Author Topic: Retire At 21  (Read 19690 times)

J.O.S.H.

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Retire At 21
« on: September 23, 2012, 05:59:38 PM »
At current savings rate, I'll have enough dividend income to live off of a couple months after my 20th birthday (I'm currently 19). Adding in 8 months or so for buffer, once I reach the final age of majority (in USA, my current location), I'll have hit a major milestone on the way to Real Manhood.

Hopefully this isn't too crazy a gauntlet to throw down. Any other youngsters ready to join me?

Tradies wife

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 06:47:04 PM »
Interesting idea.

However, I think you may be the exception to the rule of teenagers, so I can't see many people joining you to retire at 21. Just my opinion mind you.

I'm wondering what your secret is to gaining so much wealth at such a young age? I'm also wondering if your plans to retire are at your parents home..... just saying, most 21 year old's are still living at home these days. But then again, we were an exception to this and myself and my now husband brought a house at 21.

For us, a deposit (no where near enough to have dividends, or interest to live off) was earned through hard work, and even harder savings. Before the age of 18 we couldn't invest in shares without our parents consent (and signature), and my mum thought it was 'gambling'.

I'm not sure how money actually plays into 'Real manhood'. For me, I figure this coming of age has a lot to do with emotional maturity. I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on the matter.

Yes, that is a real "Throw down the gauntlet challenge". Very, very interesting. Sorry I can't join you in this one.... I'm a a decade in front of you.

Ryan

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 06:51:39 PM »
Pretty impressive! My wife (19) and I (20) are on track to retire in ~10 years.  Our income is only 40k though so hopefully that will rise over time and shorten our time needed to retire.  It would interesting to see your income/spending. 

It's nice to see another youngster headed towards FI.  I think we're a rare breed :)

J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 07:15:46 PM »
I've been on my own since I was 17. There's no trick, it's just the same principles we all read from the blog.

Rare breed. Indeed.

keith

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 07:38:21 PM »
I'm not doubting that it can be done - but I'm honestly curious to hear more about it because its a pretty unusual situation.

According to simple math - you need to be at an 85% savings rate (assuming around 4 years of work).

I would like to know what sort of work you do that affords you that savings rate, at your age, if you are living on your own. Since most of your peers are likely working entry level jobs that don't earn much beyond minimum wage.

Also, did you start from actual zero or did you have any help? (Inheritance, gifts, etc).

J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 08:02:44 PM »
It was actual zero. I had a paid internship in college, but I couldn't/didn't spend any of it. I recently got a theoretical inheritance of about $1k, but I haven't accessed it yet.

I program computers for a living. I'm pretty good at it. I also invest -- in the last five years I've averaged about 35%/year. I've downshifted to a more conservative portfolio, and will probably only end up making about 20% this year. But it helps move things along.

Another (kind of) gotcha in the numbers is that I live/work in a high income/expense area (west side LA), but will retire elsewhere. Even if I increase waste after retirement, it'll cut costs by a factor of two. So 85% required for 4 years becomes 70%. Another consideration is that I'm comfortable with higher withdrawal rates, considering I did pretty okay through the last recession. My savings rate is fine, but it's worth making the point.

It's also worth considering that while my salary has gone up since I started work, I took a 8 month mini-retirement after college, and an additional 5 month mini-retirement before my current job. So I could have done it much, much faster.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 07:58:16 AM »
I also invest -- in the last five years I've averaged about 35%/year. I've downshifted to a more conservative portfolio, and will probably only end up making about 20% this year. But it helps move things along.

Your goal and accomplishment is great but I think people here will want more in the way of actual figures to better understand, otherwise I think people will be skeptical.

Also, your 35% average return came after the massive decline and subsequent run-up to normal or high levels (depends on personal view) and to expect a 20% return going forward is foolish.


J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 08:25:48 AM »
My 35% return starts in 2007 and includes the massive decline. I do not assume 20% into the future -- that's just where it is just about so far this year.

