The Personal Finance Podcast

How to Retire by Age 35 and Win with Money! (with Steve Adcock)

In this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we’re gonna talk to Steve Adcock on how he retired at the age of 35.

In this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we're gonna talk to Steve Adcock on how he retired at the age of 35.


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On this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we're gonna talk to Steve Adcock on how he retired at the age of 35.

What's up everybody, and welcome to the Personal Finance Podcast. I'm your host Andrew, founder of Master money.co. And today on the Personal Finance Podcast we are gonna be talking to Steve Adcock about how he retired at the age of 35. If you guys have any questions, make sure you hit us up on Instagram or tick.

Talk at Master Money Co and follow us on Spotify, apple Podcast or whatever podcast player you are listening on right now. And if you wanna help out the show, leave a five star rating in review on Apple Podcast or Spotify. It truly does help out the show and we cannot thank you guys enough for doing that.

Now today we are gonna be talking to Steve Adcock and Steve retired at the age of 35. And he didn't do it by selling a business. He didn't do it by buying a bunch of real estate. He did it the good old fashioned way with a nine to five job. We're gonna talk through his path to financial independence. He had a really high savings rate that we're gonna talk through how he actually did that.

And in addition, we're gonna talk through some of the things that you need to consider on your path to financial independence as well. And we're gonna talk about how increasing your income and some of the myths out there. About a nine to five and how you can't build nine to five. We're gonna debunk those myths for you.

And then we also get into some other great stuff. So we get into why it's so important to have a supportive spouse. We talk about some myths about millionaires out there, and we debunk some of those myths, and Steve gives us his number one piece of advice for people who wanna start on the financial independence journey.

So incredibly excited about this episode for you to hear this episode. Without further ado, let's welcome Steve to the Personal Finance podcast. So Steve, welcome to the Personal Finance Podcast. Thank you very much. I've been looking forward to this. I am really excited to have you on because you have one of my favorite financial independence stories because you did it in a way that I think a lot of people can mimic, and I think a lot of people can kind of copy the way that you achieve financial independence if they actually work hard, uh, and kind of understand some of these concepts that we're gonna talk about today.

So, before we dive in, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do? Sure. Yep. I worked a 14 year career in information technology. I'm 41 years old right now. I did retire in 2016, back when I was 35. After working, like I said, just 14 years in information technology. And you know, that's one of those careers where you get paid good money, but it also drains the life out of you.

And I feel like you get paid good money because nobody would do it otherwise. You kind of have to get paid good money in that kind of field because it's such a high demand, high stress field a lot of the time. And I know from the very first point where I set foot in the office like that very first time I looked around the office, I went through my work for a couple days and then I finally admitted to myself.

You know, this is it. This is what being a professional is like. This is what I went to school for four years for, and now I'm in a, in an office with a bunch of drones who will probably like, I don't know, not stop working until 65 or 70 complaining about their lives. All this stuff. There's no way I want to be associated with this for the rest of my life.

Now, by all means, I was like 24 at the time, so I didn't have all this stuff figured out. No way, noow. I wasn't even close to early retirement financial independence. In fact, I didn't even know about those concepts. But over time, as I continued to go through this journey of just working a career and building wealth, I finally started to put the pieces in together.

But it was also after buying the house in the suburbs, buying a Corvette, buying a racing motorcycle, you know, I spent money like crazy because I thought I needed to have fun. But that phase of my life is well behind me now. I enjoy my life. I get up whenever I want. I go to bed whenever I want. I do whatever I want.

I spend a lot of time on social media, and I have a personal finance course. I mean, I dabble in a lot of things, but the nice thing is after achieving financial freedom, It doesn't really matter how much money you make, you can try something and make nothing and that's fine. You could also try something and make a million dollars and that's also great.

But the freeing part of this lifestyle is you don't have to make money anymore. You can just do things because you want to, and that's so special. That's where the freedom comes into play, where you can just work on the projects that you wanna work on. And it's so powerful what that can do for your life and it reduces your stress, anxiety, all those different things.

And so you retired at 35 and you said early on, you know, you spent a lot of money and maybe you were buying the Corvette, you were buying all these fancy things. Yeah, and I think a lot of us associate with that. A lot of us have probably gone through maybe some sort of phase like that, or a lot of people are struggling with that right now.

So what initially got you interested in financial independence? Was it that light bulb moment where you saw. Hey, I see all these cubicles, I see these people working for their entire life. I don't wanna do that anymore. Or was there some light bulb moment that had kind of happened to you? There was, it was, I can't remember the year, but I was probably 30, 31 ish, and it was a Saturday morning.

