Millennials want to FIRE at age 50

Millennials want to FIRE at age 50

Whether you agree with the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement or not – it’s a big thing.

Personally, I’m a huge believer in clear goals. If FIRE at age 50 is your goal, go for it.

Goals can be positive, purposeful and motivating. I think goals are great because they force you into choices.

Pursuing financial Independence is a choice.

That said, I’ve learned to let go a bit. Spend a bit. Relax a bit. Enjoy things just a bit more. 

In case you missed it, some people can work too hard, too long and save too much for retirement.

Make FI a goal but not life’s final destination

I make financial goals like these every year to help me/us stay focused on our choices.

Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s aspiring for some form of earlier retirement than most – if that’s your choice – just consider what you’ll do with your time when you get there. FI is a great goal, just don’t make it a final destination.

Millennial FIRE at age 50 case study

I’ve been fortunate to receive emails from dozens, if not hundreds of readers in recent years asking me what it takes to build a 7-figure portfolio, can I retire with X amount of money, and what would a world of living off dividends and distributions could be like.

Well, I will tell you my goal to live off dividends and distributions remains alive and well!

I will continue to answer those questions from readers as much as possible – so keep them coming.

But given those questions, I figured I’d share yet another case study for a reader/lurker on my site.

Before we get to that new case study, a reminder you can check out these previous posts about folks striving to retire or semi-retire earlier than most AND what that takes:

Here is one proven path to retirement ignoring any 4% rule.

Karla and Toby are 54 and 56. Can they retire soon with $1.2 million in the bank and no company pensions?

Mike and Julie want to spend $50,000 per year in retirement starting in their 50s…how much do they need?

This 50-something couple wants to FIRE at 52. How much can they spend?

Millennials want to FIRE at age 50 – can they do it?

A reader of the site emailed me to discuss their early retirement dreams. Let’s look at their case study and find out what it takes to FIRE at age 50.

Here is their profile and what they told me:

  • Judy (F), and Shane (M), aged 35.
  • Judy is currently pregnant, and they are expecting their first child later this year.
  • They live in Kingston, ON.
  • They both work full-time for now.

“Mark, can we FIRE at 50?” If so, “what will our assets look like at age 50 assuming we try and max out contributions to our TFSAs at minimum every single year?”

To help answer these questions, I once again enlisted some help. Welcome back Owen Winkelmolen (no affiliation) who is a fee-for-service financial planner (QAFP) and founder of Owen specializes in budgeting, cashflow, taxes & benefits, and retirement planning – working with both individuals and young families to help them with comprehensive financial plans from today to age 100.

Owen, thoughts for Judy and Shane?

Thanks Mark and glad to be back on your site. I love these case studies!

First, before we share the results, let’s provide some inputs and background data for context. Based on their information to you, we’ve included this information below in their projections with some assumptions as well:

  • Judy works full-time, for now, making a solid $95,000 per year as engineer with performance bonus opportunities at work of up to 15% (although the latter is never expected).
  • Shane is an HVAC mechanic making up to $80,000 per year.
  • They have a sizeable mortgage: $350,000. They hope to have it paid off in 10 years and as of now, with a child on the way, they have no plans to move.
  • For the most part, they’ve been quite smart – owning both cars/vehicles. They plan to replace Shane’s truck in another 5-7 years so they have established a “car fund”. They have $15,000 saved up already!
  • They’ve read your site Mark (about your emergency fund and have gone well beyond that with a child on the way) and keep about $25,000 in cash as an emergency fund.

Mark to Owen: we did it – why we have an emergency fund.

  • They’ve worked hard and investing wisely. Mark told me they have about $100,000 invested inside each of their TFSAs – contributions are now maxed out since they’ve been contributing to their TFSAs since account inception.
  • RRSPs are not yet maxed out – there is only so much money to go around. Judy has an RRSP value of $110,000; Shane about $90,000.
  • They have also told Mark they intend to start contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) in the coming years for their child.
  • Neither Judy nor Shane have any workplace pension.

