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February 06, 2008


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Good story. I don't think I could do it from a sheer boredom standpoint. I can't imagine what I would do with an extra 40-45 hours a week. Also, I wonder if their pension is indexed to inflation. $58,500 annually won't be much in 10 or so years most likely.

I couldn't have my child wandering around lost just to retire a few year earlier. Sure you are there later, but it appears they also lost out on the early years. Hence why the woman gave in to her husband's desires. So much for really caring about the kids. If the child had gotten lost, would any amount of money have been worth it?

I read the entire article and they have made some significant sacrifices -- going back to work with very young children is the one that stands out to me.

My wife and I have made almost exactly the opposite decisions -- she is a stay at home mom and I work from home as much as possible. We also have made sacrifices to make this work (smaller house, only one car, simple lifestyle) but we felt it important to be around for our children's formative years.

Due to these choices, we most likely will not be able to retire until our early fifties, not forties like this couple. But we both get to see and spend time with our children every day until that time...

Nice story, I don't think that I'm quite on that track yet to retire in my 40s, but I think I'm on track for sometime in my 50s. The question is this, do you really want to stop working in your 40s? I don't know that I would. Some of the happiest people I know are the ones that keep working, but doing things that they love to do. I know a pastor here who is 96 years old and still working - and loving it!

Also - like some of the other commenters, I think I'd want to have my wife home with the kids in their early years - as opposed to working all the time.. Not trying to judge them for their decisions though.

I read this story before and thought it was neat that they did retire early - but with three kids that are still very young (just imagine when those kids are older teenagers they'll most likely get more high maintenance) they still have a mortgage payment...

But on the bright side, they have a pension for life plus their nest egg which will continue to grow with interest AND they're still managing to save 10% of their income. I think that's impressive.

Maybe I would work part time or something, because I would probably get bored. But I'm sure since they have 3 kids they don't get "bored" often.

I'm aiming to retire in my 50s, but I know I'm falling far short right now. But it's important to have a goal in mind so you know what changes you have to make to get there.

Plus for me, retirement isn't going to be about not working; it's about being able to afford to do what I want. By then, either my business will have grown to be my full-time job or I will have moved up in the corporate salary brackets. If I don't like my job, I'll quit and go somewhere I like and work the hours I want. If I like where I'm at, I may cut back on hours. Or if I feel like it, I may just quit entirely and spend my time doing something else. Who knows what I'll want to do in 25 years? Who knows what will be possible then that isn't possible today? I can't wait to see.

They retired from the military, and as the article points out, this is not uncommon. What is uncommon is that they don't plan to go back to work. When you retire from the military, you do get a pension, and that pension is adjusted for inflation (called COLA - Cost Of Living Adjustment). Not only that but you get health coverage as well, so they don't have to worry about that.

My original plan was to serve for 20 years so I could get a pension and benefits, and then get out and go into the private sector for about 10-15 years. During that time in the private sector I was planning on living off of my pension, and just banking (investing) my private sector salary, and fully retiring in my mid 50's, as a rich man. Unfortunately I had to leave service due to medical issues, so I won't be able to do that plan...though I still plan to retire in my mid-50s (though I plan to retire to open a not sure that counts).

Interesting but I think $500K is too tight a reserve to live off. It's nice the pensions are indexed to inflation but the real inflation will exceed the gov't stated figures for sure.

I'd rather get paid well in a job and start taking excessive amounts of time off. I've been in jobs like this compared to the 'treadmill' type of jobs. If they pay well and are laid back then it's a keeper unless you want to keep climbing the ladder.


Nice story. Many people wouldn't have the foresight to begin saving at such a high rate so young. It does help that while on deployment in a combat zone (Iraq), living expenses such as room and board are paid for and most of the income is exempt from federal taxes. It sounds like they were living on base for a good amount of time, reducing expenses further.

I always thought that an enterprising youth could do well to join the armed forces at 18, work for 20 years and retire at 38. Then join the government and work for another 20 years, collecting the service pension during this period, and retire again at 58. At that point, they'd receive two pensions, both indexed to inflation, for the rest of their lives.

