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How I Retired Early With $3 Million At 36 In San Diego | Fired Up

I think FIRE is the concept that
retirement is not an age. A lot of us go through the world
thinking that when we turn 65, something magical is going to happen and you get
to retire. And that's not true because if you don't
have any money, you can't stop working when you're 65. And the flip side of
that, you don't need to wait until you're 65 either.

If you have enough
money, you can retire at 55 or 45 or 36 like I did. And so it's just kind of
turning this whole idea of traditional retirement age on its head. My name is Jeremy Schneider. I'm 41 years old. I live in San Diego
and I reached financial independence at 36. I grew up in southeast Michigan, outside
of Detroit. My parents were kind of middle class. I went to college at the University of
Michigan. I studied computer science. I was in college from 1998 to 2002 when
the dotcom boom was happening, and I would see these young people just
a few years older than me who were making millions with tech startups. And it inspired me to start young. And then as I was graduating from
Michigan, I turned down a job offer from Microsoft to start my own Internet

But I recorded my bank account the
moment the wire came through. I clicked
refresh and it jumped from $100,000 or so to over $2 million, which was pretty
surreal. And it was very abstract. I don't really know how much money that
was. The day after the company sold, I was
suddenly in integration mode with this very nice company that just gave me
millions of dollars. It was an especially busy time and so I
couldn't just like ditch and head to Fiji. I just saw that as like a finish
line that when I sold the company and made millions, I would just like be on
this beach. I was talking to the CEO of the company
that bought our company and I told him that vision. I was like, "All right,
I'm going to be on the beach." And he asked me, "What are you going to
do when you get back?" And what he meant was, you can't spend
your life on a beach, you know? I mean, you could, but that's kind of a
crappy life.

So I guess it dawned on me that I
couldn't just, like, spend the rest of my days sipping Mai Tais on the beach
because that would be really boring. I worked for the company that bought us
for two years, and then in April of 2017, I quit my job and officially was
retired or financially independent at the age of 36. And that was the year when I played
video games and traveled for a year. That first year of being unemployed or
retired or whatever you want to call it. It was just kind of like every day was
the weekend. I would always get asked like, "What do
you do all day if you're not at work?" And my answer would be like, "What do
you do on Saturdays?" It's amazing how quickly your time fills
up with meeting with friends or working out or working on projects or playing
games or traveling. And so I kept really busy and it was
really fun at first. But as the year dragged on, I found that
there's something missing in my life. There actually was a moment where I had
an epiphany where a year after I retired and played video games for a year, I
was on a vacation in Mexico and for a week I wasn't playing this game
Starcraft II, which I had become very addicted to.

And I realized what a
massive waste of time that was and how I basically just gave away a year of my
life to play this game. And so I decided that I didn't want to
do that anymore. And so I came back and before I played
another game, I uninstalled it cold turkey from my computer and haven't
played it ever since. Get it out of there. At the time, it
wasn't very calculated that I needed exactly $3 million. It was more of just a sense of over the
course of two years, the growth of my investments were outpacing my actual
W-2 income. Now, with the benefit of knowing about
the FIRE movement much more in depth, I know about the 4% rule, which says you
can live on about 4% of your investment portfolio. 4% of $3 million is
$120,000, which was like twice as much as I'd ever spent in a year. And so I think that I was easily FIRE at
$3 million. My net worth is about $4.4 million. $1.1 million is the value of my home you
see behind me. I was a lifelong renter until I was 38
years old.

I was actually living in my friend's
garage, which was converted to an apartment. I have a traditional IRA
with about $50,000 and a new 401(k) with my new company that's got about
$15,000. The other $3 million or so is all in a
taxable account just because it didn't fit in the tax advantaged accounts. I think my biggest expense is probably travel right now.

I'm just going on vacation. Restaurants, I think I spend about $800
a month. I don't have a mortgage. My home that
you see behind me is 100% paid for. I actually applied for a mortgage and
was denied because I didn't have a job. And so I just wrote a check and paid
cash. I don't buy things if I don't think I
need them. So, for example, if I look over to my
left, I see the keyboard on my computer, which I use every single day, which is
from college.

And so people walk into my house and
they see this like 1998 era keyboard and think it's ridiculous, but it's a great
keyboard and it works fine. And so why would I spend more money if I
don't need to? I live alone, don't have any roommates
or a wife just yet. Welcome to my home. I live here in sunny San Diego in this
two-bedroom condo. Come on, I'll show you around. This is my living room where I watch
CNBC Make It. This is my office. I sit here. I make Instagram posts,
TikTok reels. The kitchens over here. When I bought this house for $712,000,
everything was different. There was a gigantic wall that came
right down here. I knocked down the wall, remodeled the
kitchen from this big built-in table. It was about $100,000 in total for the
remodel. Guest bathroom. I actually did the tile work in that
bathroom myself. One of the few parts of the remodel. This is the master bedroom that includes
the peak view of Mission Bay in sunny San Diego way over there in the corner.

Over here is the master bathroom. When I bought the place, this was all
pink with a tub. And I put in a total new shower. Tile. One of these fancy lighted mirrors so I
can look at myself every morning. Do my daily affirmations. And that is the house tour. I'm going to bed. I started an Instagram account where my
plan was to share daily personal finance and money tips.

Every single day I would get the exact
same question, which is like, "How do I get started investing? What's a Roth IRA? What's an index fund? What investment do I buy?" And then after a year and a half, it was
mid 2020 and I was kind of bored during the pandemic. And I essentially started
a company by mistake by launching a paid product. I wanted to create just a
video course that walked through it that kind of was like a brain dump from my
brain to everyone who was asking these questions. So I decided to sell the
video course for $79. And the first week of launching this
course, we made like $110,000. And so I was like, "Oh, it took me four
years on my first company to make $110,000.

So this might actually be a real
business." I do a 25% profit share. So 25% of our profit is split among the
employees based on seniority. I have a friend, and about 10 years ago
we started a website called What's That
Charge? Which helps you identify mysterious
charges on your credit card statement. My buddy and I own it 50/50. And so it's been live for 10 years. I think we're going to make like $7,000
this month. I think that I've found peace with where
I'm at in life financially. I don't feel like I need more to be
happy. And so I'm not really chasing any big
financial goals. I'm still not totally immune to ideas of
like a bigger place or a vacation home or something like that. So that might
be nice if the company does well or my investments continue to grow. If I didn't have income from my current
job, I can live forever on my investments.

I'm living way below the
safe withdrawal rate from my portfolio short of some sort of economic
apocalypse in the future, which no one can predict. But I can live forever on
my investments..

As found on YouTube


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