Financially independent couple, Tim and Amy Rutherford tell us how they retired in their 40s by spending less and have found happiness.

Guest Biography

Tim and Amy met in colorful Colorado in 2016. Although they tracked every penny spent, in retrospect, they were “mindless spenders” because they weren't concerned about the big dollars flowing out of their bank account. They felt like their financial health was good because they weren't in debt (other than a mortgage) and were maxing out their 401ks while adding to savings and investment accounts at a steady pace. Even so, they spent an average of $115,000 per year for many years. This number didn't include income taxes, savings or payments to their mortgage principal. Their initial retirement analysis assumed spending of $120,000 a year.

They had an epiphany in 2014. Spending less meant Tim and Amy didn’t have to work as long. Cutting back made them happier and kept moving up their target retirement date. By living with less, they could say goodbye to their stressful careers in 2015.

From the beginning of our relationship, Tim and Amy treasured experiences over things. As they continue to downsize, their new life is filled with fun, frugal (or free!), fulfilling activities that bring them happiness. They spend less time acquiring, maintaining, upgrading, insuring, and thinking about material things. While it may be cliché, less truly is more. In 2016, they spent $43,000. That year, they took 3 international vacations and traveled (by plane) around the US several times. Tim had back surgery that year which meant a $6,000 deductible. So, $43,000 isn’t lean or mean. There’s fat in there, too. They continue to seek and find fun and creative ways to further reduce their spending.

Tim and Amy are re-engineering their new lives with purpose. Their path includes more travel and embracing a healthier lifestyle. These days, they are active volunteers, house sitters, and travelers.

They blog at, writing about how they retired in their 40s and how they plan to stay there.

Show notes:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How spending less can impact your retirement plan in a big way.
  • You should never worry about being bored in retirement.
  • Resources for finding low cost or even free activities wherever you live.

Find more from our guests:

Mentioned in this episode

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Special thanks to Jim Kimo West for the music.

Could you cut your current expenses in half? How would you spend your time if you could retire early?