'We Barely Made It' — How Jackie Cummings Koski Retired With $1.3M As A Single Mom At 49 After Facing Financial Hardship Growing Up
Photo Credit: Alex Starnes

'We Barely Made It' — How Jackie Cummings Koski Retired With $1.3M As A Single Mom At 49 After Facing Financial Hardship Growing Up

This is the lifestyle of ease that people dream of acquiring at some point in their lifetime!

Living a life free of financial hardship has always been a desire for Jackie Cummings Koski. As the daughter of a single dad, the 51-year-old recalled money always being scarce growing up with five siblings and wanting to ensure that this wasn’t the case for her as she became an adult.

Motivated By The Money

“We barely made it. We barely scraped by,” she said during an interview with CNBC Make It. “So as I went through college and started my own career, I always had this nagging feeling that I never wanted to be back in poverty again.”

The Career She Left Behind

For Koski, it all started during her 20-year career as an account manager at LexisNexis, a data analytics firm. Thanks to some strategic money moves, she was able to retire at the age of 49.

“I was always wanting to be smart with the money that I had versus thinking that a higher income was going to be the thing that go me ahead,” said Koski, who is also a member of the Financially Independent, Retire Early(FIRE) movement, according to CNBC Make It.

By the time she retired from her job at the end of 2019, Koski had managed to accrue $1.3 million in both savings and investments.

Strategic Money Moves

She was able to do this on a salary that never exceeded $80,000 per year. While Koski had the option to search for more lucrative opportunities, as a single mother not wanting to miss out on spending valuable time with her daughter, she declined.

In fact, Koski says it was her former employer’s retirement plan that helped her to get to the money so quickly. Her former employer, LexisNexis, would match the seven percent of each paycheck that she contributed regularly to her 401(k).

What Helped Her Growth

“That helped grow my net worth tremendously,” she explained to CNBC Make It. “I was always wanting to be smart with the money that I had versus thinking that having a higher income was going to be the thing that got me ahead.”

The move to retire early was also made possible through her implementation of the 25x rule, which means that a person should have 25 times their annual expenses saved up before leaving work. Annually, Koski would spend anywhere between $40,000 and $45,000. Therefore, it put her FIRE number at roughly $1 million.

Retiring With $1.3 million

By age 46, Koski had grown her net worth to $1 million, yet she was still hesitant to leave her job so quickly. After three years, she managed to push that number to $1.3 million, and then she chose to leave a life of work behind her.

 

Her Freedom

“I feel like I have so much more opportunity because I don’t have the stress of work,” she expressed to the outlet. “I don’t have the pressure of structuring my day or my efforts and activities based on what someone else wants.”