Retiring by 35 - possible?

Hi monkeys,
Incoming AN1 starting soon at an EB in London. Currently 22, with no student debt and 5-10k pounds in savings. My main reason for going into this job is to retire early, and I wanted to ask if it was possible to retire by 35 working in London PE/HF/IB? My retirement target net worth is 3m pounds. If so, how should I be investing, what savings rate (post-tax) should I be targeting, and how does PE vs. HF stack up for the purposes of this goal?

Edit: Assuming no kids


About to begin uni - mind me asking how you came out with no student debt & savings? I get a summer internship may help fuel savings, but did your parents help pay/did you work during uni?


Yep my parents covered my uni expenses and my savings are from my summer internship


If you want to also graduate with no debt but lack the parental piece, look at your university's scholarship blog. All colleges have them but never share it with students, they're usually buried on the 2nd/3rd page of Google as well. However, these babies are the secret to zero debt: I've been on a full ride my entire college experience despite non-athlete and not stellar high-school GPA. Gotta dedicate like a month to applying to the scholarships but it is SO worth not having crippling student loan debt immediately due post-grad (assuming you're in USA.) Also, apply for federal aid. You'd be surprised that you probably qualify for grant(s) despite being a high income earner.


I’d say with difficulty. You will need financial discipline, ideally live with parents to avoid rent expenses, and invest wisely. 

Look up FIRE. A lot of people in finance don’t actually focus on their own wealth creation as much. I see plenty of them with Burberry coats and renting into mid 30s with questionable investments in small unlisted tech companies. 

Bear in mind that you shouldn’t consider your own abode as your AUM for retirement


Living with parents is not an option as they are in a different country. With regards to investing wisely, what is the minimum proportion you think I need to consistently save, and anything specific I should invest in? (have all my money in S&P 500 index fund now)

Most Helpful

There are too many variable factors here. I’d highly recommend you visit the Reddit threads on FIREUK and other communities that have plenty of advice. 

I’m not a financial advisor, but the first one I would think of is pension. Pensions in the uk have great tax benefits (up to 60k a year). If you will ever go beyond ~250k you lose the tax free status so you really only have the early years to maximise this.  The way it works is you put in £60 and get £40 on day one from the tax benefit (assumes 40% marginal tax rate). That’s a 67% return that is hard to beat otherwise. The only downside is I’m not sure when you can start drawing on them. There also used to be a cap at £1.25m total tax free lump sum, which was scrapped but could very much make a come back with Labour. 

Otherwise, I’d recommend getting a financial education. Try to understand what portfolio diversification is, what indexes are and how they work. Which indexes are weighted by market cap and what equal weight means. Think of what your risk appetite is. A lot of the US indexes are dominated by very few tech companies so you need to determine if that is sufficiently diversified for your risk appetite. 


Yes possible, I wouldn’t plan for it. If you can get into a solid HF you have a chance at it (with some big years). But also, why? There are just way too many variables (including family vs not, etc). 

It’s a bit of silly question, as you know it’s possible because you see people who do it (and read about the super high comp in the HF space). 


Yeah fair enough, working in IB last summer made me realise I don't need as much money as I thought to be comfortable, but also that I value peace of mind and having time to do whatever I want during the day. I understand this will be impossible if I'm working in finance, but the prospect of early retirement makes that trade-off worth it for me. Never really planned on having kids tbh, even before I got this early retirement idea 


Probably game I'm quite a hardcore gamer, spend more time with friends and family, travel, try cool new experiences etc 


Yeah tbf it's possible, but I feel IB/PE/HF is the only job that can allow you to live comfortably while at the same time being able to retire early. If I switch to a less intense job, I'll either have to cut corners in terms of my standard of living or postpone my retirement age, both of which I'm not really keen on


With a 10% CAGR, you need to invest around £120,000 a year to reach your goal. If WLB is not of concern, move internally to UAE and you will be able to barely do this from now, with room to invest more / splurge more once you move up the ladder. 

Alternatively, you can move up the ladder in the UK and invest more of your earnings then, spending more now. If you are able to rack up a million a year by age 30, say as a VP in PE, technically you will be able to reach your retirement in 6-7 years. Assuming carry is taxed as income (which it isn't), have £1 million --> 450,000 - 100,000 for living fees (you living good, maybe have kids etc) --> 350k. Will result in about 2.2 million across 5 years with a 10% CAGR. Add in 2 more years or previous savings and you're good to go.

