About Me

This page contains links to our partners. RBD may be compensated when a link is clicked. Read disclosures.

I’m Craig Stephens — a 48-year-old husband + Dad of three, investor, and blogger based in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.

I’ve been investing in stocks since my first investment in 1995. Shortly after, I earned a finance degree from Michigan State University. 

I started publishing financial articles on RetireBeforeDad.com in 2013 under the anonymous moniker “RBD”.

In 2017, I became a (not anonymous) retirement contributor to U.S. News and World Report. My writing has been featured on dozens of websites around the internet. I’m currently a contributor to the HumbleDollar.

The name Retire Before Dad came from a goal I set in 2003, to retire one year earlier than my Dad retired (age 56). He was a high school teacher for 35 years. 

At the time, I was 27, broke, and living with my parents after backpacking the world.

I wanted to retire early so I could travel full-time again.

So I returned to the most lucrative career I knew, which I thought would be the path of least resistance to early retirement. 

But early in my 20-year career as a government IT consultant, I realized I would never genuinely love corporate IT consulting work.

In pursuit of early retirement, I saved and invested aggressively to build flexibility in my career and life.

As I got older, a few things became evident:

  • Having a family would prevent me from traveling full-time, at least until my youngest is out of high school (2033).
  • I would always struggle to be happy as a full-time employee working for someone else, no matter how good the benefits were. 
  • I enjoy writing, blogging, and online entrepreneurship. 

In 2021, our family reached financial independence, a spreadsheet milestone. But I’ve never lost the desire to continue earning money.

Investment income streams and my wife’s modest income gave me the flexibility to leave my full-time IT career in late 2022 to be a writer. 

My financial goals are not about early retirement anymore — I earn and invest for flexibility, security, and options in life.

I won’t be a full-time traveler again for some time, but I’m still building income streams so I can explore the unusual — with my family.

Read the long version: The RBD Story


Favorite tools and investment services right now:

Sure Dividend — A reliable stock newsletter for DIY retirement investors. (review)

Fundrise — Simple real estate and venture capital investing for as little as $10. (review)

NewRetirement — Spreadsheets are insufficient. Get serious about planning for retirement. (review)

M1 Finance — A top online broker for long-term investors and dividend reinvestment. (review)