That's crazy, if my wife and I had 60k of income that would be adjusted for inflation like theirs, I would retire now at age 30. Especially if St. Louis has a low standard of living. We live in Chicago and could survive of 60k/year.

(Believe me, that family isn't the only one with a flat screen or an iPod.)

The kids can pay for their own college just like I and many of my friends had to do. Or the kids can get a job at a place like Starbucks and have them pay for their college. Kids paying for their own college makes them really think about the cost of the school their going to go to and makes most strive harder for good grades since it's their money they would be losing. Moreover, a top tier school doesn't mean that much.... (Who you know means much more!)

Oops, I meant without an iPod and flat screen.....

well, they were already living under their pension amount, so it shouldn't be decreasing their standard of living. $58k per year is still good money, especially when you aren't doing anything to earn it and have the ability to work if you chose to do so.

i could retire when i'm 40, but i can't imagine not continuing to work.

I don't know what I would do if I retired at forty. Oh! that's right i could do what ever i wanted.The only thing that would worry me is that I personally would never retire with a mortgage. I want to be debt free when that time comes and years before.

@ beastlike

I completly agree with you. Most people want to fund their children's college tuitions and expenses 100%.I am making my kids do the same thing . Get a job and save.I had to do it,if they are serious about it then I will help them. In no way would they get a free ride. There is some lessons to be taught for work and learning the value of a dollar early on.

An idea for saving for children's university is this instead or funding there expenses up front. Make them have to earn and "struggle". Once they have completed the university pay off there debt. Valuable life lessons are achieved and they are not burdened with a mountain of debt.This is because I have seen so many people who are are college on a free ride and for the most part they don't care, the didn't have to work a whole summer at starbucks for textbooks.

@ beastlike and commenter above

Yea, I think it's a good idea that I also plan on doing with my kids. If they are serious about getting an education, then I will come through and help out... but not for the bulk of the expenses. Work hard in high school, get scholarships, grants, ect... then take out loans and work for the rest, just like I did.

I must say that because my parents have done this with me, I've learned some real life lessons and responsibility... not getting caught up in the "now" but to look ahead to the "tomorrow." It's probably one of the reasons I'm even reading this blog in the first place!

Oh yea, I'm 22 right now, finishing college next spring. Not gonna have kids for a while :-)

Guys above - my comments may have sounded like I would never help out, but I agree with both of you. Helping out or even paying some of their loans off after college is something I would definitely consider.

I don't mind that parents didn't help with any college payments (even though it was hard to get any help since they passed the income level), but it was really tough putting money down on our house when I had to save everything myself. A ring / car or two / wedding / and first home is tough to swallow at 22 - 25!

Well -- my dad DID retire in his mid-40s from the military and didn't go back to work, counting on his small pension/disability to make ends meet. (I has to state that because this caused problems which make me naturally biased in my answer, so I'm trying to set that bias aside. I was still in jr. high and my mom had to go back to work to support the family.)

The most unbiased thing I can say is that he really hasn't benefitted from having that much free time -- from age 46 to his current age of 71. He hasn't travelled, or golfed or anything. He didn't get involved with creative around-the-house projects either. Mostly he's spent the last 25 years sleeping late and watching TV.

Now -- what I'd really like is to be in a position to retire young, but turn that position into the opportunity to go and choose part time work or run my own business without concern over salary instead of leaving the work force altogether.

Does the Bible have anything to say on this topic? What would Paul say?

I think the Bible says to sell all your possessions and hit the road for Jesus! Rely on the Lord to provide.

the Bible can't say anything, because it doesn't have vocal cords.

at 40, you still have the opportunity to work an entire new career.

Stories like this one are what keeps me going; working for a living is not my ideal way to live. I personally don't subscribe to the standard definition of retirement because that sounds very boring and I don't relish the idea of sitting around doing nothing when I'm older. Having the free time and financial security to do what I want when I want is a goal I have now (not only in my 40s or 50s). Regardless seeing stories like this reminds me that it is in fact possible - thanks for passing it along.

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