We’re going to make a few assumptions based on the information they also provided:

  • That their home has a value of $500,000 now and they will pay off the mortgage as planned as best they can.
  • Their interest rate is about 2.3%, with payments estimated to be about $2,200 per month.
  • They have no other debt – no credit cards, nothing.
  • We’re not sure if they plan to have other children so we won’t make any assumptions there!
  • We’ll also assume Judy sticks to her plan and stays at home for a bit but will return to work/work form home after about 6 months have passed. Shane also wants to be at home a bit. For daycare, they are lucky, they told Mark they have some help!

Owen: here is what the FIRE at 50 math says!

Judy and Shane have done an excellent job setting themselves up for financial independence and early retirement. Their plan is very robust and includes lots of flexibility. That flexibility will allow them to choose to spend more in the future and find a better balance between saving and spending or retire earlier than they planned.

The couple are excellent savers. I’ve calculated based on good jobs, smart living, they save 42% of their after-tax income each month. Great work! This savings rate actually increases when CPP/EI contributions have been maximized part way through the year and also increases with some large tax returns as they catch up on their available RRSP contribution room.

I’ve included a cashflow management chart I use with clients:

FIRE at 50

This savings rate, coupled with the great bull market of the last 10+ years, has helped drive their net worth upward. Even though they’re only in their mid-30s, they’ve managed to accumulate just over $400,000 in investment assets in the last ten years with a market bull run. 

Retire at 50 - Net Worth pic 2

They’re looking forward to starting a family and have purchased a home. Their timing was very good – the real estate market has pushed their home up to $500,000 with a $350,000 mortgage remaining at 2.3%. With regular payments, I believe they’ll have the home paid off in 16-years (not 10 as they believe). With interest rates so low, and with available RRSP and TFSA contribution room, I actually wouldn’t recommend making any extra payments against the mortgage. Invest instead.

(Mark: this aligns with my thinking on this subject, here is my definitive answer to paying down your mortgage or investing.)

Judy and Shane are also expecting their first child in a few months. They’re planning to each take 6-months off in succession. Judy will take the first 6-months off and Shane will take the following 6-months off. With maximum employment insurance benefits their household income will drop slightly over the next two years but not by a large amount. This may impact their savings rate a bit, but their cash flow will still be very manageable on one income plus EI benefits.

I’ve included some tables to demonstrate this.


Retire at 50 - Income pic 3


Retire at 50 - Expenses pic 4

If they’re expecting another child in the future (who knows!), that’s great but they will have help that other millennial couples might not have. Both Judy and Shane’s parents live close by in Kingston and with some juggling they expect to avoid daycare costs for the first 4-years, a huge savings.

Still, even beyond one-time expenses for strollers, car seats, cribs etc., I have assumed they can expect extra costs in their future/for the next 20 years:

Retire at 50 - Future Child Estimates pic 5

Judy and Shane also want to take advantage of RESP contributions and the grants that are available. Rightly so!

We’ve planned contributions of $2,500 per year which will maximize the available grant of $500 by age 14 and a half. This will require $36,000 in contributions but the lifetime maximum per child is $50,000.

Judy and Shane have the opportunity to add an extra $14,000 to the RESP once their RRSP and TFSAs are maximized. They can always choose to take back this extra contribution once their child enters post-secondary but by adding an extra $14,000 to the RESP it will allow for additional tax-sheltered growth.

Retire at 50 - Education Plan Chart pic 6

Retire at 50 - Education Table pic 7

Note: reasonable expectations for the RESP growth assuming 90% stocks and 10% bonds ~ 6.13%.

Owen: what about investing?

Due to their planned maternity and parental leave, Judy and Shane won’t maximize their available RRSP and TFSA contribution room for at least a few years. But by 2024, if everything goes according to contribution plans, they may start to accumulate some non-registered investments. As a best practice we recommend they set up two joint non-registered accounts that are mirrored, with Judy “lead” on one and Shane “lead” on the second. This provides the benefit of a joint account from an estate planning perspective but allows for simpler tracking of adjusted cost base and income attribution.

They’re in similar tax brackets, so there isn’t a large opportunity for income splitting pre-retirement, but one small opportunity could be for Shane to accumulate slightly more of the non-registered investments in the future. With his lower income level this will help reduce tax slightly in the future. This type of income splitting will require Judy to cover more of the household expenses with her higher income, which would then free up a bit more of Shane’s income to be put into his non-registered investment account.