I walked out into my garage. I reached up to open up the garage door, you know, punched the garage door opener like I normally would just mindlessly. And for whatever reason, that Saturday, something stopped me from punching that garage door opener. And I just looked around in my garage. On the left, I had my brand new Cadillac cts.

In the middle, I had my Yamaha R one Sport bike on the right, I had my supercharged Corvette convertible. And so I took a look at all these things, all these toys, and then I. Finally asked myself, what the hell is going on here? I have all of these things that are like the hallmark of success, right? But for some reason, I'm still not satisfied with how my life is going.

I'm still not happy. I don't know what the problem is, but the fact that I have all these things and I'm still not happy means that there's something seriously wrong with what. I'm doing, and even then, at that time, I still didn't really put the pieces into place at that point, but I think that was the first time where I finally admitted to myself that there's no way I could work a 65 year career.

Well, okay, 40 year career up until I'm 65, doing this work, buying things, making money, and spending money just so I can feel, I don't know, successful, but yet still feel unfulfilled in my life. That huge disconnect just came to a head at that very moment, and I think that was really the light bulb moment for me.

Like I didn't know what to do, but I knew something had to be done. And that is when I started to read about building wealth, about what financial independence means. At that point, I didn't even wanna retire early. I just didn't want to do it for the rest of my life, believe it or not. Hmm. I still chuckle to this day.

I considered becoming a truck driver, like quitting my highly paid career in information technology, buying a semi and driving. A freaking truck, and ultimately I'm glad I didn't go down that road. But what appealed to me about that is the job is very simple. It's very straightforward. You don't take your work home with you because sometimes you just don't go home.

You sleep in your cab. But it's a very right. I thought low stress way to make money. However, the more reading I've done, I quickly realized being a truck driver can actually be incredibly stressful and you're not paid nearly what I was being paid. So I dodged a bullet there big time. I was so.

Dissatisfied with what I was doing, that I considered just hitting the road and making deliveries for the rest of my life. Was there any specific resources once you started to learn about financial independence and you went through that, was there anything specific that really kind of helped you move on to this path so that you could get started?

Yeah, there was one person, and I'm sure we all, everybody in the personal finance world knows of this person, and that's Mr. Muddy mustache. The reason I connected with him is he was a software developer too. He did exactly what I was doing. He was in a very, very similar boat to me. So I really connected with his story.

I liked his writing. It was a very no nonsense way of writing custom, his blog, and I did that too. I mean, it was almost like a breath of fresh air reading about somebody's story that you connect with so well, and that's ultimately why I started my blog was I wanted to kind of pay that forward with anybody else who might.

Follow in line with my story. But yeah, he was really the first one who got me actively interested in this whole, you know, fire movement and also helped me put the pieces into place to make it work, to actually make it happen and not just read about it and wish that it might happen one day. He just informally, indirectly, Helped me put those pieces into place to make this happen, to make it a reality for me.

He was the first person I read to that actually motivated me towards this path. And I think it was one of the coolest writing styles. And if anybody, we say this every time on this podcast, if somebody has not read his blog yet, you can go back to the very beginning and start reading through it and the early ones are some of the best ones and you can start reading through it again.

And he literally lays out, you know, almost. In a super entertaining way, super fun way to read it, exactly how to kind of pursue financial dependence and some of the things that he did. A lot of it you can adjust for your own lifestyle, but at the same time it is one of the best ways to kind of get that point started.

So once you started this five journey and you started to kind of go forward and pursue financial dependence, what was your savings rate? How did you kind of decide what your savings rate was gonna be and how much did you live on every single year? That's a good question and it really depends on whether it was pre-marriage or post-marriage.

Pre-marriage, I saved the bare minimum like 4% in my 401k, another three or 4% maybe in my MO Roth IRA because that was the company match. So I mean, if you have a 401K and you're not getting your company match, that is a mistake cuz that is 100% free money. At least invest enough to get your company match if your employer offers one.

But after I got married, To my wife. We had this decision to make. She also worked in technology. She was a rocket scientist, an actual rocket scientist. She wrote code to be integrated into rockets, and so we have two wow. Big salaries coming together. So we had a decision to make. We could either live like rock stars or the vacation homes, the nice, you know, nice cars, maybe buy a boat, whatever, you know, expensive dinners, or we can combine our money, put it together, save as much.

Invest as much as we can and then quit our jobs and do something we actually want to be doing for the rest of our lives. And I mean, long story short, that's obviously what we did. And by the height of our careers, we were pulling down probably 220,000 a year. And this was back in 2013 to 2015. So back then, I mean, it's good money today.

