TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Where are you and where are you going?
Post Reply
TheTrucker
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:53 pm
Location: USA

TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by TheTrucker » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:27 pm

I've been lurking here for about a year or so. I've finally decided to register. This journal serves three purposes. First, It will give me extra motivation by making my endeavours public and accountable. Second, to provide me with support, everyone I know in real life thinks I'm a lunatic for being so frugal, and it'll help me to be able to discuss my journey with like minded people. Third, I want this journal to serve as an example to others that even with no high school diploma or marketable skills it's still possible to achieve financial independence in your twenties.

I'm 24 and currently working as an over the road truck driver, and have been doing so for about one and half years. I'm still with the company that trained me which pays low (just about all companies that train new drivers do). However I still expect to bring in $50,000 this year. Which is much better than any of my previous jobs, most of which were between $7-$10/hr with unreliable hours and a few where I was paid illegally low wages. Next spring I'll be looking for new employment, with 2 years tractor trailer experience and no accidents and tickets, I'm optimistic I'll be able to land a job paying in excess of $60,000 a year.

All of this will be with no children, no wife, no car, no apartment, no utilities, ect. My only bill is a $40/month cell phone bill, and the only thing I really ever spend money on, on a regular basis is food. Including occasional spending at diners, gifts, luxuries, bicycle parts, ect. I estimate my weekly expenditure is a $100 a week. That's an annual expenditure of $5200 a year. I intend to reduce my spending even more to $75/week or $3,900/year. I don't intend to go a strict ascetic diet of rice and lentils, and I need my phone for work. However alot of my spending in the last year and a half were on gifts and durable goods such as a folding bike, cookware, toolkits, ect. So this goal should be achievable by maintaining my same level of affluence. I went a little crazy when I started getting paychecks bigger than $300 and was just giving my money away to relatives and buying expensive gifts. hell, a year ago I spent $200 on a greyhound ticket for a complete stranger. I've gotten that out of my system though, and am confident I can achieve my spending goal.

So with annual expenditures approximating $4000/yr and a projected future income of say $65,000 over the next 3 years, I'm expecting to have a savings rate of 94%. After $23,000 of retirement contributions (maxing out both traditional ira and 401k) and tax deductions of around $20,000 (truckers are eligible for alot of deductions), I'd only have a taxable income of $22,000. That low tax liability will help me tremendously. Looking at the math, I'd have no problem saving over $50,000 a year. My portfolio will be about $50,000 by the end of this year. So not including profits from investments, and estimating conservatively that I can save $50,000, I can achieve a net worth of atleast $200,000 by the end of 2018, a few months before my 28th birthday. While I plan to travel internationally for a while (by bicycle of course!) after achieving retirement, I know I'll want to settle down, and establish a social life. So if I spend $50,000 of that on a property to live on, that'll still leave me with $150,000 in investments. Assuming I can safely withdraw 3%, That'll give me $4,500 a year to live on without spending down the portfolio.

If anyone here has any questions about driving a truck to achieve ERE, I'll be more than happy to help you out. I've noticed that alot of the posters here are college educated and work in white collar fields. I know I can't be the only one out there that doesn't have access to the opportunities that come with a college degree. For me, my commercial drivers license was a ticket into the middle class and there's not a doubt in my mind I'd still be broke if I never got it.

That's it for now. I'll be posting periodically to describe in more detail about my investing strategies, lifestyle, and post retirement aspirations.

sky
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:20 am
Contact:

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by sky » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:54 pm

How is the lifestyle driving a truck? Are you pretty much in the drivers seat most of the time?

George the original one
Posts: 4749
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by George the original one » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:24 pm

> Third, I want this journal to serve as an example to others that even with no high school diploma or marketable skills it's still possible to
> achieve financial independence in your twenties.

Excellent!

Social life... not so much for a trucker? Are your journal postings written while on the go or do you have a home base?

sea
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:28 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by sea » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:20 pm

Wow! A 94% savings rate is amazing. My parents have been doing even more tandem biking post-retirement they had already biked the length of the US in their 50s and have moved on to international biking in Panama and Europe. They're in their 50s, so you can probably do even more in your 20s.

I have a white collar job with no college degree, but you're right that there can be many paths to ERE. I think a lot of people think it's not possible to FIRE without a six figure IT gig anyway.

TheTrucker
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:53 pm
Location: USA

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by TheTrucker » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:29 pm

sky wrote:How is the lifestyle driving a truck? Are you pretty much in the drivers seat most of the time?
There are strict regulations enforced by the federal government that dictate how much I can drive. The details are needlessly complicated, but basically I can only drive 11 hours a day, and 70 hours in any 8 day period. when you include time spent doing paperwork, scaling loads, fueling, sweeping trailer, planning routes, ect. I probably work 10-12 hours most days, and less on weekends since most warehouses are closed.

