Amon and I reached financial independence, quit our jobs, and retired at the ages of 39 and 41. It certainly wasn’t an overnight process. It took hard work, creative thinking, and the right mindset. It also involved establishing a key set of habits that we incorporated into our everyday lives.
The secret to becoming a millionaire isn’t that you have to work a 9-5, six figure job. The secret to becoming a millionaire is that you’ve got to act like a millionaire. Want to know what I mean? Well, here are some millionaire habits that we adopted on our FIRE journey:
1. Finding A Way To YES
Amon and I adopted a mindset that normalized a new way of thinking. Whenever we found we wanted something, instead of shooting that desire down or making excuses for why it wasn’t practical or achievable, we figured out what exactly we could do to get there. Finding a way to yes is so important and you have to find a way to do this no matter what your circumstances. The idea is to adopt the proper mindset and really focus on how to live your life in a way that gets you what you want.
2. Having a Plan
There is no use in having the right mindset if you’re never able to get to the next step and actually get your ideas off the ground. Thinking about something isn’t enough! You have to be able to actually do it, and the most efficient way to get things done is by creating a plan.
So once we had a plan, our habit was to consistently track that plan. Amon and I developed a ten stage plan on how to achieve financial independence. For us, financial independence was a multi-million dollar number and so tracking our progress towards achieving that number became a habit unto itself. It would have been so difficult, if not impossible, to stay motivated and achieve our goal if we didn’t do this. So, to make your journey to financial independence as smooth as possible, make sure you get into the habit of taking action and tracking your progress!
3. Avoiding high interest debt
Debt weighs on you, both financially and mentally. When you’re on this wealth-building journey and still have debt on your shoulders, it is really hard for you to move forward. This is true from an investment standpoint and a psychological standpoint. Everything you do relates to your debt and you find yourself always thinking about it. This can become incredibly demotivating, and even crippling.
4. Living Below Your Means
So not only did we make sure to avoid high interest debt, but we also adopted the habit of living below our means. It can be so easy to get caught up with lifestyle inflation, where the more money you make, the easier it becomes to spend money and increase your standard of living. As our means grew, we focused on keeping our standard of living the same. The result was having more and more money to invest. Eventually, we were at the point where we were saving 70% of our combined income! This allowed us to speed up our financial independence journey significantly.
When you’re trying to live below your means, the key is to be a conscious consumer. Make it a habit to think about how you are spending your money and how you can limit that spending in small, inconsequential ways. Be aware of how much you’re bringing in and how much you’re spending so that you can make informed decisions about what it is that you really need. Remember, just because you’re making more money, doesn’t mean you have to spend more money!
5. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
Make it a habit to negotiate for EVERYTHING. This is especially true for big-ticket items because these are the places where you can make the biggest dent. When you’re able to negotiate a lower price on a home or a car, for example, the result is more money in your pocket that you can then turn around and invest.
And remember: Your net worth does not and should not change this - always negotiate! Amon and I have already reached our financial independence goal, but that didn’t stop us from negotiating a lower price for our home. Just because you can afford to pay a higher price, doesn’t mean you should, especially if you want to continue putting that money to work and growing your wealth.
6. Creating Money-Making Opportunities
Having an eye for money-making opportunities is one thing that we practiced daily. When you look at something, it’s never a bad thing to be thinking about how you can monetize it in the back of your mind. Now, I’m not saying be scammy. What I am saying is that there are problems everywhere out there that need solving, and keeping an eye out for where you can provide added value can result in you discovering opportunities to increase the amount of money you’re able to bring in.
For example, take IKEA’s “as is” section. We would find amazing deals on furniture and home goods in this section, buy them and then sell them later on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for a profit.
Here’s another example: One day in the San Francisco Bay Area, we drove by a wine company that happened to be throwing away the wooden boxes they had imported their wine in. These boxes were gorgeous and had European logos on them. We knew right away that there was value in those boxes so we loaded them up. Ultimately we were able to sell them on Craigslist for a great profit! The idea is to seek value in everything you see and to think about how you can turn that value into money.
7. Sticking to a Budget
Sticking to a pay-ourselves-first budget that is focused on automated investment is one of the most important habits to form on your journey to financial independence. Deciding to automatically invest our money before spending it in other areas was crucial to our becoming millionaires!
8. Asking Questions
When Amon and I first started on this path, we didn’t really know anything about investing or the FIRE movement. We had to teach ourselves EVERYTHING. We weren’t taught how to invest from our parents, we didn’t take classes in high school or college. But we still managed to learn enough to not only become successful ourselves but to teach others as well. We did all this by asking questions! And to this day we are still asking questions! That is one of the biggest and most productive habits we’ve formed!
So these are the habits that we adopted to become millionaires, to achieve financial independence, and to retire early. I encourage you to explore those habits and to adopt those habits in your everyday life. It’s my guess that if you do, before long, you will start to see very positive results!
Why I Quit My Job and Retired at 39 | A Visual Poem