How Anita Paid Off $95,000 Of Debt In One Year & Retired Early At 33 Years Old

Episode Number: 330

Episode 330: How Anita Paid Off $95,000 Of Debt In One Year & Retired Early At 33 Years Old REWIND

listen to the Podcast on your favorite platform

Show notes

How Anita Paid Off $95,000 Of Debt In One Year & Retired Early At 33 Years Old


In this episode, Anita Dhake joins the podcast to discuss how she committed to her dream to retire early and live her best life. In one year she paid off $95,000 of student loan debt and started aggressively saving 85-95% of her income. By age 33, Anita was able to retire with over a half of million dollars in investments.

She now lives by her own design on less than $24,000 per year. This FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is full of actionable tips no matter your income, mental health and money correlations, and why community matters.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about:

  • How to accelerate your path to financial freedom and early retirement
  • The benefits of applying stoicism to your financial journey
  • Several inspiring books you should read now 
  • Where to easily invest your money and watch it grow + more
I'm listening to episode 330 of the Journey to Launch Podcast, How Anita Paid Off $95,000 Of Debt In One Year & Retired Early At 33 Years Old REWIND Share on X

Other Links Mentioned in episode:

Connect with Anita:

Instagram: @ThePowerofThrift

Connect with me:

Anita Dhake 0:02

I've kind of gotten to the point where I know when I'm feeling bad and when I need to get help. And when I can do it by myself and when I'm fine. So it's interesting. It's absent flows. Just knowing yourself and knowing the cycles and knowing that this isn't the end of the world. I feel like crap today, but it's not going to be permanent in that. That's just experience that's just living life, knowing yourself.

Intro 0:24

Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who rocks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom 321

Ad 0:53

Hey, hey, hey, real real quick, it's Jamila, here and I have some exciting news to share with you. My first book, your journey to financial freedom. A step by step guide to achieving wealth and happiness is finally available for preorder. That's right. You can pre order my book right now. Today, the book is officially out December 5 2023. But you do not have to wait that long to get some resources and information to help you. If you preorder the book. Today, I'm giving you some fabulous bonuses that will help you with your financial freedom and independence journey. I'm giving you the Financial Toolkit for free. When you preorder the book, you'll get the debt payoff matrix workbook, the goal fuel worksheet, the financial goals, workbook and the retirement account questionnaire. My most effective and FE resources to share with you for free, go to journey to To get your copy to preorder that book today. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

Intro 1:59

Hey, hey, hey, journeyers welcome to a special episode of the journey to launch podcast, I am giving you the best of rewind episodes of the journey to launch podcast, I have gone through the archives, you know, we have over 300 episodes so far of the podcast, I can't believe it. And some of these episodes, if you're just listening and finding out about the podcast, you may not have heard it yet. Or if you're a longtime listener, hey there, if you've been down with me for a while, maybe you need to rehear these episodes. So I've selected from the archives, some of my fav conversations that I want you to re listen to. So this one that you're going to hear I picked it special for a reason, I would love for you to listen to it for the first time or listen to it again. And let me know what you think the show notes for these episodes will be updated with current contact information for these guests. Because since it may have been a year or a couple of years since I've spoken to them, they may have updated their information. So if you want their new information, look for wherever you're listening to this podcast episode and in the description. It will have any updated links that you need. And of course, the episode shownotes are at Journey to Stay tuned, I have so much amazing content, new content, new episodes, a lot of updates for you about my new book coming out December 5, you can go to journey to To learn more about it and any of the preorder bonuses, you can get that for free by pre ordering right now. And just what's going on with the business with me, you'll hear a lot more of that really soon. So I can't wait for you to hear this episode. And as usual, follow me at journey to launch on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And let me know what you think. Alright, journeyers let's get into it.

Jamila Souffrant 3:53

Welcome to the journey to launch podcast. If you are a returning listener that means journey or welcome back. If you are brand new, welcome. So excited to have you in this rocket with us. We are legit taking off. Now the premise of Journey to launch and my platform. And what I do is I want to show you what's possible through what I do. And then obviously bringing on stories and information and motivation from other people. And so while I talk about reaching financial independence and retiring early, which is essentially having enough money where you can choose what you really want to do. And for me, like I always envisioned that even if I had all the money in the world, I would still want to work in some capacity. But the dream for a lot of you is okay I'm working. I'm trying to pay off debt. I'm also going to eventually save and invest and have enough money, right? The dream is to have enough money to retire or reach financial independence. And then what what does that look like Right? Like what will it be like for you on the other side? And so I love talking to people who have actually achieved financial independence and especially those who have chosen To retire early meaning like they're not actively working. So I have a wonderful, wonderful conversation to bring you. I'm talking to a Anita from the power of thrift. Anita has been in the blogging game for a minute, meaning she's had her blog for a long time now. And she's someone who's actually retired early. And she just has, I think, just great, like realistic perspective, because she's done it right. And now she's living that life. And she shares what it's like on the other side. So I really think that you are going to enjoy this episode. And it's going to just kind of peel back the layers of what you're striving for. And once you get there, and my hope is that as you strive to pay off debt, saving, invest, that you're, you're actually building a life you love along the way, and you shouldn't be waiting. And just until you get to your goal, you know, the endpoint to enjoy it, right. And so I hope that this interview, and just in general, my content inspires you to live a really thoughtful and wonderful life now and not just wait for the end gold. So if you want the episode shownotes want to find more about Anita, she's gonna mention where you can find her in the episode, but you can go to journey to 136. And as always share this with your family and friends or anyone that you know or think should hear this information. All right. Without further ado, let's hop into this conversation with Anita. Hey, journeyers I'm excited to bring you this conversation or to have this conversation and have you listen in because I hope it will be beneficial for your journey to financial independence and freedom. Today I have a Anita who is from the power of Thrift, aka thrifty gal on the podcast.

