Living the Dream: This Military Couple Retired Early

“Continuous dedication to financial peace pays off,” shares military couple, Denise and Jim. They would know, because at ages 52 and 53, they are already retired. The couple enjoyed life as an Army family for 32 and a half years and started planning for retirement decades ago. Denise shares, “We are not working a paid job, but are volunteering and meeting some personal fitness goals and enjoying some time together after many years spent geographically apart. It can be done!”

If retiring at such an early age sounds impossible, or perhaps even improbable, Denise and Jim want you to know that it is attainable. They acted as a team and lived within their means so that they could prioritize quality time together once Jim was free of military responsibilities. The two set their eyes on the prize and made momentary sacrifices for long-term gains.

Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Denise’s biggest takeaway from their experience is mindful spending. She explains, “Think of saving in all areas of life now -- gas, utilities, gifts, entertainment, and food. Instead of buying material goods you probably won’t remember anyway, you will be growing long-term comfort. Mindful spending is the key!”

The couple set marked goals that they both agreed upon. They decided to not acquire nonessential debt, buy quality used vehicles instead of brand-new ones, forgo needless purchases, and put any extra money toward paying off their mortgage.

Because of their diligent and focused efforts, they live comfortably within their means, and still have money left over for fun or whenever Murphy’s Law strikes. Denise shares, “We recently had an expensive water heater replacement. The feeling of being able to pay for it was so much better than the thrill of any new purchase of stuff and not having to rob Peter to pay Paul.”

Like Denise and Jim, you can customize your financial plan by setting a specific goal. It can be debt repayment, retirement, investment savings, and more. Military Saves offers resources to track spending and saving, and we encourage you to take advantage of our Military Saves Pledge.

Reframe Your Priorities

Jim and Denise have successfully achieved financial freedom by utilizing a plan versus acting on impulse. As she says, “The majority of people prefer your time or experiences rather than stuff. This forward thinking will fund peace for your future.”

Although Denise recognizes that people often view being money savvy as “pure drudgery,” she prefers a different outlook. “I take it on as an exciting journey to experience true financial peace. My husband and I are a team; we work together to continue this lifestyle. When he told me that after retirement, he didn’t plan on another career I felt a bit of fear. But, with planning ahead, sacrifice, and discipline, we met our goals to retire together. We still work and have purpose, but we do it through volunteering. It has allowed for camping, extreme fitness training, and precious family time that was missed for many years due to military responsibilities.”

Want to receive motivation and inspiration to save? Take the Military Saves Pledge today and visit militarysaves.org for more tips and resources.

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