Yes, You Can Retire Early With a Low Income: A Guide to Saving Money by Not Having Expenses

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**THIS IS A SATIRICAL ARTICLE.**

The FIRE (that’s Financially Independent, Retire Early) crowd has gotten some blowback for not offering enough content to the lower-income folks. Well, I saw some other rich person write an article about how to FIRE on a low-income and I thought, if that guy can do it, so can I. #GIRLPOWER

And just because the poor don’t have that much money, doesn’t mean they can’t click on my affiliate links and make me money, right? Wait, did I type that out loud?

I know you must be thinking, this girl grew up middle class and never had to live on a low-income; she can’t have any good advice for me. But just because I’ve never had your life experiences doesn’t mean I don’t know everything there is to know about personal finance as it applies to everyone no matter how much they make, where they live or what their circumstances are. I’ll have you know that I lived on minimum wage in law school and I had an entry level salary once upon a time and I saved 105% of my income. Here are my tips so you can be as rich as me!

1. Housing

People will grouse that the rent is too darn high! Well, we’d all like to live in Park Avenue penthouses but sometimes we have to suck it up and ask our parents to rent us a modest apartment in Tribeca. Or, if you’re really daring, you could live rent-free at your parents’ Park Avenue penthouse or maybe their summer house in the Hamptons. It’s still a sacrifice because it’s annoying to live with your parents. Guys, I know it seems like you should be able to afford your own apartments at this stage in life but, remember life just isn’t fair sometimes.

If your parents are renovating their houses or otherwise won’t let you live with them without paying rent, I’ve looked up some low-cost-of-living areas where you can rent. This article says Wichita, Kansas has the lowest rents in America. I bet you could live there. Just get your parents to pay for your moving expenses and furnish your apartment when you get there. Easy peasey.

And I know you’re thinking what if I need to fly home because my parents get ill or because I scored Hamilton tickets?!?! I mean, how much could a last-minute ticket cost? Ten thousand dollars? Just take it from your trust fund. You know it’s there for emergencies.
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But even if you want to live in a city, there are areas that are more affordable than others. Even where I live in pricey Washington, DC, there are 2-bedroom apartments that are going for $1000/month in the pre-gentrified locations. Yes, the crime rate in those areas tend to be twice what you’d have anywhere else in the country. But you still have a 11/12 chance of NOT being a victim of crime. Those sound like good odds to me. And you can’t beat the price for this area.

2. Vacations

I can tell you’re already zoning out over how many sacrifices you already have to make with housing. Taking away your vacation too? I sound like the strictest parent ever. Like the one that would make you end your parties at midnight on school nights and not let you drink single-malt scotch before you turned 15.

But I don’t want to be the parent that tells you that you can’t make it to Cabo every year or that your Vail ski pass will go to waste. Realistically, though, having a low-income requires a certain level of sacrifice and prioritization. Maybe you can only afford to take three vacations a year and only one of them is international. I’ve found some great travel deals ***AFFILIATE LINK*** where I’ve only spent a couple grand to stay in a resort for a weekend. But yeah, realistically, only one or two times a year, guys. Try to stay off Instagram so you don’t feel too #FOMO deprived. It’ll be worth it when you can live in Vail year round, I promise!


3. Food

Guys, you can’t go out to eat every meal, ok? That’s for rich people. Instead, act like I did in middle school – sushi ONLY on weekends.  Or if you really want to save, look into hiring a private chef. You can find affordable rates on TaskRabbit!

4. Insurance

Insurance is boring. Just stay on your parents’ plan to save money.

Oh, you’re over 26? What’s that like?

Well, if you’re over 26, I don’t know. Isn’t insurance free? It’s not? #ThanksObama. Maybe just don’t get insurance then. I’m healthy and it’s not that hard! Work out at your home gym and lay off the seasonal Starbucks frappaccinos – they’re loaded with sugar and you won’t get as many likes on Instagram as you would expect. #truestory Also some doctor on Oprah once said that being sick is all a matter of mindset (and then he jumped up and down on this lumpy couch so you know he has good abs). So think positive thoughts – if you get sick – it’s your fault for thinking negatively!!


5. Dependents

Don’t have kids. Kids are expensive. And kinda gross. If you already have kids,  and can’t afford them on a low-income, I’m not sure what to tell you. Maybe you can go back in a time machine and make better choices? Or take the time-machine forward until they’re old enough to leave your home.


6. Debt

Did you go overboard on your credit cards for a shopping spree? Well, you should probably go ahead and get your parents to pay for that debt before it accrues too much interest. If they won’t, I saw a documentary about a shopaholic where she got a job as a financial advisor and sold all her stuff to pay off her debt. I mean if it worked for her, it should work for you too, right? I also saw this other documentary where a woman got into really big debt and her friend sold her engagement ring to help her out. So it helps to have rich friends!! Also, in that last documentary, everyone with low-incomes married wealthy. So we’ll call that Plan B.

7. Cars

I know, it’s hard not to get jealous when your friends are all driving the latest Audi but again, you can’t afford that kind of payment on your low-income. You’re poor now! Deal with it.
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My advice: just keep driving the Lexus your parents bought you. Just tell everyone you think it’s better for the environment if you don’t change cars too often.

8. Clothing

They say dress for the job you want but Megan Markle’s fashions literally sell out in  seconds. My advice: just wear last season’s clothes. It’s ok – the fashion cycle lasts at least a year, maybe two years if you’re poor.

But definitely make room in your budget for an investment bag. It’s called “investment” for a reason, right? It’ll only go up in value. And, as Her Majesty Anna Wintour has said, mixing high and low is the trend du jour.  Who’s going to notice that you’re wearing a cheapo $200 J. Crew sweater if you’re flashing a $20,000 Birkin?
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Managing your money is all about prioritization and smart sacrifices.  But I promise it’ll be worth it because you can literally save thousands of dollars a month with these tips and then you’ll only have to work, probably five years before you early retire.  So you’ll be old at 26, but I promise you can still do things at that age.

And last but not least, if this seems like too much sacrifice for you, just ask your parents to ask their friends to get you a better job. Preferably something in the seven figures range with lots of vacation time. Life shouldn’t be all about sacrifices, you know?

**THIS IS A SATIRICAL ARTICLE.**

Gifs via Giphy.

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4 thoughts on “Yes, You Can Retire Early With a Low Income: A Guide to Saving Money by Not Having Expenses

  1. Fun read. I can say that growing up low income (the nice way to say poor) I learned that if I can’t fix it I go without. If I can’t earn money I go hungry or at least have to eat something I would rather not. I earned low pay for a long time in adulthood but seriously, even when getting ahead looks impossible, if the lessons learned from anyone who made it to financial independence are applied to one’s lifestyle it is more possible to escape the pay check to pay check rat race BS before you are ancient. The thing is, doing anything financially positive is always better than doing nothing. It is hard to be low income and have anything left to save. People can knock FIRE proponents all they want, but I’m living proof that incremental financial improvement does work and even someone from the low income spectrum can make it. However, it takes a plan, discipline, drive, and patience to see it through.

    1. I may write an actionable (and serious) follow-up. Your story is inspiring! Everything I’ve ever accomplished has been due to building good habits and small incremental steps. Thanks for reading!

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