About Me

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Photo: Top of Observation Point, Zion National Park (Utah)

Last update: November 5, 2017

My name is Jay and I am currently 27 28 29 30 31 32 years old YOUNG! I graduated school w/ an engineering degree and started working at 23. I started investing in a Roth IRA during my senior year of undergrad (thanks to sound advice from my older brother), and have been fully funding that, in addition to a 401k. I have recently started dividend investing (as of January 2012), and will be sharing my journey on this blog.

I still work in the engineering/high-tech industry. I enjoy the work for the most part, but some days are better than others 😉 Though I most definitely enjoy being able to mentor younger engineers. I will make it a priority to keep volunteering/mentoring after I exit the workforce. More than anything, my goal in life is to become a more complete individual. A true renaissance man, if possible. Time is precious, and I want to make the most of my time here.

With that said, I do not enjoy working for other people. I do not enjoy weekly status reports, meetings, conference calls (luckily no TPS reports). My goal is to become fully financially independent at 37.5 33 30 31 (DONE!). This day will arrive when my passive income and semi-passive income streams bring in more each month than I need to pay bills. Let the journey begin continue!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SB @ One Cent At A TimeNo Gravatar May 10, 2012 at 4:40 am

curious to know, why 37.5, why not a round number?


2 FI FighterNo Gravatar May 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I thought 35 might be too optimistic, while 40 would be the more realistic and obtainable goal. I picked 37.5 as the compromise 😉


3 MartinNo Gravatar November 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Funny (the 37.5 pick)! Unfortunately I started late on my own so I am forced to be more aggressive, but I am fine with it. Thus as soon as I build a solid portfolio I will start using covered calls and selling puts as well. Currently I am looking for information on how to save or get more money to invest. One of my portfolios is currently making me 13.24% annually and I could get a loan at 7% annually so I borrowed money to invest. Works well, but may be dangerous.


4 FI FighterNo Gravatar November 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm


I like your strategy of using covered calls and puts. I’m in the same boat, and will start to do the same once the foundation for my portfolio is in place.

Taking a loan to fund your investments does sound a bit risky. You seem to know what you are doing, but be careful. I rather like the strategy of using calls/puts since they are relatively low risk.

Best wishes!


5 MartinNo Gravatar December 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

FI, even puts and calls can wipe your account quickly, believe me I’ve been there 🙂

I have been practicing leveraging for about three years and learned how to manage cash to avoid margin calls, although sometimes I was darn close. Works well for me so far. My leverage ratio is 3:1 and I am managing not to go over this number. There it can become very dangerous.

I started selling puts and calls against ONTY (again, I have been doing it during 2012 already) and because of my previous trades I own this stock for free.


6 FI FighterNo Gravatar December 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm


I’ll take your word on that 😉

I’ll also leave the leveraging to experts such as yourself. The only leverage I’ll take on is to buy rental properties.

7 StasharNo Gravatar June 15, 2012 at 6:26 am

Hey man,

Good luck on your journey. My calculated expenses are already much higher than yours, and I certainly don’t make as much as you either. But I also would like to give this financial independence thing a try.

BTW: there has been a great amount of analysis done (both online and in the financial research community) on the “safe withdrawal rate” for retirement. Since your strategy is completely reliant on this number, you should do some research into it. Assuming a 30-year retirement, stocks have had a historic safe withdrawal rate of 4%… and assuming an infinite-year retirement, stocks have had historic safe withdrawal rate of 3%. (but only in the United States)… I forgot whether or not this factored in historic inflation… but I’m pretty sure it did. (Note that this research casts doubt upon this number: http://financialmentor.com/free-articles/retirement-planning/how-much-to-retire/are-safe-withdrawal-rates-really-safe)

If we assume this rate to be true, then the easiest way to calculate financial independence is to multiply your monthly expenses by 300 (aka: multiply by 12 months then divide by 0.04). For example, your monthly expenses are around $1,300. That times 300 means you can enter 30 years of retirement at $390,000 invested. If you want to be a bit safer, you take the 0.03 number for “perpetual” retirement and that is the same as multiplying by 400 or… $520,000 invested.

