Monthly Archives: August 2013

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Guest Post: A millennial’s pretirement plan

Today I wanted to share yet another guest post from a favorite fellow blogger. I figure by now you’re a bit tired of listening to an old guy like me whine about all my dumb financial blunders. So today I’m welcoming someone much younger to the stage. She is by far the savviest financial Latina I know and has been tearing it up on her blog lately. Savvy Financial Latina is a 20-something woman learning to manage life, career and money in Dallas, Tex. She has a Bachelor’s in Global Business, a Master’s in Supply Chain Management, and an MBA, all without any debt. She now works for a Global 500 company as a sourcing analyst. Savvy Financial Latina is, also, a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.

What financial independence means to me:
Savvy Financial Latina

This is a totally different financial Latina.

This is a totally different financial Latina.

I’m 23 years old. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Global Business, Master’s in Supply Chain Management, and M.B.A. I’m married to a wonderful man and we are searching for a nice, affordable home to live in Dallas, Texas. We try to have a frugal lifestyle and invest in our future.

Pretired Nick and I have been commenting on each other’s blogs for a couple months now. I think I have pretty much read every article he’s written. I find the topics stimulating and the possibilities endless. When he asked me to write about pretirement from a Gen Y’s perspective, I jumped at the opportunity.

Retirement in Corporate America

I started blogging when I was 21 while I was in graduate school and in my first year of marriage. We were pretty broke, and money was tight, and often a topic of stress. Blogging was an outlet at a point in my life where I was stressed out over everything. Soon after graduating in May 2012, I started working in Corporate America. Financial and lifestyle choices have always interested me, and thus, I started asking older workers about their retirement plans. I have found only one person who has a set date for retirement. Everybody else balks at the word retirement, and says “no way!”

I ran into Guy X one day leaving the building. He was really cheery, and so was I! Surprise! He mentioned he had just finished talking to his daughter who was helping him build his home in Hawaii. He quickly delved into how he had less than 2 years to retire fully. At which point he was going to split his time between Hawaii and Colorado. He deserved it. He had spent 30 years working at a manufacturing company, and another 10 years working for our company. Dang… if you count the other two years of work he has left, he has worked a total of 42 years. Astonishing! The guy had a calendar counting down day by day, minute by minute!

Most people don’t have a plan for their retirement. They think retirement is scary. If you think about it, retirement is a fairly new concept. Prior to the 20th century, you either died early or you worked until you no longer could, and then your kids took care of you. The baby boomers will be the generation that takes advantage of social security and/or pensions. And please, if you say social security and your pension will not be enough to fund your lifestyle, please think before you speak. My generation will have no pensions or social security to rely on. I truly believe social security will no longer be in existence by the time I qualify.

What’s wrong with this picture? Just because something is scary does not mean there should not be a plan.

My definition of financial independence

Retirement: Sitting on a recliner watching TV. I could do this for one week before I would start going crazy. Not my cup of tea.

Financial Independence – Not having to rely on the corporate paycheck to fund your lifestyle. Not having to care about politics at work, impressing anyone, tied to a set schedule, etc. Freedom is what I want. This is what Pretired Nick defines as pretirement.

Do I have a number?

So, I can’t say I have a number yet. I do know my husband and I want to have the freedom to do whatever we want earlier rather than later. We don’t want to be in our sixties and stuck because we have too much debt, etc.

I once saw an episode on House Hunters International of a couple looking for a home in South America. The couple was in their 40s, and had “retired” early. This seems like a very lovely idea!

Our plan is to:

  • Max out my 401K (So we have income when we’re old and wrinkly).
  • Max out ROTH IRAs (Again, our old and wrinkly selves will thank me!).
  • Invest in a taxable brokerage account. (Passive income for our not so old selves)
  • Develop side hustles that bring extra money.

I want us to save/invest 50% of our income. I know our plan is not very definitive, but I do feel we are trying to invest toward our future. It’s extremely hard to put a net worth goal when you are so young. Any thoughts?