Back then, it was definitely good money. Even for two people, and we lived on 30%, three 0% of $220,000. We saved and invested the rest, and that's a hell of a savings rate and that adds up quick. So at that point, we maxed out our 401ks. We maxed out a Roth IRAs, we opened up a Vanguard brokerage account and just funneled money into that sucker as fast as we could.

We had like a two year emergency fund at that point. Which is way more cash than a lot of people keep. But for our lifestyle and for what we wanted in our future, we felt more comfortable with keeping that much money in cash. Not gonna work for everybody, but it definitely worked for us. So yeah, when you save 70% of two high salaries, I mean, You have no choice but to build wealth.

At that point, we did quote unquote, sacrifice some of our spending. We didn't go out to eat as much. We didn't make general purchases quite as often. We tracked like. Insane people. My wife could tell you for many years how much money we spent on sweet potatoes over those years, and each and every individual item we bought at a grocery store, we knew exactly how much of that we bought, how much money we spent on those items.

That's going a little crazy. You don't necessarily have to go to that level of expense tracking, but we felt comfortable doing that. Um, and it really gave us a lot of insight into where our money was going and where we can cut back and where we actually might be able to spend a little bit more money to increase our happiness a little bit.

So that's how that worked out, and it was a very interesting process for sure. And for those who are listening, your savings rate is going to be so incredibly powerful to how fast you can retire. And what Steve did was he increased it all the way to 70% so that he could reduce the amount of time that he had to work.

And really that's how he got to the point where he could retire at the age of 35. This is a very, very powerful way to actually pursue financial independence. And there's a. Same thing, I guess Mr. Money Mustache. The first time I read this was, I think it was the shockingly Simple math behind Early Retirement.

Yep. That blog post that he had there. Exactly. And you can look at the savings rate and see kind of how long it's gonna take you to retire. And you see the traditional personal finance advice where people talk about a 10% savings rate, where you're gonna work 52 years, sometimes even more depending on the situation in your rate of return.

If you have that kind of savings rate, you gotta adjust your savings rate, especially if you wanna pursue financial independence and retire early. Now, some people may hear that savings rate and say That is high. So what is some of the things that you did tactically in order to get that high of a savings rate?

And then what are some things that maybe you removed from your budget? Well, we removed a lot, but we didn't remove the things that truly made us happy. We gave ourselves a budget and that was really the bottom line that helped us keep our spending rain, our spending in. It's the budget. It's knowing what to spend in certain areas per month.

I don't think there's any other way to do it unless you're just naturally good with numbers and you just kind of know intuitively how much you spend on what things. And we kind of got there over time. But certainly at the beginning we needed a budget. So we had like $50 a month that we could spend on restaurants.

That's it, 50 bucks a month because we wanted this early retirement thing. Bad enough. That we were okay just spending that on restaurants. Of course, now you could spend 50 bucks at Applebee's for two people, so it's a little bit more difficult now with that kind of budget. But those are the kinds of things that we did.

We limited our spending in every category. We ditched cable, we still had internet. We just got it from a different source. We used Verizon. But yeah, we ditched cable. We didn't have satellite TV lived for years without espn, which I thought I could never live without espn, but here I am, all living and stuff.

It does happen when you want something bad enough, those sacrifices, I mean, getting over that initial hump of, oh, I have to click the cancel button. I no longer have access to this streaming service or that streaming service. You know, initially that's kind of, it's. Sad or disappointing, or it's hard to do, but once you get over that hump of, okay, done.

I've lived a week without my streaming services, I think I'm gonna be okay. And knowing that light at the end of the tunnel is financial independence, it's you being able to do whatever you want with your days, every day, all day. It's like, is Netflix worth it or is this expense worth it? Is the new car worth it if it is?

That's cool. I really don't judge you at all. But if you do want that for your future, if you want to achieve financial independence early as possible, and especially if you wanna retire early, those tough decisions need to be made. Those budgets need to be made. Your spending needs to be reigned in and your savings and investments need to skyrocket.

Well, it's simple, but it's not necessarily easy. I'll say it that way. Right. And the cool thing about this and what you did was that you figured out what is my values? What is the actual values in life that I want? And you wanted that freedom, so you adjusted the way you spend your money so that you could achieve that freedom.

And that's really what it comes down to. What do you value most? Like you said, if you value cars or something like that, more power to, you can spend your money on cars, but you're gonna take away some time from freedom if you do that. So it's kind of a choice that you have to make when you go through this process.

So along this journey, did your lifestyle ever increase or did you ever notice any lifestyle inflation or did you keep it at that 70% rate all the way through that timeframe? Through the timeframe, we kept it the same. So by when we started, probably in 2013, and I quit my job in 2016. So over those three years, that was three years of just spending almost nothing on anything and tracking our spinning.

