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Mark: A 50-something who owns his money

2010 July 21
by Aaron

From time to time, we’ll be interviewing folks who are “owning” their money. In other words, they have told their money where to go, instead of their money telling them.

Meet Mark (not TTG’s Mark). A 50-something retired conservation officer, Mark lives with his wife in a quaint Wisconsin town surrounded by lakes, wildlife and forest. He and his wife are both retired and debt-free.

“I have lots of hobbies and things I want to do,” Mark answered about why he wanted to retire.

As a government employee, retiring early isn’t the norm.

“Of the 11 guys I graduated with [at officers training], I’m the only one who’s retired. The rest are still out there working.”

Mark never did plan on retiring early. He credits his early retirement to saving and investing diligently, working hard and not spending beyond their means.

“Some of our friends tell us if they’d lived like us, they’d be a lot better off [financially] right now.”

He’s seen a lot of friends give in to the “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality of buying the new car, when a used would have sufficed. Upgrading to the larger home, when the old one was good enough. And taking vacations, when there was no money to do so.

“A lot of this stuff was just common sense to me. It never really dawned on me to live outside our means.”

Mark admits not having kids, along with his wife’s sacrifice and dedication to her catering business was a key to early retirement.

“You really can’t compare our story to those who have kids. If you figure it costs about $100,000 to raise a kid today, that’s money we’ve been able to save and invest.”

As for investments, Mark said that diversification is key.

“The saying is true – you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. You should have 4 to 5 different investment options. When things go bad, you want your investments in a lot of different places, like stocks, bonds, etc. We also had a good financial adviser. I don’t recommend handling that stuff yourself.”

Thanks to hard work and good money-sense, both Mark and his wife are enjoying the benefits of deferred gratification.

Know someone who is owning their money? Let us know – we’d love to talk with them!

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Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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