Personal finance blogosphere

I feel so lucky having an entire troop of personal finance bloggers talking about their financial choices and how that has affected their lifestyles. It is extremely encouraging to maintain a financial conscious, yet comfortable lifestyle.

Pretired Nick here again. Well, what do you all think? Savvy Financial Latina is building her retirement fund and a nice pretirement fund at the same time. And she’s working toward saving 50% of her income. Sounds pretty good to me. Let us know what you think in the comments! 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici via

The six month blogoversary

6monthIt was a dark evening in March when I stared long and hard at the blinking cursor in the new dashboard before writing these words:

Many terms have been tossed about: “early retirement”, “pre-retirement”, “semi-retired”, “working part-time”, etc. None have really captured the exact meaning as well as “pretired” has.

If retirement is doing nothing, then pretirement is doing what you want to do.

Now, nearly at 50 posts, two Liebster nominations, a new Facebook page and Twitter account, nearly 700 comments and rapidly rising site traffic, I have to stand back in awe. Not so much of the body of work I’ve produced, but of all of you. The emails, comments and even your clicks keep me motivated to keep explaining my perspective on financial freedom.

The search engine terms people use to find the site tell the story of who is reading. These people are aching to be free of their corporate prisons, they’re looking for ways to pay off their mortgages quickly, they’re realizing they bought too much house and they’re figuring out how much house they should buy. In general, they just want to be free and spend more time with their families.

In other words, they’re just like me.

I am not an expert investor and I didn’t figure this out early enough to reach financial freedom in my 30s. I always knew I wanted my investments to cover my expenses so I could be free. Now I want to show the world not just HOW to do it, but to show how possible it is. For most people, pretirement is impossible because they believe it’s impossible. I love watching people do the math for themselves and suddenly undergo an abrupt mindset shift.

Finding the right path to pretirement is a challenge, but understanding HOW to get there was the big missing piece for me when I was still working full time.

And I’m still learning. I’ve made just about every mistake in the book and I’m making more each day. But I’m getting just a little bit smarter every day. This site has been part of that learning process. It’s made me think a bit more deeply about what I’m doing and it’s helped add discipline to my personal life as well.

I’m hoping to build the site that I wish I’d been able to read 20 years ago. Maybe I’ll suddenly get bored and stop blogging. But probably not right away. I still have a lot I want to say and a lot to learn so I’m not going anywhere any time soon.

Thanks for sticking around.

Pretirement story: Making the move to Mexico

Today I am delighted to share the first guest post on It’s a wonderful pretirement story from my good friend, Rebecca Smith Hurd. Rebecca and I are old college buddies who share a craving for exploration and adventure. While I left my fancy corporate job to take care of Pretired Baby, Rebecca decided to bail on her corporate job to move to Mexico. There she found a new life, language, culture, husband and founded All About Puebla, the leading English-language resource on Mexico’s fourth largest city. I hope you enjoy her story! 

Why I Outsourced Myself to Mexico

By Rebecca Smith Hurd

Rebecca and her husband, Pablo

Rebecca and her husband, Pablo

What happens when you realize that your dream job is no longer as dreamy as you’d like it to be? You quit. Or at least that’s what I did back in March 2006, when, after 20 years in journalism, I resigned my post (and gave up a six-figure salary) as an editor of an award-winning national magazine. My departure did not make headlines, but it altered the course of my career—and my life—for good.

At the time, I didn’t think of myself as pretired. After working for two decades in the U.S. media business, I was just plain tiredtired of stressing over deadlines, tired of lying awake at night fretting about possible errors, tired of saying “no” to friends and family because I had professional obligations, and tired of having to, er, strap on a pair to get taken seriously. I needed a break, stat!

So, I took one. I went skiing, ran a 10K, camped out at Coachella, and rafted the whitewaters at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I spent two months using my 37-year-old body instead of my brain, as one colleague observed, and it was fantastic. But it wasn’t enough.

