When they were just one month into their marriage, Ned and Cathy Cooney left stable jobs in Southern California and moved to Montana.

They took a real leap of faith, moving before they even had any jobs lined up in their new home state. Ned knew he wanted to do consulting work in the nonprofit sector and Cathy had a similar background and wanted to work with her husband.

Then she got an offer in the philanthropic sector that came out of the blue. Ned went on to build his business from the ground up.

Sure, they both took precipitous pay cuts from when they were living in Southern California, but by lowering their cost of living in Montana, they're in a real sweet spot today. Plus, they have so much more time back in their lives since saying goodbye to the traffic of the Inland Empire!

My point is Ned and Cathy made an investment in themselves. They made a choice that was not about money, but about personal happiness. They took leap of faith and made it work.

Cathy does a tremendous job investing her money for the future, so much so that Ned jokes he's going to be working for her in his old age! Recently, they slowed down on saving for retirement and bought another half-acre that gives them lake access and protects their slice of heaven in Montana.

Ned can get down to the lake in 3 minutes and get in his kayak or boat. Or he can ride his bike and look up at the Rocky Mountains.

The Cooneys are living a retirement-style lifestyle well before they're of retirement age because of the choices they made. I explain more about the specifics of their investment choices in my new book, Living Large for the Long Haul.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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