38 minutes | Aug 18th 2020

How personal tragedy motivated this engineer to achieve FI and retire early, with Adam Fortuna

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#44: One common trait of ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things is their ability to turn personal struggle and tragedy into resilient energy channeled toward big goals.

And one of the most challenging tragedies ordinary people commonly face is the death of an immediate family member.

This week, I talk with Adam Fortuna, an engineer who turned his mother’s untimely death into motivation to achieve financial independence and retire early – which he did at age 36 with a portfolio >$2M.

We discuss:

  • How Adam got into software development, then transitioned into product management
  • How his mother’s premature death suddenly forced him to figure out how to manage and invest assets…and why it made him realize he wanted to retire early
  • How he applied an estimation technique used in the software development industry to come up with his FIRE number
  • Why moving states cost him 6 figures in taxes
  • How his boss reacted when he pulled the trigger and gave notice
  • How his portfolio crashed 30% when he quit his job…and why that didn’t faze him
  • Why he scrutinizes trailing averages (rather than specific months) when analyzing his safe withdrawal rate
  • How he uses the 4% rule as a heuristic, but doesn’t apply it strictly
  • How he handles health insurance post-retirement
  • The simple Google spreadsheet plugin he uses to import all his financial data into Google sheets for manual number crunching

What personal life events motivated YOU to get smart about your finances? How would a windfall impact your retirement plans? Let me know by leaving a comment when you’re done.

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Links mentioned in this episode:

Intro/Outro: Old Bossa by Twin Musicom.

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