It should be noted this isn't a journal, and I haven't started one for a reason. My personal details are irrelevant -- without any special financial circumstances, this is still possible for those who get good jobs young.

arebelspy

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 08:56:42 AM »
Yes, many similar stories to this on ERE.

Good job on your early start.  Don't forget to enjoy being young.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Ryan

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 09:04:22 AM »
I feel like something is missing...A 16 year old earning 100k is pretty extreme (what I would have needed to retire at 21).  Did you open your own business? What is your current housing situation and what are your plans going forward?
 
I'm sure most of us are skeptical without any hard numbers.  What do you consider a good job?

AJ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 11:09:14 AM »
Another consideration is that I'm comfortable with higher withdrawal rates, considering I did pretty okay through the last recession.

How high are you comfortable with, exactly? I'm curious to see hard numbers, if you're willing to post them. Like, what was your income/expenses, and how much have you saved? Would be good to have the info available for future very young MMM-ers to mimic your success...

$_gone_amok

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 01:13:53 PM »
I thought this forum is troll free. What happened?

arebelspy

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 02:45:27 PM »
I thought this forum is troll free. What happened?

If he's keeping it to one thread, I don't see the harm in letting him do his thing for a bit.

This forum generally doesn't rise to the bait too much, so trolls tend to wander off after awhile.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 07:21:39 PM »
Let me first say, you guys are great.

I like the idea of keeping this conversation to one thread, but this is the "Throw Down the Gauntlet" thread. We can make another one that, maybe called "It's impossible to retire at 21" and then have this conversation there. It seems the only reason it hasn't been moved it that the moderators don't believe me quite yet either. So let's dive into this.

First, yes, I make a six figure salary, and I have for a while now. No, I'm not a troll, and if the people from the LA ERE meetup I organized a couple months ago are on this board, they can attest to this.

I am comfortable with 8% withdrawal rates, which isn't totally out of the question when it comes to comfort levels on this forum. Less shocking considering I won't be leading a sedentary life, and will likely continue to make money while retired (you don't just leave the tech startup scene, and that's all I've ever done).

Anyway, I could tolerate 8% withdrawal, and on a six figure salary (120k/year), for costs that hover around 6-7k/year = I retire soon. You can double check my math. The intense frugality is probably the biggest asset here. For more details on investment skill vs. asceticism, you should checkout the mathematical appendices for the ERE book. Not owning a car pays more in dividends than I actually get in dividends. Worth it. Even in LA.

So, that all being said, which parts of this don't add up? I'm willing to answer every reasonable question, provided I wouldn't put myself in a worse negotiating position were my employer to find this.

totoro

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 07:30:18 PM »
What can I say - waaay more focussed than I was at your age!!!   Lucky you cause you can turn to increasing your happiness and wealth with a similar single-mindedness if you want to.  What an excellent goal to accomplish so early - early such a high salary so early really is a blessing of the tech age.  Are you INTJ (I am :)) - I can enjoy a good plan that turns out well - very satisfying.

Russ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2012, 08:20:15 PM »
Rock on man! Unfortunately that ship has sailed for me. I don't think I could have done it anyway - the kind of job that comes with 120k usually also comes with way more desk time than I can deal with.

If you don't mind sharing a little more detail, what kind of housing arrangement costs under $400/month in LA? I live out in the sticks here, and still the lowest rent I could find within 10 miles of work was $500/mo. utilities included (for a small bedroom, more or less my own bathroom, and shared kitchen use in a single-family residential house).

J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2012, 09:02:53 PM »
Yeah, so above I mentioned cost of living halving when I move away -- it'll actually be a little more than that. I live on the west side, and it's not cheap, period. But it turns out the salary differentials between large towns, while typically less than the "cost of living" index differences (so you pay to have access to the big city culture), are larger than the extremely frugal cost of living differences (so you earn money by surviving there). So I'd prefer to think of myself as making an isomorphic 105k/yr in portland or something, as that's closer in style and substance to where I'd end up (the number accounts for the after-tax cost differentials).

