Lifestyle changes allowing some to retire early; What you can do now to reach retirement quicker

Dreams of leaving work behind, hitting the beach, and retiring early may seem unobtainable, but a growing number of young people are adopting a lifestyle they say can actually make it happen.

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It’s called the “FIRE Movement” and while saving is a big part, it is not the only part of the process.

“Most people in the FIRE movement, they know their expenses to the T. They know their income and they really focus on maximizing the gap, creating a big gap between your income and your expenses and kind of utilizing that gap to kind of live the life that you want to live,” Cody Berman, a man living the FIRE Movement said.

Five years ago, Berman was making around $75,000 a year and was saving more than two-thirds of his income. But then he quit the corporate job, started buying real estate, and continued to save.

“This past year I just announced on my podcast I made over $400,000 and we ended up spending combined, my fiancée Lauren and I, about $40,000, so that’s like a 90 percent savings rate which is astronomical,” Berman said.

The “FIRE Movement” has a simple goals, gain financial independent and retire early.

“I saw that there were people who no longer had to work in their 20s 30s 40s and it was incredible and I was all in,” Berman said.

He still works occasionally to create passive income streams like his podcast. But both Berman and his fiancée Lauren are happy living in a small condo and keeping material acquisitions to a minimum.

“We figured out what we value, which is experiences, travel, friends. So again we spend a lot on going out for dinner, for bars, to travel. We don’t spend a lot on housing, we don’t spend a lot on our cars,” he said.

Berman estimates that only a small number of people could pull this financial strategy because of what it requires and the habits it calls to change.

“I think it’s probably somewhere in the 15 percent to 25 percent. Just because financial habits are hard to change, its one thing I’ve seen over a decade of doing this, people get used to a certain level spending,” Berman said.

While going full-on into the “FIRE” way of doing things could be tough for most, financial experts say there are some traits that are good for everyone.

“It’s all about figuring out what you can live on, building a strong budget, living within your means, I think those are actually really good things for people in their 20s 30s to focus on,” Chuck Zodda, Managing Partner at Armstrong Advisory Group said.

But for those who have reached their goals, they say this movement brings an overwhelming sense of freedom.

“I feel like we were just stuck in a society where we have to work and work and work until we’re an older age, 70-65 and then by that time there’s not enough to do the things we really want to do,” Lauren said.