Hi, my name is Michael Quan.
I am a dedicated family man, financial coach, and best-selling author of The F.I.R.E. Planner (released May 4, 2021).
My passion is helping others to achieve financial freedom and live intentionally.
Why I Created This Site
I reached financial independence (F.I.) in my 30s and retired early (R.E.) from a traditional career when I was 36. This was made possible through a combination of aggressive saving & investing, entrepreneurship, and real estate.
However, none of this would have been possible without a positive mindset. I attribute this to great parents, mentors, coaches, and of course, some luck and grace from up above.
Now it’s my turn to help others to become financially alert. This means openly sharing the knowledge, strategies, and beliefs that can fuel financial freedom for life.
I’m originally from the Los Angeles area, and now call sunny San Diego my home.
I co-founded an I.T. services company when I was 25 years old and wore many hats, including CFO and President. We had humble beginnings but managed to build a profitable service company over 10 years. We eventually expanded nationally before selling it to a larger service provider. I spent a year and a half with the new company, but a 9-5 corporate job definitely wasn’t to my liking. So, I negotiated a generous severance package in 2013 and dove headfirst into early retirement!
Just so you know, early retirement isn’t all roses and sunshine… it certainly has challenges. I will definitely discuss these in this blog.
My FIRE Life
These days I use the term “early retirement” loosely because now that I don’t need to work a corporate job, I tend to work even more! But, at least it’s work of my choosing and on my own terms. I believe a FIRE life is all about the freedom to choose. (I’ll leave it up to you if think I’m retired or not.)
I am a lifelong student, always seeking knowledge and ways to grow. As an investor, I am constantly looking for a better return while minimizing risk. Real estate has been good to me and I continue to focus on single-family homes, syndications, and most recently STRs (short-term rentals).
Now that my kids are in primary school, I’ve shifted some of my priorities to writing a book, launching a financial freedom mastermind group, podcasting, and definitely more fishing. I love financial coaching because I get to see people shift the entire direction of their lives with a few key decisions and “aha” moments.
I am happily married to my wife (Mrs. J) of 17+ years. We met at University on a blind date of all things! She is an incredibly passionate teacher and well-loved by her students. (Interesting side note: those who love their job are typically NOT interested in the “RE” side of the F.I.R.E. equation… my wife included)
We have two wonderful children – Little K, our daughter, is quite outspoken and independent. And, Little L, our son, is compassionate and fun-loving.
My hope is that this site will offer your inspiration, encouragement, and tangible resources on your path to financial freedom and/or F.I.R.E.
I don’t take this privilege lightly and would love for you to join the Financially Alert community via my weekly insider’s newsletter and/or Facebook group.
I’ve been blessed to have my story and/or strategies featured in several larger publications which you can find here – https://www.financiallyalert.com/press.
Here’s a clip of a LIVE news interview I did with CBS8 in San Diego. (Can you tell public speaking was one of my biggest fears before?)
Libra I first heard about your term FIRE from Jim Wang. I am 87 now and retired at age 60. When my first husband passed after his 4th heart attack at age 55, I realized that i was now on my own at age 50. I had been purchasing tax free munis. with really nice, normal int. rates but was not in the stock market. The Ira was started just a few years before I finally retired and the Roth after I had retired so I started a Roth Rollover Conversion all stocks and started to move funds as I could afford to pay the taxes into the Roth.. That is my 2 streams of income. Problem is–When Obama decided to run up the national debt and interest rates fell to lows never seen before since the formation of the republic of the USA and they have stayed there. It did not help when Obama forced General Motors into bankruptcy and gave the largest corporation in the World 90 days to complete the bankruptcy. I had 50K in G.M. bonds. The bonds were sold and the promise to bondholders was broken for the first time in the history of the USA. Obama became for a short period of time the owner of Gen. Mtrs. and I lost $3500 per year in income plus principle as did other pensioners. Obama was able to sell those bonds and the funds he received were paid out to the U.A.W. United auto Workers Union for his campaign. I think it should be illegal for Union pension funds to be loaned to politicians for their election.. Years later G.M. put a handful of their common stock into my account and most of the time there is no dividend and all of their so called future distributions have been cancelled. I surely enjoyed reading your short Bio. and congratulations on your amazing successes both as an entrepreneur and a father and Husband.
Thank you, Francis, for stopping by and sharing your story. Congrats on a successful 27 year retirement so far and explaining how you navigate it. I say successful despite your setbacks because you’ve persisted and are still moving forward. Sorry to hear about the GM troubles. That doesn’t sound fair, and yet the government has the power to do this. So, great example of why diversification is important. Good for you for investing into your Roth, even if it was at 55. Stay blessed.
I had gone through your story, it is very impressive, and touch my heart. I am now keeping doing it, but it seems in the dark way as I am still employed to save my life and family. As your statement, you are really humble to keep yourself to be 3Ls( Lifelong learner) and I’ll need some means to be a FIRE man in the upcoming year. Lastly, I am really appreciated for your job and kindness to guide the ways for global people. Love from Samrith Ek, Cambodia
Thanks for your comment, Samrith. I think you’re doing great. There’s nothing wrong with being employed so long as it makes you happy and gives you the opportunity to grow. I do remember you are an entrepreneur, so all it takes is one great hit to change everything for the better. Take care my friend and hope to see you in San Diego again one day. 🙂
I was looking for reviews on Stessa and found yours, and then some after reading your ‘About Me’. I truly enjoyed reading your journey. I have to say, we have pretty much the same goal and aspiration in life. The only difference is I retired(maybe resigned coz not qualified to retire) or rather got out of the rat race “older” than you at the age of 48. I wished I found out about investing in Real Estate sooner. Bummer! School did not teach me anything about as you said, “financial basics”. I am like everyone else, sort of brainwashed by the antiquated belief of go-to-school-and-work-til-you-die type of system. Anyway, I thought I’ll drop so comments here. Thanks for sharing your life’s financial independence journey. Well done!
Thanks for the kind words, Rey. Good for you exiting the rat race also. 48 is still quite young! It all depends on who you hang out with. 😉
Do you have a topic blog on Asset Protection? I am interested to know more about the subject. TIA.
Bro! Great website. I’ll be following you on your journey. I’d love to get my site on your level. I’m working on my blog. Keep it going man. You’re awesome!
Thanks, Chad. Keep at it!
Hi am Thomas. How do I subscribe to your contents? Thanks
Hi Thomas, thanks for your interest. I added you to the list, but you’ll need to still confirm your sign up when it comes to your email. Thanks!
I came across your story and am inspired to see how you are using your God given gifts to bless others.
I’m hoping for some input. We are at a financial crossroads and so far noone has had a viable suggestion to help us. Briefly our daughter was diagnosed with leukemia 4 years ago and had a less than 1% chance of survival. She spent 51 weeks to the day in hospital after having a bone marrow transplant. My husband and I helped rehabilitate her as she was in a wheelchair after being bed ridden for 10 months after a sepsis episode almost took her life. Thank God she made it!!! My husband and I took almost 2 years off work and he had to change careers entirely as what he was doing could expose our immune compromised daughter to chemicals. He went back to school and will be starting his apprenticeship hopefully soon. We unfortunately have gotten into alot of debt and do not have enough equity in our home to refinance and as my husband is self employed it has been an issue. My question is what is your recommendations for investments (however small) and debt repayment and savings rebuilding as we are literally starting from scratch again (spent all our savings when our daughter was in the hospital and do not have the option to sell our home for at least 2 years). I am really hopeful for some advice to point us in the right direction. Many thanks,
Hi Heather, I commend you and your husband for your efforts and persistence. No doubt those were trying years and you should feel proud of your selflessness and love. I’m so happy to hear that she made it okay. I’ll message you offline in a bit.
Love your story, journey and attitue. My family have and I are on a similar FIRE journey over here in Australia.
Cheer Cam & Trish
Thank you, Cam & Trish. You have a beautiful family and I love that you’re sharing your journey together.
Love your story! Can’t wait to dig into the content you have here since I’m new on your site. My wife and I also lived in San Diego for about 4 years – I already miss it! Anyway I especially agree with your sentiment of “As long as you are living your life to your highest potential, with purpose, and gratitude – you are already wealthy.”
That’s my thought process too. I’m still in the trenches working toward FI, but stories like yours and others continue to inspire me and remind me that I will get there too!
Thank you, Zack. Keep at it and enjoy your FI journey. 🙂
Very inspiring story !!!!
Hi Michael! A great story worth reading. I am 56 and still working. I plan to work until 68 for financial reason. I want to learn what you know.
Nice to have you here, Nieves.
I have given my email address and have subscribed. I would like to see and use the Net Worth Allocation Calculator , Money map template and cash flow spread sheet.
