it.”

But most important, DuPaix suggests, was setting clear goals: “I knew I wanted to retire early and thought 34 would be a good age. That was a fluid working number, but it gave me something to aim for. I reached it early because I realized I didn’t need as much.”

 

So you see ladies and gentlemen, DuPaix is actually displaying the characteristics of someone who practices Law of Attraction well (nak jugak sebut LoA kan…?).

The steps are all there: she set clear goals, she did her homework and I’m sure she often fantasised about her early retirement life. This is something that she must have believed in with all of her heart. She had a goal and didn’t let anything stand between her and her desire to retire by her early 30s. She must have put her entire focus on this “project” — she imagined it, tasted it, felt it — for days, weeks, months and years on end. She studied finance, her hobby was counting her pennies… need I say more?

The proof that LOA was working for her was her bank balance of course! What’s more satisfying that knowing that your savings is growing?

Granted, you may not want to retire as early as age 29 (I know I have passed that age and certainly can’t afford to retire anytime soon even if I wanted to :P) but you also don’t want to be forced to work to pay for your children’s education at age 60, do you? Unless you’re a sucker for punishment.

Her measures may be extreme to us spenders. But if we keep an open mind, maybe this lady can teach us a thing or two about generating wealth, even if we’re waaaaay passed 29.

You can read the blog called My Dollar Plan here.

You may want to know that she also gives advice on financial literacy for children at About.com. I know I wish someone had taught me an effective module for financial literacy in school…. 🙂

Go ahead and read the blog, maybe we can discuss it together one of these days….

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