I’ve got them retiring based on their goal which should coincide nicely with two life events…

  1. Expected mortgage payoff,
  2. Entering post-secondary for their future child.

From a lifestyle perspective the timing works nicely, assuming nothing changes. They’ll benefit from some high earning years in their 30s and 40s. They’ll also benefit from some additional years of CPP contributions (especially now that CPP is being expanded for future contributions). As we’ll see below, an earlier retirement date could be possible, but at the moment since they like FIRE at 50 then everything else makes sense.

The projections for an age 50 retirement look great and based on their current level of spending and saving they’ll have no problem reaching their goal of early retirement at age 50. If anything, the projections highlight an opportunity to better balance spending and savings pre-retirement. As a household they have a very modest spending and a high savings rate. Of course, things could change, and they likely will once the new family addition arrives!

So, rather than scrimp and save now just to accumulate millions in the future, if they still want to aim for FIRE at 50 they can spend a bit more now and in early retirement.

Net Worth With Current Spending Assumptions (Today’s Dollars)

Retire at 50 - Net Worth Today pic 8

If we add an extra $2,000 per month in spending over their entire plan (both now and in retirement) their plan is still successful but avoids accumulating a large amount of assets in retirement.

By taking this approach they would increase their pre-retirement spending from $56,560/year to $80,560/year (not including mortgage payments) and they would increase their retirement spending from $49,200/year to $73,200/year.

Although their current spending numbers are reasonable, they are low versus the median, the extra $2,000 per month in spending would mean a lower savings rate pre-retirement but their household spending would be closer to the median for a couple in Canada. I suspect they will increase their spending over the coming 15 years.

Net Worth When Spending An Extra $2,000/Month (Today’s Dollars)

Retire at 50 - Spend More Net Worth pic 9

Income and Tax When Spending An Extra $2,000/Month (Future Dollars)

Retire at 50 - Income and Tax pic 10

Success Rate When Spending An Extra $2,000/Month (Today’s Dollars)

Retire at 50 - Success Rate final pic

Only in the very worst historical periods does Judy and Shane’s plan run out of money in the future. This assumes absolutely no change to discretionary spending. As we know by reading Mark’s site and in doing other case studies, a little financial flexibility can go a long ways.

Judy and Shane have a great plan ahead of them. Their savings rate will probably drop over the next few years with maternity and parental leave, but they’re already quite a bit ahead with diligent savings.

Assuming the continue in a positive, general direction, FIRE at age 50 can occur.

You can find more retirement essays from folks that have successfully “been there, done that” on this Retirement page here. 

You can find some FREE retirement calculators on my Helpful Sites page here.

Another thanks from Mark to Owen for this case study. Owen Winkelmolen (no affiliation) is a fee-for-service financial planner (QAFP) and founder of  He specializes in budgeting, cashflow, taxes & benefits, and retirement planning. He works with individuals and young families in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to create comprehensive financial plans from today to age 100.

Disclosure: I (My Own Advisor) along with Owen, have provided this information for general, illustrative purposes. This is not direct investing advice, nor should it be taken as such. Inputs and assumptions above are for general case study purposes only for Judy and Share. Your mileage may vary.

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

63 Responses to "Millennials want to FIRE at age 50"

  1. Mark/Owen,
    One question I have regarding expenses is the long term budgeting for house repairs and expenses. $100 a month=$1200 a year seems reasonable for now if they are in a new house that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. But in 10 years they will be looking at replacing appliances and in the following years a new furnace, water heater, potentially new shingles by the 20 year mark, possibly new windows, doors and furniture replacements along the way. How long in a houses life do you find $100 a month sufficient for house expenses and at what range do you need to plan for additional funds for this?

    1. Very good callout Derek. Really hard to think that $100 per month might be sufficient for a home – probably closer to $500 or so on average right over the lifetime of a house? That was our budget when we had a home before our condo.

      What’s your house maintenance budget for curiosity? Roofs can be expensive as are newer, energy-efficient appliances.

