Mother, 41, retires early with £683k in pension savings

Woman retires early with $850k in retirement savings

Lakisha Simmons, 41, from Nashville Tennessee left her professional career in May 2021. The college professor opted to retire early having not stopped working since she was 14 years of age with the equivalent of £683,230 in retirement savings.

FIRE is a financial movement of people who invest and save more of their money in order to retire earlier.

Appearing on CNBC’s Fired UP, the 41-year-old shared her initial concerns about leaving the workforce so young.

She said: “Believe it or not, I was really nervous about quitting my full-time job. I had so much anxiety around it because all I know is how to work.

“I learned after seeing so many friends and family being laid off during the pandemic that no job is safe. 

“May 31, 2021, was my last day of full-time employment. That was my last paycheck.”

While growing up, Ms Simmons saw many members of her family work manual jobs, such as being cleaners and janitors.

Due to this, she has developed a strong work ethic which stuck with the teacher into her professional career.

Her mother did not graduate high school and her father left secondary school to join the Marines, which pushed Ms Simmons into getting herself a higher education.

Before leaving the workforce, the professional brought in $150,000 (£120,570) annually as an associate professor at Belmont University.

However, changes brought on by COVID-19 pandemic lead to her rethinking her retirement plans entirely.

She added: “I initially decided that I wanted to retire at 45 years old. I think that’s a goal that a lot of us have.

“I started on this path to FIRE because my investments grew and I realised that times were just getting harder at work.

“Being a professor was a very stressful time during the pandemic. Everything moved online. The expectations for being a perfect online teacher were at a max.

“Students had needs. I was homeschooling my children. There was just so much stress and it just became a really tough situation.

“I looked at my investments even during a pandemic and I realised how much they had grown.”

In May 2021, she had accumulated $850,000 (£683,230) in investments and found that that was enough based on the FIRE calculator.

This is the idea that FIRE early retirees need to have 25 times what they need to live on in savings to leave the workforce.

Even though this figure was lower than her number, Ms Simmons knew should compensate for the difference via side hustles and working part-time.

She said: “I knew I had other ways of creating income so I knew I didn’t need to have a $1million to live.”

Those interested in following more savings and retirement tips can follow the CNBC YouTube channel.

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