Hi, Anita.

Anita Dhake 6:47

Hi, guys.

Jamila Souffrant 6:49

So a previous guest, who was a journeyer. So by the way, if people listen to this, and are on the journey with me to financial freedom and independence, they're called journeyers.

Anita Dhake 6:57

Okay, I love it.

Jamila Souffrant 6:59

But previous journeyer actually, Charlie, he's actually a dumpster diver living in Florida. And yeah, he actually had a really cool story. And he talked to just about sustainable living and how house hacking. And he talked about I remember, he came across your blog and inspired him.

Anita Dhake 7:15


Jamila Souffrant 7:16

And so I think I looked at it that way. And that's how I found out about you. And then I started reading some of your stuff. And I was like, Holy crap, like, I think I need a movie great for the show. Because one, you've reached financial independence.

Anita Dhake 7:27

Right? It's been about four years now.

Jamila Souffrant 7:29

So you know what it's like on the other side. And so there's everyone listening to this, there are different levels of where they're starting, just starting out a little more advanced, maybe even have already accomplished what you've done. But I think so many people want to know what it's like on the other side. And so I do want to talk about that. But first, get into how you accomplish such an amazing feat at how old

Anita Dhake 7:48

I was 33, my officially retired.

Jamila Souffrant 7:51

Okay, so let's take it back a little bit about how you did it. Right. So I know you are a lawyer.

Anita Dhake 7:56

Yeah. So I was very lucky. And then I was a corporate lawyer, and I made a ton of money. And I lived super simply, I saved 85 to 95% of my income. And you know, within five years, I had paid off $100,000 in student loans. And I saved about $700,000. So I was very lucky that my income was very high. And I was very frugal. But it's certainly possible. If you make less money, I think it'll just take a little bit longer.

Jamila Souffrant 8:26

Yeah, yeah. And I love that you just started out like, boldly, like, I made a lot of money. And I was just very conscious about what I spent. Because, you know, the whole fire movement now. Like it's a big thing. And I think for a lot of people, and I try to do my best job as I can to always mention that a lot of people that are reaching financial independence, especially in a short timeframe, like you said, like you could do it, but it might just take longer if you don't earn as much they're doing it based on like income, even if they're choosing to spend less. So while reality and being thrifty is one of the things that is going to be helpful. Really the how fast you can go is based on how much you make.

Anita Dhake 9:01

Absolutely. It's just what percentage of your income you can save. And that's the main factor.

Jamila Souffrant 9:06

So I actually have a lot of lawyers who listen, because I'm assuming just what you're like, Kyle, I know you had a lot of college debt or you had a debt you paid off.

Anita Dhake 9:14

Yeah, I had about $100,000 in student loans that I paid off in a year.

Jamila Souffrant 9:18

Let's talk about that. So when you graduated, how much did you start making

Anita Dhake 9:21

my salary went outside of law school was 160 grand plus whatever bonuses at the end of the year. I don't remember the exact number but I was thinking was 10 grand bonus the first year, maybe higher. I don't remember the exact number. I could look it up. I don't know off the top of my head.

Jamila Souffrant 9:35

So there's like two types of people listening to this. There's a lot of types of people but like if I'm just gonna like, think about just like someone who took on law school debt, but did not graduate making that much money and has more responsibility, like maybe they already had children or whatever they have already kind of locked in lifestyle that they can't or they don't feel like they can change and then there are people who actually end up making as much money as you do. are still not making this kind of progress or intensity.

Anita Dhake 10:03

Right? It'sthe golden handcuffs.

Jamila Souffrant 10:06

What made you want to even save that much like when you graduated? How did you know to do this?

Anita Dhake 10:11

And I sent it to you to read the book your mind your life by Vicki Robbins. And I don't know if you've heard of that one. But it's a pretty

Jamila Souffrant 10:17

Oh, yeah, she's on the podcast

Anita Dhake 10:19

of course. That's awesome. I read it. I was 17. And I had a life bucket list that I had made when I was like nine. And so retire early when on my left bucket list and 17 after reading that book, and I kind of went to college and like I live life, and I didn't really think about it for a while. And then I went to law school. And I learned how much I was making as a first year associate with these $160,000. So before I started officially working, I reread your material life. And I was like, well, if I'm making four times what the average person is making, I could probably retire about four times earlier. So I started my retirement chart, and I listed all my expenses. I tried to minimize everything, and I just went from there.

Jamila Souffrant 10:59

Yeah, and good for you for reading it that young and saying, Hey, I could do this.

Anita Dhake 11:03

Yeah, I was a voracious reader as a kid. I think that's my number one. Ability to deal with something like that. Just have it have the idea in your head?

Jamila Souffrant 11:12

Yeah, it's huge. It's huge. And that's why it's important for people to hear stories like yours, because while you had the income as a definite help, it's like you had to first believe that you could, because before you had the income, you had the idea, right? Absolutely. So did you know that you want to be a lawyer? Because you'd make more Was there something driving you to become a lawyer, I had

Anita Dhake 11:32

to get an advanced degree and my life bucket list. So when I was 20, I was working in insurance. And I graduated my head and I was miserable. So I was also pre med and in college, so nursing, but taking either the pharmacy test or the law school test, and the logical test was just easier. So I took that, and then I got into a pretty good school, and then, you know, kind of went from there. And so how much debt Did you graduate with? Again, from law school, it was 100,000. From undergrad, it was like maybe 20,000.