      1. We budget $260 bi-weekly for house and miscellaneous expenses (I realize now, I forget where the justification for the $260 figure comes from), but we have replaced windows, furnace/air conditioner, and roof shingles within the past 5 years. We’ll likely do more windows this year and maybe a new door. We’ve been in this (not new) house for 6 years, so appliances and water heater are trending towards end of life, but who knows when that will be. One neighbour wants to repair the fence between us this year, but with lumber prices where they are, we’ll see. And we’ll be replacing a sour cherry tree that died last year. There’s also a long list of things that will need to be looked at over the next 10 years, few of which can be done on a $1200 a year budget.

        1. Great stuff. That seems low Derek but if you can do that all budgeting $260 per month that’s outstanding. I know we were much higher than that when we owned a home vs. condo but we also had an irrigation system and snow removal to pay for seasonally.

    2. Great questions Derek, for a aging home we’d use 1% of the structure value as a benchmark and for an old home we’d use 1.5% of the structure value. But this would only cover maintenance and not upgrades, so for a home that needs work to bring it up to a certain level (or perhaps if maintenance was neglected by the previous owners) this estimate could be low.

      We budget $200 per month personally, but we do much of the minor maintenance work ourselves, so this amount is earmarked for larger upgrades like roof, doors, windows, appliances, furnace etc.

      Like most things in personal finance, it all depends.

  2. It’s just dawned on me that Canadian Dianne Nahirny’s book “Stop Working…Start Living” How I retired At The Age Of 36…Without Winning The Lottery, is twenty years now since it was published in 2001. It’s been a number of years since I last read her book. My how time flies.

    A couple of decades ago at the Motley Fool Board someone cut and paste an article from Ellen Roseman at The Toronto Star regarding Dianne.

    1. I’ve heard of this book and haven’t read it but I know Ellen a bit personally and she remains a great journalist.

      Some crazy things in that article but you can see how resourceful Nahirny is:

      -Being debt-free is important, but a quibble that nobody can find a condo/apartment today under $400k let alone $42k that she paid.
      -Even in 2002 dollars “Of a total $8,275 in living expenses last year, she spent just $336 eating out in restaurants and going to movies.” is incredible.
      -Not owning a car is key. I’ve personally wasted tens of thousands of dollars on my cars…interest, licensing, gas, maintenance. Thankfully down to one now!
      “Property taxes are her biggest expense, $2,640 last year. Food comes next at $1,140, then clothing ($792), oil heating ($675) and hydro ($552).” – that is incredible, again, even in 2002 dollars.

      Thanks for sharing this older gem 🙂

  3. As usual I get the most enjoyment from the breaking down of things and critique that comes from the comments section. Good review of where they are at and a path to the future. I would hope they continued to actually drive down their monthly expenses even more and not find a way to spend that extra money that the analysis suggested they do. Be spend less and saving even more I think the big opportunity comes from them pursuing a better lifestyle of a touch less work and more time with their growing child. Their lives are enriched, depend family bonds and they reduce their ecological impact as consumers by not working to spend.
    Good stuff as always here Mark

    1. Thanks Chris!

      “Their lives are enriched, depend family bonds and they reduce their ecological impact as consumers by not working to spend.”

      Indeed. Much more conscious of my environmental footprint as I get older myself. Walking and biking everywhere I can. Good for the body and mind and planet. Out for a bike ride in 10 min 🙂

      Stay well,

  4. Mark,

    You’ve already had at least two people on your blog who became financially free in their thirties. Derek Foster and also Andrew Hallam. Two different ways of investing, Derek – dividend growth and Andrew – index funds/ETF’s.

    As for millennials, in Toronto there’s Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung at Millennial Revolution who retired from their computer engineering jobs at 31 and 32. In Regina the news media picked up that engineer Tim Stobbs retired from his job at the age of 39. If there’s a few, there’ll be many more that I don’t know about.

    1. Yes, fair. I recall Derek was somewhat financially free but did rely on book sales and speaking engagements to fund some of his growing family needs! He has A LOT of kids now.

      Andrew Hallam was very unique and equally driven. He also invested in stocks to achieve good returns but yes, did eventually switch to indexed funds. He wasn’t always the biggest fan of indexing…

      I interviewed Kristy and Bryce a few years ago for the site – they’ve done very well for themselves.

