JP Livingston is a retiree who lives in New York City with her husband and their dog. Like many retirees, she lives frugally. The three members of the Livingston clan live in a 325-square-foot apartment. That's not a lot of space for one person, let alone two people and a dog, to be home all day in. However, that lifestyle, and a number of other habits, have enabled Livingston to retire at age 28 with a net worth of more than $2 million.
Livingston graduated from Harvard in 2009 and went to work for an investment bank after graduation. However, her interest in investing started when she was 12-years-old and her dad gave her a copy of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That book got her interested in money management and in starting her own business.
While at Harvard, Livingston became enamored with living a minimalist lifestyle, after a summer spent in a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. When she was at Harvard, she was pressured to get a big, corporate or a Wall Street job and to succeed and acquire all the trappings of wealth. But at that monastery, all she had was a thin bamboo mat on a hard wooden plank, basic food, a uniform, and a lot of peace and quiet and time to think. She was happy. She realized that spending money and acquiring things wasn't the key to lifelong happiness for her. She learned doesn't need much to live a happy life.
When she graduated from Harvard, she spent some time working as a horse-trekking assistant to nomads in Mongolia. When she came back to the U.S., she planned to start her own business.
However, she had a job offer from an investment bank that convinced her that spending a few years learning more about investing and about what made businesses successful would help her when she was actually ready to start her own business.
Through her work at that firm, which offered her a very lucrative salary, she realized she didn't want to start a big business. She also set up her aggressive savings and investment plan – that plan that has enabled her to retire after just a handful of years working a 9 to 5 job.
Livingston focused on cutting her expenses to that she could save most of her salary. She lived on $24,000. She paid $1,100 a month in rent and allocated $900 a month for all additional expenses.
She made her first million by the time she was 26. Her investments were generating 13% return, or about $130,000 in income. By that point, working on her investing strategies was more beneficial than figuring out how to shave money off her living expenses.
Today, JP Livingston has a total net worth of $2.25 million – 60% generated by her aggressive savings plan and 40% of it from investing. Today, she and her husband live on $65,000 per year. Her husband still works, even though the nest egg JP built up covers all of their expenses. Now, if we could all be so disciplined.