What would you do if all your living expenses were covered by your investments? Team drivers Josh and Sidney Sudmeyer are hoping to find out soon. The Farmington, MO couple is working toward financial independence and using their truck driving jobs to accelerate their savings.
Many people think financial independence is just for the very wealthy. For example, “if I won the lottery I would never have to work again.” However, there is another way. It’s untraditional and a little uncomfortable, but attainable. Especially if you are young.
The key to gaining financial independence, without a lottery windfall, is to keep your living expenses low, increase your income and invest every dollar you can. Then, use time and compounding interest to your benefit. The goal is to reach your FI (financial independence) number. Meaning, that your passive investments earn enough each month to cover your living expenses, giving you the freedom to decide if you want to work or not.
Josh and Sidney started their financial independence journey in 2020 right before the pandemic. They had -$1,000 in the bank, maxed out credit cards, and credit scores that hovered in the 400 range. Fast forward two years and they now have around six figures in savings, no credit card debt, and 700+ credit scores.
“Some people say we are lucky. But this was by design. We picked trucking because we knew we could get into it easily and make a lot of money. Our two CDLs cost us less than $20,000 and we’ve made more money in the last two years than we ever could have made with the $40,000 in college debt I have,” says Josh.
Before getting a CDL, Josh graduated with a degree in computer science. However, he found it difficult to find a job in rural Missouri. In the back of his mind, he always thought trucking would be a good job for him.
So, in 2020 the goal-oriented couple set out to dig themselves out of debt and save for their future. Josh graduated from MTC Truck Driver Training at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO, and went to work for a Midwest-based carrier. They packed up their belonging and moved into the truck.
By living in their truck and having Josh’s dad’s house as their home base, the couple was able to keep their living expenses low. “The first 18 months in the truck we lived very modestly. Josh and I never stayed in hotels, cooked in the truck, and just drove,” remembers Sidney. “We would set goals like making enough money to pay all our bills and save $100/day. We reached that in the first three months. So, we set another goal. We were reaching our goals faster than anticipated.”
One might think their new adventure was easy. But on the contrary, it was grueling. “After the first year we almost gave up,” recalls Sidney. “It was a long, cold, dark winter. I think it snowed something like 65 straight days. We never went home and just kept working.”
Josh and Sidney had several conversations about their goals and knew that the longer they could stay in the truck the better they would be. “There are opportunity costs for everything. Not everyone is willing to make the sacrifice. For us, we can save so much because we don’t have a home, cars, insurance, etc. However, that also leads to burnout,” says Josh.
The couple made the decision to spend some of their paycheck each month on creature comforts like hotel rooms, restaurants, and entertainment. “If spending an extra $600 a month keeps us in the truck a few more years, then it is worth it,” says Josh.
“We invested in a few things to make life easier,” comments Sidney. “Like a TV, microwave, Xbox, iPad. We also try to enjoy the journey. If we have time and are near something fun, we will spend the money on an Uber and go to the Zoo or out on a date night.”
The couple was saving and investing an impressive 80% of their earnings. In March of this year, Sidney graduated from MTC at Mineral Area College with her CDL and joined Josh as a team driver. With this addition, their savings and investments are on steroids.
Josh and Sidney’s goal now is to retire from trucking in 2-3 years with more than 7 figures in investments and enough passive income to pay for their lifestyle out of the truck. “We always said we will do something until it isn’t fun anymore. Once we are finished with trucking, we will do something else that we enjoy,” says Josh.
Once the Sudmeyer’s trucking adventure is over, they may buy some land, purchase storage units, or start a business. The future is whatever they desire, and they have truck driving and a lot of hard work to thank for it.
Inspired by Sidney and Josh’s story? Learn more about getting your CDL and starting a new career as a professional truck driver by applying below.