Now of course, we have a pretty good idea of what we can spend, so we're living a little bit better now. Market's been good the LA last few years for the exception of last year. So that certainly helped. We're getting more involved in real estate investing and things like that to increase cash flow. So we're sitting nice.

Now. We're not super rich, but we're sitting comfortably. But yeah, during that time, there was no lifestyle inflation because we simply wanted financial freedom more than we wanted those things. And once you have that light at the end of the tunnel, I think that is the key to saving and investing. If you don't have a reason, if you don't have a goal, if you have nothing to save for, guess what?

You're not gonna save. And that was my problem. Early in my career, I saved the bare minimum because I thought that's what I should do. That's the responsible thing to do, but I didn't have anything to save for. That light wasn't there, so I stole money from my savings. Oh, I wanna buy a camera and I have a little bit of extra this month.

Maybe I'll just use it. Buy, buy that camera. Those things happened all the time. But once I had that goal, that financial goal in the future, that is what kept me from stealing, essentially from myself, stealing from my savings, stealing from my investments. I kept them there, kept them growing, and that's what allowed my wife and I really to be in the position that we are today.

It's almost like establishing that why very early on, once you have that why in place and you know exactly what you're doing, cuz like you said, if you're mindlessly just saving money, you don't really have that goal in place, then it's so easy just to take money from that savings account, use that money because you don't have that why in place.

So mapping out what your dream life is or what you really want to do in life is very, very important early on. So I love that you guys did that. So, Earning is obviously a massive part of this, and you guys were able to have a high salary, especially back then. I think in 2013 I had my first job. I think it was earning $30,000 a year.

So what you guys were earning was a very powerful way to build wealth, especially during that timeframe. So what are some things that you did in order to earn more during that time? Well, a couple things. One, I chose a high paying career field. Information technology. I mean, the salaries are just higher when you do that work.

There's no doubt about it. So I started my career in 2004. My starting salary was $55,000 in 2004. So that started me off at a pretty good level. And of course there's nowhere to go, but uh, from there, unless you change careers, unless you become a drug driver, you're always gonna earn more and more money over the years.

Exactly. And like I said, I started pretty high. But another technique I used throughout my career is I changed jobs regularly. I think company loyalty is highly, highly, highly overrated. With very few exceptions. You are going to make more money when you switch companies regularly. Period. That is how it works.

Now, like I said, there are going to be exceptions and there are situations where you might be switching too often and that may prevent a future employer from hiring you cuz they may think that you'll just be a short timer in your in, you're gone the next year. So there is a little gray area here in terms of how much is too much.

I've switched jobs. On average every three to four years. Cuz I'd like routine, but I don't like long-term routine. I get bored, I wanna move on. So for me, doing those switches was just like a natural thing that I like to do anyway. But the added benefit to this is when you do take a new job, guess what is a part?

Of that process, salary negotiation. So every time I switch jobs, I got a 15 to 20% raise. Boom, that's it. Those were like out of cycle raises where I would normally get maybe a two to 3%. Now it might be closer to six or 7% cost of living raises. I got sometimes three times that amount just by switching companies.

And that's one thing that really allowed my salary to increase. My wife did not do that. She worked for the same company her entire career, and that worked for her. She was one of those exceptions, but I found. The exceptions really are just that, the exceptions in general. You gotta move around the industry.

Not only are you gonna make more money, but you're gonna meet new people, you're gonna expand your network. You're gonna learn new ways of doing business, learn new software products, have access to new customers, and that's gonna make you a more experienced person. You're gonna have more skills, you're gonna be more well-rounded, and your network is gonna be huge.

So there are so, so many benefits to moving around regularly. The benefits are truly massive, and I was just reading an article recently where the average person who changes jobs gets at least a 14% increase, and a lot of times it was much larger for many other high paying industries as well. And so if you're stuck at a job where you're just getting that two or 3% pay increase, changing jobs may be a fantastic option for you.

And I think a lot of people should be considering that. For all the reasons that you just listened, you just listed a bunch of fantastic reasons, and the key is like your network is expanding, and obviously we know the larger network is, the easier it is to get even more high paying jobs. We've had a number of people on this podcast talking about career development and your network is one of the biggest things, and that's one piece that definitely will help you earn more money over timeframe.

And I completely agree with you. There's too many folks out there who. I just was talking to a friend the other day who's completely loyal to his job, but he doesn't feel like he's getting paid enough. And so that was one of the options we were kind of talking through is, well, can you switch jobs into another field?

And he was looking at some of the other places that he could go and he was gonna make, you know, 50, 60, $70,000 more if he just switched jobs. So that's one big thing to look at if you are trying to earn more money at a nine to five job, for sure. So as you went through this process, you started to have this 70% savings rate over the course of that three years, and you're really, really making progress here.

So what was your final number that you were kind of targeting and did that goalpost ever move for you? Yeah, I am naturally a more risk tolerant person. My wife is a little bit more risk averse, so she wanted, before we would retire, she wanted about a million dollars of net worth. I was like, why don't we just do it now?

We'll make it work. This is gonna be okay. And at that point we had six 50, I'd say. So ultimately we settled somewhere in the middle. I think the day I retired, which was December 23rd, 2016, best Christmas gift I can ever give myself. By the way, we had $870,000. Of net worth. And that was good enough. I'm sure my wife just got tired of listening to me complain about my job.

Like, let's just do it. Find whatever. We will make it work. We're two flexible people. We, we'll do what we have to do to make this lifestyle work. And that's ultimately what we did. So we didn't even have a million now we've been over a million for a while, and that's one of the greatest things about investing in appreciating assets.

I haven't set foot in an office. Or any kind of job in seven years and our net worth has only gone up an average of, I would say, about a hundred thousand dollars a year. Again, average. Sometimes it's higher, sometimes it's lower, but that is where wealth is made. It's not your salary. It's not even your savings, although that does play a part in your overall financial health, but it's your investments in appreciating the assets that is what's gonna make you wealthy.

That is what's gonna enable you to quit your job early, not just your salary. Absolutely. And a lot of people will ask me questions like, well, what do I do about inflation? When you're in retirement, and you could see right here, Steve's net worth is increasing every single year. So even if it was based on the 4% rule, I'm not sure what you're drawing down.

But even if it was a 4% drawdown every single year, you can draw down an additional $4,000 per year by that net. Worth increase. Yep. On average. So it's just a very cool way that you really are gonna see your net worth growing over time. So what did it finally feel like to actually be financially independent?

What was that first moment where you finally realized, Hey, I don't have to work anymore? Yeah, it was weird. It's like the moment where you're, you reach the seven figure net worth mark, like the very first time, you're now a millionaire. And a lot of people out there are probably like, oh, that's gotta be such an exciting moment.

You're jumping up and down, you're screaming. But it really wasn't like that at all. And I think the reason is, I mean, you've spent so much time. Focused on this goal. I, I need to be a millionaire. I'm going to be a millionaire. It's gonna happen. It's gonna happen. Or I'm gonna retire early. I no longer have to work a job anymore.

That's going to happen. I'm gonna get there. And you're just hyper focused on that one goal. That once you finally reach it, it's like, I did it. Let's move on. Like what's the next thing? And that really was the case for me. I didn't sit there and kind of feel happy for myself, like, oh, I finally did it. It's so great.

It was like, cool. This worked. What's the next thing I'm working for now? And I think that's just the type of person I am. I always have to have something. It may not be a financial goal, it could be anything that I'm actively working for inside or outside of an office. So for me, it was very uneventful.

Not to say that I'm not appreciative of what we were able to achieve. Of course I am. I think about that every single day, but it wasn't this aha moment, this like huge celebration. I didn't throw a huge party with top shelf booze or anything. I didn't do any of that. It was just cool. I did it. What's next?

That's really all it was for us. And it seems like a lot of times for some people it's one of those things where like later on you realize, hey, I'm truly free. It almost takes some time to settle in too and Sure. It's one of those things that like now you're starting to appreciate your freedom as you get to enjoy it and, and go through some of that stuff and enjoy working on your projects that you love and some of the other things that you get to do.

So I wanna shift gears here to increasing your income, cuz I know income is a massive part of the equation. It was so helpful for you and you write a lot of great content on why it's important to build wealth with a day job with a nine to five, where a lot of people think that it's a misconception, you know, that you can't build wealth with a nine to five.

So why do you think most people think you can't build wealth at a nine to five? Or why is that so popular for a lot of people to say no? Well, I think it's true that you're probably not gonna make 10 million, 15 million, 50 million, a hundred million work in a nine to five job. That's true. But to build wealth and to be wealthy.

At least in my mind, or financially independent for that matter. You don't have to have 50 million, you don't even have to have 10 million. Most early retirees I know have between, I'd say 1,000,005 million. That's it. And very, very few. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I don't think I know one.

Millionaire in that net worth range who owned, who started a business, and that's how they became financially independent. These people worked full-time jobs. They worked nine to fives. That is how the vast majority of people build wealth. So, yeah, you're probably not gonna be mega wealthy without becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business.

But the other side of that coin is you don't have to be mega wealthy to feel happy, to feel content, to be financially independent, to retire early. That is so not required. And a lot of people have the tools right now, today. They have the tools they need to build wealth. Most people aren't gonna be able to do it by 35, no question about it.

But that doesn't mean you're not gonna be able to retire early. That doesn't mean you're not gonna achieve financial freedom before you're 65. Retirement at 45 is early retirement. Retirement at 55 is early retirement. Whatever it looks like for you, that's what you should be focused on. Don't focus on starting your own business, getting super rich, you know, starting a hundred million dollar company and living lavishly.

If your goal is financial freedom and your goal is early retirement, then your nine to five is going to provide you with probably 70 to 80% of the resources you need. Now, all of that said, there's nothing wrong with starting a side hustle, starting something on on the side, on the weekends, you know, nights and evenings, those kinds of things that can build up into something more powerful.

And if that happens where maybe you're. Web development business or your email marketing business, you know, whatever that is, starts to make a lot of money. Then you can start thinking about maybe quitting your nine to five job and focusing on that business, building that up and making more, more money.

So I think there's a lot of value in starting something on the side while still working your full-time job. But that's certainly different than saying you need to do that or you can't build wealth when you with your nine to five, cuz people do it all the time. I did it. So many people I know who have retired early do it with just their full-time job.

You can do it. So don't let people talk you out of it or give you the impression that this isn't gonna happen, so you might as well not even try. It happens all the time. There's a huge handful of people that I know that have retired just with their nine to five job in their mid late thirties, even early forties.

And retirement at 45 or 55 is an amazing accomplishment. Maybe you can't do that 70% savings rate like Steve did, but if you go 50% savings rate, 40, 30, whatever you can do to get to that point. And the beautiful thing about this is with a nine to five job, you can just work it in reverse. You can figure out, hey, That's, how much do I wanna, that's spend in retirement?

Well, how much do I need to get there? So say for example, you wanna spend $40,000 per year in retirement, all you need to do to get there is get to a million dollars. So it's one of those things where you can reverse engineer this Sure. And then get to that point. And like Steve said, with the side hustle, that's just additional income that you can have, that you could put towards your freedom.

And a lot of times with internet technology now, obviously you can leverage that into a full-blown business in a lot of situations. So, There's so many cool things that you can do with that day job. Use your weekends, your nights to build out that side hustle. There's so many additional things that you can do where you can really have a really nice income that you can pursue at financial independence even faster by doing that, and that snowball just grows over time.

So is there anything else? We talked about not being loyal at your job earlier. Is there anything else that you can think of that people should be doing outside of that? That would help them kind of grow their income inside of their nine to five so that they can achieve financial independence even faster.

Yeah, the one thing I would say is if your employer offers a 401k, definitely invest there. If they offer a company match, like I talked about before, definitely invest. So you get a hundred percent of their match. And this is literally free money. Uh, the first company I worked for matched 4% up to 4% of your salary.

As their 401K company match, and that is they are contributing their money into your 401k. It becomes your money. I cannot stress this enough, how great of a deal that is. And 401ks are also pre-taxed, which means it lowers your taxable income. You are capped at, I think it's 18,000 this year. But even with those contribution restrictions in place, that is such an easy way to build wealth.

And your Roth IRA is another easy way to build. Wealth, and there's so many tricks to get at your Roth IRA before 65, before early retirement. Not that I suggest anybody does that, but a lot of people have this misconception that these are long-term retirement accounts and you cannot touch them until then.

Now, it's true that you don't want to touch them until then because you are allowing them the most time to grow. But if you have to, there are so many ways to get at your retirement accounts without paying heavy penalties. That's probably a different topic for a different day. Exactly. And that 401K match, I mean, getting that is 100% rate of return.

You can't get that anywhere else. Yep. It is one of the best things you gotta do. So if you're looking to say, Hey, where do I start? Just look to see if your employer has a match First. Go in, get that match. Say 100% rate of return. It is free money. I love free money. I don't know if you guys love free money, but I love free money so, That definitely the one thing that you wanna take advantage of for sure when it comes to starting this journey.

And then in addition, Steve made some other great points there as well. Your 401ks just an amazing way to build wealth. You know, now they have access to Roth 401ks is even growing faster too, so you get that tax free growth in there if you wanted to, or depending on your financial situation, you can look at that.

So another cool thing that you talk about, by the way, you have one of the best money Twitters online right now. Well, thank you very much. You're at Steve on speed on Twitter, and you have a great thread about unpopular money opinions, and you've also written, I think, for CNBC on this too. So what are some of the unpopular money opinions that you have and how can we debunk some of those?

I. I think the very first one I would say, we talked about before, if you're not switching companies regularly, you are leaving money on the table. It's that simple. Company loyalty is not how you build wealth, but a lot of it comes down to the idea where most early retirees or most millionaires, Inherit their wealth.

That's a major, major, major misconception. Everybody believes early retirees or millionaires, especially millionaires, inherit their wealth. They didn't work for their money. They had a rich dad, and that's how they got their millions. But the numbers overwhelmingly show that's not the case. I think one study showed.

From Dave Ramsey that 3% of millionaires inherited more than a million dollars, like inherited the vast majority of their wealth. Only 21% inherited anything at all, which could be a thousand bucks or it could be 50,000 bucks. The vast majority of millionaires are self-made. It doesn't mean that they never received help.

Everybody receives help, well, at least most people do. But to be a self-made millionaire, that means you worked for your wealth. You didn't just get it from an inheritance. That's not how wealth works for the vast majority of the people and the numbers out there are overwhelmingly convincing. That's not the case, but I think a lot of people like to believe that.

I guess it makes them feel better for not having a million dollars. Well, I didn't have a rich uncle that died, and that's why I'm not wealthy. To me, that is a very poor mindset because that's not how the vast majority of millionaires get wealthy. So I can talk for days and days and days on that topic. I will just leave it at that now, and I'm going down through my thread here.

Uh, so I don't miss anything. Getting rich is a habit, and by that I mean the things that you do every day, like almost without thinking about them from the time you get up in the morning to the things you do, to the perspective you have on life to your work ethic, all of those things are what build wealth.

It's not necessarily a sudden influx. It's not winning lottery, like I said before, it's not an inheritance. It's the things that you do. It's how you grind out the day every day. That is how you build wealth. Absolutely. And I think one of the most assuring stats is the one that you just mentioned, which was that 79% of people who actually built wealth of millionaires did not inherit that money.

Why is that reassuring? Because that means that anybody can do this. Anybody can build wealth. You just have to understand some of the concepts. It's not something where you're handed down money, which I think is a massive misconception that a lot of people have. And I love that study that Ramsey did because debunked a lot of myths out there, and it was kind of a continuation of the Millionaire Next door and some of the stuff that they did too.

Great book. It's great book. It's just one of those most reassuring stats that are out there and, and in addition, I agree, like you said, getting rich is a habit. It's kind of putting those habits into place and once you kind of get the momentum on some of this stuff, it really just kind of becomes a habit.

It's something that you do over and over again, and the more that you can automate it kind of takes your willpower outta this equation. And it makes it even more so a habit because you have that automation set up where you're automatically contributing to your 401k, your IRAs, your brokerage accounts, all those different things.

So that's all just set up and it's easy and it's just like a machine just. Compounding building wealth over time and snowballing. So those are some great points there. And I think one of the most powerful things that you can do is just automate that all put together. So one other thing that you talk about a lot, and I talk about this a ton too because it is one of the most important things, I think, is having a supportive spouse when it comes to this journey and who you marry, truly, truly matters.

And a lot of people when I say that, will say, well, what do you mean by that? And uh, you talk about this all the time as well. So why is it so important to have a supportive spouse on this journey? Yeah, you marry right and you're gonna get rich, you marry wrong. And I mean, you still could, but you're probably not.

The person who you marry is going to make a huge difference because if they are on your side, even if they don't agree with everything you believe, that's fine. I mean, we all don't agree on everything, but is if they are supportive. In what you are doing, in the things that you want, in your motivations, in your desires, if they support you, you are going to be successful.

And this works in reverse too. If you support your spouse, they will also be successful, so you are two very highly successful. Individuals in the marriage helping each other out to be even more successful. And that compounds that snowballs. And I know we all think, but we never get married knowing that we're making a huge mistake, right?

So we all think we're marrying the right person. But that doesn't necessarily, I mean, that's not always the case for me. I did not rush this. I didn't get married until I was 30. I wanna say 30. Actually, no, like 32. I got married super late, according to, you know how most people get married, and that's because I wanted to make sure that I found that perfect person for me.

That doesn't mean that if you get married, Early that you're making a mistake. Certainly not a lot of people get married young. In fact, my folks got married at 18 or something like that, and you know, they've had 50 years of bliss. But one of the best decisions I made was not rushing that marriage and finding the person who is gonna support me in what I want to do, and also finding a person who, whatever they're doing, I want to support them as well.

So they are equally as successful and that adds up to a very, very successful, lots of love, lots of support, lots of happiness, and also lots of wealth. In that marriage. Exactly. It's just keeping both you on the same page and supporting each other through whatever you want to do, but supporting each other through that stuff is so powerful.

I cannot stress this enough, and that's why we talk about it so much in this podcast as well. So I love how you broke that down. If you were gonna give somebody one piece of advice that wanted to pursue financial independence, maybe they heard your story and this kind of struck a light bulb in their head and gave 'em that light bulb moment and they wanted to go after financial independence, they wanted that freedom.

What would that one piece of advice be? One piece of advice that I would give somebody who wants to go after financial freedom is they have to focus on that as their goal. Set it, write it down, put it on the fridge, so you're always thinking about it. You always know what you are saving for, what you're investing for, that you know you're canceling your cable tv, for instance, or your satellite tv.

You're not just doing it just to do it just to save money. You are doing that so you can achieve financial independence. So you could be financial. Free. Having that goal out in front of you every single day is gonna be critical to you achieving that goal, and I would really encourage whenever possible to open up those lines of communication between you and your spouse.

That's something that my wife and I did before we achieved all this. Every single night after dinner, we would walk the dogs out in the neighborhood and we would talk about what we want our future to be, and we would work backwards from that point. Point what we have to do to actually make this happen.

And opening up that line of communication not only meant we were on the same page, which is great, but it also kept that goal, that financial goal, in the forefront of our minds. We were always thinking about that, and that definitely helped us to achieve that level of freedom so early in life. That's a great.

Routine to have in a low stress environment, have that conversation daily, first of all, keeps both of you motivated. In addition, you're just keeping that communication open so that you're on the same page. So I love that idea when you're just walking the dogs every single day and have that communication.

Yeah. So that's amazing. So I wanna shift gears here to some questions that we ask a lot of our guests and we get some really cool answers. So these questions are a little deeper than normal, but we get some cool answers on this. So the first one is, what part of your worker life makes you come alive? The ability to work from anywhere and make money that really makes me come alive.

We're going to Mexico next week, and I'm bringing my computer down there. I might put in 30 minutes a day here and there just to check in on things that, it's such a freeing experience to be locationed independent, to be able to make money online from literally anywhere in the world doing anything, whether you're on the beach or in an office building, it just doesn't matter.

That is what makes me come alive. The second one is, what is your biggest fear when it comes to money? Boy, I don't think I have one. I would say I don't have a money fear. None. I love that. That's our first time. We haven't had one, so that's perfect. I love that. The third one is how do you plan on leveling up your finances?

This year we're getting more and more into real estate and our entire journey so far has been primarily the stock market, but we really want to diversify. A little bit more into land purchases where we flip owner carry and we essentially become the mortgage company. So that's one thing that we're looking at this year.

So investing more into real estate and, um, diversifying our investment portfolio. That is what we're focused on this year. That's a really interesting concept. We just had Pete Reese on this podcast and he was talking through that whole thing. Mm-hmm. And I think he went from zero to $2 million in like two years or something.

So it's a really cool, cool way to do that. And I love the raw land idea because, There's not like extra tenants or anything like that. You just have, you know, collecting, becoming the bank. So that's a very cool way to do it. Exactly, yep. What is the best money advice you have ever received? Don't follow your passion.

By far passions tend not to pay the bills. Your strengths pay the bills, not your passions. Again, yes, there are exceptions. Agreed. And I've seen you write about it too, and I think some of your writings on it are amazing. It just shortens your timeframe where you don't have to work as long also. So like you have that where you just don't follow your passion, you go into a higher paying field and you can really earn a lot more money and propel yourself to that financial independence.

The last one is my favorite one, and it is one that we get different answers all the time, but what does wealth mean to you? Wealth means freedom. If that simple, me being able to control every minute of my day, being able to do a podcast with you at eight o'clock in the morning on a workday. On a workday, that level of freedom is what wealth means to me.

No doubt about it. And freedom is the ultimate goal for most of us. So I absolutely love that. And you achieved that throughout your entire life. It shows how you kind of went through that. Now you're teaching other people how to do that. So that is absolutely amazing. And so Steve, this has been a wonderful interview.

I'm so excited for everybody to hear about this. Where can people learn more about you and find out more about you? I spend a lot of time, probably too much time on Twitter. My handle l like you said before, is Steve on speed. The on speed part came back when I drove a Corvette. Has nothing to do with drugs, but I kind of wish I changed that handle before I grew really big on Twitter, but too little, too late.

And I also have a uh, website@steveadcock.us, not.com, dot us and that's where I blog and you can see a lot of my writing. Exactly, and Steve has hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, and his newsletter is great as well. I highly recommend it. We'll link all that up down below so that you can check that out.

And uh, Steve, thank you again so much for coming on. You are very welcome. I appreciate the time. This has been a lot of fun.

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