This is a guest post from Ryan from Planting Dollars. Ryan currently lives in Honolulu while saving 50% of his income. If you are interested in contributing your own story or plans, see here. Currently, I do not have any posts lined up, but I remember a few saying they would like to write one, so if you are still interested, I’m still accepting them.



I believe when people think of working towards an early retirement they consider it impossible to do the things they enjoy most. For me, those things are experiences. At a young age I’d like to see more of the world, meet interesting new people, and try a lot of new experiences (I’m a bit of an experience junkie). After graduating college and living with the parents for about a year I had to make a decision. Stay in my hometown and continue down my same path or follow a passion while working towards financial security. I chose passion.

For me this passion was scuba diving, in particular, with sharks. Therefore, it’s location specific and couldn’t be done back in Wisconsin. I took a gamble and bought a one way to Hawaii. Turned out that it was one of my better decisions. Because I can “have my cake and eat it too!”

I truly would like to have the ability to travel while working towards an early retirement, so I’m working hard to make it possible. I don’t mean travel as in take a week long cruise, I mean living in different places for a year or so at a time. I suppose my idea could be a hybrid between this site and the ideas of a very popular Mr. Ferris of the four hour workweek. Being mobile, yet socking away 50% or more of my income.

I don’t make a ton of money at this job, but I manage to save about 50% of everything I make which goes towards debt from college and investments, such as my Roth IRA. I don’t save because I want to buy “stuff” but rather want the freedom and piece of mind that comes with not being dependent on a job. I’d also like the ability to help others more later on in life.

I do realize that I have to take care of myself before I can help others so I don’t believe my actions are selfish. If I’m broke, stuck in a 9-5, or purchasing a ton of consumer goods, I’m unable to fulfill this purpose and thus am leading a much more shallow life.

How I plan on retiring early:

By simply living frugal, starting low risk businesses, and investing at least 50% of my income.

Currently I reside in Honolulu, and live below my means there. I’m living on a budget that could be done by someone working on minimum wage. To see how I do it, check out my article about how I live in Honolulu for less than $1,000 a month. This is a choice because I find that simple living is actually more relaxing, I can devote more time to my writing, fitness, or spending it with friends. I enjoy free activities, having more free time, and focusing on working on myself rather than watching episodes of “Lost.” I don’t even have a TV if I wanted to. I was also able to trade in my car back home for riding a bike here since the climate is always warm. It’s also made me feel a lot better because I’m constantly having to exercise.

What I’m not paying down in debt, I’m putting in my Roth IRA or the SIMPLE IRA at work. At 23 I have about $10k saved in retirement and owe about $25k from college 🙁 .

I’m also investing in myself by learning about personal finance through my blog in which I hope I can share this mentality with others and gain a better grasp on investments. I do hold a finance degree and have real estate entrepreneurs as parents so I have a pretty good handle already, but you can never learn too much. I plan on growing this site by posting at least once a day and monetizing it. I also have a portfolio of a few other unrelated sites that bring in some income.

The key ingredient to my cake is to achieve a level of $50,000 a year income from my websites before I hit age 30. I believe this is very possible if I stick at it for 7 years. Therefore I can live a mobile lifestyle from my laptop while being able to retire early and following the principle of saving over 50% of my money.

Therefore, the basics of my timeline are:

  • Continue to work in Hawaii at my full time job and find additional work as a bartender (I’m currently searching).
  • Invest a ton of time learning web development and building a substantial web portfolio.
  • Live within my means by living on about $1,000 – $1,300 a month depending on income, but nowhere above the 50% mark.
  • Begin travel once I hit the $50k per year mark from websites so that I can continue to invest and hit my goal of $1 million before age 40.

Do you think this is possible? Any advice would be appreciated!

Originally posted 2009-12-25 11:01:14.