The Beginning of The Green Swan

The Green Swan - Book Cover

The Beginning of The Green Swan

Hello again, everyone. I have a big announcement this week, in the coming months I will be publishing my book, The Green Swan: Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach! I can’t wait to share it with everyone. As part of the big announcement, I want to share a bit about the book and also provide an excerpt from Chapter 3: The Beginning of The Green Swan.

In The Green Swan: Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach you will discover:

  • A full discussion on the three key principles of The Green Swan way of life and road to financial independence and early retirement
  • Four tips for successful investing
  • How to envision retirement and how much money you will need to get there
  • As well as other tips on how to navigate increasing healthcare expenses, buying a home, the cost of kids, investing in 529 plans, and more

The book will also include multiple case studies to help you navigate the path of The Green Swan as well as my personal experiences living The Green Swan way of life.

I can’t wait to publish and share it with everyone. Below is an excerpt from one of the chapters. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Excerpt from The Green Swan: Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach:

Chapter 3

The Beginning of The Green Swan

Looking back on things now, I realize I began making Green Swan type decisions in late high school. When working with my high school counselor, I realized I had options available to earn college credit for high school classes. They also allowed me a leave of absence during school hours to go to the local university and take on-campus classes. This was at no cost to me (besides the books) and the classes would also count toward my high school credits. I thought to myself, you kidding me? This is an easy decision. A no cost way of getting a jump start on college while still in high school. I ended up getting 12 college credit hours before graduating high school! 

Then, when I started college, I began making some observations. While I had to pay for much of my own living costs, similar to my roommates, I noticed they were constantly spending money going out to eat for lunch and dinner. I quickly realized how costly that ends up being and tried to find other ways to save money as well. While The Green Swan would advise saving that money to invest, at that point in my life I was looking to save money to spend on beer for the weekend!

I continued to work through college with part time jobs. After my second year I got an internship to help prepare myself, and provide additional skills, for when I graduate. I also was taking winter break and summer courses to graduate early, which didn’t end up being too hard since I came in with a significant number of college credits already. 

After my internship I only had one year left of school. The Autumn of my last year I started looking for full-time jobs. I ended up getting a great job offer in December, but the company wanted to fill the position right away rather than wait until May when I graduated. Making it more complicated, the job was an hour away from my university. But ultimately I was able to schedule my remaining classes I needed to graduate on Tuesday & Thursday and the employer was flexible with me. They allowed me to work just 30 hours a week until I graduated which I was able to reach by driving to work Mon-Wed-Fri working 10 hour days.

Once I graduated college, I began working full time. I was paid a starting salary of ~$38K. Not fully understanding what type of lifestyle this salary would allow me to live on, I started tracking my expenses. I rented a low cost apartment and packed lunches to work. After tracking my expenses for the next couple years, I began getting a true picture of how much it took for me to live comfortably. That’s about the time when I began focusing on areas where I could lower my cost of living, but still maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

And likewise, I began thinking of skills I would need to continue to further my career. I began taking accounting classes in the evenings at a local college. After taking a number of additional accounting classes (almost enough to earn a second degree), I began a night and weekend MBA program.

All the extra income I was saving every year I was immediately tucking away in investment accounts. I took advantage of the employer sponsored 401k plan and company match as well as IRA investments.

Years went by and so it continued. After I finished one thing, I began looking for the next opportunity to advance my career. I was doing my best to work harder, work smarter, save more, and now I’m sitting here at age 30 on a fast track toward financial independence by my mid-30s and retiring comfortably by age 40. 

And so the genesis of The Green Swan had begun.


Let me know what you think of the excerpt from Chapter 3 – The Beginning of The Green Swan from my book set to be published this summer titled The Green Swan: Work Harder, Work Smarter, Retire Earlier and Find Your Beach.

In the coming weeks I will share another excerpt from the book, revealing a “Big Idea” and challenging you to “work harder and work smarter”.  Next week’s post will share how I saved green by going green, and how you can too.

The Green Swan


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  1. The excerpt is really good. The excerpt itself gave me a good picture of where you were and where you have gone. The flow of thought is good and the easy to understand. Your story is a story that many people can relate to (e.g. juggling work and study, pursuing graduate education). It clearly shows your desire to have financial independence.

    I can’t wait to see the book.

    1. Thanks Practical Saver, I appreciate the feedback. I’m hoping many people will be able to relate to it. While we all have different back-stories, we can each get to where we want to go with a deliberate approach, goals, and hard work. The path won’t be easy, I had second thoughts all the time, but things tend to work out in time. You can’t improve your position in life overnight!

  2. It is interesting that you’re advocating for both work harder AND work smarter. I’m a believer that almost anyone can succeed by doing more of both, so I’m looking forward to see more from this book.

    Plus, props for going through the process of creating a book! That sounds like quite an achievement.

    1. Definitely have to work harder and smarter, I don’t think you can divorce the two. Working hard is great, but you could find yourself digging your way to China when you could just fly. And to me, working smarter, but not harder, just sounds like cutting corners. So that is the rationale for advocating for both, that’s the way I was raised, that’s what I’ve done all my life, and that’s what I think is the best way to succeed in life.

      I hope you enjoy the book once it is available! Thanks for the comment!

      The Green Swan

  3. Best of luck with your book, Green Swan! I went through the same process a couple years ago (completely unrelated book topic) and know how much work goes into publishing a book. It’s both a fun and sometimes frustrating process. 🙂

    1. Thanks Steve! It is a very exciting yet daunting process, that is for sure. Lots of work! I look forward to publishing and making it available to everyone.

      The Green Swan

  4. I happened upon your site through Frugalwoods. I am so impressed with your knowledge and how well you have accomplished your life so far. I am retired and did not come to frugality until after I retired and realized I needed to cut expenses if I wanted to make it on my benefits. I am on the right track now and learning from all you younger folks. Wish I had gotten smarter sooner but here is hoping your website and book will help other young folks to get on the right track sooner.

    1. Hi Donna, I’m glad you were able to find my site. Thanks for connecting sand sharing your story. We all have to start somewhere. I think it’s only a minority of folks who ever take control of there finances unfortunately, so we all need to spread the word and help others out.

      Thanks again for stopping by, hope to see you back soon.

      The Green Swan

    1. That is great news Rudy! Unfortunately I don’t have pre launch orders available but I’ll be officially launching it via e-book Monday, June 6th.

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