There are flaws to this method of course, but its significantly less ad-hoc than “money in – money out”. If you do enough research, there are some theories using statistics and random samples try to calculate a more accurate rate.

Basically… be sure to read up on the safe withdrawal rate, and again remember that the 4% figure is derived from US history… one that may or may not happen in the future.


8 FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2012 at 11:28 pm


Thanks for the good info! I’ve read a bit about the standard safe withdrawal rate, and usually rely on FIRECalc to run monte carlo simulations for me to determine what final # I need. Anywhere between 300k to 600k seems to fit what I need. That number seems awfully high at the moment, but hopefully the investments pan out and the savings grow at a more exponential rate 🙂



9 SamirNo Gravatar July 24, 2012 at 1:25 am

Hi FI Fighter,

I like your ambition and the goals you have set for yourself to become financially independent. It is nice to see young(er) people (I am in my early 30’s) thinking about their future and setting a goal for how to achieve their financial goals.
I checked out your portfolio and your progress and you have been doing great! Like you, I, too, started dividend-growth investing late last year and I am totally sold on the strategy. To keep myself honest, I track the results of my portfolio and Roth IRA on my website, much like you do.
I will be following your website and wish you continued success in your path to financial freedom. All the best!



10 FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm


Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the kind words! It’s always great to know that there are other young folks out there who are serious about achieving early FI. Looks like you are off to a wonderful start with the dividend stocks. You have a nice looking portfolio that would make anyone envious. I’ll also be following your website with much interest.

Best wishes!


11 Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar November 12, 2012 at 8:22 am

Good to hear your story man and good luck!

I hope you continue to blog until you are at least 37.5!



12 FI FighterNo Gravatar November 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm


Thanks for the encouragement! Hopefully when I’m 37.5 I’ll be blogging about nice beaches, good health, and wonderful life experiences.

No more of this work stuff! 😉



13 Brick By Brick Investing | MarvinNo Gravatar November 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Rock on brother! It will be significantly easier for you to succeed based on your timing and ambition. I look forward to following you.


14 FI FighterNo Gravatar November 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm


Thanks! I see you are also a dividend investor, and I gotta say, I love your approach to investing. Slow and steady wins the race!

Best wishes!


15 experimentalinvestorNo Gravatar November 25, 2012 at 11:30 am


Don’t know how I stumbled on your website but it sounds like we are much on the same wavelength! I am too on a journey to reach financial independence but am finding the headwinds pretty tough due to the economic back drop. I am 31 years old and find that a lot of asset classes do not offer value at the moment. I am value investor and take the view that if I can buy-in into an investment at reasonable “value” by probability of a decent return over the medium/ long term will be high.

I’d just keep an eye on those stock investments of yours and keep a portion of funds in cash to take advantage of any pullback. I don’t know if you agree but some dividends stocks look pretty over-valued at the moment? But I’m sure slow and steady will win the race in the end…

Best of luck on your journey.


16 FI FighterNo Gravatar November 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm


Thanks for stopping by. It’s always good to run into other like-minded people who are also trying to reach early FI.

Sounds like you have a solid strategy in place, and I can’t argue with your approach of using value investing.

At this moment in time, I would agree that many dividend paying stocks are still over-valued. There is also a lot of uncertainty in the air, so your advice to proceed with caution is well taken. I do anticipate a larger pullback occurring towards the end of the year, which is why I have been busy building up some cash reserves. I may buy a few shares here and there, but I’m trying to make sure I have cash ready just in case.

Best wishes!


17 MGNo Gravatar December 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Aloha Fighter,
LOVE the photo of Waikiki beach 🙂
All the best for 2013!


18 IntegratorNo Gravatar January 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

FI Fighter,

Looks like we are on similar paths. I’m shooting for financial independence at 40 also (expense coverage, $50k/yr in dividends). I like the look of your dividend portfolio. I also have a dividend portfolio, composed of more international stocks at this stage. but I’ll be adding more US stocks over the next couple of years as I try to better diversify and hit my goal. Within 5 years we’ll hopefully both hit our goals! Good luck, I’ll be checking in.