Jamila Souffrant 12:03

Right? And so you then graduated now you're like, Well, I'm gonna pay off this debt as fast as possible.

Anita Dhake 12:08

Yes, absolutely. Like that was just a huge anchor around my neck, I was so terrified that people would find out that I was an imposter. And it was not a good lawyer, they fired me and I have this huge debt payment over my head. So my number one priority was to get rid of that debt as soon as possible at every extra cent went towards it. I mean, I was obsessed that first year, I looked at my, the spreadsheets that I made and how much interest I would pay the bank, I did it like every hour, work it like, tab over to it while I was doing something else, just to kind of motivate myself like this is what I'm working towards. This is what I'm doing.

Jamila Souffrant 12:41

And I can imagine, though you also graduated with other lawyers? How was that? Like? Because there are a lot of lawyers who were making probably as much as you were who were not focused on

Anita Dhake 12:50

that? Oh, no. I mean, I think I knew I didn't want to be a corporate lawyer forever. So if you want to be a corporate lawyer, and like you want to have that lifestyle for the rest of your life, you're going to be making a ton of money for the rest of your life. So I think people don't really care in the beginning that they have like student loan debts that they think, Oh, I'll pay it off. Because like, they think that they're going to do it forever. And it's not a big deal. But I knew that I learned more from my life than just working 70 hours a week and sitting behind a desk in an office. So that was my main priority. And I don't regret anybody for doing choosing another path. Just I knew it was kind of foreign to everybody else who I talked to. But I talked about it constantly to everybody, because I was obsessed. And that was always on my mind.

Jamila Souffrant 13:34

Yeah, yeah. So how long ago did you graduate?

Anita Dhake 13:37

I graduated law school in 2009. So it's been 10 years now.

Jamila Souffrant 13:41

Wow. And where did you start working? So I know, part of that was you kept your expenses low. So can you talk a little bit what you do that?

Anita Dhake 13:47

Well, I was very lucky person in 2009. Recession. And my law firm was like, well, we don't have a lot of work because it's a recession. So if you want to take a year off, we'll pay you a third of your salary, and you can go do whatever you want for a year. So they paid me $77,000 To basically travel for a year. And I didn't pay attention to my loans during that year at all. I just kind of enjoyed it. I paid the minimums and I you know, I paid my sister back some money that I had borrowed from her. But when I started working that was when I was like a little bit that's what I started becoming obsessed. You know, I I picked a very reasonable cost of living city Chicago, instead of New York or California where all my friends were going to get a roommate. So my expenses were super low. I brought my breakfast to work every day. I brought my lunch to work every day and I worked a lot so that paid for my dinner that came my cat home. So my expenses were so minimal. I think I paid like some months. I was like, my credit card bill will be like $63 or something crazy, like,

Jamila Souffrant 14:44

wow, yeah.

Anita Dhake 14:45

So every cent went to it.

Jamila Souffrant 14:47

And I'm just amazed when you said that they paid you 1/3 of your salary to travel. I'm just like, Oh my goodness.

Anita Dhake 14:54

I mean, I tell people that and it's like nobody believes me because it's such a crazy crazy thing, but they wanted to keep the rapid catchin up is one of the top firms that work for Skadden Arps, which is one of the top like global law firms in the world. And I just got really lucky, just time and place.

Jamila Souffrant 15:09

And did that year off of traveling. I know you already had this, like mindset that you want to retire early. But did that further solidify it for you?

Anita Dhake 15:16

Yes. 100%. I mean, it was amazing. I did not want to go back to work after i After that year was up because life was just so wonderful. And I was like, I had this life all the time if I wanted it. So it was a pretty, pretty motivating thing.

Jamila Souffrant 15:31

Yeah. So okay, you paid off your debt in one year, you said.

Anita Dhake 15:34

yeah. So. what are your working? So from 2009 to 2010, I traveled when I paid, you know, minimum amounts, then 2010 2011. I had like $95,000 left at that point. And I paid all that off in a year.

Jamila Souffrant 15:47

But with that you being very conscious, very dedicated to not spending a lot of money. So you sacrifice that year to do that. So did you have any investments at that point?

Anita Dhake 15:57

I had my 401k from when I was working as an insurance from the ages 20 to 23. But other than that, I didn't think about investments at all, I was just focused on getting the debt down to zero. And I'm not sure that that would be a great advice to someone now, just because some of my student loans like 3%. So math wise, I could see the argument for not doing it. But just for my sanity, I wanted to be able to say that I was debt free. And that, to me was worth the money I might have lost from investing earlier.

Jamila Souffrant 16:25

And that's the thing, like the emotional part of it is huge, right like that, you know, some people are like, Oh, don't pay off your mortgage early, because you can make more in the market, which Yeah, like, mathematically wise, that makes sense. But a lot of that is emotional. Whereas like, I just don't want that looming over my head, like I want to be able to decrease my fixed expenses, right? And that that's worth more than the market return of x for some people

Anita Dhake 16:47

exactly. Not having to have any student loan payments and not having to worry about like, oh, I need to have some sort of income to pay this off was worth was priceless to me.

Jamila Souffrant 16:56

Yeah. And then you were able to do it in a year, right? Like if this was going to take you like 10 years, even because there's some people who don't earn the income you have. And so you would have to be really serious about it. Like it would still take them a really long time. And so therefore, yeah, of course, you shouldn't wait to start investing. And on the other side for compounding.

Anita Dhake 17:11

Yeah, I think that's absolutely right. Because you're gonna burn out if you, you know, go into the intensity that I did for 10 years. That's just I don't think it's possible. And no, I don't think that's healthy either. For a year I could, you know, anyone can sacrifice anything. But anything longer than that, I think I would have lost my mind a little bit.

Jamila Souffrant 17:29

Now in your real life. So like, while you were doing this, what kept you motivated? So like nowadays, right there, tons of podcasts and blogs. So you're traveling along this? Did you have friends, like who are motivating you like what was that like?

Anita Dhake 17:42

I had a couple of friends that were very early in the days, you know, they didn't have any podcasts or blogs or anything, we just kind of talked about it, to chat from back in the day. And that was super helpful. And I know that they're all like one retired at 29. And one retired at 32. When you know, they're all They're not famous people, you would recognize their names or anything. They were just super motivated. And people just stumbled across each other in real life. And it was like, we talked about this. And when we realized that we were both doing it, it was kind of it was kind of a great motivation. So I'm so glad this is a big community now when people realize it's a normal attainable thing, because when I started and I, I talked about it to like my millennial friends, kind of people thought I was crazy.

Jamila Souffrant 18:22

Yeah. I have to ask those friends that you said, retired that 2931 What did they do?

Anita Dhake 18:29

They were all engineers. So they didn't make quite as much money as me. But you know, they were very focused. And they have their masters that getting their expenses low.

Jamila Souffrant 18:39

Yeah, just helped me with the timeline here, because you just said that you paid off debt from 2000, intended to as 11. So how old were you at that point after like a debt payoff? I was 2727. And then you said, How old were you when you reach financial independence. So your number. So I was

Anita Dhake 18:55

32 when I my last day at the office. And then I took six weeks off, and I took all my paid vacation. And in that time I turned 33. So it was just turning 33. And that was 2015.

Jamila Souffrant 19:07

Right? So like, five, six years from like, almost not much, probably in your 401k because you weren't focusing on it. Right? Then in

Anita Dhake 19:16

2015. I had $690,000 When I quit my job.

Jamila Souffrant 19:20

Right? So let's talk a little bit about what that was like. So I know now that when you paid off all that debt, you can now push all that money into investing. So what were you investing vehicles?

Anita Dhake 19:29

I am a big fan of VTSAX That's my major investments thing. I think that's pretty much the only thing I have I have a little bit of, you know, in a money market account, and I have a little bit of like a bond thing. That's a negligible amount. And the reason that VTS AX is just the total stock market index fund. I'm sure you are very familiar with it.

Jamila Souffrant 19:50

Yeah. So I talked about that. But I always like to go back just in case it's like the first time someone's heard about it or listening to the podcast, right. So it's an index fund. Do you want to just like talk about a little bit more.

Anita Dhake 20:00

just it's the total stock market in total stock market index from from Vanguard, and it has the lowest expense ratio of pretty much any investment out there. So I like to say that I'm betting on civilization. It's every single company you could buy. And as long as civilization continues, you know, my investments will continue to do well. So it's been four years since I retired. And I've spent, you know, however much money I've spent on my expenses, and my income has increased to 925.

Jamila Souffrant 20:27

What do you say? 9590 25? a month. 925,000.

Anita Dhake 20:32

So I had 700,000, when I retired, and now four years later, I have 925,000 When I spend probably 24,000, a year

Jamila Souffrant 20:40

to live. Okay, so let's go back a little bit. So when you were in this investing mode, reaching financial independence, you are assuming maxing out every available tax advantaged account, like what was that? Like if you could break that down?

Anita Dhake 20:52

So I'm terrible at the tax stuff. i should listen to your podcasts. I don't know anything about that. Honestly, I maxed out my 401 K, because that was an easy one to do. And then everything else I just threw into Vanguard and I don't, I don't really pay attention to anything out for that. And so far, it's worked out well. But I know for sure that there are things that I could do tax wise, like, like, there's the, you know, the Roth ladder, or whatever you call it. Yeah, I don't do it all. And I mean, I know you can do like FHA or something. I didn't do any of that stuff. I'm just I'm very lazy when it comes to taxes,

Jamila Souffrant 21:23

ya know, and that's fine. So that's just goes to show like some people like find joy in like optimizing every single thing. I think I'm more like you were I'm like, just put it in Vanguard and like, I don't really think about it again. And then

Anita Dhake 21:36


Jamila Souffrant 21:37

I'm sure there's more things I can be doing. But like, I'd rather be optimizing for my business and making more money versus kind of like saving here or I mean, it's all relative, I think to like, what kind of tolerance or the kind of level of how you want to get into things like that

Anita Dhake 21:51

are great. 100% Yeah, there's so many things that you can do. So just have to find things that you enjoy doing, and do it go from there. Like I really enjoy minimizing my expenses and kind of playing games with myself and like how I can do that, as opposed to like, playing the system and figuring out that.

Jamila Souffrant 22:07

So people listening was like, Well, you know, I'm definitely I'd rather create more income or find a way to like, do something else. Right,

Anita Dhake 22:13

right. High side hustles and stuff, right?

Jamila Souffrant 22:16

Yeah, yeah. Okay. So you were able to accumulate $700,000. So most of that outside of your 401k was then in taxable accounts. Right? Yeah. So it's been four years. You said since you stopped working for years. So how did you know that was time, right? Because some people will say, I'll just work another year, you get on that kind of treadmill, right?

Anita Dhake 22:36

Well, my initial goal was $450,000, which would give me $1,500 a month, and I knew I could live on that. But then I made lockerroom, awkward, Musa Khan meant to live in Sydney, Australia for a while. So I moved to Sydney for two years. And then at the end of the second meant when I was like, Alright, it's time to go back to Chicago, if you want. I was like, No, I think I'm done. I think this is a good natural stopping point for me. So I think if I hadn't done that, it would have been a lot harder to hit a stopping point. So I'm really glad that that happened to me. Because it really is easy to get to the mindset like, oh, it's one more year like every month, I make 13 grand a month. So it's like why not do one more month one more month than I could see getting to the mentality and not knowing when to stop?

