A man who quit his law job at 49 says if you want to retire early, your income is only part of it

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In his new book “ Retire Before Mom and Dad,” Rob Berger, a deputy editor at Forbes, says that income has much less to do with achieving financial independence than we give it credit for.

Berger, who founded the personal-finance site DoughRoller.net, retired at age 49 from his career as a lawyer. He had saved up (and invested) an amount equal to 25 years’ worth of his annual expenses — the magic number for reaching financial independence, he writes.

“Level 7 is the Ultimate Financial Freedom. It’s here that you can completely retire from work if you so choose,” Berger writes. “Or, if you’re like me, you can work on projects you love while still earning an income. The choice is yours.”

But Berger says a high salary doesn’t explain his ability to leave work earlier than the average person. The amount he needed to save was dependent on how much he spent each year, and he kept his expenses relatively low.

“We are conditioned to define financial success based on a fat paycheck. Yet

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