Some numbers, to explain:

LA might be 50% more expensive than Seattle, with salaries 30% higher. Sounds like a loser to the frugal. But if your costs are 10% of income, you get an extra 5% of the cost at 130% of the income, so you win a bonus 25%. Only matters if you move away, of course. There's a good thread on the ERE forums where I discuss this phenomenon if you guys are curious, but that's the gestalt.

Russ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2012, 09:29:58 PM »
Oh, ok. I thought this:
and on a six figure salary (120k/year), for costs that hover around 6-7k/year
meant you were currently living on that much.

Cool bit about cost-of-living in cities. I always figured it would work out well, but never put the numbers to it.

$_gone_amok

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2012, 11:31:01 AM »
A lot of this doesn't make sense and there's no way to check your math without having some actual numbers. You said you are making 120K, but you didn't say for how long.  You said you've been on your own since you were 17, but that's not possible considering you went to college and then had a mini-vacation after college.

For this retirement goal to be believable, post your net worth and your savings rate.

AJ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2012, 12:01:34 PM »
At 8% withdrawal rate and estimated expenses at $6k per year, I'm thinking he only needs $75k in savings. If that is the case, he really only needs a single year at $120k.

That being said, I can't help but think that the invincibility of youth may be more of the asset at play here than the frugality piece...

OP - have you run your numbers in FireCalc?

velocistar237

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2012, 01:59:48 PM »
(I'm currently 19)

It was actual zero. I had a paid internship in college, but I couldn't/didn't spend any of it. I recently got a theoretical inheritance of about $1k, but I haven't accessed it yet.

I program computers for a living. I'm pretty good at it. I also invest -- in the last five years I've averaged about 35%/year.

Currently 19, averaged 35% investment return per year since age 14, but started from actual zero aside from a college internship at age 17(?). Doesn't quite add up.

You might as well work a few more years and get that withdrawal rate down. It's a little more work for a lot more freedom later. I can see it from your perspective, though. You'll want to pursue other opportunities anyway, so it's not as though your withdrawal rate has to be all that safe.

J.O.S.H.

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2012, 07:30:22 PM »
To clarify, the "actual zero" (the question had to do with inheritance) was about 15k by the time I was 17, all earned through yard work/babysitting and later programming + stocks. I didn't have access to the money directly before that because it was in a custodial account run by my parents.

I have used Firecalc, but I've built a more detailed simulation based on my future cost changes. Either way, yes, a year would be enough but cutting it close. I've been on this kick since about January, so I past the halfway mark already. But yeah, buffers. Important.

Also, yes, I graduated college when I was 17. Technically, I could reasonably say I was independent earlier, as I moved into the dorms at 15 and my parents left the state I was in when I was 16. But 17 already provokes "impossible!" already, it seems, so whatever.

So, let me get this straight, you guys want:
my entire employment history, including salaries;
net worth;
current and historical investments (historical investments might be hard, as for years I had to register stock trades with my parents, who took money from my account and bought stocks on my behalf -- that being said, I've already been called a fool because my returns have been high, I don't think that was contingent on being a liar, just a blanket statement);
evidence of my college degree;
passport (for verifying relative age);
proof of residence, ideally the lease I signed when I was 17;
and proof that I did not receive inheritance, which I'm not even sure how to provide.

According to the comments, that seems to be the absolute minimum to convince you guys this is _possible_. Presumably I'll need to sign a blood oath and calculate the resale value of my internal organs before you believe I am actually doing it.

So, to state it clearly: I've been cyberstalked and do not feel comfortable posting all those details publicly. Might sound like a first world problem, but it's haunting and weird and scary and you can't ever escape and I'd prefer never to feel like that again. If my word is insufficient as a bona fide, I'll just leave this thread alone.

Conversely, I don't retire any older if you think I'm a liar. If you feel I am, just don't comment, let this conversation go cold as soon as possible. It makes me sick to my stomach to think a community I respect so much would treat me this way, I honestly just want it to end.

arebelspy

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2012, 07:41:33 PM »
I don't think you're lying.  I do believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  If you don't want to share that, that's fine, but don't be surprised when some people doubt it.