My personal 'plan' is to work in the UAE/US in either tech or management consultancy (better WLB), aiming to option 1 in UAE, or option 2 in US. Assuming 100,000 a year with 10% CAGR results in 5 million by 40. I then have the potential to retire if I would like to (but I suspect I would move to a non-profit, or something closer related to my hobbies). This plan is good as it allows you to spend a fair amount in your youth - if you can earn $200,000 all in by 26, tax-free, you will have plenty of spare cheddar to live an amazing life, whilst committing to your long term goals. This only increases as you get older, allowing you to splash more on dumb rich people stuff like fancy cars (if that's your thing).

I think there are two 'warnings' I have:

First, if you go for plan A, and stay in the UK, you have to consider the WLB payoff. You will be working horrible hours for years, whilst spending your youth living like a schmuck. In the UAE, you will still have even more horrible hours, but will at least have some more cheddar, allowing you to spend less time doing it or spend more on life. However, the value of the time you are sacrificing is severe, as you are young. 

Second, long term plans rarely go as you think. You cannot 'decide' to be a PE VP / HF PM more than often, and a lot of it comes down to luck. Whilst my personal plan is the 'best case scenario', I do not imagine I will stick to it. I don't need to splash to be happy, meaning I can save a lot, but I don't know if I'll get that FAANG/MBB gig. I would just focus on maxing out your happiness on the lowest fees possible, and saving as much as you can. If you really want to retire and play games, why do you need £3 million? If you want to get rich, you could just amass a million, retire and let it grow through investments. If you were to become a millionaire by 30, you could reach 7.3 mill by 50 just by reinvesting on 10% CAGR (excluding living fees).

Besides, people are saying A.I. is going to rule the world in 10 years. 


OP here. Very well thought out answer, have a few questions/observations around this - 

1 UAE seems like a good idea, maybe I can transfer internally in a couple of years. My concerns though, would be -

A Do senior bankers in the UAE make as much as bankers in the UK? Not sure about deal flow there.

B I could potentially be leaving money on the table in terms of LDN buy-side exit opps with higher comp ceilings

2 I don't wanna have kids (not linked to FATFire/money, just a personal choice), so can considerably accelerate my savings rate at senior levels

3 What about MBB in UAE? Seems like a good balance of comp and WLB, I'd love loyalty in top hotel and airline programmes as well because I fancy luxury travel.

Thanks again for this, very insightful answer!


1a) I imagine so, as analysts get US level comp. Don’t see why this would tail off, but even if it does take home will still crush UK TC.

1b) Maybe

2) Yes

3) Maybe - I know it’s cliche, but just follow what you find interesting. The top money positions are reserved for those who are good at their job, and most of those enjoy their work. Your target industries are PE/HF/IB/MBB now. You will get rich pursuing any of those, so just do the one you find interesting. 

One final thing about UAE, I have heard that it is very racist. I don’t know anything about you, but have heard they have controversial opinions about people of colour, and they basically worship white people. So might not be the best choice in that regard depending on your situation.


Older person perspective.  I once too dreamed of retiring at 40 (or being able to). The problem with this is prioritization. With that as the goal, money / income becomes your whole focus. It will control what you do / don't do (not all bad). However, the big issue is the ability to maintain motivation. Most people will become complacent when they have enough to be comfortable. That complacency prevents growth. You need goals with measurable steps to keep moving forward. Generally they need to be more than money. Let money be the byproduct of achieving certain milestones, creating value, etc. 

Also, if your existence is based upon having money to retire at 35, you'll sort of be on an island. Your contemporaries will all still be actively engaged in work. You won 't have that many people to share life with which will make you less interesting unless you fill that void with many other things. Just finding a guy to play golf with midweek will be hard because most of them are working. 

Good to have goals. I'd work on priorities and let the money follow.


Interesting, curious to know what your comp trajectory and career path looked like (rough outlines are fine), and how you invested/what sort of CAGR you were able to attain? I'm from an LCOL Asian country so can live very well on a nest egg of GBP 3m or so


Thanks to inflation and other left wing policies I can afford my mortgage by working at McDonalds. So in terms of hours worked per week and not giving shit, absolutely.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.

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