      I also met Tim many years ago at a personal finance conference. Another smart and driven guy.

      I’m sure they are many, many others. They just don’t own a blog or have a Twitter account 🙂


  5. As a millennial currently in my 30’s and hoping to become work optional in my 40’s I can say that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what that means. “Retirement” is not the same for everyone.

    For me it doesn’t mean never having to work but rather having more freedom over my time. I will alway work in some capacity (that’s just my personality) but becoming work optional means I don’t necessarily have to work for money. I can volunteer more, work in passion projects, and/or have more time to spend with my family.

    Millennials also have aging parents. Becoming work optional could mean having more time to help take care of their parents.

    1. If you think Millennials have aging parents – ask GenX 🙂

      Great comment Maria and I can appreciate “retirement” has different meanings for everyone – which is why transparency is good when it comes to figuring out what folks mean by that term. I personally dislike the media spin on “early retirement”. Nobody (to your point exactly) in their 30s or 40s that I know of ceases to work for an income.

      You are a fine example of someone that wishes to do more and contribute back: “can volunteer more, work in passion projects, and/or have more time to spend with my family.” If that is what your retirement means, kudos.


  6. Never mind 50, over thirty five years ago I wanted to retire in my mid-thirties like I’ve seen other people do at the time and since. Unfortunately, not having a great paying job all my working life or a successful business, or a lot of savings at the time, it was just a dream.

    By the way, if you want to see ingenuity from people with very little income start looking around the internet since this year’s Oscar winner “Nomadland” came out and take a look at how some of them can live on far less than $1000 USD social security a month and still be happy and content.

    1. I haven’t checked that out DividendsOn – will look into that = Nomadland.

      Yes, there are plans and then there is reality right? You never know what the future holds. Stay well!

      1. Speaking Nomad I watched a video of one of speaker briefly featured there and he interviewed a lady who live full time in her car amazing ingenuity! A lot of Americans retire in RVs and live the nomadic lifestyle. It’s very cheap. The main downside is I being forced forced to pull up steaks every two weeks.

  7. Retire at 40 or 50 ? I think I would die of boredom 🙂
    Even though i know i can retire confortably in couple of years but I don’t think i can turn that switch off just like that, I wanna stay productive and get up and do something , I see myself eventualy buying a place in warm mexico and enjoy the beautiful weather but not now not at 51 🙂

    1. Ya, I don’t know anyone in their 30s or even 40s that “retires”. They just change jobs and do something they live and call themselves “retired” 🙂

      I could see myself visiting the Carribean for a few weeks every winter. We are saving and investing for that type of “retirement” although I will continue to work part-time in my 50s.

      Then going to other countries every few months for a couple of weeks per year. That would be very nice. Hopefully 3-5 years away.


  8. Hi, Mark and Owen,

    A great article to share the case.

    I would like to have a fee only financial planner to take a look at our case. Owen, I went to your website, fill out the form, it comes back saying it is not a fit.

    Mark, do you have additional fee only financial planner to recommend? We are business owners, having multiple rentals and sizeable equity portfolio, no government pensions, and small registered accounts. Hope to find someone who is experienced to provide advice and come up a plan for customers like us.

    Thanks, Mark, always very informative blogs, very relevant and make us do some homework ourselves.

    1. Thanks for starting a plan Angela! We specialize in a particular type of client and unfortunately business owners and multiple rental property owners fall outside our typical client scope. We believe it’s very important to work with someone who specializes in your particular situation. There is no “one size fits all” financial planner.

      My recommendation would be to check out for a listing of advice-only financial planners in Canada.

      1. Thanks for that Owen.

        Angela, my friend John Robertson also keeps a very handy list of fee-only and other advisors / planners on this list that you might want to check out – ask them some questions about your needs. Owen is on the list too but like he mentioned, every planner tends to fulfill some different needs. I’ll copy this reply to your question to me as well 🙂

        Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks Angela, I appreciate your readership.

      Angela, my friend John Robertson also keeps a very handy list of fee-only and other advisors / planners on this list that you might want to check out – ask them some questions about your needs. Owen is on the list too but like he mentioned, every planner tends to fulfill some different needs. I’ll copy this reply to your question to me as well 🙂

      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks, Mark and Owen for your reply.