Jamila Souffrant 23:18

Yeah, if it just taking like like so for me like the risk I left my well paying job to like venture into this world of entrepreneurship and more freedom and time.

Anita Dhake 23:27

That's awesome, so brave.

Jamila Souffrant 23:29

If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to Or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned, and so much more. Also, whether you are an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes, so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources, and so much more. You can go to journey to launch that comm slash jumpstart to get your guide right now.

Part of me was like, Well, you know, I can like continue working for the next four years and breach it for sure. Or take this risk. And luckily, I had like my baby. So I have three kids. So my third child, wow. Yeah. My third child actually like I if it wasn't for her, I don't know that I would have made the leap as I did. But like I said, I'm not going back to work after I have her. So like that was my deadline versus like if I didn't have like a deadline that was going to happen, God willing, and it did. That was what made me kind of be like, this is where I'm going to stop because I could have been like one more year, one more year, then you do it.

Anita Dhake 24:47

And it's so valuable that you have three kids and you're talking during this podcast. I'm like, that's amazing. I really think that most of the space for FY like engineers, male engineers who are single or who have like more married feel like they don't have to until after they're done. Yeah, fine. So the fact that you're doing this is huge.

Jamila Souffrant 25:03

Yeah. Thank you. And I think too, that's what's also show, which is why I like being on different perspectives, like so right now, right? You're coming from a perspective of earning a lot of money, but you didn't spend a lot of money, right. And you made a lot of sacrifices to do that. And so some people are not in that position yet that they are earning a lot. Some of them are still battling debt. Some of them already have kids. So there's a lot of just like in grain expenses that they're working through in debt, right. But there are different ways. And maybe it won't take them like four or five years, it might take them 15. But I think the important thing here is you can optimize depending on what you want, whether that's your income, or your expenses, and reach something, something some level of happiness and freedom, you don't have to wait to this far out date, you can start making changes today. Absolutely. And

Anita Dhake 25:45

20 years, it's still better than 45. Anything that can show you that you could do it earlier that you can live the life that you want to live at some point. That's huge.

Jamila Souffrant 25:53

Yeah. So you now are living off of how much you said a year,

Anita Dhake 25:56

let's say about $24,000, a year, maybe a little bit less?

Jamila Souffrant 26:00

And how are you getting that income to live.

Anita Dhake 26:03

So I just take it out of my mind BTSA x. So the first couple of years, I had very healthy tech returns. So I had the first year I had it from the United States. And the second year I headed Britain, Australia, because their fiscal years are different. So the first couple years I got there, and then I had cash savings. So this past year was the first year that I took it out of my Vanguard Total Stock Market Index.

Jamila Souffrant 26:24

Yeah. And when it comes to that, right now, you're kind of drawing down on your portfolio. And I saw on your blog that you started working. So I do want to talk about and not full time, but you had to like create you said like systems and something to do. And this is the other side, right? So everyone's like dreaming of the day that I cannot have to go into work for anyone else. And I can literally choose what I do. Right? You're living that life. You've been living this life now for four years, what is it really like?

Anita Dhake 26:51

Now, I'm really glad to talk about that, because it can get really lonely, you get really lost, you have a place in the system when you're working. And when you're not working. I mean, sometimes I think if I died a few days because I don't have a job. So I don't have a job to go into. And like I I don't see everybody every day, it gets a little bit lonely. So you kind of have to make your own system and you have to make your own schedule. Like for me, it took me a while to realize that I really need routine. And without it, I'm a little bit lost. So I have all these systems that I do, like I have this thing called a resolutions chart where I fill in every single day and I have to work out I have to meditate, I have to write for hours, I have to read 50 pages, I have to socialize with somebody. And that's really what drives my life. And I think if I didn't have that I would fall into a pit of depression, because it can get really easy to just, there's no one's expecting you to do anything. So it's easy to not do anything. You have to get that expectation from yourself.

Jamila Souffrant 27:49

Yeah, I think that's hard, right? Like everyone thinks that they want this freedom from like working in general, where it's just like I think actually work like meaningful work that you want to do. So whatever that looks like is important. Like you have to have a reason like I think the this statistic of I don't know the exact one. But people who retired or don't have anything to do like they die faster or something because Oh yeah, yeah,

Anita Dhake 28:11

I just read a book called How Not to Die by a pathologist or a coroner. And she says that purpose in life is the one race where one way you can like live a long time, purpose and having a social social support network. Human beings aren't meant to do nothing and sit around all day, like sitting around kills your body.

Jamila Souffrant 28:29

Yeah, I did want to talk about the resolutions chart, because it's something you invite your viewers to kind of come along with you and do because yeah, I'm still working. So here's the cool thing, right like, and what I try to tell people is that even if you're on the journey, and there's some years to come that you're going to reach this one off goal or the the, you know, this final number, the longest part, you should make it worthwhile and enjoyable, and like find freedom from where you are. So I think like this resolution chart helps people do that. Because you don't have to wait until like this date to do that you can start doing some of the things you want right now. So can you talk a little bit about how even if you have a job, and you can start implementing these things in your life,

Anita Dhake 29:04

I love that you say that too. Because I hate that people think that, Oh, my life is gonna start as soon as I'm retired, it's like, it's the journey that matters. And it's not the end result. Because there really is never going to be an end result. Like, if you want to start living your life now live the life you want to live, just take a while think about what that is. And I think that's the hardest part because it's so easy to just, you know, become a drone and like, do what everyone thinks you're supposed to do. Whereas when you retired, it's like, well, now I have to figure out what I want to do with my life. And so if you can do that while you're working, and you kind of ease into it, like you're doing, you started that podcast a lot earlier. So you like you know that this is what you like doing and this is how you want to fill your time. So the resolution shot for me is kind of like how I grade myself at life. Like I was always pretty good student in school and I really liked getting those A's and now that I don't have a teacher or a boss telling me that I'm doing a good job. I need to be telling myself that I'm doing a good job. So having that chart and saying, okay, like I wrote, you know, 31 days this month, I worked out 31 days, this month for 600 minutes, I read 4000 pages or whatever, just having that accomplishment at the end of the month, so I can see it and tell myself that I'm living the life I want to live. And this is the proof is huge.

