Couple Retire Early After Saving More Than $2 Million
A savvy couple have quit their jobs and taken early retirement after saving more than $2 million.
Christina, 41, and Amon Browning, 39, put aside the seven-figure sum by tightening their belts, renovating homes, 'working as taxi drivers', and selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace.
And while they haven't revealed exactly how much cash they've manged to ferret away, they say it's enough to mean they will never need to work another day in their lives.
They have now moved from their home in San Francisco to start a new life with their two kids, Sunoa, 13, and Melea, 11, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Amon used to earn $98,000 a year as an urban planner, while Christina brought home $70,000 as a federal attorney before jacking it all in.
Amon realised he wanted to retire early when he received an award for ten years' service at work in 2011.
He said: "I'd been working for ten years and I received a service award. At the same ceremony, another guy got an award for working for 40 years.
"That was a life changing moment. You can work for so many years and all you get to show for it is a piece of paper.
"I really wanted more out of life than this. The idea of working another 30 years in a cubicle and missing out on life was crazy to me."
After discussing their concerns, the couple decided to embrace the the Financial Independence Retire Early movement, known as FIRE, and devised a 10-year plan.
And in 2013 they got to work flipping homes - buying fixer-uppers, renovating them, and selling them for a tidy profit.
Amon said: "We decided to 'live and flip'. We lived in the home and put in our own sweat and labour doing it up.
"We sold it, took the equity and did the same thing again. We did it on three properties and turned that $17,000 into a little over $400,000 in profit."
They even signed up to become Uber and Lyft drivers and say they earned an incredible $26,000 without ever having to pick up any passengers.
Amon said: "For a period we drove for Uber and Lyft in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"For us, it was all about the hack. The companies were giving $40 an hour just to turn on the app.
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"We would literally get no rides but we'd still get the sign-up bonus. I think we made $26,000 just on this Uber and Lyft hack, not driving at all."
But it wasn't all about big changes, the couple also reduced their living costs, trading in their brand new BMW SUV for an $800 minivan.
Christina said: "The shift in mindset from going from a luxury car to a minivan was actually incredibly freeing.
"We can't be consumed with this idea that we need to keep up with the Joneses. Some people might say it was a sacrifice, but to us it was liberating."
And they still managed to enjoy themselves, taking advantage of credit card perks to travel on the cheap to Thailand, Hawaii, Singapore and Europe.
They have also taken the opportunity to dispel the myths that parents can't possibly save this kind of money while supporting two kids.
"People will go broke for their children but they won't become rich for them. We've seen people overspend on toys and activities," said Amon.
"We have a minimalist mindset. We certainly never deprived our children of anything.
"We didn't give out gifts at Christmas but we went on trips. Our girls can remember that they were in Paris on Christmas Day or in Singapore or in Thailand."
Three years after starting their money-saving journey, the family moved to Japan for work, where they lived rent-free.
"We had free housing and our utilities were covered," said Amon.
"That was a huge area of savings. We got to the point that we were saving up to 70 percent of our income and investing it."
In July this year, two years earlier than expected, the couple hit their financial independence saving goal and were able to retire.
Amon described handing in his notice as 'the most amazing feeling in the world'.
He said: "Talk about freedom. It was like everything was falling into place and having the confidence to go into work and say, 'I'm sorry, this is my last two weeks here' was the most amazing feeling in the world.
"We just know how fortunate we are to have this lifestyle. Some people don't get this until they are 65 years old and they have less time to enjoy it.
"We have so much time."
Since moving to Lisbon, Christina and Amon have been able to spend more time with their kids, learning Portuguese and playing sports.
Encouraging others to follow in their footsteps, Christina said: "The FIRE journey is all about saving money, making money and investing that money.
"But before you do all that, you have to believe that you can do it. It's about your mindset."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS