Success Stories: Single Parent Saves Over $310,000 By Age 38

Money brings us the story of Daren Fike. Age 38 at the time of the article, Fike had experienced unexpected tragedy when his wife died of leukemia in 2003, leaving him the single parent of their 16-month-old daughter. Despite these challenges, Fike had accumulated over $290,000 in retirement savings and another $24,000 in liquid savings (which he had set aside as his emergency fund).

How’d he do it? His friends call it the “Fike Strategy”:

For years Daren has kept track of his every expenditure in little notebooks. Every 15 days, which coincide with his pay, he totals the amounts. At that time, anything left over in his checking account goes immediately into his savings. The idea is to never have any money left in his checking account at the end of the 15 day period.

This is sort of a manual or "semi-automated" version of the automatic saving and investing that our family has been doing—and that I heartily endorse.

Fike has also been frugal, making sure he doesn’t have extra weight in his car to save gas and getting the most from his cars—putting 185,000 miles so far on his daily commuter car. Regarding money, Fike says it’s “almost like a necessary evil. You have to pay attention to it. The earlier you pay attention to it, the better off you’re going to be.”

Fike’s priority is spending time with his daughter, and he’s already been teaching her about money and earning interest!


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