Jamila Souffrant 30:19

It's interesting with the whole like, structure, right to so not only purpose, but structure because even as being like, so everyone's like, oh, I want to be my own boss, I want to be an entrepreneur. But even that, right when you wake up, you realize, Wait, like, I give myself my schedule, you realize that it's all on you. Like, there's no one telling you what to do, but yourself. And so you have to create and stick to deadlines, and that's hard for people.

Anita Dhake 30:40

Absolutely. If you're not that type of person who is able to do that for yourself, then it's going to be a very hard, hard thing to do. Like if you need I need external motivation. I need other people's approval. And it's been a really, like, the resolution shard has been the one thing that kept me because like, I feel like that's somebody else looking at my chart. It's future me being like how you lived your days. You know, it's it's like external motivation from my future self.

Jamila Souffrant 31:07

I love that you're honest about you like who you are, right? Because there's some people who need external validation. Like, that's just a naturally part of it. And of course, we'd all want to walk around like, oh, I don't care what people think. And, um, but I feel like we all kind of sometimes have a natural disposition to care more about certain things or not right. And I think sometimes we're like trying to deny that part of yourself and pretend it's not you instead of like working through, like how to help. That's one thing, like, you've messed things up, because you're not being true to who you are. Absolutely. There's

Anita Dhake 31:36

a book called The Four tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, that talks about that. I don't know if you sound like you've heard of it. But I'm definitely an obliger. Like, I thrive on external motivation. But if you're an upholder, and you thrive on internal motivation, I feel like that's the natural entrepreneur. It's all about going down to knowing yourself and knowing how to motivate yourself, how to pass the time to make yourself happy.

Jamila Souffrant 31:57

Yeah. And you wrote this letter. So correct me if I'm wrong, did you get like a part time job? I feel like I read that, what's that?

Anita Dhake 32:05

It's like a part time job in my head. So I had to write for four hours a day, just kind of for myself. I'm my own boss, you know what I mean? And like, I have an LLC. So I like make board meetings and I. So I have a number of jobs. I'm the CEO, I'm legal advisor. I'm the secretary, I'm the featured writers. I have all these jobs. And I like meet with my boss, or just me. And we talk about progress and stuff, which I know it sounds ridiculous, but it really helps me.

Jamila Souffrant 32:31

Yeah, you did this thing where you want yourself or employment letter, which I thought was so neat, because anyone even if you're not retired, or whatever, or entrepreneur, you can do this for yourself. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Anita Dhake 32:43

Honestly, I thought about my ideal job. And I wrote it down. And I gave myself that ideal job. And I've known I've wanted to be a writer, since I was a kid. I've already written one block, and I'm working on my second start actually started five, I finished my first one, I'm just trying to pick one that I don't hate. But it just, it's the act of writing that I love. And just making sure that I do it and the hours in the day to make myself happy, because the joy is in the doing. But it's also the miseries in the doing. Like it's hard to get sit down and make myself write if I don't feel like it. And for me, the job, the employment letter is making sure that I do it even when I don't feel like it. Because at the end of the day, I'm much happier when I'm doing the things I feel like I ought to be doing, than when I just sit on my couch and do nothing and smoke weed, you know?

Jamila Souffrant 33:27

Yeah. So you basically wrote a letter to yourself saying, Hey, you wrote it. So you could tell me what you said. But like, if you don't do the job, you'll be like, measured on your success at the end of the year? Like,

Anita Dhake 33:39

Yes, exactly. So I kind of had I wrote it to coincide with my, by the end of my lease. So basically, if I don't have my second book done and draft for I'm ready for an editor, then I have to go look for a job because it's been three years at that point. So I published my first book, and I just need to know, I need to get myself a deadline, because I don't have one from somebody else. So it's a self imposed deadline. And I'm pretty sure I'm gonna make it because I write every day and I just have to pick a book and not hate it. Keep editing it until I that hate it.

Jamila Souffrant 34:08

Yeah, that's, that's awesome. So is there a reason why you just you know what, though, but like, I love the freedom that I have, even though like I have to create all this structure, you still choose to do it this way versus finding some other thing you want to do.

Anita Dhake 34:18

Right now I love my life. Like honestly, every day is so fun. Now, I just got back from a month and a half in Europe. And I could do anything I want whenever I want. And the freedom is amazing. So I do love my life, then there are days where I feel like I don't have a play from the system. And I miss being a normal person and I consider getting a job. So I've definitely applied for some jobs like jobs. It just sounded fun, like not for the money just like I applied to be a nude art model. And I applied to do a senior counsel for a marijuana company and stuff like that. So it's more about am I living the life that I want to live and just keep reevaluating that because that's not always going to stay the same. And I don't want to just drift through I want to make sure that I'm living intentionally.

Jamila Souffrant 35:02

Right. But you have the options.

