Where we began

We didn’t start out with a goal of early retirement, we thought we’d follow the path our parents had followed: college, jobs, family, still working, still working…maybe retirement when we’re in our late 60s or later.

We were both fortunate enough not to have much debt following college. Danielle graduated with only $5,000 of debt because of scholarships and an in-state college, Joseph had no student debt thanks to parents and pursuing a two-year associates degree rather than a big bachelors degree.

We’d also seen our own parents fighting against debt. We were from securely middle class families, but we’d seen our parents struggle to get out of debt or to remain out of debt. We didn’t want to head down that path. Still, finances were a month to month game and every time we saved up a little, a car would break down, a sickness would cause us to miss work and income, and we couldn’t get ahead.

This is the story of how we got from newlyweds making less than $30,000/year before taxes to a family of 5 (plus 7 pets) a mere ten years later owning our own house and three investment properties…and hopefully, the story of how we get to retirement ten years from now.


  1. I am glad that you’re financially stable. It might have been scary at the beginning to break the patterns, but you were stronger than that and went for it. That’s a great story!


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