June 18, 2024

Rachel Jones, who uses a pen name for privacy, has “always been fascinated by money,” she says. Even as a child, “my favorite toy at, like, 7, was a cash register.”

Among her early money lessons were that if she wanted money to spend, she’d have to earn it, and that if she wanted to go to a four-year college, she’d have to pay her way through it with scholarships. She got full rides for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

That fascination with money continued into adulthood. She and her husband signed up for a lifetime membership of budgeting tool You Need A Budget, which is “basically like the envelope system, but digital,” she says. And when she came across a blog post in 2015 about how to save aggressively and retire early, she knew it was a lifestyle she wanted to try.

The Joneses set out to determine their FIRE number, or the amount they would need to live off their investments in perpetuity. Originally, their number was $2 million, but that shifted: “I’d say [the goal] is now more like $3 to $3.5 million because we’ve had two kids since that all happened,” she says.

She prefers not to share how much they’ve been able to save so far, but figures Grow reviewed show the two are well on their way. Jones is now 34 and plans to stop working full time at 40.

Ultimately, the goal isn’t so much to retire completely “because I think we both enjoy working,” says Jones, who lives in the Inland Empire region of California. The goal is to be financially independent and “do whatever the hell we want.”

‘We save 50% of our income’

‘Optimizing for taxes’

Jones and her daughter.

Photo by XOXO BrittMarie Photography

Because both Jones and her husband work from home, they can take advantage of the home office deduction for their entrepreneurial activities. “We can write off our phone bill, we can write off a portion of our mortgage for our office and a portion of our housekeeper and our gardener as our business expense, [as well as] our internet bill.”

All of these deductions help reduce their taxable income so their bill is lower.  

Buying toys ‘for way cheaper than half off’