        I will definitely check the list to seek a suitable one. You are right, any strategy/strategies should be tailor made with one’s specific needs and wants. Thus, knowing oneself is the most important step.

        Have a wonderful weekend, and look forward to more weekend readings!

  9. Who would want to retire when their kid is 15 yrs old? I’d want to get out of the house and go to work just so I don’t have to deal with a hormonal teenager!!

  10. Thanks Mark and Owen for another fantastic analysis. Appreciate the time it takes and it’s fun to read. Love the charts and graphs for us visual learners. Judy and Shane are in fantastic shape for an amazing future due to a series of smart choices and a bit of luck. They have options that are available to them to deal with the unexpected. That’s what’s important.
    Realistic goal setting is so powerful for simply setting the direction. You can’t hit what you don’t aim at. Failing to plan is planning to fail. The early bird gets the worm. When in doubt punt. There’s no “I” in team. Someone should write a song about dreaming the impossible dream. Sorry – carried away.
    I like to think is terms of possibility and probability. The analysis shows it is possible for them to “retire” at 50 – whatever retire means. We understand that it probably won’t go exactly as planned. The comments help identify possible hiccups they can then address. It’s encouraging to see that it’s even possible. This couple is smart.

    1. Always great to hear from passionate readers! Owen did a fine job once again!

      Fully agree: “You can’t hit what you don’t aim at. Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

      I know other readers cannew mentioned a host of reasons why this might not work out for them, based on his own experiences, and that is very much true. But you have to applaud any 30-somethings that have goals and focus on such goals. Even if plans change, I’ve always felt it’s the process of planning and re-planning that is absolutely critical to finance and general success.

      Many readers here have done the same thing 🙂

      Stay well!

    2. You nailed it Gruff403! Their plan may change in the future, but they’ve got a great goal they’re working towards and whatever happens they’ll be in a better position because of it (not to mention the peace of mind that comes from having a solid plan laid out, knowing they’re on the right track etc etc).

  11. This is a great post, exciting since there is so much hope! The charts and graphs provided by Owen are amazing. I always like looking at Sankey graphs. You don’t know what the future might bring, either parent might want to start working part time or find that working full time with 1-2 kids is too much. I know people who completed a PhD and intended to work but after kids she became a stay at home mom. I agree with Liquid, the CCB is a great resource, though it gets completed axed with $0 payment if your AFNI over around $200K.

    1. Glad you liked it. I tagged you hoping you’d chime in!

      It’s hard to know what might happen for them years down the road, but Judy and Shane have a great foundation for sure.

      I think it makes sense CCB is axed with $0 payment for higher incomes. Like OAS, higher incomes don’t need government benefits or income securities. That’s wrong 🙂

      Hope all is well!

    2. Thanks GYM!

      I like the Sankey graphs too, it really puts the “flow” in cash flow. To me it makes more sense to show income and expenses like this rather than showing an income statement or something boring like that 🙂

  12. Great work, Owen and Mark. I hope I can go back in time and had this kind of analysis in my 30s. We begin to pay attention in our 50s, sigh. Good saving habits saved us. We also didn’t have a good start as Judy and Shane. We just begin to work in our 30s. But I do see how things would work out for our next generation by this example.

    With their high income, I think they really should max out RRSP. But if they could reach the goal by not doing that, it’s still OK.

    Retiring by X is just a goal. As any planning goes, you have a target, but nobody said that target has to be fixed. Nobody can predict the future, so just being agile and adjust your plan accordingly along the way. In any case, having a plan is much better than having no plan. They might retire before 50, might after that. But having a plan and stick to it is the most important thing, IMHO.

    1. As a project manager May, I agree: plans are X and reality is Y.

      Same goes for finance. But it’s the process of planning and re-planning that most folks don’t realize, is the true super power. Once you train your brain (with personal finance and other things) to plan and re-plan then you’re largely unstoppable.

