This couple saved more than half a million dollars in four years 

Personal Finance

At 6-foot-4, Matt Owen is too tall to stand up straight in his own house.

But the bright red Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was the biggest van he could find.

“This is between 60 and 80 square feet,” Owen said, sitting at his kitchen table one recent afternoon with his wife, Alli. At night, the table lowers and cushions are put down for them to sleep on.

Earlier this year, the two 28-year-olds quit their six-figure jobs as engineers, purchased their van for around $8,800 and began traveling the United States. To do so, they had saved up more than $600,000 in just four years, thanks to a confluence of fortunate circumstances and a commitment to frugality. The Owens fit into a few trends — such as #vanlife, which is exactly what it sounds like: people living in vans, as well as the FIRE movement, which stands for “financial independence, retire early” and is mostly composed of young people who detest cubicles and desire a self-made schedule.

Behind the buzz across social media on the phenomenon, just 1 percent of Americans actually retire before age 50.

But Matt and Alli Owen now plan to share the financial lessons they picked up over the last few years with other millennial couples, through coaching and a course they’ve designed.

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