The 35-year-old wants to retire by the time she reaches 40. She lives in one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York City, has two boys and a third child on the way, a girl, due any day now. Millenials have picked up this mantra, and they call this plan FIRE which means financial independence, retirement early.
“You don’t know the twists and turns along the way that will make your life better,” she says.
Souffrant first learned about financial freedom from a podcast she listened to on her long commute to work each day. The concept struck something in her, and she became passionate about it. Imagine having to drive 90-minutes each way from Brooklyn to County New Jersey. The drive would occasionally last up to three or four hours.
She says “this wasn’t what I wanted to do for with the rest of my life,”
In 2016, she started a blog called a journey to launch trying to keep herself accountable to your retirement goals. That year she and her husband Woody saved $85,000.
Woody, her husband, was only putting away 5% or 6% of his pay but eventually boosted his savings up to 50% for retirement. He’s a high school gym teacher and uses his pretax savings vehicles: in his 403 (B) account and a 457 account for government workers he contributes $18,000.
Souffrant hopes to not touch their savings once she retires at 40 but plans to live off a rental unit she has that generates about $650 a month. She also hopes that the money earned in her retirement account will help them make ends meet.
As part of their savings plan, the couple has cut back on certain pleasures, like going out to eat Mexican and Caribbean food. This has helped to cut their monthly restaurant budget in half.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 62% of average American’s annual spending goes into three areas: housing, food, and transportation.
Remember we said Souffrant and her husband have two small boys and a third child coming soon. They save money by having her aunt live in their home in a separate downstairs apartment. She saves money by having her aunt watch her children in exchange for free rent and lower pay.
When Souffrant retires, she doesn’t plan to be a stay-at-home mom. She hopes to work full-time on her journey to launch a business, which will include a podcast series.