Think Save Retire // Financial Literacy Chronicles, No. 5

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Please welcome Steve from Think Save Retiire as our guest for today’s Financial Literacy Chronicles.  This is Day 5 of 30 in the Financial Literacy Month interview series here on Enwealthen.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your blog.

I’m Steve.

I am a 35 year old early retiree and run the blog Think Save Retire.

My wife and I sold both of our homes and live in a 30’ Airstream. We travel for a living and love every minute of it.

Some people are on the 10-year plan.

As you will see from this interview, I’m a short-and-sweet kind of person.

Can you share your most impactful money memory from your childhood?

Nothing real amazing, and I guess this is more of a quote than it is a memory of something happening.

My dad once told me that “You can have anything you want, but not everything”.

It’s a profoundly accurate statement and gets to the heart of why choosing your priorities in life is so important.

Pick whatever is most meaningful to you and go after it. Leave everything else alone. Ignore it.

Focus and you can have or achieve almost anything.

We all receive financial advice from people in our lives.  What’s the most interesting or useful financial advice you’ve received from your community?

“Some people are on the 10-year plan”.

Someone told that to me when I was younger, referring to people who graduate from college and save every penny, then retire after about 10 years.

At the time, early retirement was definitely not my priority, but I can now see the wisdom behind those words.

In 10 years working a decent-paying job, early retirement is definitely possible.

I have several personal finance books I regularly give to friends and family.  What are your 3 favorite fundamental personal finance books you often gift to others?

I haven’t gifted a single financial book to someone, but if I ever did, I’d choose only one: The Millionaire Next Door.

It’s as straightforward and to-the-point as it gets, and it also does an amazing job at debunking the myth that to be “rich”, you need to drive around in expensive cars, or live in huge homes or buy pricey meals. You don’t.

In fact, most rich people don’t spend money on these things. That’s why they are rich.

What financial literacy education did you receive in school?  If you had a magic wand, what would you change to improve that?


My schooling included absolutely no financial education whatsoever.

Nothing about how compound interest works. The stock market. Nothing.

To improve things, I’d start with the basics. Teach kids that money saved NOW adds up into something incredibly meaningful down the road.

There are so many blogs on the internet, what are 3 of your favorite blogs that instill financial literacy, either by word or action?

Most personal finance blogs preach financial literacy, and it’s tough to pick my favorites.

I often read blogs like Our Next Life (interview), Budgets Are Sexy, Miss Mazuma (interview), 1500 Days (interview) and so many others on a semi-daily basis.

Focus and you can have or achieve almost anything.

I like to keep inspirational quotes around the house to remind me of what’s important.  Do you have a favorite money quote you use to inspire your financial life?

“Stop spending so much damn money” – A quote from me to myself, several years ago as I was just beginning to embark on this financial independence and early retirement adventure.

Thanks for contributing to Financial Literacy Month here on Enwealthen, Steve!

Steve is a 35-year old early retiree who blogs at Think Save Retire. He can also be reached on Twitter, on Facebook, and Instagram at @ThinkSaveRetire.

Readers, please share your thoughts on Steve’s experiences, any additional questions you have, and suggestions for who else you’d like to see interviewed in the comments below.  And please do share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Thanks!


    • Thanks Eric, appreciate the comment! Yup, grinding it out for 10 years and then calling it quits sounds like an EXCELLENT plan to me. That’s almost what I did. I worked for something like 13 years…not including my high school side jobs. 🙂

  1. Nice interview – love the concise format. Feels like I can learn something valuable from great bloggers without poring through their entire life story. But a couple of things I’d love to hear from Steve (and others) is:

    What was your worst financial mistake?; and
    What is the worst financial advice you’ve received? (to counter the “best” question)

    Thanks! And thanks to Steve for the insights!
    Paul @ ABL recently posted Is Your Mortgage Tax Deductible?My Profile

    • Hi Paul,

      Good questions! My worst financial mistake was buying a home – hands down. I bought at the absolute worst time for home values (February of 2007). It was my first home and I was tired of renting. I wanted something that was MINE. In the end, I got it…but I have no idea what I was getting into. All I really got was a bunch of debt. I lost nearly $100,000 on that house – including the depreciation, mortgage interest and all the money I sunk into “improving” it (mainly, landscaping and tiling the floors). Glad I got rid of it.

      The worst financial advice I received was “Buy as big of a house as you can afford”. That seems to be a common theme. The rationale behind that advice could make some sense on paper, but in reality, it’s truly awful. Yes, buying as big of a house as I can afford would allow me to “grow into it”, but that’s not how we humans work. We buy big. We fill the space and get used to have all that additional square footage – even if we don’t actually use it. If our families grow, so does our expectations for a home. Everything grows WITH our family. The house doesn’t tend to stay the same.

  2. Great, focused interview Steve! Your dad’s quote is a great one. My grandfather used to say “Don’t major in minor things” which I took to mean we had to focus on what was really important and stop wasting time obsessing about the minutiae. Helps me focus my priorities in life and financially.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks Jack for putting together this series! Having a great time seeing everyone’s responses 🙂

  3. I thought the 10 year plan referred to how long they took to get out of school…this is a WAY better spin!! Thanks for the shoutout, Steve, the feeling is mutual. As you and Erik above stated, your no nonsense writing style is a language I am comfortable with. We have so much chatter in our lives it is nice to hear some straight talk now and again. 🙂 Lookibg forward to hearing more of your travels on the road!!
    Miss Mazuma recently posted 2017 1st Qtr Net Worth & Savings Rates…Homerun!!My Profile


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