I find enough time to cook, do some reading, practice mandolin and exercise, but not much else. It seems like alot of work when you think about doing 12 hours a day for weeks at a time, but I mostly just listen to music and talk radio and soak in the scenery, so the time flies by. When I'm running alot of miles, I almost feel like I'm incarcerated, because I never get a chance to get out of the truck. Work, sleep, repeat. But those 4 digit paychecks, and rare chances to go exploring make it worth it. I keep a folding bike in the truck, and have taken daytrips to state and national parks in all regions of the country. About 2 months ago, I took a whole day off and did a 50 mile tour on my bike in Tampa, FL and got to see the ocean. Days like that really boost my morale and make the daily grind alot easier to do.

There are times when it seems like everything that can possibly go wrong does, and it can get extremely stressful. I had a couple of times in my first year where I just broke down under the pressure and felt like quiting. Sometimes the shipper is running 5 hours behind schedule, you get a flat tire, get stuck in a 2 hour traffic jam, hit a snowstorm, and can't find a place to park for the night all in one day. But after learning the ropes, and developing a routine it gets easier. I've developed a certain level of detachment to my job where I try to do my best but don't let problems personally affect me when they do arise. In general the hardest part for me is the isolation and sedentary lifestyle, but I've grown accustomed to that for the most part.

The one thing I can't get used to that still drives me crazy are the appointment times. My sleep schedule is nonexistent. I'll get up at 4am to drive one day, then two days later I'm up all night driving till the sun rises, then I'll switch back over to getting up in the morning later that same week.
George the original one wrote:
Excellent!

Social life... not so much for a trucker? Are your journal postings written while on the go or do you have a home base?
I'm currently at my parent's house. I take 4 days off after every 4-5 weeks of work. It'd be a waste of money to rent an apartment or buy a home when I'm on the road so often, so I just stay with my parents or my brother when I'm off work. I do have an internet plan with my cell phone company, so I'll also be updating this journal while on the road.
sea wrote:Wow! A 94% savings rate is amazing. My parents have been doing even more tandem biking post-retirement they had already biked the length of the US in their 50s and have moved on to international biking in Panama and Europe. They're in their 50s, so you can probably do even more in your 20s.

I have a white collar job with no college degree, but you're right that there can be many paths to ERE. I think a lot of people think it's not possible to FIRE without a six figure IT gig anyway.
I can't wait to do something similar to what your parents are doing. Once I reach Financial Independence, I plan to spend a year doing a full lap around North America(Canada, USA, and Mexico) on a bicycle, visiting as many national parks as I can. After that I may do some more touring on other continents, I'm not sure yet.

plantingourpennies
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:11 am
Contact:

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by plantingourpennies » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:53 pm

Glad to see this journal; you're right about the majority of content in the ERE/FIRE communities being from a white collar POV. Your end of 2018 date is my FIRE date as well so I'll be following along.

fiby41
Posts: 968
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:09 am

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by fiby41 » Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:25 am

By the time I graduate you could be FI.

OldPro
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by OldPro » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:53 pm

I agree there is a tendency here towards higher education, white collar, etc. in this forum but disagree not having a degree etc. limits access to opportunities or the ability to FIRE. Sometimes I think people limit themselves because they THINK they are limited by their education or whatever. Usually, that is because they let themselves believe that education equals intelligence.

There are plenty of example of 'uneducated' and highly successful people in terms of making money (whether to FIRE or not) in this world. My favourite is Richard Branson who was pretty much a pot smoking, hippy bum, living in a 'squat', who was also a dyslexic, 16 year old high school drop out. Truth be told, he was looking for a way to make some money without doing any real work and came up with the idea of selling records by mail-order at lower prices. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson

That's my favourite story but my favourite examples are my own 2 sons. Both finished high school but then quit which I must say did disappoint me at the time. Both work in the financial sector in quite high positions. High enough that if I gave any details you would be able to identify them quite easily using Google. Both have people with BAs, MAs, PHDs who report to them. Both are the old story about the guy who started in the mail room and worked his way to the top.

I was a high school drop out and FIREd at age 43. Both my sons now have a net worth far in excess of my own. It is not education that matters, it is intelligence, drive, aptitude and attitude that make the difference. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are 'just a truck driver' TheTrucker. You're a guy with what it takes to get what you want regardless of where you started from.

Dave
Posts: 288
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:42 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by Dave » Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:35 pm

Thanks for sharing your story, TheTrucker.

