Our Journey Thus Far – in Numbers!

-Written by Steph

It’s always nice to look back at the path that’s brought you to today. This post is a brief summary of the year by year process of the first half of our early retirement journey, detailing that slow, sucky process that everyone hates – the waiting time where your net worth increases are almost entirely from savings, and your investment returns are minimal. Luckily, it only lasts a few years! Here’s where we’ve come from so far…

Year Zero

We started our journey in the fall of 2011, after returning from our first trip abroad together – a lovely visit to England. However, our record keeping SUCKED at that point, so I have no record of our exact net worth at that time. It was pretty low – a few thousand at most. We didn’t really accomplish much that year, because our income and employment were pretty unstable, but we did make the decision to start the process.

Income: ???

Net worth at year end: ???

Year One

2012 was the year we got serious about this stuff, and there was some major upheaval throughout. I ditched my job in February as a warehouse shipping clerk for an office position covering a medical leave, which was supposed to last two months but in fact kept me employed through to July, when I switched over to a hospitality clerk / receptionist position at a law firm. Cel started the year unemployed, worked at a grocery store for a few months, then landed full time work as a typist at a property management firm. Little did we know, we’d be at those jobs for a loooong time!

We did a couple of cool trips in 2012 – a summer trip to Paris, and a winter Caribbean cruise to Miami, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and the Cayman Islands.

Income: $43,452

Net worth at year end: $31,834

Year Two

2013 was basically more of the same. We continued at the same jobs, but working for the full year meant we made quite a bit more income. Cel got a promotion from typist to administrative assistant. We did one trip to the French Riviera, Monaco, and Italy, which was very lovely.

Income: $63,394

Net worth at year end: $71,007 – a $39,173 increase!

Year Three

2014 brought the same old, same old – gradually increasing income, and some pretty crazy travel. Our jobs stayed the same, and we went to Guatemala, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, and France. Still working as a clerk and an administrative assistant for the same companies, and I worked a LOT of overtime.

Income: $73,119

Net worth at year end: $124,462 – a $53,455 increase!

Year Four

Surprise! Nothing exciting happened job-wise in 2015. Same jobs. We ventured into Asia for the first time, with a trip to Hong Kong and Macau, and did a summer trip to Iceland, which was a big bucket-list place. We also started doing Thanksgiving trips, with a brief visit to Montreal.

Income: $63,378

Net worth at year end: $168,993 – a $44,531 increase!

Year Five

2016 was the year we both quit our jobs. I very nearly made it to 2017 – my last day of work was December 30th, and my last paycheck was actually in January 2017. We both made the jump into the world of accounting, as an administrative assistant and receptionist. It was an amazing year financially, and there was some very epic travel – we made it out to Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia in the winter, Ireland and Northern Ireland in the summer, and Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon at Thanksgiving.

Income: $88,291

Net worth at year end: $244,341 – a $75,348 increase!

The Future

We’re anticipating another five years of work until retirement, barring any massive windfalls or just getting utterly sick of working. For now, we can enjoy watching our retirement accounts snowball, and keep shoveling most of our cash in to make it go faster.



  1. Awesome guys! It seems that the biggest thing you’re doing is saving a huge amount of your income, ~70% of your earnings in some cases! That’s amazing. It would be nice to learn more about your investing and the transition out of the “slow sucky process” to a point where investment returns are significant. When did that start happening and how much did you need to save to reach that point?

  2. Hello,

    First of all, congratulations to you both that you are already enjoying the fruits of your hard labor. I have started my journey since mid last year and follow people that were/are in my situation.
    My networth is around 160K and saving as much as I can every month.

    I was looking at your post and wondering how you could travel so much with a modest income and still increase your networth so significantly? I am curious to know how you are managing it and hopefully learn a thing or two. Would you care to elaborate?


    • Our net worth increases are primarily because we put 60-70% of our income into investments – any travel we do has to be with the remaining 30-40%, which is shared with things like rent and food, so we need to keep our costs down.

      We spend about $8000-$9000/year on travel, and basically just try to keep an eye out for deals on flights, avoid hotels where possible, and have less touristy-style trips.

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