Advertisements

This Former Engineer Retired At 33 With Zero Passive Income Streams And His Net Worth Nearly Doubled In Six Years

Justin McCurry doesn’t like much on his schedule. At most, he sets one thing to do a day. On Monday, that might be volunteering. On Wednesday, it’s likely grocery shopping. On Friday, there’s a good chance he’ll be playing tennis with his wife.

The rest of the time? It’s up to him. Pursuing a hobby, playing video games, doing yard work. It’s not the typical schedule for a 39 year-old with three kids. But that’s what McCurry has done since officially retiring as a transportation engineer in 2013.

In about a decade, he and his wife, Kaisorn, saw their portfolio balloon from a few thousand dollars to $1.3 million, yet neither of them had a job that paid close to six figures. And what’s particularly unusual about McCurry’s journey: He never had a passive income stream – other than his investment portfolio – that helped buffer his paycheck, boosting his ability to save. Instead, he did it all through cutting back and finding intelligent ways to squeeze savings, without sacrificing his lifestyle.

“I realized I had more paycheck than expenses,” said McCurry. “I just knew that saving money was probably a good thing,” as he tried to figure out what to do with the leftover funds each month.

When bloggers and FIRE (financially independent, retire early) voices talk about stepping away from the day job in their 30s and 40s, it’s also often coupled with side gigs that bring in dough, such as real estate or businesses that they built. It serves as a much-welcomed security blanket when managing a retirement that could stretch 50 years or more. For McCurry, though, it wasn’t about passive income streams or growing a sizable real estate portfolio. From 2004 to 2013, he and his wife lived on one income while essentially stashing away the other.

In the meantime, they had three kids, bought a house and have traveled the world.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed by the Size of It All

When McCurry first started saving, he looked at how long he would need to retire, and came up with a number that would let him step away from the job 20 years later. Even though he never was a big spender, the number seemed daunting.

“Knowing I would have to chug away for a decade or two,” said McCurry, “it’s almost like a pie in the sky.”

It made it difficult for him to see the benefits at first because that number was so large and the timeframe so long. This isn’t much different than when people set out for retirement on 40-year timeframes.

Researchers have found that the more someone connects with their future-self, meaning can view their future self with the same empathy and concern as their current self, the more they will save.

This ability to connect with the future self may be easier on this shortened timeframe. But it’s not guaranteed.

For McCurry, it became easier to handle as he continued to refine his plan, saving more than he and his wife ever expected they could. Then, after a few years, he started seeing the impact of compound interest.

He would place around $60,000 in the portfolio in a year, while the investments would return $100,000. McCurry soon realized that his 20-year plan had shrunk in half.

Cut Your Taxes

One of the most important ways McCurry saved was on taxes. At one point, he took the family’s joint income of $150,000, and managed to realize a tax hit of just $150.

His wife maxed out her 401k as well, while also doing the same in a health savings account and a flexible spending account. He then used a series of deductions, from the standard one to exemptions to child credits to reduce that income line to $28,950, leaving just a $150 tax liability.

McCurry took the approach that the tax breaks providing a discount to his savings. At the time, he would invest around $60,000 a year in tax-advantaged accounts. With that money, he locked in about $15,000 in tax breaks. That $60,000 investment, in actuality, only cost him around $45,000 if you count the tax break.

“It’s a little easier to save $45,000 versus $60,000,” McCurry said.

Design For the Worst Case Scenarios

One reason that McCurry’s timeframe shifted from 20 years to 10, despite lacking an additional income source, was simply because of the amount of buying he did when times looked bleak in 2007 through 2009.

He’s not like many in the FIRE world, constantly checking the portfolio, feeling the joy as the dollars increased, bringing him one step closer to quitting the day job. Instead, he mostly checks the accounts once a quarter, figuring out where he stands and if he needs any adjustments to his contributions.

“The last quarter in 2007, I noticed huge drops in our net worth,” remembered McCurry.

It didn’t deter him.

“I put as much as I could into the stock market each month, knowing I’m buying these shares at half or a third from where they were,” he added. “It was a buying opportunity of a lifetime.”

When the stocks began to turn in 2009, then his net worth went into hyper-drive. Since stepping away with $1.3 million, he’s now worth over $2.1 million, largely due to the fact that he now earns a little income from his blog, RootofGood.com (which means he doesn’t have to tap as much investment income) and the performance of his investments through a decade-long bull run.

But McCurry is savvy enough to realize the market will pull back at some point.

That’s where he taps his engineering muscle. As an engineer, you always prepare for the worst-case scenario. If what you’re building works under that scenario, then it will work, theoretically, in all other cases. When he looks at his portfolio, if the market drops 40%, then it would reach the levels he started with when he first retired.

He might spend a little less, but with a 3.25% rate of withdrawal from his investments, his family would be “totally fine,” he said.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’ve written about personal finance for Fortune, MONEY, CNBC and many others. I also authored The Everything Guide to Investing in Cryptocurrencies.

Source: This Former Engineer Retired At 33 With Zero Passive Income Streams And His Net Worth Nearly Doubled In Six Years

Advertisements

12 Daily Mindfulness Hacks for Entrepreneurs – Larry Kim

1.jpg

Mindfulness is all the rage these days, and with good reason.Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. A new study from the University of Oxford even found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is as effective as antidepressants in preventing depression relapses.