Shortly thereafter, I started freelancing to pay the bills while I figured out what came next. To drum up clients, I printed business cards with the title “word nerd” (because it rhymes with “Hurd” and pretty much sums up my skill set), and I emailed former colleagues. Whenever I didn’t have to go to someone’s office, I worked at my coffee table in my pajamas. I took random afternoons off to run errands or hang out with friends. I drank wine on Tuesday nights. I was, as the saying goes, the boss of me.

But I was also still paying nearly $2,000 per month in San Francisco rent, plus other standard living expenses, which meant I was working as much as ever, occasionally on the weekends. Sigh. This wasn’t the break I needed. Could I afford to take a sabbatical? I couldn’t just do nothing for six months, could I?

Puebla's picturesque Cathedral, located on the city's the main square

Puebla’s picturesque Cathedral, located on the city’s the main square

As the year drew to a close, I flew to Spain to visit a friend—and found the answers. My aha moment came as I was sitting in a bar in Madrid, chatting with him and two other Europeans. Each of them spoke several languages and, as the conversation flowed, it dawned on me that they were using English exclusively for my benefit. You know, me, the stereotypical American who, despite calling herself a “word nerd,” had mastered only one language. So humbling.

I returned to the States in mid-January, determined to become bilingual. I would take that sabbatical and study Spanish! I researched language programs in various countries—and ultimately came up with a plan to spend the last six months of the year in Mexico. I enrolled in the intensive summer program at the Monterey Institute for International Study in California, followed by 16 weeks of immersive study at the Spanish Institute of Puebla. Why these schools? Because they were serious, affordable*, and highly recommended by former students. Beyond that, friends of the family kindly agreed to put me up for free near Monterey, which sealed the deal. That June, I gave up my apartment, put my belongings in storage, and hit the road.

Many of my friends and relatives thought I was taking a huge risk. But they were nonetheless supportive; a few even commended me for being “brave.” Personally, I thought the move made perfect sense: I’d not only get the break from routine that I sorely needed, but also learn a new skill that would make me more marketable as a word nerd. I’d return to San Francisco with a second language on my resume, ready to land my next full-time job. ¡Andale! Sounds entirely practical, right?

A plateful of mole poblano, perhaps Mexico's most iconic dish, which was invented by nuns in Puebla

A plateful of mole poblano, perhaps Mexico’s most iconic dish, which was invented by nuns in Puebla

Except that things didn’t turn out as I’d planned. While spending four months in Mexico’s fourth-largest city, I fell in love with the place and a Poblano. I reached out to a few colleagues in the U.S. to see whether they had any freelance jobs I could do 100% remotely. They did! And so began my pretirement.

Six years later, I’m still in Puebla. I’ve effectively outsourced myself. My husband and I could relocate to the States, but financially we’re better off here. My freelance clients—all of whom are in the U.S.—don’t care where I am, as long as I meet their expectations. I’ve also been able to take on new projects, including minor translations, because I speak English and Spanish. My language investment is paying off.

Lucy the cat asleep on my desk in Rebecca's home office, a near daily occurrence

Lucy the cat asleep on my desk in Rebecca’s home office, a near daily occurrence

What’s more, because my overhead is 30 percent of what it was in San Francisco, I can charge competitive rates (in dollars) and work fewer hours (about 35 per week) than I could otherwise. Of course, I could do more, and I’ve had a few lean months along the way. But the work-life balance is worth it. I now have enough time, flexibility, and mental space to focus on personal projects, such as running a local travel website, putting out a monthly expat newsletter, and writing posts like this one, for my college buddy Pretired Nick.

Best of all, my job is dreamy again, and I’m rarely tired anymore.

*The cost of the 2007 program in Puebla, which included all instruction plus room and board was $100 per month less than my rent in San Francisco.


Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! It’s so inspiring to hear about someone deciding to give up the big salary for a better life! Anyone else considered moving overseas to bring their pretirement dreams closer? Or considering a move to Mexico? Tell us about it in the comments! And be sure to visit All About Puebla to learn about Rebecca’s fascinating city. 

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