I am just a Marine

I am an active duty Marine in my mid-30s who is pursuing FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).  Planning to comfortably retire at 42.  My wife and I are on track to reach our goal, much sooner than we thought possible.  Not even factoring in a military pension.

I do not have a finance degree or come from a wealthy family.  We did not receive any windfalls from inheritance or the lotto.  We did not make anything in the real estate boom, or even get the first time home buyer’s credit from the housing crash.  I learned to track our money closely and made our money work for us.

I read everything I could about personal finance and investing.  I started small and became more knowledgable and comfortable overtime.

Becoming financially independent and wealthy is very possible in the military.

I was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and have been aggressively fighting it since.  We all are going to face major life challenges sooner or later, this is mine.  Getting diagnosed with cancer has only solidified my feelings about retiring early and highlighted how important it is to remember to live your life now, do not just focus on the future.

This website seeks to share knowledge that I was searching for when I started out.  Also, to share other things I have learned with a focus on military finances and the importance of living life now.

I hope others may find it helpful in their own journey.

Our Short Story

I joined the military to test myself, improve my skills, and see the world.  I married young, my wife and I came from meager backgrounds, just learning the ropes of life.  We had some school debt and no significant assets to our name, other than two cheap cars and a few hundred in a bank account.

We knew we wanted to live differently and did NOT want the stereotypical American life.

  • Get married
  • Buy a house (30 year mortgage)
  • Have kids
  • Work for 40 years
  • Retire

We wanted to travel the world, move to new places, and live an adventure.  

In short, I was not interested in working a traditional job till 65.  I wanted my money to work for meto retire comfortably and as early as possible.

We put money away in retirement accounts early, resisted debt, invested in taxable accounts, and purchased real estate.  We tracked every dollar made, and understand exactly how much our life costs.  We maximized our savings rate and ensured our dollars were working for us.  We tracked our net wealth and diversified assets to mitigate risk while maximizing return.

We can technically retire now, frugally (a.k.a, Lean FIRE).  Yet, we have no intention of stopping anytime soon since we are still enjoying the military lifestyle, and I become pension eligible after 20 years of active duty.  The pension is just an extra bonus.

As others in the military know, the lifestyle is not easy and we have had our fair share of mistakes and learning experiences.   But with challenges, there are opportunities and the military provides many.

I hope to pass on some of the things I have learned along the way to others who seek to live the life they want.

How You Can Do It

There is no magic, it is simple math and time.

That is it.

I am a simple Marine, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

This website goes into further explanation and I suggest checking out Start Here.


The postings on MarineOnFire.com are my own and do not represent the United States’ Department of Defense positions or opinions.

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