Sounds like you have a well thought out plan and will do well. I look forward to following this journal!

cmonkey
Posts: 1769
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by cmonkey » Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:09 pm

TheTrucker wrote:$150,000 in investments. Assuming I can safely withdraw 3%, That'll give me $4,500 a year to live on without spending down the portfolio.

I'm very intrigued by your journey as well and have subscribed. My first thought is that, while possible to live on $4500/year (That's sub-jacob territory right there. ;) ), you would have more flexibility with a bit more post-FIRE income. More possibility spaces in other words. Given your excellent savings rate, just an extra couple of years would give you a great boost.

Do you own your truck?

Egg
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:59 am

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by Egg » Mon Nov 30, 2015 4:40 pm

Well certainly attention grabbing ambition. A 94% savings rate and $4000/year expenditure are very aggressive targets, but as the (fairly cheesy) saying goes: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars".

I'm a fellow 24 y.o. with a similar salary (~$60k), but much higher expenditure (~4x yours), so I think it's fair to say I won't be racing you to FI/ERE! Good luck, though. I will try to check back on your journal to see how you get on.

TheTrucker
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:53 pm
Location: USA

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by TheTrucker » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:26 pm

Thank you all responding, This journal's recieved more enthusiasm than I anticipated. I appreciate it.
OldPro wrote:I agree there is a tendency here towards higher education, white collar, etc. in this forum but disagree not having a degree etc. limits access to opportunities or the ability to FIRE. Sometimes I think people limit themselves because they THINK they are limited by their education or whatever. Usually, that is because they let themselves believe that education equals intelligence.

There are plenty of example of 'uneducated' and highly successful people in terms of making money (whether to FIRE or not) in this world. My favourite is Richard Branson who was pretty much a pot smoking, hippy bum, living in a 'squat', who was also a dyslexic, 16 year old high school drop out. Truth be told, he was looking for a way to make some money without doing any real work and came up with the idea of selling records by mail-order at lower prices. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson

That's my favourite story but my favourite examples are my own 2 sons. Both finished high school but then quit which I must say did disappoint me at the time. Both work in the financial sector in quite high positions. High enough that if I gave any details you would be able to identify them quite easily using Google. Both have people with BAs, MAs, PHDs who report to them. Both are the old story about the guy who started in the mail room and worked his way to the top.

I was a high school drop out and FIREd at age 43. Both my sons now have a net worth far in excess of my own. It is not education that matters, it is intelligence, drive, aptitude and attitude that make the difference. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are 'just a truck driver' TheTrucker. You're a guy with what it takes to get what you want regardless of where you started from.
Thanks for the support. I agree with you that there are many ways to success. If you think about it a piece of paper from a college is only useful if you need to impress a bossman. After all, If you carve your own path to success you don't need anyone else's approval. But what I find even more inspiring aren't the people that worked there way to the top, but those that realized there's no need to do so. Daniel Suelo, Laozi, Buddha, ect. The people that learned material goods are inconsequential to happiness are those who inspire me to take the path I've chosen.

cmonkey wrote:
TheTrucker wrote:$150,000 in investments. Assuming I can safely withdraw 3%, That'll give me $4,500 a year to live on without spending down the portfolio.
I'm very intrigued by your journey as well and have subscribed. My first thought is that, while possible to live on $4500/year (That's sub-jacob territory right there. ;) ), you would have more flexibility with a bit more post-FIRE income. More possibility spaces in other words. Given your excellent savings rate, just an extra couple of years would give you a great boost.

Do you own your truck?
After achieving FI, I intend to live without utilities on a paid off property so I don't believe it's too drastic. For example, I currently use electricity, for a phone, laptop, light, cooking, and heating. A woodstove can be used for cooking and heating. A computer and a light use such little electric that a barebones solar system or hydroelectric wheel could meet my needs. Water can be retrieved from a well, stream, or rain capture system. Laundry can be done by hand. I can completely elimate electric, heating, and water bills. Property taxes and food will be my main expenses.

With the time that will be free after I quit driving, I'll have plenty of time to learn skills that can both reduce my spending and give me opportunities to earn income if necessary. My basic idea I have in mind is to become something of a subsistence farmer, although that's not set in stone. I'm a much different person than who I was 4 years ago, and may likely have different aspirations 4 years from now. I primarily just want to the reach a point where, I'm not locked into a work/eat/sleep/repeat that prevents me from pursuing my goals whatever they may be. As long as I'm financially secure enough to pay for the bare essentials I'll be satisfied with my saving.

