I read a few personal finance themed blogs here and there. Not just local ones, I mean. Sometimes, they get picked up by social media which tend to result in a particularly share-worthy (click-bait-ish) post.

This particular one mentioned a 28 year old New Yorker who has retired with more than $2 million. Woah. Pitchforks! Many of the comments were outright negative and quick to dismiss it.

  • If I had a $100k salary fresh out of college/university, I could do the same.
  • I can’t even get paid more than $10/hour!
  • But they have dual income. How I wish the article would have based it on a single income.
  • $2 million wouldn’t be enough! She would retire at 28, use up all that money, and end up finding a job at 45.
  • Is this another trust-fund kid success story?
  • No parents or kids, right?
  • Even the more hardworking ones did some Mathematics and concluded the numbers didn’t add up. Even if she did save up all her money for 7 years, it wouldn’t even hit a million dollars.
  • She must have a sideline. Or sugar-daddy. Some literally suggested she did escorting.

I can understand the responses. For many, if not most people, this is an exceptional situation. Achieving what she did is next to impossible. I’ll admit I’m not even anywhere near to what she did.

It is so easy to dismiss what she had clearly achieved. It takes much more effort to learn what she is doing right, and how she is continuing to do so.

I am not interested in addressing the interesting comments but for one, some of us do know that contrary to popular beliefs, even $1 million has the ability to generate far more returns than one consume and yet, still grow the pot of gold year after year. Yet, this is a concept that is so foreign to many of our family and friends.

She didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Or the haters. What the article left out wasn’t her fault either.

I happen to know that Forbes had done another write-up on her and it mentioned a lot more details. She had achieved early retirement via investment in addition to saving. Her thoughts and concerns are exactly the same ones I’d have when I was talking about my end game.

To me, it boils down to a few key things. One, the earning power, obviously. Two, how finance savvy the person is to manage the retirement plan. Three, the willingness and lastly, the ability to minimize expenses. Especially #3 and #4 can be in conflict with each other – because there are situations we cannot control. Even when we can, are we willing to?

She hit the mark on all four. Not many people can or will. I can only hit middle ground but I know I will be better off than many. If I suggest to you that I’m nothing more than an average IT guy, but it is possible that I will hit the projected Basic Healthcare Sum and CPF Full Retirement Sum before I’m 40 and yet still have my own HDB apartment – imagine the nasty comments people protesting at Hong Lim will make! Impossible! – they will say.

Of course the numbers are off! That’s why I put in the effort to learn how to make sense of them rather than dismiss them.

This is why I enjoy writing on my blog, and why it is still here after 3 years. This is pretty much a blog by an average guy for the average Joes + Janes. I’m not a millionaire retiring at 30 or 35. I share what I’m doing, not ‘advice’ telling you this is what you SHOULD do. But yes, there are a lot of freaking stuff we can do to make things better!