19 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm


Best wishes to you on your journey! Hopefully we both reach our goals in 5 years! I’ll also be following you with much interest.



20 LeighNo Gravatar May 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Hehe, I see that you now want to hit FI at 33! 🙂 With my raise and extra RSUs this year, I think I should be able to hit FI by 33 as well! I have a feeling that 2015’s raise will bring that in to 30, we’ll see!

I’m now making enough money that I can stick to my 5 year mortgage payoff schedule and dollar cost average into my taxable investment account at the same time, which is pretty nice.


21 FI FighterNo Gravatar May 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm


Yep, 33 is the new official goal, but I’m already trying to pull that number even further in. Like you, I want to be done at 30!!

You are making tremendous progress, and being able to pay off a mortgage in 5 years is unheard of. Seriously. Maybe I’ll see you on an island shortly haha.


22 LeighNo Gravatar May 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I wonder which of us will hit FI first 🙂 I think you’re three years older than me, so your 33 could be the same year as my 30!


23 theFIREstarterNo Gravatar December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Wow… Very inspiring to see how quickly you have reigned in your goal retirement age!

Very impressed with your agressive rental aquisition. I think at least 1 or 2 rental properties will end up being part of my master plan.

Good luck on the rest of your journey!



24 Roger HNo Gravatar December 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm


Great blog. It is amazing how much progress you made in such a short period of time.
Wouldn’t it be prudent to stick around for another 3 years? Think of all that chedda!


25 FourPercentRuleNo Gravatar March 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

It looks like you’re well on your way! You sound similar to me 15 years ago. I also work in the tech industry and had a similar net worth when I was 30. Then the dot.com meltdown happened and (as a tech enthusiast I had a lot of tech stocks) cut my portfolio in half. I feel like I’ve been clawing my way back ever since. 🙂 Along the way I got married, bought a home, had a couple kids, and we did our best to fill the house full of stuff. With all of this happening, our expenses definitely shot up! Thankfully our home will be paid off next year and we’ve stopped buying so many things, so I feel we’re on the right track. I’m intrigued by the idea of developing passive income streams through real-estate, but feel I’d have a lot to learn about that before I’d be comfortable buying any properties. Good luck with your retirement next year!


26 EL @ Moneywatch101No Gravatar May 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

Congrats wow, you slahsed your FI goal by 7 years. Cheers to being Free! I hope to be there in 8 years. It will take me a bit longer cause I have a large family. Good Luck.


27 AceNo Gravatar November 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Awesome stuff FI fighter!

Any advice for a guy who is starting out at the same age as you who is also looking to get aggressive with his savings and investing. This 9-5 thing is already starting to get old and im only 24 😛

Have a great weekend


28 KGNo Gravatar May 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

I just stumbled upon your blog. I’m about to start reading from the start. I’m 31, and have always known I wanted to start my own company. I’ve never had “THAT great idea” to startup. I’m driven, and enjoy real estate. I have been talking about purchasing rental property for over a year, and have yet to act. Hopefully this will be the year. Trying to pull together money for a first down payment. Have to start somewhere….

Hoping for financial independence by the time I’m 40 so I can get out of the horrid corporate world and stop being tied to a desk from 8-5.. Thanks for the motivation!!!!


29 FI FighterNo Gravatar May 5, 2015 at 8:54 am


Awesome! Yup, we’ve all got to start somewhere and it sounds like you’ve got a plan in place to make it happen.

Early FI at 40 sounds very possible. All the best to you on your journey to financial freedom!


30 MB @ Millennial BossNo Gravatar January 30, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I wonder how many of us work in Tech? I remember seeing a figure on MMM’s blog that a majority of his readers were in Tech. Must be the mindset and the money.


31 CharlieNo Gravatar February 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Wow. That’s some impressive progress!
I’m just starting out, a little to the game (not too late, in my early 30s), currently reading around and trying to have a solid plan.
Funny, like many of your readers, I’m also in the tech industry.


32 Brian from KoreaNo Gravatar March 6, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Inspirational FI FIGHTER.

I’ll be watching!

Brian from Korea


33 AnonymousNo Gravatar May 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

Why haven’t I found bitcoin mentioned on this blog anywhere?


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