That being said, I think the backlash you received was due to the way you presented it.  Your posts come off as quite arrogant, especially in making this a "throw down the gauntlet" challenge when 95% of the people reading it cannot do this because they simply aren't that young.

If you want to make people think, think about how you present yourself.  Because if that's the backlash you get here, in a community that understands FIRE, it'll be so much worse in the real world. 

I think your message is much closer to ERE than MMM, and you have to understand that folks here are on a different part of the spectrum.  Think of Jacob's levels he's discussed - you're a few levels lower, so you seem crazy.

If you can do it, go for it, and best of luck to you.  But don't be surprised when you're met with skepticism and even possibly hostility, especially given the way you present yourself.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

velocistar237

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2012, 04:47:37 AM »
Obviously, there's no need to prove anything to participate in discussions. Since you offered to answer questions, I figured I would clear up my curiosity. I remember some of your posts over at the ERE forum. I understand that this is a Throw Down the Gauntlet with limited scope, mostly applied to yourself, but yes, without making that qualification, you do alienate others a bit. Many people here have had very rough starts.

Russ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2012, 05:26:12 AM »
That being said, I think the backlash you received was due to the way you presented it.  Your posts come off as quite arrogant, especially in making this a "throw down the gauntlet" challenge when 95% of the people reading it cannot do this because they simply aren't that young.

I understand that this is a Throw Down the Gauntlet with limited scope, mostly applied to yourself, but yes, without making that qualification, you do alienate others a bit. Many people here have had very rough starts.

this and this. I totally believe you, and am impressed by your smarts and (over?)confidence. But to some people that confidence might cross the line from badass to jackass. Next time I'd suggest posting stuff like this in Share Your Basassity, since it probably only applies to you. But if you're new to the forum, you wouldn't know how few young folks there are so I understand the posting here.

Sucks about the stalker. Hope you get that fixed

Adventine

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2012, 06:11:46 AM »
I agree with all of arebelspy's comments.

I'm 23 years old myself, so I when I read the thread title, I was definitely impressed and very curious in finding out more. But I was turned off by lack of hard numbers in the OP's first couple of posts and the way he answered several legitimate questions about the lack of details.

JOSH, you might be retiring at 21 (good for you), but you definitely have a long way to go when it comes to emotional maturity.

I don't think you're lying.  I do believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  If you don't want to share that, that's fine, but don't be surprised when some people doubt it.

That being said, I think the backlash you received was due to the way you presented it.  Your posts come off as quite arrogant, especially in making this a "throw down the gauntlet" challenge when 95% of the people reading it cannot do this because they simply aren't that young.

If you want to make people think, think about how you present yourself.  Because if that's the backlash you get here, in a community that understands FIRE, it'll be so much worse in the real world. 

I think your message is much closer to ERE than MMM, and you have to understand that folks here are on a different part of the spectrum.  Think of Jacob's levels he's discussed - you're a few levels lower, so you seem crazy.

If you can do it, go for it, and best of luck to you.  But don't be surprised when you're met with skepticism and even possibly hostility, especially given the way you present yourself.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 06:15:31 AM by Adventine »

mugwump

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2012, 07:10:48 AM »
Josh, this is from someone old enough to be your grandmother.  When I was 21, I thought I knew my path in life.  Since then, I have trained for two new careers, had a dozen passionate hobbies, broken up with three serious boyfriends, been married for 26 years, and moved 2/3 of the way across the country three times. And I didn't even have kids or major illness, which is a major curveball for many people.

Allow yourself a BIG safety margin.  You will change.  You will decide you want to go in a new direction.  It sounds like you are ready for that, and expect to keep working at something or other.  It sounds like you have good habits, and they are a big help, but they are by no means sufficient to eliminate all the issues that will come up. Just make sure you don't lock yourself into a box that will be very hard to get out of when you are older.