Please forward them as attachments to my email address .It is not clear to me how to access them.
MJ, have you received my email yet? You should have gotten an email shortly after signing up. The email should have the link to the resources you noted. Let me know if you have any trouble accessing it.
Thank you for sharing your story! I’m also into Real Estate Investments, thought I’d come here and say Hi. If there’s anyway I can be of service let me know.
Nice to meet you, Lee. It’s tough to beat a well purchased REI. ?
Hi! Inspiring story! I have 3 young men in college this year. What is your #1 bit of advice to introduce the concept of FIRE to them? Where should they begin their investigation into it? Maybe a TR book for Christmas!
Hi Chrisa, if your son’s like podcasts, ChooseFI is a great entryway into the concept of FIRE. If they are into reading, Jim Collin’s book, The Simple Path to Wealth, is an excellent introduction to the over concepts. And, if you want a quick introduction, I’ve written an extensive guide about FIRE you can find here.
TR books for Christmas are always fantastic gifts. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad to see you giving back, I truly believe that to be one of the end goals in life. I started my own journey about two years ago and started investing last year. Although I’m already 35, I hope to retire at about the same age as my father which was 55, preferably sooner ofcouse 🙂
I’ll be following you along!
Thanks for dropping by! Best of luck to you on your journey. 55 is still relatively young these days. 🙂
I really like your posts. I really liked the one about top 10 FIRE blogs. I got started because of financial samurai doing my own blog. Love doing it!
Blogging is a great way to share ideas and dialogue with others. Glad you love doing it, GBM!
Hey Michael, just discovering your blog today. Congrats on the success! I love the FI community, but I’ve struggled to find and learn from someone that has a similar life situation to our own. You seem to fit the bill! We’re married 10 years, 35 years old, kid #3 due 1 week from today, about $1.2M in net worth and around $100k annual expenses. I look forward to reading and learning from your experience!
Thanks for dropping by, fiexec. We do seem to have a lot in common. Best wishes with your little one arriving SOON! Life will never be the same again. 🙂
Have read from many mentors including Anthony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, as well as the wise teachings of Mr. Money Mustache! Excited to add you to my shortcut bar and continue on with your journey as you write more blogs!
Thanks for stopping by, Sammy! Best wishes on your FIRE journey.
Hi Michael. May God continue to bless you. I am totally confused with investment. I am thinking of investing a little money just to try with Realtyshares and see how it goes. Thank you for sharing your experience and I will certainly contact you with questions. Merci beaucoup.
Thank you, Bidia. Investing is similar to learning a new language. There is a lot of jargon and terms to become familiar with, but with some persistence, it does become easier to understand. Also, you don’t need to understand it completely in order to benefit from it. A simple and disciplined strategy of investing in low cost index funds can do wonders for most people. Good luck!
Hi Michael, congratulations on your site and success. It seems like you are truly enjoying life to the fullest and I think that is what it is all about. I am getting started with my own site and in the accumulation stage. Do you ever miss the journey now that you have “won the game”. Obviously your goal was not to be as rich as possible but rather to enjoy life. I feel like so many people in the FIRE movement are so hardcore for many years I wonder how they convert to a extremely different lifestyle. I enjoy your site thanks for sharing.
Thanks Josh, for the comment and thoughtful question. There are certainly elements about owning my business that I miss, but for the most part I’m completely happy with my decision. I try not to think that I’ve “won the game”, but rather that I’ve “won the level”. This allows me to celebrate that accomplishment, but still move forward to reach for additional goals. A compelling future is needed to create excitement and happiness. This, I am leveling up in all areas of my life, including health, relationships, and financial (hence my $10M goal).
I like the way you think! I think you are smart to continue to work towards new goals if we don’t continue to challenge ourselves I think life becomes unfulfilling. Best of luck in this next stage of your life.
Hi Michael, I recently created a new passive income website.
I have admired your site and content and would appreciate any feedback. Your site inspired me to create my own. Thanks, TJ Mitch
Thank for the comment, TJ. I like your story and project passive income chart. Seems like you’ve got a decent amount of diversified assets as a base to grow from. Keep on writing!
This is awesome!, inspirational! thank you for this story!!
Thanks for your comment, Princess Ayi!
Michael, I loved how you mentioned that you wanted to feel “true feelings of finance freedom and independence” Most of the time we are chasing money goals without knowing why, but having that mental clarity allows us to build a system and process on top of it. Which you did, and therefore were able to retire. Thank you for sharing your story with us!! Inspired…
Thanks for the kind comment, Shivika. 🙂
Hi, my name is Donna. I just found your blog and am definitely subscribing! I love that you shared how many books you have read and credit them as helping you in a big way along your financial journey.I wondered if you might share your list of books read and or the books you might currently be reading. Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks for the great idea, Donna! I’ll work on that.
Thank you for sharing an inspirational story on your investment experiences. Your stories have alleviated my financial anxiety. Like you, my long term goal is to have a net worth of 5 million by next 10 yrs. I also failed badly on my first rental investment. I purchase the first house that require a lot of rehab. The expenses was double what I expected. I recently purchase a second rental investment and been having anxiety because I did not get any offer for two weeks. I have tried to research every information online about rental property and hoping that I would not fail the second time. Anyway, I am planning to reduce the price next week. I will have to remind myself to stay focus and be patient.
Thanks for sharing your own story, Helen! Yes, rental property isn’t profitable by default, but given the proper conditions it can be unimaginably amazing. I hope you find some of those types of properties sooner than later… failing always gives its new distinctions, so just keep going. 🙂
Have you read the book, Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller? It’s a fabulous reference.
Good luck with your marketing efforts!
You’re obviously doing great, congratulations! We share the same fascination for money and finance.
By any chance, do you have Filipino blood in you (not sure if it’s polite to ask) ?
Hi Menard, thanks for the comment. And no harm in asking. 🙂 I’m actually primarily of Chinese ancestry, however, there is some caucasian lineage mixed in there somewhere on my Mom’s side of the family. I have some Filipino friends that look more Chinese than I do, and I probably look more Filipino than they do… hehe.
Amazing story! I would love to retire by 36!
You can do it! You’re still so young. 🙂
I stumbled on your blog after also starting retirement early. I turned 40 in April and realized after reading several of your pages that I had a similar thought process to you and saving patterns. Your words helped me understand what I was doing without knowing how to express them very well. I appreciate this because now I can teaxh my niece and nephew better.
I am currently traveling the US in an RV and will be spending my winter in SoCal which is a lot better than the Pacific NW.
I just spent 4 weeks going up CA, OR and WA and loved the PNW. It was so beautiful there and full of forests, mountains. We had a nice family trip In July. Enjoy your time in the RV seeing the country.
JG, congrats on your own early retirement! I’m glad that some of my content is resonating well with you. 🙂
That’s awesome that you’re traveling by RV. I have so many fond memories of traveling in an RV during long summer vacations when I was a child. Happy travels!!
How did we not connect via FINCON16- great story Michael, looking forward to getting caught up with your blog and happy to find u via Twitter.
Don, sorry I missed you at FinCon, but glad we’re connecting now! Fantastic conference, huh?
Glad I found your blog. Looking forward to learning more about your journey.
Hi Beth, welcome! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Love the blog, glad I stumbled onto it from Rockstar Finance’s blogroll.
We are close in age and long-term goal and at ~ the same point in our journeys right now. I look forward to following along and seeing you make it to the goal!
Nice to meet you, HF! Yes, it looks like we’ve got a lot in common in more areas than one. Congrats on your recent and positive acceleration towards FI. 🙂
really like your story and love your philosophy about money. it’s totally true. FI is a means not an end. it frees our mind and our time to accomplish greater good 😉 would like to invite you for a guest post to my blog drwisemoney.com! thx for considering my request.
Hi Dr. Wise Money! Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to take part in a guest post one day. 🙂 That’s so cool that your Mom is an author to so many cookbooks. You must have eaten well growing up!
Hey Michael, I’m glad I found this blog. I starting working towards Financial Freedom this month actually. Since then I’ve been taking numerous blog more seriously. I realize I just cannot stay at corporate job forever, so I hope I can achieve FI by 35 as well (in ~1880 days to be exact). Hope to learn lots from your blog
Thanks for coming by, Pon! Best of luck with your journey and blog. More power to you. 🙂
Nice video Michael! Looks like that’s a relatively new addition to the page. Nice to meet you (if only one way) and hear your voice.
Glad you like it, Joshua! I’m trying to put a face to the name. 🙂
Hey Michael congrats on the big step to semi retire. Looking forward to reading some of your daily challenges with having so much time and where the journey takes you. Good luck.
