If you have been around this whole early retirement business long enough online, chances are good that you have run across a web site called Mr. Money Mustache. This guy retired from his software development job at the ripe old age of 30 and has spent the last several years enjoying his life doing things like taking his son to the park, riding his bike and generally basking in what he terms the “badassity” of early retirement.
His web site is now hugely popular with a busy forum. I’m talking thousands of hits a month. I believe he’s even traveled to other countries because of the popularity garnered from the web site and he claims to be generating a 6-digit income off of what he was able to build online. Good for him, hard work deserves to be rewarded, though I’ve admittedly never been a fan of mustaches.
He has a remarkable ability to make early retirement very accessible to the average person, and published a powerful article that details the simple math behind early retirement. Through serious investments and a solid savings plan, the math proves how possible it is to quit the damn rat race sooner rather than later. Forget retiring in your 60s. How about in your 40s. Or 30s.
I have my own little blog here at ThinkSaveRetire.com (less than a month old as of the time of this writing) that chronicles my journey towards the same worthy goal of jobless badassity (a term that I usually change to “badassery”). We both have blogs. His has been around for 4 years and, of course, his blog is hugely popular and far more well read than mine. So this question is natural.
What do I think of MMM?
Honestly, I love his blog. In fact, it was his blog that finally got me off my ass earlier in the year to get my financial shit together and quit spending money on stuff that will certainly delay my drive towards capturing lifelong jobless bliss.
It seemed like with every blog post I read, the more eager I got to get the retirement train rolling down the tracks of unemployed happiness and glee. I have never really enjoyed the grind of daily full time work, but I also never even considered the option of retiring early – outside of somehow pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars in income every year. In other words, a high salary.
But Mr. Money Mustache taught me about the other side of the coin – the ability to retire early based on a freaking high level of savings, which opened up an entirely new world of possibilities for me that, quite frankly, are far easier to accomplish than those based purely on high income.
MMM lives an extremely frugal lifestyle – certainly more frugal than I am living now and probably ever will live. Apparently, he rides his bike to the grocery store and pulls his groceries home in something that may resemble a baby stroller behind his bike. He does this to save gas.
I get the gas savings part, but honestly, I probably won’t be found peddling a bicycle back from the store with my groceries behind me in a carriage. Nor will my wife and I ever get to the point where we only spend $80 on food every month, total.
But the principles that MMM lives by are very sound and definitely worthy of incorporation into virtually any household. My wife and I have made dramatic changes in our lifestyle thanks in large part to the motivation that his blog gave us. Its conversational writing style makes the blog easy to read. Too easy.
Run through his archive page from the very beginning and readers will notice a progression from publishing shorter, but more numerous, blog postings to numbers that more closely resemble one a week. His newer posts are longer pieces, so devote 10 minutes or so to read through them and completely absorb their content.
I’m also a fan of quality over quantity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that his earlier shorter pieces were short on quality, but his publishing schedule left very little in the way of anticipation for the reader simply because his posts came so often. Now, if you are a dedicated follower of his blog, I would wager that you are looking forward to his next weekly blog posting.
Even if you hate the guy, it is always interesting to hear what he has to say. I found it interesting…so interesting that it completely changed my life, for the better.
I plan to retire by 40.
Steve is a 37-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.