      Of course, people can absolutely have bad plans and bad assumptions. Those are not helpful. But having a good plan at 20, 30, 40, or even 50 is a good idea – in anything. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the kind words. Regarding to “having a good plan at even 50 is a good idea”, completely agree with that. I began at 50, and it’s a great journey. I have paid my tuition fee along the way with many mistakes I have made, but without began this journey, we cannot cautiously claim that we are financially independent now.

        I got lots of inspiration and encouragement from your site and your readers. Really appreciate that. I like to comment here in the hope to pass the inspiration and encouragement to other people.

  13. There are big red flags in this to me. Here are two young adults and they say there isn’t enough money to go around with nearly a $200K income? At least not enough to max out every available retirement account? I have to call BS on that, if they can’t max those accounts now then I don’t trust their resolve to do better in the future. I maxed ever single available account out early and still saved a considerable amount in taxable brokerage accounts. I was in a position to do what they say they want to do, but that lack of intensity tells me they may not be that committed. Plus relying on parents for childcare for four years, I bet if you were to quiz the parents they don’t even know they are committed to making this plan work. We raised three kids and providing our grown kids with free day care, that’s not ever going to happen! Grandparents have lives too, I think they are assuming too much there.

    1. That’s a great callout Steve on the family daycare. I have no idea if they will or will not be able to fully take advantage of that. They indeed have great income for 30-somethings but it will be interesting to see if any financial changes/more spending do happen once the baby arrives.

      So much can change in the coming 15 years or so for them – like everyone else of course.

      Maybe you’re right, not quite committed yet? Hard to say. There are many factors involved with any financial plan.

      How is your investing and general plans coming along?

    2. Hi Steveark,

      They may be at $175K now at 35, but we don’t have any information on their previous earnings. How much were they making at 30? At 25?

      They may have changed careers in their 20s, with large student debt, lost their early savings in starting a business that failed, etc…

      There is not enough information in the article to make any assumption about their financial past.


      1. Ya, I have no idea how much they were making in the mid-20s + but seems to be enough to least contribute to their TFSAs every year since 2009 and some RRSPs in their early 30s as well.

        A few I know that have maxed out their TFSAs (both) and invested wisely have nearly $250K combined. That’s good tax-free change!

  14. Lloyd (60, retired) · Edit

    I’m not crunching the numbers but retire with a 14-15 year old as the oldest child and possibly younger ones? Pretty gutsy IMO. Throw in an unforeseen event (grandparents can’t provide daycare for example) and the whole flight plan gets kyboshed. I’m not one to take a chance on arriving at destination with minimum or less than minimum fuel on board.

    I intended to retire at 50 with a 21 year old. Likely could have easily done so had not medical issues come up and deciding going to 55 was prudent. I started RRSPs at 19 and got the wife started when she was 22. Didn’t have a “plan”, just felt it was a good idea at the time. This opened up many options for the future. So my take is, sure set a goal, but be prepared to land short and take on extra fuel if need be.

    1. “I intended to retire at 50 with a 21 year old.”

      I didn’t know that Lloyd, so I suspect it can be done. Seems like your plan worked out well overall.

      Geez, “I started RRSPs at 19 and got the wife started when she was 22.” – that’s some very good discipline. I doubt many folks that age these days are thinking like that but I could be wrong.

      1. Lloyd (60, retired) · Edit

        My intent was almost identical to yours. Use my RRSPs to bridge from 50 to my defined benefit pension at 60, decide on CPP later with the intent to defer. I didn’t know this at 20, or even 30, but around 35ish (child in school) things started to come together that “planning” became a possibility and options were there. No way would I try to make any kind of viable plan at 35 and just starting a family. Sure, take steps (RRSP, TFSA, RESP) to open up for possibilities, but plan?

        And personally, I would *never* include a vehicle as an asset and would *lean* towards not counting on a house as an asset either. But I acknowledge this is a very personal attitude.

        1. Good insights.

          I couldn’t care less about CPP or OAS 20-years ago but I was aware of those future benefits – if they stick around….

          I was however very mindful to start saving and investing in my 20s. It ramped up in my 30s. It has really gone well in my 40s. I can’t speak for anyone else of course but I’ve been interested in personal finance and investing for about 20 years now. I wouldn’t be where I am without that passion or interest.