AJ

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2012, 09:52:06 AM »
I'm 23 years old myself, so I when I read the thread title, I was definitely impressed and very curious in finding out more. But I was turned off by lack of hard numbers in the OP's first couple of posts and the way he answered several legitimate questions about the lack of details.

This. Though I'm not 21 or 23, I was intrigued by the proposition and hoped to be able to glean some good information, or at least inspiration from the story. But the lack of details is a disappointing red flag. Understand that there are people on the internet that troll forums like ours to stir the pot. You may not be one of them, but how can we know that? I could start a thread where I say I made a million dollars in 5 years working for minimum wage at McDonalds. When you ask me how, I say "Hard work". "Yeah, but seriously, how?" "Well, that's personal". See the problem?

You don't have to post anything you don't want to. Free country :) But understand how you come off when you talk like that. I don't like it when people question or disagree with me either, but life requires a tough skin, and the farther you stray from the "conventional" path, the tougher it needs to me. I'm still growing my tough skin myself :) IME, unless you're born with it, tough skin is built out of scar tissue...

erejacob

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2012, 12:16:16 PM »
Here's how:
1) Work in a highly paid field that's paid according to merit instead of tenure/credentials. It's not unheard of for very good 19-21 y/o's to command six-figure incomes as programmers.
2) Live on <$10k.
3) Do the math: $10k/year requires $330k in assets, so <$10k is somewhere south of that. Do a simple multiplication => about 3 years.

What are the problems:
1) A high income is not easily replicable for everyone. This means starting programming at age 12 and having 8 years of experience at age 20---compare to newly graduated accountant at age 22 with 0 years experience. Hence competing on these terms is not exactly "fair" insofar one is competing strictly on age. The self-taught programmer is a lot further ahead in the game than the taught-by-college graduate for the same age. A high income helps a lot too. If I had gone into industry with my skill set instead of academia, I could have pulled it off in less than 5 years, but I didn't.

2) This is a Wheaton eco-scale problem. People who are spending two or more levels above are seen as unskilled and wasteful. People spending two or more levels below are seen as austere/crazy. Here's a short level scheme which is only meant to be SUGGESTIVE, not necessarily accurate. It's more reflective of my personal observations of correlations between resistance/acceptance to/of ideas and origin.
Level: IWTYTBR, Bogleheads
Level: E-R, GRS
Level: MMM
Level: ERE
Level: No known bloggers? (the $4000/year level)
Level: Suelo/Mark Boyle.

3) This is a problem of understanding. Knowing the math cold, it's easy to see how it would be possible to retire at 21. Not knowing the math but relying on "known landmarks" (X person did it with so and so much money, Y person did it with that much...) results in a request for documentation.

$_gone_amok

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2012, 12:20:15 PM »
I'm don't need proof, silly. I'm just curious about the numbers that could make your story more believable. I don't think you are lying and I applaud you for finishing college and earning a good salary so young. Your accomplishment could make a very good case study for young people out there who started early but if you don't provide information about how it was done then you are not really bring any value into this discussion and forum. 

The point of this forum is to educate, encourage, and empower people to make good financial decisions. What can you contribute to this forum other than making extraordinary claims without a chance for people to learn something from it?

totoro

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2012, 12:26:05 PM »
When I see this post what I am interested in is the fact that it was possible, but also what the implication might be for young people and the choices they make early on about higher education and work.  Looking at the math is very interesting and makes me wonder how this example could be used to make life choices a little easier for my children.

Norman Johnson

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2012, 12:32:14 PM »
I'm don't need proof, silly. I'm just curious about the numbers that could make your story more believable. I don't think you are lying and I applaud you for finishing college and earning a good salary so young. Your accomplishment could make a very good case study for young people out there who started early but if you don't provide information about how it was done then you are not really bring any value into this discussion and forum. 

The point of this forum is to educate, encourage, and empower people to make good financial decisions. What can you contribute to this forum other than making extraordinary claims without a chance for people to learn something from it?

