In 2004, Justin McCurry landed his first job out of law school, working at an engineering consulting firm for $48,000 a year. Frugal by nature, he and his wife began saving diligently and maxing out their retirement accounts each year.
Justin's salary topped out at $69,000, and wife's only reached as high as $74,000. But by 2013, the couple had saved up over $1 million — enough for Justin to retire at 33. Their net worth is still growing thanks to investment returns and now sits at $1.7 million.
Justin told the Mad Fientist that he relied on one foolproof strategy to get to where he is today: Saving early and often.
When you're still young, how you save doesn't matter as long as you're actively putting away money in one way or another, McCurry underscores.
"Figure out how to invest it as you go along," he said. "The planning aspects of it, how much you need to save, your budget, your withdrawal rates, and all that — that's a lot easier to figure out later in the game."
Time is one advantage you can never get back if you're planning to retire early, so don't worry about knowing all of the ins and outs of taxes and investments from the start. "Start saving today, and then get smarter tax planning as you learn more, as you get along," McCurry said.
Emmie Martin contributed reporting.