When David and Stephen Baughier took on part-time jobs in high school, they remember their dad telling them to save 80% of the money they made, spending only 20% of it. At the time, they saved for big-ticket items, like buying or maintaining a car, but the concept stuck.
Since leaving the childhood home, the identical twins have gone down far different paths. David will reach 20 years of service in the Navy in early 2021, while Stephen worked as an accountant after his Naval service ended in 2002 (he also spent six years as an Air Force reservist). And their personalities differ as well – David, the more Type-A one while Stephen more laid back. Yet, they’ve both become acolytes and even voices within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement. Despite their similarities, their strategies, tactics and goals for extreme early retirement were far different.
Identical twins, Stephen and David Baughier lean on each other when questions arise about navigating extreme early retirement.
Our spending habits our fueled both by our environment and genetics. Studies have found, for instance, that twins, even when raised in different homes, invest similarly. But as we move out into the world, we’re also greatly impacted by those around us. Researchers, using a real financial firm offering, found that if presented with the investment, there was a 42% signup rate. When social groups were told their friends invested, the success rate rose to nearly 93%.
We’re motivated by those around us which is why having a social group that’s pursuing the same purpose, whether you’re seeking FIRE or just typical-aged retirement, helps in the quest since it takes years to achieve. The community allows for a safe place to ask questions while in the process of super-saving.
While you don’t need an identical twin to find this advice, for David, founder of the FIRE education platform Fiology, and Stephen, founder of the retreat CampFI, having a brother pursuing the same end goal – financial independence – has provided them with someone to lean on when concerns or questions arise.
Stephen Escapes The 9-to-5 For Now
Working as an accountant within a defense contractor, Stephen understood what it looked like to make more money. Yet, he couldn’t ever seem to get ahead in his own finances.
With two kids, a wife and a mortgage, much of his financial thoughts went into “just figuring out how to pay the credit cards,” he said. The debt always took a front seat to retirement planning. It took a divorce in 2014 for him to really hone in on why he couldn’t get ahead.
Around that time, David had come across the notion of financial independence (FI). With two kids and a wife of his own, he began to engineer his own FIRE mark. Through regular conversations with his brother, David mentioned the FI concepts, and a light bulb went off for Stephen as well.
Soon after, Stephen moved into a smaller home, one that could still hold his two children but it wasn’t nearly as large as his previous house. He also became much more aware of what he spent his extra funds on. His expenses plummeted to less than $20,000 a year and “magically, money started piling up,” he said.
After two years, he had saved enough to step away from the day-job, at least for a couple of years. He still helps out on people’s taxes during the tax season, and that’s enough to cover the majority of his expenses. It’s not the independence that most people seek, but for him he wanted the freedom to spend time with his kids, since he had less time with them due to the divorce.
Yet, in three years of his mini-retirement, he’s never struggled to pay the bills and couldn’t imagine living life differently, even if his portfolio reached the millions.
David Realigns With Stephen’s Advice
David’s likely retirement looks much more traditional for service members that seek to give up a career. After he reaches 20 years of service, he will have the pension for part of his income, as well rental properties and a Roth IRA. The combined amount should give him a little more than $100,000 a year in retirement income.
But there’s some nervousness around stepping away from the workforce in your early 40s, preparing for a potential 50-year retirement horizon. Because of that, David has struggled with the notion of whether to pay off all of the rental property debt before he steps away from the job or to continue to funnel money into his retirement funds.
After battling with the decision, he went to Stephen for advice. While Stephen understood David’s concerns, he also recognized that David didn’t have much downside either way. Stephen essentially said, “don’t worry about it, do what you want to do,” said David, depending on where you want to be on the “tightwad-spectrum.”
For David, who’s the ultimate planner, he needed to hear that to realize he was overthinking it. He eventually decided to cut back some on the savings, so he could pay down more properties.
“I call him and talk to him about stuff,” said David, and it helps to “realign” why he’s pursuing FI in the first place.
Developing Extra Income Streams
Stephen built CampFI, which now hosts a number of retreats a year to discuss FIRE.
Maybe highlighting the differences in how the two have reached their version of financial independence, more than anything else, is in the development of income streams. David began building a portfolio of rental properties in 2011, and now owns seven homes, providing about half of his soon-to-be retirement income.
While Stephen has one rental property, his path to CampFI was far different. After he quit the day job, with the free time, he wanted a way to connect with others that live life in a similar vein to him. In 2016, he attended a Camp Mustache excursion and enjoyed it so much that he ran his own Camp Mustache in Florida. After that experience, he realized he could build something, and changed the name to CampFI. He will host seven such retreats across the country this year, with a higher-end goal of ten in 2020.
He never thought it would turn into a moneymaking enterprise, but now he recognizes “it could be a meaningful business,” Stephen said, one that pays the bills, potentially extending that mini-retirement further.
And just because they make money differently, doesn’t mean they also can’t help each other.
“We understand the decisions to be made in the context of each other’s life,” said David. “This makes us better able to support each other as we talk through the pros and cons of a potential course of action.”
The post These Identical Twins Seek Financial Independence In Very Different Ways, Together appeared first on USNewsRank.