          1. Lloyd (60, retired) · Edit

            I’d hazard a guess that many people became more aware, passionate and interested as computers, and especially the internet, came into being. When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, there was the newspaper, national news broadcasts, and calling a broker on the phone. There were not the plethora of financial books back then either. I seem to recall Hume Publishing (?) had some “courses” but most financial education likely came from parental observations and they had even less opportunity than we had.

            1. Very fair. Hard to get access to the plethora of financial information pre-internet that is now available.

              Don’t worry, I’m old enough to remember those days 🙂

    1. I think if they can sustain a good savings and investing rate, even modest of 10% net, they will be fine as well Bob. Thanks for the Tweet on this one!

  15. Great analysis. One financial advantage to having kids is the help from government. The federal CCB benefit pays over $1,000 a month to low income households with 2 children. There are also additional subsidies and credits from cities and provinces. It’s not insignificant income when added altogether. 🙂

    I agree with Owen. They can reach their FI goals if they stick to their current plans. 🙂
    What I’m curious about though is how are they only paying $100 a month for phone, cable, and internet? I want to switch to whatever service they’re using, lol. Maybe it’s company sponsored.

    1. You’re right Liquid, CCB is definitely a very generous benefit for families!

      In the case of “Judy and Shane”, their household income is too high to qualify for CCB with one child for the majority of their working life, so its not a big factor in their plan.

      As for phone, cable, internet, my wife and I personally have plans with Public Mobile for under $25 per month (I highly recommend Public Mobile!) plus we have a basic internet package from a reseller for $50 per month. With tax its just over $100 per month but its definitely doable to be around $100. We do pay for our own phone upgrades, but we count that separately.

    2. Yes, we’ll see how long family daycare lasts!

      I think if they max out their TFSAs and then focus on RRSPs, even a bit in the coming decades they will be fine Liquid because they have such a good base right now ($400,000 invested in their mid-30s).

      I would have to look at their expenses and go back and forth but I would definitely assume Judy has a company phone. Seems cheap to me!! Again, small potatoes in the grand scheme of things for sure.

      Thanks for your comment and social media love! Ha. Stay well.

  16. Millennials are between the ages of 25 and 40. How many at age 25 are thinking about retirement or even know what life has to offer? Being closer to age 40, might mean the the person is getting closer to their peak earning period, or they are at the age of raising a family. What might retirement mean to them?
    I really have difficulty comprehending how people between 25 and 40 have an understanding or a goal of retiring at 50 or so. Maybe how they perceive retirement is different than mine, maybe they mean doing something different or earning income from sources other than the normal employment, or working for others.
    You’ve made some good points about saving and living within ones means, but I’d suggest one consider thinking about retirement beginning at 50, rather than taking retirement.
    Life is too unpredictable and ones life values change as one ages.

    1. These are great observations cannew but I can tell you with 110% confidence, I get emails and Tweets and more from many millennials wondering how they can have a better work / life balance and work on their own terms and “end the rat race” per se.

      Believe it or not, there are many 20-somethings that are thinking about FIRE by 40, let alone age 50.

      I have no idea what the day-to-day retirement might mean for them, I can only speak for myself of course, but I suspect it’s a better blend of entrepreneurship/work and enjoying experiences like travel. That could be just the bubble of folks that email me though.

      I’ve been thinking about some form of semi-retirement since my late 20s, so my plan has been a few decades in the making.
      I said as much here 🙂

      I don’t think some 20- or some 30-something looking ahead just a few decades, is really that surprising. Not all, some are.


        1. Great stuff. Again, these are higher income earners in their mid-30s. The reality is, and maybe you can post about this from your perspective, most “FIRE” bloggers are not earning minimum wage.

          “FIRE” is really reserved for modest to higher-income earners who are seeking extra choices in life. Those choices don’t apply to everyone for sure.

          1. Agree, but shit happens and suddenly a high earner can become unemployed or other things can happen along the way which make rosy projections meaningless. People can daydream all they want, but only the lucky ones will actually achieve that goal.

            1. Very true! No disagreement here my friend. Life is a combination of making your own breaks and lots of luck, sometimes the latter more often than not since there are an infinite number of things outside of your control.

              I commend them for having a dream and goals in my intro.


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