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Dad-of-two retires at 24 after saving £578k by following ‘FIRE principles’

A dad-of-two is retired aged just 24 after amassing a £578,132 retirement pot.

Mike Rosehart, 27, enjoys a life of leisure with his wife Alyse, 28, and their two children, Emma, three, and Arielle, six months, after working for just seven years.

Former IT business analyst Mike saved aggressively, lived frugally, and bought his first home when he was just 19-years-old.

He is convinced anyone can achieve financial independence and retire early, known as FIRE, with a little financial wizardry.

He has even taken in three mentees to teach them his money-making and saving ways.

Mike said: "The secret to retiring early is: spend less, earn more and maximize the returns on the difference.

"The hard part is executing it. Most of us can't resist the Starbucks, the trip abroad or the new cellphone. Delayed gratification is the secret to FIRE."

Mike hit upon the idea of retiring early when he was studying at the Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada, in 2010.

He came across Early Retirement Extreme, a book about becoming financially independent on a median salary by Danish astrophysicist Jacob Lund Fisker.

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He said: "I was in my first year at university and I was working on a project about the psychology of happiness.

"I went deep into a wormhole on the internet and I came across Jacob Lund Fisker. He started the spark for me. His thesis was that anyone can retire in five years.

"I thought: 'Hey, I'm 17, I'm young and eager.' I realised that what makes you happy is freedom and the ability to do what you want in your life."

Mike, of London in Ontario, Canada, had a hard time persuading his girlfriend and future wife, Alyse, to share his early retirement ambition.

He said: "Alyse and I have been together since we were 16. I wouldn't say she's a crazy spender but she likes her Starbucks.

"She wanted to have kids young so I explained that if we were able to retire early we could be there for our kids. I told her we just had to cut our spending in half.

It took me over a year to get her on board.

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"Every time she bought Starbucks, I said: 'That cost us two more days away from our kids.'"

Throughout university, Mike worked full time while also studying full time.

He said: "I grew up really poor with a single mother on the poverty line so I didn't have family money to rely on. I got scholarships to go to college.

"When I first started going after FIRE, I was working at Tim Hortons, earning slightly above minimum wage. I got a better job the following summer at border services.

"I saved aggressively. In my second year of university, I rented a bedroom for £200 when the market rent would have been £315.

"It was 7ft by 8.5ft but it was perfect for me. I just needed a place to sleep. Then I got a tiny apartment with my girlfriend for just £346-a-month.

"We even shared the internet with the neighbors and gave them £3-a-month. I cycled everywhere instead of getting a vehicle.

"I found a bike that someone was giving away on the Craigslist of Canada."

At 19, Mike bought a £115,626 cottage with Alyse.

"It was a tiny little cottage, the cheapest house I could find in London. We put down £22,515 – half of that was money we had saved and half of it was our student line of credit.

We rented every room in it and so it was earning money for us. We had four other roommates.

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"The guy in our basement apartment was paying our mortgage. We graduated debt-free and with money in the bank."

The couple married in 2014 and were keen to keep wedding costs down.

"Our wedding cost around £2,890. We found a venue that were offering a deal where you could have the wedding for free as long as you invited enough guests.

"Initially we wanted 150 guests but to keep costs down we whittled our guest list to just 80 people.

"People give a gift when they come to a wedding and so we actually made a profit on our wedding if you think about it like that. For our honeymoon, I used the points on my credit card to go to Brazil so it didn't cost anything.

"We had a friend who hosted us in Brazil so our accommodation was free."

After college, Mike took a £31,950 job in consulting.

Alyse, who had graduated a year before, in 2013, took a graphic designer job, making £20,157.

He said: "My salary was not exorbitantly high but I took the proceeds from that salary and bought rental properties and reinvested the rent.

"I was able to convince the bank to lend me 80% of a house price. I got off work at 6pm and I'd bike over to my property and I'd do it up until midnight.

We lived on slightly less than half of Alyse's salary. We were saving 100% of my salary, every single dollar.

"I kept reinvesting every profit from rental property. It kept snowballing. We bought 10 properties in three years."

Emma was born in 2016 and Arielle was born in 2019.

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In February 2017, Mike handed in his notice at his job and Alyse also retired later that year.

He sold 11 properties and he knew that he had hit his 'FIRE number' – 25 times his yearly living expenses.

Mike said: "I knew I needed £368,925 to retire and I had, in equity of my property, just under £578,132.

I went into my boss's office and he told me that my job would be there when I came back in six months time.

"He thought I was having a quarter-life crisis."

Mike admitted that retirement, at 24, did take some getting used to.

He added: "It's a bit jarring at first. You find a way to cope by filling time with hobbies, and at first, for me, it was gaming.

"But then I started a group here in London called London on Fire, for people who are also pursuing FIRE. We do a monthly meet up.

"One of my passions is looking up properties. I love going and looking at houses and thinking about how we can redesign this.

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"That's what generates income by accident. I made £34,610 this year without even trying. If you chase your hobbies, you'll probably make more money."

Mike said his family still live a good life and their monthly outgoings are around £1,750-a-month.

He said: "We're going to Florida at the end of January and we went to Brazil on holiday. I like to find frugal holidays if we can.

There was a deal on flights so I got tickets from Canada to Florida for £40 a person.

"We are going to Disney and we'll see people who spent £5,780 on their holiday but because I look for deals, our holiday will cost around £1,026."

Mike now teaches others how to achieve FIRE on his Youtube channel, named 'Mike Rosehart' and he has also established his own mentorship program.

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