Anita Dhake 35:04

Yes, exactly. It's it. That's the big part of it. It's like, I'm working because I want to work. I'm doing this because I want to do it and not because I feel like I have to.

Jamila Souffrant 35:13

And the other thing that you talked about on your blog, you're not looking to shy away from which I really appreciate. It's just like the mental health part of this journey.

Anita Dhake 35:21


Jamila Souffrant 35:22

Can you share about that? You know, I'm no psychologist, you know, I've no degree but I feel like from my own personal experience, and then seeing others, like, we all kind of have our thing and things that trigger us or moods, I know me, I feel like definitely the seasons change. We'll probably like some something seasonal happens for me when it's winter. And it's cold in New York City. So we might think, and yes, I'm not saying like, the job is not the reason why most people are not happy with their life. But we'll just place it on the job, why they're happy. They're like, well, wouldn't when I'm financially independent, or like, I'm not working here, then I'll be happy, not realizing that like the inner work in mental health, it doesn't matter what you do, whether you reach financial independence, whether you have a million dollars or pay off your debt, that feeling is always probably going to be there or be magnified, actually, even more. So can you can you talk a little bit about that?

Anita Dhake 36:11

Yeah, of course. So I've been struggling with my mental health since I was five years old, I've been clinically depressed for as long as I can remember. And it's always been an easy thing to load off on with what's because I'm stressed with school, it's because I have this job that I hate, it's because so and so just broke up with me or whatever. But then when you're retired, and you have nothing else to blame it on, it can either amplify it, because like I said, if I sat on my couch and smoked weed all the time, I would be so depressed. And I know that about myself. Retiring was one of the major things that I think I could do to treat my depression. Like now I'm living the life. Like, I kind of have the mindset, if I have to be here, if I have to keep living, then I'm gonna live it on my terms. I'm going to do my life my own way. And so waking up every day, knowing that I'm living my life, exactly how I want to live, it has helped tremendously. And also, of course, on medication. And I read all these books on stoicism and like how to change your attitude and what you can control and what you can't control. And I mean, it's an it's an ongoing battle. But I'm a million times better than I was before. And I think you know, it's it just the intentionality about it helps a lot.

Jamila Souffrant 37:17

Yeah, thanks for sharing that. And I think too, for anyone listening. So how what made you I know, you said, you were just been dealing with this since you were five, but at what point do you say, You know what, I probably need to get help. It's not just something I can deal with myself.

Anita Dhake 37:28

Yeah, I think I was 20. When I first started getting help. It was like when my first boyfriend broke up with me. And I was kind of rock bottom. And I started taking medication and going to therapy, and I've been on and off that on my entire life. But I, I've kind of gotten to the point where I know when I'm feeling bad, and when I need to go get help. And when I can do it by myself and when I'm fine. So it's interesting. It's absent flows. Just knowing yourself and knowing the cycles and knowing that this isn't the end of the world. I feel like crap today, but it's not going to be permanent. And that's that's just experience that's just living life and knowing yourself.

Jamila Souffrant 38:03

Mm hmm. And then just like the importance of even if you ever have to spend money to see someone, yeah, medication like that might be something that you may need to do.

Anita Dhake 38:13

Yeah, it's money well spent, in my opinion. Yeah. Because I was taught myself when I spend money, this is what money's there for, to make my life easier to make my life better. And I happily spend money when I know that it'll make my life better.

Jamila Souffrant 38:25

Yeah, I love that. I love that. And whatever that better is for you that you're listening. It's like, that's the hardest part is figuring out what that better is. Right? I was reading this book. So I'm finishing it now. And it's called the geometry of wealth. And it talks about wealth being funded contentment, essentially, like it's being able to fund your life and a good life at that. And hopefully I said that, right. But being rich, it's like you're on this constant treadmill of wanting more. And having wealth is really just a matter of being able to fund what you want your like your contentment. And like that's where most people don't know what their content level like what actually makes them happy. Like they like kind of spend it on things that actually don't long term improve anything just short term, which is fine, but not for a sustainable kind of happiness

Anita Dhake 39:13

book. Sounds fascinating and put it on my to read list. Yeah, so

Jamila Souffrant 39:15

definitely, it's a good book, probably we'll have to invite the author on for that. But I'm glad you're sharing that and you did bring up so stoicism, you actually had a piece where I was like enjoying it because you had like five takeaways about stoicism that people can apply to their financial journey. And I did want to kind of summarize some of that because I think it might just be helpful as an approach for people to stay committed or motivated on this journey.

Anita Dhake 39:42

Yeah, absolutely. I read a book it was called the guide to the good life. I consider stoicism a real religion for people who are not religious. It's a philosophy of life on how to live, how to be tranquil how to not let outside influences influence your mood too much and how have as much control over your outlook as possible. And I love it. I'm obsessed with stoicism I read as much as I can about it now. But I had five quotes that I think were really good, not needing wealth, it's more valuable than wealth itself. I really liked stoics value their freedom and they are therefore reluctant to do anything that will give others power over them. But we seek social status. To give other people power over us. We have to do things calculated to make them admire us. So it's more about knowing what's important to you, as opposed to keeping up with the Joneses. And I think that's the hardest part about life is just following a path of least resistance. A stoic disparages wealth might become wealthier with most individuals whose principal goal is that is it acquisition because the stoic has single mindedness and self discipline. There's two more quotes for most people experiencing delight requires a change in circumstances, they might, for example, have to require a new consumer gadget. Stoics, in contrast, can experience delight without any such change, because it can practice negative visualization. And negative visualization is just picturing having something that you don't like, and then realizing we don't have it and kind of experiencing that joy. So I do that a lot. This is gonna sound really gruesome and grim. But like, my mom is my favorite person in the world. So I know one day, I'm going to lose her. So occasionally, I tell myself, Oh, my mom is dead. And I kind of go through that emotions, like how it feels to lose her. And then I go through the happy emotion of realizing that she's still here. And I have to kind of makes you appreciate what you have while you have it. So I think I find that so valuable to do just for everything, I mean, your health, your, all your possessions, everything's on loan to, and eventually the universe is going to take it back. So just appreciate you you have what you have it, visualizing you not having it and how that emotion feels and getting used to it, and it will theoretically help you with life.

