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Can you retire with $90,000?

Yes. Live small.

I caught up with an acquaintance who had recently retired. He talked about his life after retirement and finances.

Having designed investment software, I’m fascinated by how people think about money. But money is a sensitive subject. We discussed stock trading, but danced around the numbers, throwing out vague values for the sake of small talk.

I’m all about breaking the discomfort around sharing specific numbers. So I opened up my ETrade app and handed over my phone so he could give me feedback on my $25k worth of holdings. The only thing I felt uncomfortable sharing was the absolute beating I took on my COVID era meme stocks.

He knew his stuff: he recognized most of my holdings and pointed out which of my losing stocks might make a comeback, and which ones I should write off on my taxes.

He then showed me his trading account. (Reciprocity in action: people are more willing to share if you share first.) He had $90,000 in it. It was all of his life’s savings. That seemed surprisingly low for retirement to me.

He then explained his retirement plan: live modestly. His small apartment was paid off. He helped his kids get settled by paying for their education and housing. He trades the remaining $90k conservatively to earn $1000 per month, which takes care of all his expenses. He is debt-free and content.

I was inspired by his simplicity.

I make more in a year than what he has saved up for the rest of his life. I'm projected to have a couple of million of these so-called dollars when I retire. I can wait two decades to get there. Or I can downsize my life and be debt-free today.

Thanks to his example, I’ve decided that I am now at the peak of my material possessions. And I hope to shed most of it as I age.

Think big, but live small.

I tweaked this on Fri Apr 19 2024 03:25:39 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)