After retiring from tech in my 30s, I travel the world with my family on $65,000 a year - here's what we spend in a typical week
Courtesy of Jeremy/GoCurryCracker
- Jeremy and Winnie retired from their tech jobs in their 30s, where they earned a combined salary of $135,000.
- They now travel full-time with their 3-year-old son, living on about $65,000 a year.
- For Business Insider's "Real Money" series, Jeremy tracked their spending during a week in Europe exploring the Baltic and Nordic countries.
- Want to share a week of your spending? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My wife Winnie and I retired about six years ago with the idea of traveling the world.
Traveling in retirement is a pretty common thing, so I suppose the interesting part is that we were still in our 30s and our 3-year-old son has now been to 35 countries.
We didn't do anything glamorous to become financially independent.
Before retiring, I worked as an engineer at Microsoft and Winnie worked as project manager at Dell. Our combined salaries over my 16 years of work was about $135,000 (during my highest earning years, the last three, Winnie had already stopped working).
We both grew up on the edge of poverty and were willing to live like poor college students for a decade longer than is socially acceptable. Instead of buying stuff or experiences, we were buying our future freedom.
Once upon a time a friend dropped us off at our student apartment in a dingy part of town. "You live… here?!" It certainly wasn't as nice as his house, but his property taxes were more than our entire cost of living. Both were really wonderful lifestyles, ours just happened to cost a lot less. And we never accidentally spent big bucks remodeling a kitchen.
It's been at least 15 years since we've had a car. For several years my main form of transportation was a used bicycle I bought on Craigslist for $50. I later sold it for $60. It also doubled as a gym membership.
We ate a lot of dinners that could be best described as "interesting." But over time our kitchen became the best restaurant in town. We even make our own bread (which is amazing). Now friends jump at the opportunity to enjoy a home-cooked meal at our place.
Combined, our efforts to minimize housing, transportation, and food expenses (80% of a typical household budget) allowed us to save 70%+ of our after-tax income. After our investment income started paying all of our expenses, I worked a few extra years so we could inflate our lifestyle. Which we have, and then some.
Nowadays, we could return to the United States and buy a house and a couple cars, enroll in some decent health coverage, dine out regularly, and live a typical life… all without working. We just happen to not want those things.
Instead, for the past many years, we've basically spent the summer in Europe, autumn in the US, and winter in Asia. It's not quite a perpetual summer vacation, but close.
I definitely had a good time during my working years. But our current life is much more enjoyable.
Here is a look at what we spent during a week in Europe as we explored the Baltic and Nordic countries.