- Hack your points
- Save aggressively
- Travel often
- Retire early
Welcome to our Hack Now, Retire Early blog! We’re super excited that you’re here!
Everything you need to know about us is summed up in the 4 bullet points above. However, if you’re curious and want to know more about who we are and how we got here, we’ve added a QnA below. Please feel free to comment and ask more questions, we’d love to share. Well, we’d love to share everything but our identity! For now, while I’m (Mr. HackNow) gainfully employed, we’re keeping that a secret.
Who are you?
Thanks for asking! We’re a husband and wife team on our path to travel often and retire early. We’re just getting started in the world of blogging but have a pretty big following on Twitter, follow us there @refirement.
We’re both in our early forties with 2 teen/tween daughters. We live in a non-descript subdivision of single-family homes, our kids attend the neighborhood public schools, and we drive a sedan and an SUV. We’re just like you.
However, we’re not just like everyone in our community, or America for that matter. We don’t live paycheck-to-paycheck, our vehicles are paid for, our house is on a low APR 15 year note, and our credit card bills get paid in full every month. We are, and have been, on a quest to retire early since before F.I.R.E. was a term that described our life’s goal. For those of you not familiar with the term FIRE, it’s short for Financially Independent, Retire Early. We feel pretty good about our path to financial independence and are currently working towards early retirement. Hopefully 2-5 years from now – well before 50, that’s for sure!
So, as you can see, fitting into a world with our contemporaries who don’t plan to retire until they’re 65 and are carrying debt payments on credit cards, cars, homes, etc. just hasn’t happened. Hence our inspiration for this blog. I stumbled upon the FIRE community via Mr. Money Mustache over a year ago and finally realized that there are others out there like us! It’s so great! And since that point, we’ve found many others who share our like-mindedness for saving, paying ourselves first, traveling, earning and hacking points, and most importantly – retiring early!
To get a deeper understanding of where we are today, check out our first set of blogs:
- We Didn’t Start the F.I.R.E.
- How We Get Free Airfare
- My watch has ended.
- No Dough, Mo’ Show
- F.I.R.E. Starter
Why did you start this blog?
We decided to blog as a way to share our lifestyle choices with others in our travel and FIRE community. If it wasn’t for this community, we would still feel like we’re on our own – isolated. We’ve always had the travel often, retire early mindset but we never knew how many there were like us. It seems like the people we encounter are either living with debt, or spending too much to reach early retirement.
We hope that this blog will be a reference point as well as an inspiration to those out there looking to better understand how they can achieve the financial independence that leads to independent lifestyle choices. Ours is by no means the only way, but it’s working for us so we hope to inspire others.
What is hacknowretireearly.com about?
With this blog we intend to share our stories related to personal finance and travel. We’ll also be sharing other articles and blog sites that we’ve learned from or that motivate us, products that we’ve purchased and believe in, and the wonderful places we’ve traveled and would like to travel. We hope that you’ll find something interesting here each time you visit and please retweet, share, and comment so we can reach others who share our common interests.
How did you get to where you are today?
Honestly, sometimes I feel like we’re late to the game. There are so many great millennial bloggers out there with their plans in place, it’s truly inspiring. With that said, I know we’re still years (decades?) ahead of most of our contemporaries.
We’ve always marched to the beat of our own drum where finances and spending are concerned. I’ve always known that I didn’t want to work forever, and I’ve kind of pulled Mrs. HackNow along with me. Luckily for me, she’s inherently fiscally responsible as well. With that to our advantage, we’ve always attempted to save 40-50% of our income. So from the early days of our marriage, we both contributed to IRAs, maxed out our 401ks, and even started saving for our daughters’ 529 plans the same month they were each born.
We were basically on the FIRE path before it had a name (i.e., we were country when country wasn’t cool). So after 15+ years of marriage, aggressive saving, and being smart about our expenses, we realized last year that we’re damn close to our early retirement dream! One afternoon stop at FIRECalc and I was sold, we’ve been on a laser focused path towards early retirement ever since.
Where have you traveled?
You might be surprised, but we’re not world travelers. While we have been to London, Paris, Rome, and Venice, most of our travel has been stateside, including Hawaii. Neither of us traveled much as children but we’re raising our daughters to love travel and the experiences it affords. We both believe that the time we spend together on vacations is the best family time we get.
As a family we’ve traveled together to Orlando, San Diego, NYC, Colorado, New Mexico, Rome, Venice, Riviera Maya, and throughout Texas.
How long have you been travel hackers?
I would say that we’ve officially been travel hackers since we signed up for our first Chase Southwest cards in January 2015. However, we’ve been traveling on points (earned with flights and lodging alone) since 2012 when Mrs. HackNow and I went to Hawaii on free United flights and 4 out of 7 free nights from Marriott and Hilton.
Where are your dream travel destinations?
Haha, it depends on who in the family you ask! I’ll say that mine are the Maldives and Dubai. The Maldives for those dream over-water bungalows and the relaxation I imagine whenever I see them, and Dubai because I hear so much about the excess that I crave to experience it myself.
Mrs. HackNow would tell you southern Italy including the Amalfi Coast and Spain.
Are you cheap asses?
Now we’re getting down to it! Some of our friends would tell you that we’re cheap, but I would simply call us selectively frugal. After all, just because we make choices of where to spend our money that are different than others, it doesn’t make us cheap. It makes us smart! Anyhow, as a family we value travel and time together. In an effort to reach FIRE, we tightly manage our finances in other areas so 1) we can get there sooner rather than later and 2) we can create lasting memories by traveling as much as possible with our daughters.
Do you both work?
Yes and no. If you’ve had a chance to read We Didn’t Start the F.I.R.E. and F.I.R.E. Starter then you’re already up to speed. If not, the short answer is that I work full-time and Mrs. HackNow is now (recently) self-employed. Basically that means that she works part-time doing contract work and side-hustles as she chooses and the rest of the time focusing on our family. That was our first big step into FIRE. Hopefully I’ll be able to join her in the next 2-5 years.
Do you have side hustles?
Yes, of course! A FIRE plan would be incomplete without a few secondary sources of income. Shoot, if we could simply cover our expenses with side hustles then I’d FIRE today! I feel like we have enough to retire on now if we don’t have to touch the balance for a few more years. But alas, we’re not to that point yet.
Our side hustles consist of:
- One rental condo
- This blog
- Travel hacking (yes, this counts as it doesn’t earn us money, but it sure as hell saves a lot!)
- Mrs. HackNow’s Etsy page
Do you consider yourselves Mustachians?
While I get super motivated every time I read new blog posts from Mr. Money Mustache, I can’t quite claim that we’re as hard core as he or his followers. Like I said earlier, we’re selectively frugal while still enjoying our lives. We could totally cut back like Mr. Money Mustache today and retire now, but we would take a big step back in the lifestyle that we’re accustomed to and enjoy. Mad props to all the Mustachians out there though, keep it 100!
What is your FIRE goal?
That’s the $1000 question isn’t it? We’re currently saying 2-5 years. If you have been following us on Twitter and Facebook, you know that it’s taken a while to get this blog up. Well, I have the same issue with setting a FIRE date. I feel like I need to put some serious time into planning this out just right before I’m willing to publish it to the world and I just haven’t found that time yet. It will come though, and you’ll be the first to know!
What’s your Net Worth?
Alright, now we’re getting down to brass tax! This is a totally fair question and one of the things I always look for on early retirement blogs also. While we’re not ready to share here, we do plan to blog about it in the future, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
What other questions do you have? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to respond.