SoFi Member Investor Profiles: ‘I’m on Track to Retire Early’

So many people talk about retiring early, but who’s actually walking the walk? Michael Nelson, for one. He’s a SoFi Member and financial analyst in Portland, OR, who’s making strides toward financial freedom before age 60. How did he do it?

Michael’s Investing Story

First, Michael took care of the financial basics: He paid off excess debt, and set up his 401(k) so he got some free money (aka the employer match). Then, he aimed for a well-diversified portfolio of investments. Read on to learn about his plan and how you can join him on the path to financial independence.

In a way, I’ve been investing since I was a kid.

My first investments were savings bonds, because my grandparents loved sending them to me. I held onto them to help pay for college. But I didn’t really start investing on my own until I landed my first job and had to pick investments for my 401(k).

Then I started thinking ahead.

After I finished paying off my student loans, I had some extra cash on hand — so I started investing in a SoFi account. I decided I really wanted to figure out how to retire early. It’s a big challenge, so it helps that I’ve had to take a lot of finance classes for my career.

I’m not afraid to be aggressive.

I invest in a very diversified portfolio, and I try to have some money in all different types of assets. My goal is to have some low-risk, high-return investments, and also some that are high risk.

Balance the risks and the rewards.

I enjoy trying to pick winning stocks on my own, and maybe make some big gains. That doesn’t always happen, and I don’t enjoy losing. But since I’m pretty young, I can take chances and not worry about the blips in the market. As they say, the market always comes back.

Savor the wins!

By age 34, I managed to pay off all my debt (not counting my mortgage).

Be strategic.

When I got my first job, I enrolled in the company 401(k) right away, and made sure to contribute enough to get the full match. That was a no brainer. It’s free money! Also, I selected aggressive investments for that account — “aggressive” means potentially more growth, but also more risk — so, hopefully, that might also help me retire early.

One misconception I had about investing…

It’s not just for rich people. Anyone can do it!

Want my advice?

It’s never too early to start. I wish I had started even sooner, because I probably could have made even more. But now, being as aggressive as I can be, I can hopefully retire before I’m 60.

The Takeaway

Imagine being financially secure enough to retire a full five or maybe even 10 years early! It’s an ambitious goal, and that challenge has helped Michael organize his entire financial plan — from paying off debt to investing with a nice long time horizon in mind.

Michael admits to having a more aggressive investing style, but he also points out that his investments are diversified, which may offer some balance to his higher-risk choices. The best thing about investing, of course, is that you can make the choices that best suit your investing goals, style, risk comfort, and time frame. It’s easy to get started by opening an account with SoFi Invest®. There’s no time like the present to start thinking about the future.

Learn More

SoFi Member responses are from the SoFi Ambassador survey conducted in July 2021. All responses are published with the permission of the SoFi Member, and have been edited for grammar and clarity by SoFi editors. SoFi Ambassadors earn rewards for participating in the Ambassador Program.

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