What is Mindfulness?

What may at first seem like senseless hippie jargon is actually quite simple?—?mindfulness teaches an individual to observe his or her own behavior and thought process totally devoid of judgment. Individuals acknowledge their feelings and thoughts, then release them.

Mindfulness teaches individuals to be present in and embrace the moments of life, rather than be suffocated by the constant self-criticism and anxiety that so often plagues our minds.

12 Mindfulness Hacks in 24 Hours

Practicing mindfulness isn’t just for the Zen Buddhists, sitting in lotus flower positions on the tops of snow-capped mountains. In fact, you can practice numerous mindfulness techniques in a single day.

In the Morning

1. Start a Mindful Morning Routine. When waking up in the AM, instead of going about business as usual and thinking ahead about the upcoming meetings, reports, and stresses of the day ahead, give attention to the physical elements of your morning routine. Feel the water on your skin when you shower, smell the shampoo and soap, notice how your brush feels as it smooths your hair, and hear the sound your toothbrush makes rubbing against your teeth.

2. Coffee Concentration.

12 Mindfulness Hacks You Can Use in 24 Hours

Buddhist monks have a form of meditation involving a tea ceremony, in which monks devote utmost concentration to every aspect of the tea. You can do this with your own morning drink. Listen to the sounds of your coffee maker at it brews your drink and the smell the aroma. Study the color of your coffee, watching how it changes when you add milk or cream. Feel the warmth of the mug in your hands. Then, finally, study the taste in measured sips. Eating and drinking are everyday practices we often take for granted, but they can easily become mindfulness exercises that can be utilized throughout the day.

3. Exercise to Connect With Body. Exercise presents another opportunity for mindfulness, as you focus on your breathing, your form, and your body’s movement. If you’re running, listen to the pounding sound of your feet on the pavement. If you’re lifting weights, feel the cool metal bar in your hands. Don’t let negative thoughts and distractions slip in.

Afternoon Moments of Zen

4. Sketch a Doodle. Grab a notepad and pencil, find a subject, and get sketching. Don’t write this one off believing yourself to have no artistic talent. Anyone (yes, really, truly anyone) can draw. It only takes practice. Choosing a subject is simple?—?you can even draw the Starbucks cup sitting on your desk.

Begin drawing by choosing a point on your subject to start drawing from. Then, follow the lines of the object with your eyes and pencil. Study the subtle indentations, the gentle curves, and the shadows cast by the cup. Sketching is a great study in mindfulness, requiring concentration and awareness. Plus, your sketch can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like, serving as a great short or long break from constant screen time.

5. Take Time to Stretch Take a mid-day break from the office and step outside to do some basic stretching. Stretching is good for maintaining a healthy body, and taking the opportunity to study how your muscles move and feel is a great opportunity for mindfulness.

6. A Few Minutes of Deep Breathing. Focused breathing is an often-cited mantra of meditation pros and yogis, and not without reason. We breathe constantly, but are almost always unconscious of its activity. Taking the time to focus on breathing helps individuals find connection with their bodies.

Try this almost laughably simple breathing exercise: Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, breathing in air from your belly rather than your chest. Pause a moment, holding in your breath, before letting the air out slowly through your mouth. It’s that simple, just rinse and repeat!

7. Ongoing Check-Ins. Pause regularly throughout the day and assess the state of your body and mind. How is your posture? Are you clenching your jaw? Are you thirsty? You may be surprised what you learn about yourself through these regular check-ins. Try to practice these mini check-ins every hour or so. Some individuals use periodic vibrating smart watch alarms to serve as quick reminders to collect themselves and refocus.

In The Evening

8. Take Out the Ear Buds. When walking home from work or jumping on a bus, avoid the temptation to put in your ear buds. Instead, focus on what is happening around you. Hear the birds singing, listen to the children playing on the nearby jungle gym, and be fully present.

9. Meditative Mind Dump. Dedicate 10–15 minutes to sitting down with just a pen and a pad of paper. Use this time to write out any and all thoughts that are swirling about in your mind. Not only will writing down your thoughts help clear your mind and relieve built-up stress, but you also may stumble upon some genius ideas that were previously buried.

10. Clear Mind (And Dishes) With Chores. Arriving home to be greeted by mountains of dirty dishes is far from fun. Instead of attacking your dishes, laundry, and garbage duties with dread, turn those burdensome chores into mindfulness exercises. Feel the water on your hands (or gloves) and study the texture of the sponge as you go about cleaning dishes. Take care to concentrate on the shape and weight of the plates, bowls, and utensils as you clean them.

11. Get Lost In The Music. Music can be another handy tool for practicing mindfulness as part of your everyday routine. Ideally, choose a song you’ve never heard before and hit play. Avoid letting your mind drift into thoughts about the song’s genre, artist, and lyrical meaning. Instead, simply listen with attention to the song, following the beats and crescendos while keeping your mind quiet.

12. Try A Guided Meditation. As the mindfulness movement grows in popularity, more apps and resources are becoming available to aid you in your journey. Check out popular apps like Headspace and Calm. You may also try listening one of the many guided meditation videos on YouTube, which are especially calming when you’re getting ready to power down before bed.

12 Mindfulness Hacks You Can Use in 24 Hours

Your kindly Donations would be so effective in order to fulfill our future research and endeavors – Thank you

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar