After Liz Thames graduated from college, she couldn’t find a job.
“Nowhere would hire me,” Thames says. “I had what I thought was this nice resume, and I sent out over 50 applications. Nowhere called me back.”
She took a temporary job at a document-scanning agency, then joined Americorps to serve as a full-time volunteer in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn. She lived on a stipend of $10,000 annually, plus food stamps and a transit pass.
She saved $2,000 from her $10,000 stipend, while paying rent in New York.
To say that Thames is a natural saver is an understatement.
Her frugality stayed intact throughout her twenties. She got married, earned a free masters degree and advanced into higher-paying roles. But she and her husband, who was equally frugal, continued saving as much as possible — at times pushing their savings rate to as high as 70 percent of their income.
When they were 30, they decided to shoot for financial independence. They shared a dream of moving to a rural farm, where they could raise children and spend everyday outdoors.
By age 32, they achieved financial independence. Their investment portfolio is robust enough that they could draw down, in perpetuity, for the rest of their lives.
They rented out their home in Cambridge, quit their office jobs, and moved to a 66-acre farm in Vermont. These days, they live on a combination of their rental income and ‘side hustle’ income from their blog, Frugalwoods. They have two children.
Today, Liz joins me on the Afford Anything podcast to share the story of how she and her husband achieved financial independence by age 32.
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