About Derek

I’m a 33 year old entrepreneur and digital nomad based out of Austin, TX. I saved $500k by age 25 and decided to challenge the status quo and live on $10k a year and retire early.

To better get to know me I’ve broken down my life into two parts:

  • My Story 
  • My World 
Derek Baker Portrait Photo #2

My Story

How I Retired Early at 25

In seven years (from age 19 to 25) I took the $5,000 I had earned from working a summer job and grew it to $500,000 through investing in internet businesses and the stock market. I achieved FIRE (financial independence retire early) in 2014 the same year I graduated college. 

Since then, I have continued to invest in the stock market and added rental income from real estate and property ownership as a second income source. Today, I spend my time giving back by working on projects in finance and real estate, running a charitable giving fund, and living a simple nomadic lifestyle while encouraging others to do the same. 

The Fine Print: I lived with family the whole time and had mainly food and transportation expenses. My parents saved ~$20k for my education through a college savings account which paid for about half of my education. I had a $1k a semester scholarship in business school and paid the rest out of pocket. I graduated debt free. I contributed to retirement accounts whenever possible and held investments long-term to maximize tax efficiency. I actively managed my portfolio starting out but over the years have favored a passive approach of index investing making up close to 80% of my portfolio today.

My World

Life After Retiring Early

I knew I had to make some tough decisions and come to some important realizations to make retiring early and living on a low income work for me in the long-term. 

First, my work was virtual and I wanted it to remain that way because then I have maximum flexibility. Second, my stuff could not hold me back so I chose to only own items I needed and used often.. Third, my life had to have meaning and focus beyond money. I had to make an impact on the world with what I know and what I have. Fourth, I had to be in good company surrounded by others who are like-minded and in my situation or working toward it.

When I thought about my values and the freedom I was looking for I realized I had to live a life outside of the mainstream. The traditional way of living was too materialistic, routine based, and inflexible. I realized I had to find my tribe even if it meant creating a new path. I came up with a lifestyle I could live for the long-term that was rooted in affordability, flexibility, and community. I designed the lifestyle to work for everyone, not just my situation. 

My tribe is the people who live life differently and have chosen to live a nontraditional life away from the consumer culture that dominates America. This group shares three things in common: Living on less, living nomadic, and earning incomes through self or virtual employment. They also value experiences and meaningful relationships above money and stuff, access over ownership, and active engagement over passive. Time is the new wealth and the great equalizer. Those who have control over their time have true freedom.

Shared and mobile living are making it possible to live a great life on just thousands a year. Work is no longer limited to location and can be earned from anywhere and from multiple sources. Sharing our knowledge, skills, and even our life can be monetized online. Work can be found virtually anywhere through freelancing, the gig economy, seasonal and temporary jobs. 

A quickly growing minority of American society is choosing this lifestyle and I’ll be joining them and invite you along with me. An open mind, positive attitude, and willingness to live life in the present is all that is needed. Let’s live our best life together and create a new definition of freedom.

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