Jamila Souffrant 41:54

Yeah, that is so key. And I've never consciously done it. Like said, that's like, I'm gonna sit and do that. But I definitely do that. Like, I think she having kids, oh my gosh, as parents, the idea like they say like, your heart now walks outside of you. So like, there's things that can happen. And then the more you have, and the more people you have to worry about, like in the world. Sometimes for me, I'm like realizing, like, wait a second, like they're here. Like I have them, you know, like, it's okay. Or when I wake up from like a nightmare, or something that's like a unsettling dream. And it's so upsetting. And then I wake up, I'm like, Wait, that did not happen. Thank God, you know, like, that's that feeling?

Anita Dhake 42:26

That's exactly it. 100% like, this is their childhood. This is the white point you're supposed to be enjoying the good or the bad. This is it right now. Just keep reminding yourself that this is life, and you're not waiting for something to happen. And the final quote is just what we talked about earlier, seek brands who share our values and learn from how they live their life. I think good friends are really at the point of like, if you live a lot longer, you live a lot happier if you find your social circle. And that's another reason why I love this. We're early retirement thing is such a big, big thing now. It's so easy to find people who are into that mindset and have so many friends now like my started this journey, I had two or three that did it. Now I have dozens of people that I talked to regularly who are instrumental in the FYI mindset and understand why people put experiences over things and aren't buying things just to buy things and aren't keeping up with the Joneses. And it's it's made life so much better having people who know that understand that.

Jamila Souffrant 43:21

Yeah, yeah, I always say that social media is people will complain about it a lot. And yeah, there's some bad things about it. But it's good because you can normally find people and connect with people that you normally like did not even know existed. And so I think that's like definitely something amazing. Like we live in a time, where even if in real life, you don't have people that get it. You can connect and find groups and the support of people who like you can travel on this journey with together it's so important.

Anita Dhake 43:48

Absolutely. Like I think it'd be so lonely to do by yourself and to have everyone think that you're kind of a weirdo for doing it. Like you could have their freedom. But if you don't have the social context, then I think it wouldn't be a sustainable journey.

Jamila Souffrant 44:01

Yeah, and I think people discount that so much. Like they're like, you know, like, Yes, everyone keeps saying I need to find a circle that I can ascend with or that could connect with, but it seems so kind of minut for some people when it's like really not like I've been in situations where like, even whether with business, or whether it's in masterminds for business, or in communities like this, where I'm talking to you and I'm like, wow, like life. And when I'm outside of it, right when like the real world kind of like catches up to me again, I'm like, then I get back to maybe a new way of thinking and then the only way that it pulls me out that I know that wait a second. This is not the norm the norm that I want is on this side. It's because I run in those circles again and it helps written vigorous me to like my goals.

Anita Dhake 44:42

Yeah, like meeting people who have done it to me and people who are trying to do it and make people realize it's possible makes you realize that it's possible and it's it's invaluable.

Jamila Souffrant 44:50

Yeah, so I need to I'm gonna share like the links to some of the blogs that we kind of mentioned, especially those five quotes, I want people to like read it, and so please let me know Wanna know where they can find more about you how they can find out about your first book, and then maybe like what they can look out for in the future?

Anita Dhake 45:06

Okay, great. Yeah, my blog is the power of The name of my book is operation enough, I got how to retire remarkably early. It's on Amazon, or wherever you buy blood chronic books or regular books, on bookstores, unfortunately, but it's online anywhere you can find them. Yeah. And I'm my online contact where a patient is on my blog, and I love getting emails, and I love talking to people. So yeah, I'm I'm out there.

Jamila Souffrant 45:32

Right. I will share those links in the episode show notes for this episode. Thank you so much again, and either for sharing your story with us

Anita Dhake 45:39

for sure. Thank you for having me on. This is great.

Jamila Souffrant 45:41

I really hope you liked that conversation with Anita, I love talking to her. I really felt like I was talking to an old friend, just peeling back the layers of what financial independence and what early retirement life is like, right? Like, what does that look like? Because you may envision that you want to basically not work. But how do you spend your days? How do you still feel motivated and inspired in the world, right, because we are tied to what we do. And I do believe that work is important. And so I hope that this gives you some insight onto the journey to financial independence and early retirement and what they might look like for you. And then you actually got some actionable tips too, that you can apply to your own life. And then as always, if you are listening to this in Apple podcasts, please don't forget to rate review and subscribe. Make sure you subscribe wherever you listen to this episode, because then you won't miss an episode coming out and we release episodes every Wednesday. So you can always depend that could be a brand new episode coming out every Wednesday. And of course, don't forget, I'm on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at journey to launch. Don't forget to tag me when you're listening. Take a screenshot, share it on your main feed, share it with your friends, text them the episode, share the knowledge with the people that you love.

Outro 47:03

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to Or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you're not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this in Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review. Number two follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch. Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journeyers

Transcribed by

Love this episode? Share it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

free assessment

Unlock your future financial path.

Take the quiz to get a shockingly accurate description of where you are and where to go on your journey to Financial Independence.