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A couple who retired in their 30s with 'multi-millions' explain how much they had to save

Kathleen Elkins
Jeremy and Winnie
Jeremy and Winnie

(Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng)
Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng.

About 13 years ago, Jeremy Jacobson and Winnie Tseng decided to get serious about their savings goals.

"At that time we had this epiphany that the path we were on wasn't going to be a long-term path to happiness," Jacobson told Farnoosh Torabi on her personal-finance podcast, "So Money."

They changed their lifestyle immediately in order to accelerate their retirement track.

Exactly 10 years and one day later they were submitting their resignations.

For the past three years, they've been enjoying 52 weeks of vacation and traveling the world, from Mexico and Guatemala to Taiwan, Belize, and all over the US.

The husband-and-wife team, who are still in their 30s and recently had their first child, clearly figured something out — and they share tips and strategies on their personal blog, "Go Curry Cracker!" — but just how much sacrifice did it take to retire comfortably well before the age of 40?

How much of their combined $135,000 salary was going to savings?

More than 70%, they explain on their blog.

They also spent five to six years paying off student loans prior to their 10-year stretch of diligent saving, and "another three years of being retired during a bull stock market to get there," Jacobson explains in a recent blog post.

"To get to a high savings rate, we cut spending in the areas that are typically the largest money drains: transportation (a car), housing, food, and entertainment," they write. "By using a bicycle and the bus for transportation, living in a comfortably sized apartment in a walkable neighborhood, and finding joy in home-cooked meals and nature instead of consumerism, we eliminated, or significantly reduced, our cost of living."

Thanks to ten years of living well below their means, Jacobson and Tseng's net worth is "multi-millions," they told Torabi, and live on about $4,000 a month.

Their lifestyle is feasible for anyone, the two — who both came from lower-income families and dealt with paying off student loans — encourage.

"Many assume that you have to work 40 or more years to retire, or that long term international travel is only for college drop-outs and dirty hippies living on rice and beans," they write. "It doesn't require winning the lottery, inheriting a windfall, or getting lucky on some penny stocks. There is really only one thing that determines how quickly you could join us on the road: savings rate."

This article has been updated following a response from Jacobson and Tseng.

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