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Couple who retired at 31: This tip can help you 'hand in your notice' early

Retiring at 30-years-old might seem like a pipe dream, but according to the authors of a new book, there are ways to achieve financial independence relatively early — without sacrificing your quality of life.

“Quit Like a Millionaire” co-authors and husband-wife duo, Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, are living proof. They retired at the age of 31 — with roughly $1 million dollars in the bank.

Couple says they retired in their early 30s — with $1 million in the bank (Courtesy: Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen)

“We did it by not following the status quo,” Shen told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview — noting how older generations encouraged her to buy a house after settling into a job.

“We tried to buy a house but houses were over a million dollars for an average family home,” she explained. “We decided to go against the grain and not buy, so we rented for 9 years and put every single cent we had into investing.”

The couple’s investment strategy focused on index funds (DJIGSPCIXIC), relying on long-term market gains rather than cherry-picking stocks.

“It’s all about making the right choices and not getting into debt like all of our peers are doing with mortgages and credit card debt,” Leung added. “Learning how to invest, how to [make] money work for you in the stock market and using that to build a passive income stream.”

He added that “once that passive income stream is enough to cover your living expenses you can hand in your notice.”

Be aware of costs

According to a new Charles Schwab study, Americans believe they need $1.7M in the bank to retire. Yet the research also noted how many people are not putting enough away each year to get there.

“There are three things you really need to be aware of [when it comes to saving]: housing, transportation and food costs,” Shen explained. “For us, we used to eat out all the time at the very beginning. Bryce at one point spent $400 a month drinking beer.”

The couple swapped out fancy dinner dates for trips to the grocery store in order to cut down on food costs, in addition to using public transportation rather than owning a car.

"Quit like a Millionaire" authors cut down on food costs by grocery shopping instead of eating out.

“Small minor changes can have a big impact,” she added.

But deprivation is one thing you won’t find in the book.

“I never actually cut back on how much beer I drank,” Leung said. “It just simply [came] in a different format. I’d buy beer at the supermarket and drink at home.”

From avocado toast to regular trips to Starbucks, there’s been a lot written about millennial spending habits that add up to missed savings opportunities. Leung however, offered some alternative advice.

“It’s about finding ways of increasing and maintaining the same quality of life while spending less,” he concluded.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter:

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