I don't think he really got the chance to contribute before the nay-sayers showed up. I know there are a few young people on the forum and this could have been a really interesting discussion for them if all us olds hadn't shown up to say it couldn't be done and scream out TROLL!!! I am 32 and don't give out my financial information on a web board read by thousands (?), so I don't blame a 19 year old for not doing it either.

By the looks of things he is getting there just like the rest of us, only he started way younger and is willing to take on more risk in his withdrawal rate. (And why not? He's still really young and will conceivably earn some sort of money to pad things or get married and add another income stream before he can't work anymore due to age.)

$_gone_amok

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2012, 01:13:55 PM »
I'll buy the premise that he started college at 15 and finished at 17. But the vast majority of the kids in the US doesn't even start college at 18-19 let along landing a six figure salary job right after college. That's what it was difficult for people to believe at first.  For him to come here and throw down that kind of gauntlet is just down right impossible fore 99% of the people.

I am really curious what kind of investment he made in 2007-2008 that yield a 35% return and what insight he had about the market downturn?

babar

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2012, 06:59:20 PM »
I think everyone here would agree, that if you are a prodigy of sorts that gets to college at 15, gets a full scholarship so that some internship is just extra savings, is able to graduate college in just 2 years, and then you get into a 6 figure salary before 20, then yeah you can get ahead financially. I just don't see how that's of any practical use to most people. I could also buy a lottery ticket at 18 and win a couple million, invest it all in dividend-paying stocks and retire.

To the OP, I really don't see how anyone attacked you- all I see is people asking you to explain the math. Now that you've explained it we can see that unless we're a Doogie Howser M.D. this likely won't be an effective plan for anyone else. Major props of course to you regardless, but in all honesty if you enjoy your work at all, just continue doing it a bit longer. Most investments that return 20-30% in a year are also going to return -15-25% per year at least once every 3 years as well. It would suck to get what you think is enough, quit your job, and then have a year or two of poor returns where all your savings are cut in half. "Tough it out" to 25 or so and then you should be in a better position, and can rely on returns that are more realistic, in the 8% range before taxes.

Nords

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2012, 10:47:50 PM »
So, let me get this straight, you guys want:
my entire employment history, including salaries;
net worth;
current and historical investments (historical investments might be hard, as for years I had to register stock trades with my parents, who took money from my account and bought stocks on my behalf -- that being said, I've already been called a fool because my returns have been high, I don't think that was contingent on being a liar, just a blanket statement);
evidence of my college degree;
passport (for verifying relative age);
proof of residence, ideally the lease I signed when I was 17;
and proof that I did not receive inheritance, which I'm not even sure how to provide.
Lemme get this straight.  You propose something that none of us have ever seen before (outside of a trust fund or a lottery), and you occasionally appear to be avoiding full disclosure, and you're surprised to get a skeptical backlash.

I can do math, and it looks like you can too.  But you might need a tad more experience at communications and with human nature.

I feel your pain (a little).  In my case, I wrote a book and then spent two more years blogging about it, and people still don't believe it's achievable.  But the skepticism has died down quite a bit, and in 5-10 more years I think I'll have convinced even the conspiracy theorists.

So, yeah, it looks like you have things covered.  You might be a bit concerned about the cost of health insurance, and then there's the whole potential issue of raising a family.  If you could figure out how to acquire the assets to retire at 21 then I think you'll figure out those solutions too.

But wonder if you'll eventually decide to return to some sort of paid employment, if for no other reason than to emulate Jacob's curiosity or pursuit of interests.  Or you could continue to live your own life with whatever side hustles come your way.  I say this because the only other extremely early retiree I've ever heard of in the last 40+ years was Joe Dominguez, and he didn't throw away his necktie until he was 30.

I've never heard of anyone else in their 20s or early 30s who was willing to quit work and donate the remainder of their human capital to charity.  (Heck, I only know one or two in their late 30s and 40s.)  I think that a "no more work" attitude is tied to having enough workplace experience to be sure you don't care to have more of that experience, and perhaps also tied to raising a family and knowing that you'd like to be there for them.  The hypothesis would be that in your 20s you just don't have a deep enough life experience to know that you're done with the workplace.

