May 16, 2018

[Ep. 159] How to Become Financially Independent by 35 with Chris Reining

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I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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I’ve been chatting to a lot more guests this season who’ve been able to achieve financial independence in their 30s, and wow is it inspiring! Because really, they didn’t do anything crazy to achieve financial independence. They just made that their main goal and went for it!

And Chris Reining, who was able to reach financial independence at 35 and retire at 37, is no different. He didn’t come from wealth, and although near the end of his career he was earning good money, he was by no means “rich”. He worked in cyber security in Madison, Wisconsin, and did two main things to reach his goal of saving up $1,000,000 for retirement.

Practice Value-Based Spending

The term “value-based spending” has been popping up a lot more, and for good reason. It’s taking the extreme out of being totally frugal or a shopaholic. It is giving you permission to spend your money (because after all, that’s what it’s for), but also giving you that balance and perspective so you spend it wisely. By practicing value-based spending, not only will you feel more joy when you do spend money, you’ll also find that there’s a lot more money available to save for your future goals.

Chris shares that when he started practicing this, he found it easy to cut out coffee, cable, and his expensive hobby of flying planes. They didn’t align with his values, and so he started only spending money on what did and then making a conscious effort to live below his means so he could continue to save up and invest for his goal of early retirement.

Earn More Money

As Chris says in our interview together, at a certain point, there’s nowhere else to cut back, and at that point, you’ll need to figure out how to earn more money. What Chris did to grow in his career and earn a higher salary was find a mentor, learn some new skills and push himself to take public speaking lessons by joining Toastmasters.

By doing this, he was able to earn more and reach his goal of financial independence that much sooner.

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