Also, I don't own my truck. A new Tractor/Trailer setup costs $150,000 to $250,000. I'm not a mechanically inclined person, so I don't want to buy a fixer-upper and I can't stand to borrow $5, let alone six figures. Also the rates are cutthroat, freight always goes to the lowest bidder. If John won't haul a load for less than $1.10/mile but Jim will accept $1.00, then Jim gets the load while John spends the day twiddling his thumbs at the truckstop. It's a race to the bottom. The only guys that seem to do well are the one's that've found the niche where there's little competition, such as hauling jet engines or wind turbine blades. In fact, statistically drivers that own there own truck only make an average profit of around $40,000/year. Which is significantly less than what I'm making at an entry level company that doesn't require experience. But then again company drivers don't have chrome bumpers or naked ladies on our mudflaps, so maybe they do have it better. :lol:
Egg wrote:Well certainly attention grabbing ambition. A 94% savings rate and $4000/year expenditure are very aggressive targets, but as the (fairly cheesy) saying goes: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars".

I'm a fellow 24 y.o. with a similar salary (~$60k), but much higher expenditure (~4x yours), so I think it's fair to say I won't be racing you to FI/ERE! Good luck, though. I will try to check back on your journal to see how you get on.
It sounds aggresive, but you must keep in mind that my employer is basically paying for my rent and utilities. I'd imagine that if you subtracted all of your monthly bills (assuming you have no wife/children/car) from your spending, you'd arrive at a figure in the same ballpark as mine. i don't even keep a very keen eye on my spending. I just spend whenever I want to and observe my expenditures in retrospect. With a minimalistic lifestyle the savings come naturally with little effort.

George the original one
Posts: 4749
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by George the original one » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:21 am

> Property taxes and food will be my main expenses.

Don't forget insurance, particularly mandated insurance such as health insurance (which is more expensive the older you are) and automotive liability insurance. The trend is to have more forms of mandated insurance, so expect something new to crop up in your lifetime.

EMJ
Posts: 336
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:37 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by EMJ » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:02 am

hydroelectric wheel could meet my needs. Water can be retrieved from a well, stream, or rain capture system.
Make sure you check before you buy property. Even though a stream runs through your property it doesn't mean you have the right to use the water or put a hydroelectric system on it.
Lot's of things for you to think about as you put in the miles! I hope you make it all the way to your land.

Spud
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:56 am

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by Spud » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:04 pm

Long time reader of the blog, short time lurker on these forums and this is my first post. I found this very short thread really interesting and inspiring. I don't yet (and may never have) the ability to send private messages. Please can someone have a go at contacting TheTrucker and see how close he is to achieving his goal? He said that he should be hitting retirement at the end of 2018. We're getting close. I'd love to hear how he's been getting on in the last 3 years.

EDIT: Now that I've posted I can access the private message function so I have sent TheTrucker a message. Let's see if he gets back to me. It would be great to hear from him.

Jason
Posts: 2211
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by Jason » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:39 am

TheTrucker wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:29 pm

The one thing I can't get used to that still drives me crazy are the appointment times. My sleep schedule is nonexistent. I'll get up at 4am to drive one day, then two days later I'm up all night driving till the sun rises, then I'll switch back over to getting up in the morning later that same week.

I recently finished the "Cherry" by Nico Walker which demonstrates how good writing is easy to find but a unique voice is not. I'm not saying TheTrucker is of that caliber, but he demonstrates a similar type of laconic observational style that I find compelling.

When considering the level of interest and engagement of the thread, the fact that it only lasted two weeks, the nature of the season in which he was writing, and the issue addressed in the above referenced paragraph, until informed otherwise, I'm taking the position that TheTrucker is now hauling ass towards a 94% saving rate on the highways of eternity. As a matter of fact, if he does reappear, I will still hold to that position even if he insists otherwise.

slowtraveler
Posts: 772
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by slowtraveler » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:42 pm

This may be the first journal here to have lower expenses than a Jacob (7k/yr).

Starting at 50 by year end, it'll be end of 2021 when you pull the plug. Good luck. If you can keep expenses so low for the whole time, it'll be very doable.

User avatar
Stahlmann
Posts: 596
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: TheTrucker's journal. Goal is to retire by age 28.

Post by Stahlmann » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:41 pm

OldPro wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:53 pm
That's my favourite story but my favourite examples are my own 2 sons. Both finished high school but then quit which I must say did disappoint me at the time. Both work in the financial sector in quite high positions. High enough that if I gave any details you would be able to identify them quite easily using Google. Both have people with BAs, MAs, PHDs who report to them. Both are the old story about the guy who started in the mail room and worked his way to the top.

Both my sons now have a net worth far in excess of my own. It is not education that matters, it is intelligence, drive, aptitude and attitude that make the difference. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you are 'just a truck driver' TheTrucker. You're a guy with what it takes to get what you want regardless of where you started from.
OldPro - general statistics is against you.

OP - I'm checking you out!

Edit: Yes, I know. I'm mostly writing for myself.

Post Reply