But there are a lot of people your age with your assets who become startup entrepreneurs, and you've optimized your finances for that lifestyle should you choose to pursue it. 

Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself and check in every few years or so.

Matte

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2012, 01:13:13 AM »
Are we talking net or gross 120k? Unless tax rates are wayy lower in California then here saving 110k of a 120k a year job is ludacris.  120k after taxes your lucky to see 80, wich if you subtract 10 is 70k.  Still impressive but not 110 like planned.  I started young too, not as young but quite, I landed a 6 figure job at 19.  Il tell you that taxes, girlfriends, weddings, life will throw some expensive curves your way.  Im 24 and have managed to accumulate a net worth of about 180k.  I'm sure I could easily rent my house out top and bottom, or sell it and retire to odd jobs too, would I or would I recommend it, not really, to each their own.  I also made big stock money around the same time, it was excellent money at the time but brains can only do so much stock wise.  It does not matter how much logic you apply or how smart you are eventually things even out and hit you back.  I must say that your doing great, ahead of me by far, at your age I thought the same way and my views have slightly changed.  Optimism is great and allows you to accomplish a great deal. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2012, 09:19:39 PM »
I'll buy the premise that he started college at 15 and finished at 17. But the vast majority of the kids in the US doesn't even start college at 18-19 let along landing a six figure salary job right after college. That's what it was difficult for people to believe at first.  For him to come here and throw down that kind of gauntlet is just down right impossible fore 99% of the people.

It's only impossible for those who are already too old.  It's not impossible for those young enough to get off their rear ends and make it happen.

Most American schools waste the time of the students by repeating the same boring lessons every year or so.   Any student who actually learns the material the first time could skip several years of regular schooling with no loss of knowledge and a great deal less boredom. 

Nowadays, the first two years of college are largely "highschool for children over 18".    With a bit of advanced placement testing or taking college courses in highschool, and high course loads, it's possible to graduate college very quickly.  I took 20% more credits than needed and still graduated in 3 1/2 years.    Could have done it in 3 years but there were some courses I wanted to take.

As for getting a good paying job in college, yes, it's certainly possible.  I had a high school kid working for me as a programmer.  He went off to Georgia Tech into the computer department and was hired by the university as a consultant his first semester. 

The fact that most people make poor choices has absolutely no bearing on what someone who makes good choices can accomplish.   And although one can't necessarily make all the luck one needs, one can certainly make most of it.

arebelspy

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2012, 09:46:07 PM »
For him to come here and throw down that kind of gauntlet is just down right impossible fore 99% of the people.
It's only impossible for those who are already too old.

Yes, that's exactly what he said.  I'd bet around 1 in 100 here are 21 or less.  For the other 99%, it's literally impossible.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

AlexK

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2012, 11:09:00 PM »
We had a ERE rock star here in the forums and we chased him off. Of course he isn't a good people person, he's a frickin computer genius!

Nords

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2012, 09:38:56 AM »
We had a ERE rock star here in the forums and we chased him off. Of course he isn't a good people person, he's a frickin computer genius!
He may not be posting, but as of three days ago he was lurking.

Instead of us chasing him off, it's possible that he chose to walk away.  This is not a forum for thin skins.

josephpg

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2012, 02:22:11 PM »
20 here, and amazed.

jdchmiel

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #41 on: January 01, 2013, 11:01:38 AM »
33 here and amazed.  Was hoping to learn anything I could apply to my own life and retire in 2-3 years as I am a computer programmer as well.

marz1982

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #42 on: January 05, 2013, 12:23:07 AM »
This is just awesome, congrats on being a major bad-ass.

As a 30 year old, I only wish I had half the talent as you and got into programming as young as yourself.  I had the nack of it already at school, but I went off on a tangent doing a BSc in an unrelated field, and then realised on completion 3 years later that programming is actually my forte.