Thanks, El! It’s wonderful to pursue so many interests at once now. The biggest challenge is being able to focus without getting spread too thin. I do enjoy the variety however. 🙂
Michael – very interesting story. You clearly know the value of hard work and I can learn a lot from you. I’ll be following your site. I am interested in the possibility of leaving the corporate world one day in order to spend more time with my family. But I also want to stay busy and continue to work hard at something I can pass along to my many sons. Maybe I’ll put a post up about it one day. Cheers!
Thanks for reading, Jesse. It’s great that you’ve identified your dream to leave the corporate world. Far many others simply never give it a consideration. You should definitely blog about it! 🙂
Getting into ‘early retirement’ on a severance package, that is a good story!
I agree with you that there’s something more than money to life, but you have to find your why. We have similar purposes, even though you phrase it much nicer than I could, and I feel like this whole FI journey is just part of Life’s Game.
Your current net worth would suggest that you’ll get to 10M$ one day or the other: do you have a specific date ? 😉
Great question, Nick! My target date for the $10M is by the time I’m 50. That places the target 11 years out. 🙂 I’ve got some work to do on this one…heh.
You’re my new inspiration. With what you have accomplished at your age is amazing and I love your outlook on life. I think it’s amazing. I hope to be where your at someday and time!
Thanks for the kind words, Jordan! Just remember that life will pay you whatever you ask of it. 🙂
Michael, great history, congrats for all and tanks for the inspiration, i ll keep folie your blog certainly!!!
Thanks for coming by Robson (all the way from Brazil)! I look forward to seeing you around.
Just found your blog now. You have an amazing story! I wish you all the best in reaching your 10M goal. I am curious to see how you will figure it out along the way.
The don’t forget section is by far the most important. we try to live like that.
Welcome! Thanks for coming by. 🙂 I look forward to reading your blog as well. Best of luck on your journey to FIRE!
Michael! Awesome! Glad to be able to follow along and learn along the way! =)
Hey, thanks for stopping by Adri! Hope you’re doing well. 🙂
Michael, great story and great motivation for me! Looking forward to following your journey. Have a blessed 2016!
Thanks so much Preston! May your 2016 be fun, fulfilling, and exciting. I appreciate your comment. 🙂
Michael- It was great to meet you at Date with Destiny! What a great story you have – such an inspiration! We have been doing real estate investing for many years now and still learned some great things from you! Thank you!
Nicole, it was so awesome to meet you and David! I really appreciate the rides to DWD those mornings. 🙂
We’ll definitely stay in touch. I know I can learn so much from you too.
Did I mention that one of my 2016 goals I set at DWD is to purchase 3 more income properties? Not sure how I’m gonna pull that off yet, but it’s set in motion. 🙂
Michael- Great story! I love that you include your purpose and number of books read in here. Having a purpose/passion makes working a lot more fun and less of another four letter word. The book counter is great because it shows the importance of continuous learning even when you’ve made it. Congrats!
Excellent observation Nick! The collective knowledge in those books is where my true wealth lies. Without a purpose, money is meaningless. I’ve had the benefit of learning this from the great masters before me so I didn’t need to learn it the hard way. 🙂
Great page here, and great story! Just subscribed, looking forward to more!
Thanks for stopping by Tyson!
Pretty cool story that leads up to early retirement (or early “retirement” as some would say). I find myself keeping pretty busy with fun projects in early retirement, too. Though it never feels like work when it’s completely optional and on your terms.
Thanks for stopping by Justin! I love your FIRE story. 🙂
I agree with you 100%. The best part of “working” on projects during early retirement is doing things completely on your own terms/optional.
Awesome story, look forward to following your site!
Thanks for dropping by! I look forward to seeing you around.
Glad to have stumbled on your site. Great life story too. I always enjoy reading about other people’s entrepreneurial spirit. I totally understand about the 9 – 5 corporate culture not being your cup of tea. Look forward to reading about your various income streams as well.
Thanks for stopping by DH! I’ll definitely have to write up more specifics on the different income streams. You’ll have to show me the ropes to improving my dividend income. 🙂
Wow, Michael, this is an amazing story! I had actually been meaning to check out some of Tony Robbins’ books; it sounds like I should push Unlimited Power to the top of my to-read queue!
Thanks Sarah! Yeah, I think you’ll love the book. I’m actually attending a live TR event in a week, so I’m pretty excited about that. 🙂