Money In Your 30’s – Women on FIRE – My Early Retirement Journey

It’s time to talk about money in your 30’s. This is the start of a new series talking all about how different people manage their money after their 20’s are in the past, but before they hit their 40’s.

Money is such a taboo topic, and I’m hoping through this series we can all learn a little bit more about managing money from each other.

And today, I’m excited to welcome My Early Retirement Journey – a single woman in her 30’s who’s gone down the rabbit hole of financial independence. Not only was she brave enough to come and bare her finances for you all, but she’s also looking for your advice on how to prioritize what you do post-FI, and any info you might have on student loan forgiveness.

And I know CMO readers are awesome and amazing, so you’ll give some great tips and perspective in the comments.

So grab some coffee, sit down, read her story, and lend her a hand in the comments! I’ll also respond at the end of the article.

Tell us about yourself!

Hi there! I am a single 30-something millennial and I want to retire early. December 2017 was when I started my journey to financial independence – and one month in I started to lose interest. CMO note – love the honesty!

I was inspired by a couple FIRE bloggers who were able to reach financial independence in 10 years or less. While 10 years is not as far as way as 30 years, it’s still pretty far. I started my blog to help keep me motivated and accountable along this loooong journey.

More importantly, I got lost for a bit in the early retirement rabbit hole. When I finally emerged, I realized – “All these early retirees are men with wives and families. I’m neither of those things. I wonder if there are single women like me trying to leave the workforce. If so, maybe I can create a space for them on the internet too!”

I keep thinking that this might be a little easier if I had someone (other than God) to come along this journey with me.  Yes, I’m Christian too! For now and probably forever, He’s my partner in life.

CMO Note: I love that you started your site not only to help keep yourself motivated, but also to help others! I started my site for a similar reason – I couldn’t find other financial blogs from working, corporate moms. I figured that if I wanted to read about that subject, so might other people. And so CMO was born!

What is your age, career and location?

I’m currently 34 years old, I work in healthcare at a call center and I live in North Carolina!

CMO Note – I started off my career in a call center, working full time to pay for college. So I know just how tough that can be!

What is your salary, net worth, and debt?

Part of what I want to do in my journey is encourage people to have open dialogues about personal finance. It was all a mystery to me when I started working because no one ever talked about it. Now that I’ve discovered the possibilities that come with financial independence, I can’t stop talking about it! I post most of my financials including salary, budgets, expenses, savings and investments, tax return summaries on my blog. Check it out!

I make around $40 per hour, and after taxes bring home a net income of between 60,000 and 70,000 dollars a year. Although I’m trying to save about 50% of my net income this year, my net worth is a big fat negative because of my massive student loan debt.

Surprisingly, at least for FIRE standards, I don’t plan to pay that off but am aiming for the loan cancellation program in 25 years.

Where do you hope to be financially in five years? Ten years?

Where I plan to be in five or ten years seems to change by the moment. Six months ago, I was planning to save half of my income for 10 years so I could take 10 years off as a sabbatical.

About three months ago, I discovered compound interest and realized if I did save 50% of my income for 10 more years, I could probably be financially independent on a modest budget of $30,000/yr. At which point, I would without question stop working with no plans to return.

I don’t know yet what I want to do if and when I achieve financial independence. But I do know one of my priorities will be mental and physical health. No matter how much I tell myself to prioritize it now, it tends to slip by the way side and just do whatever is easiest or most convenient to get me to and through the next workday.

As a bonus into how my mind works, I’ve been thinking that 10 years is still a really long time even if I count the last 2 years I’ve been working. Right now, I’m contemplating taking a five year sabbatical after saving for another two years. That would definitely require a return to work after the five years, but it might be worth it.

Check back on me in 2020!

I think that’s the beauty of what I’m doing with my blog. For some people that path is not always clearly marked and the destination changes along the way!

CMO Note – That’s certainly true! Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, and taking unexpected twists and turns. The path forward isn’t always clear, and it can change as your priorities do. I love how you’re talking about that – no need to have your life totally planned out, right?

What financial questions do you have?

I am most curious about how people decide what to prioritize after financial independence. The pervasive thought is travel and spending time with family. I don’t currently think my job is keeping me from either of those things. What are some your readers’ ideas of what they would want to do once they hit financial independence?!

Also, anyone else betting on the student loan forgiveness program? I seem the only so far in this sphere of personal finance! I’d love to hear y’all’s thoughts!


Where can readers find you?

I blog over at My Early Retirement Journey, and I also hang out on Twitter at @myearlyretireJ.

CMO Here Again

Thanks so much to My Early Retirement Journey for stopping by to share more about her story!

Now, for my perspective on the questions:

When I hit financial independence, personally I plan to continue to work. I don’t want to quit my job and travel the world in my 30’s, and that’s OK (although if that’s your goal, more power to you!). My FI goals include paying off my mortgage, funding my kids educations (to a reasonable amount), and making a difference in the world.

For example, I would love to fund scholarships for people who are trying to get through college while working full time, like I did. Or start a non-profit organization to help women succeed in their careers, or teach inner city kids smart money management skills. Something that would make a real difference in the world.

So if traveling isn’t what inspires you, I would suggest figuring out what does.

Readers – what’s your advice? It’s a great question!

As for student loan forgiveness, I don’t think I know anyone else out there who’s counting on it. But a reader might – be sure to say something in the comments!

If you’re interested in being featured for one of my ongoing series, like Money In Your 30’s, Women on FIRE, Breadwinning/Six Figure/Millionaire moms, or simply asking a question – click the “Be Featured” button to fill in an application!

Be sure to follow my blog for more great posts via e-mail or WordPress, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram,  what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.

7 thoughts on “Money In Your 30’s – Women on FIRE – My Early Retirement Journey”

  1. Amanda Amezcua

    Qualifying for student loan forgiveness can be tricky. Not so fun fact, 30% of those who file for public service loan forgiveness are denied. Make sure you are filing the proper paperwork (I believe it’s required annually?) and are enrolled in the proper repayment plan. Keep in constant contact with your loan servicer and know the expectations of the lender and you should be good to go!

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