I was fortunate in that my Dad set me up with some shares when I was 20 around 2003, right at the start of the run-up, and I went wild for the stock "sale" in 2008, so I've done well with my investments, except for a few dud stock picks that went south (Which I chose based on bad advice, *never* take someone's word for it that XYZ is going to "go through the roof" and is the "Next best thing TM", no matter how experienced an "investor" they seem to be).  Nothing close to 35% though, maybe 10% at my last estimate.  I started at a basic starter salary instead of the 6 figure, and had to work my way up into a decent programming position.

I hope that young people reading your story will be inspired to follow your foot steps.

What could be learnt from your experience (In maybe a format that will connect with us mere humans ;) ) :
A) Pick a career based on what returns a decent salary as well as what you're good at.  Obviously JOSH wouldn't be earning such $$$ if he was an average programmer.

B) Get into earning money as soon as possible.  Skip the Masters and get into the field rather, those 2 or 3 years are priceless in terms of experience, and in certain fields I've found that the higher education holds you back without experience to back it up.

C) Start investing as soon as possible with your parents help.  The experience is priceless.  Get an online broker so that you can log in and view your investments, the market, and start learning about how to read the value of the market.  Indexes are the best way to start, I think Josh is extremely lucky, or is an investing genius, or put his programming skills to very good use :)

D) Start working through school - you can save money as well as get "people experience" that will count towards your first job (It helped for me!).

E) Keep expenses low - I so got suckered into the spending game at college/first job, I just went wild with the gadgets, sunglasses, restaurants, gifts, stuff...

F) Get a scholarship/sponsorship to a local college if you can.  I got a high grades scholarship that paid for 80% of my BSc, so at least it wasn't a colossal waste of money :P  JOSH didn't specify I think, but doesn't sound like he had any college expenses, I guess he got a full scholarship considering he got in so early.  Nice if you can get it!

Edit: Just wanted to note, that even if your BSc doesn't match up to your job in the end, it still counts for something, especially for the first job.  You might want to back up your skills eventually with a trade qualification, but see what would be most effective in terms of qualification cost in money and time vs how much future employers will view it.  For programming, the Microsoft qualifications will be looked on favourably, and are quick to do.  The longer 1 or 2 year "Learn ITz - we wants your money" qualifications run by local companies might raise an eyebrow but not hold much water.

G) Stay with your parents for as long as mentally/emotionally/financially possible - I would've gone crazy staying with my folks for another year at one point, but the crazy savings if I had.... I should have stayed another few years!!


Thanks for sharing your story JOSH, and all the best for your early retirement!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 12:28:04 AM by marz1982 »

Snowboard junkie

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2013, 01:16:57 AM »
Don't retire.  You probably can, but why bother.  you would be bored with it incredibly quickly.

Do fun stuff. 
Meet fun people. 
Work for equity stakes in decent startups.
Come up with some cool ideas, start a company, and make things happen. 

Work for yourself for the rest of your life.

Take future earnings and invest aggressively - futures, etc.

Iif you can make these things work, you have a chance at becoming one of the mega rich, which this forum alone cannot give you.

jdchmiel

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2013, 02:43:08 PM »
your "dont retire do this instead" list is pretty much what I want to do once I retire.. IE financially independent, can now be much more risky in what time is spent on.

mpbaker22

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2013, 08:54:40 AM »
Mixed on this.  Parts of it scream troll and parts scream genius who is mostly incapable of communication with fellow humans.

The 35% is believable, particularly if he didn't lose his shirt in Sept 08.  I lost something like 20% from January to October, but I was in college and only had ~2500, so I played it aggressively in 2009, and had an average return from 2008 to 2010 in the hundreds of percent.  I wouldn't advise doing this with larger amounts, but it is what it is and I came out far ahead.

Just the arrogant attitude and refusal to provide information outside of bragging makes it hard to believe.

grantmeaname

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Re: Retire At 21
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2013, 12:20:56 PM »
It's a little amazing in a way to see this thread has been necroed again and the dead horse has been beaten an additional time.