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About Us - How To FIRE

How To FIRE is a financial independence and early retirement website that makes personal finance topics easy, motivating, and tangible. Our team of personal finance experts helps people from all walks of life improve their finances, increase their income, and unlock freedom and flexibility by breaking down complex topics into clear guidance.

Since 2018, millions of readers have visited How To FIRE to learn how to budget better, make more money, increase their savings, DIY their investing, and create a value-based journey to FIRE.

With five years of experience creating content, we have hundreds of articles that can provide you with straightforward answers to your personal finance questions.

Our mission at How To FIRE is to help everyone fast-track their journey to financial independence and early retirement. That way, they have the power to choose where their time goes.

Serving thousands of readers every month, we strive to make our website the best and most helpful source of personal finance information on the web.

Learn more about our editorial guidelines and how we make money.

Hey! We are John and Samantha Hawrylack, the founders of How To FIRE!
John and Sam

We’re personal finance nerds who discovered the FIRE movement and accomplished the following:

  • Paid off over $60,000 in auto/student debt
  • Bought a house by 21
  • Saved over 50% of their income
  • Sam quit her job to become a full-time entrepreneur by 24
  • Reached CoastFI by 25
  • Saved a fully-funded emergency fund
  • Set up sinking funds for everything they could possibly need
  • Grew their side hustles into a combined multi-six figure per year income

Where Has How To FIRE Been Featured?

Our website has been included in online publications like Forbes, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Grow, The Ladders,, CNBC, and GoBankingRates.

Other notable features and mentions can be found on NASDAQ, Grow, ChooseFI, US News & World Report, The Savvy Couple, Physician on FIRE, Ladders, Finder, OppLoans, The Financially Independent Millennial, The Simple Dollar, Think Save Retire, Vital Dollar, Match Financial, Good Financial Cents, Fiverr Workspace, Financial Impulse, Cheapism, Financial Independence Hub, Women Who Money and many more.

We have also been featured on podcasts such as ChooseFI, Whats Up Next and Man Overseas.

See our Press Page for more information.

Our Why of FIRE

We want to pursue our passions outside of a 9-to-5. We want to live a fulfilling life traveling the world together, and enjoy more time with family & friends. Most importantly, we don’t want to worry about money!

Samantha Hawrylack How To FIRE Headshot

I have both personal and professional experience with personal finance. My Bachelors of Science in Finance and Masters of Business Administration degrees enable me to help families discover their version of FIRE. I was able to quit my high-stress finance job in July 2019 to pursue our side hustles full-time after making smart money choices throughout the years. While in this position, I held Series 7 and Series 63 licenses. With my experience, I look to help others with budgeting, investing, saving money, making money, managing money, and travel hacking. In addition to this, I am an admin of the ChooseFI Philadelphia group.

John Hawrylack How To FIRE Headshot

My passion for personal finance started when I was a teenager. Over the years, I have delved into learning everything there is to know about finance by keeping up with the industry daily. This has enabled us to manage our money effectively through paying off tens of thousands of dollars in debt, saving over half our income, and growing side hustles. My goal is to help others discover their version of FIRE by sharing our knowledge and experiences. I’m also an admin of the ChooseFI Philadelphia group. I am a Software Engineer with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and a Masters in Software Engineering. For these reasons, I am able to create valuable personal finance content as well as build financial calculators.

Our Story - From the Beginning


We met in November during our senior year of high school through a mutual friend. We began dating by December, and the rest is history!


We both graduated from high school in June, and started attending separate local colleges in September. While John didn’t have to take out student loans, Sam had no idea how hers would affect their future.

Senior Prom 2012


The grind of work and school continued, along with not knowing much about finances. John transferred to the same college Sam was attending, which was actually his first choice in high school.

John and Sam 2013


We got engaged in March, and moved in together at the beginning of September. As broke college students desperate for a change, we started trying to figure out our finances. This is the timeframe that we pursued Dave Ramsey’s teachings. We credit him with initially getting our financial lives on track. Within just a few months of budgeting, tactful planning, and God’s will, we began making some traction.

John and Sam 2014 Engaged


We both ended up working for the same start-up company, making great money. Working 50-60 hours per week while attending full-time college classes was a struggle. However, we were able to leverage this time to pay off over $35,000 in debt – $20,000 in Sam’s student loans and $15,000 in car loans. All tuition payments were paid in cash, and we started saving for our wedding and house downpayment.

John and Sam


This year was a crazy one! We welcomed Simba to our family and John graduated from college in May. During June, John started his current role as a software engineer and we bought our home. Finally, we got married in July. Phew!

We quickly realized that some of Dave Ramsey’s principles didn’t align with what we believed in. We felt that his order of operations, savings rate, and credit card use guidelines could be optimized in a different way. We never stopped learning, and soon stumbled upon what we consider to be one of the greatest blog posts of all time – Mr Money Mustache’s Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement. This was a total game changer for us. After reading this article, we did more research and found the FIRE movement.



Settling into our first year of married life, we continued to add to our emergency fund and invest as much as we could. Sam graduated from college in August.

This year John began his role as admin for ChooseFI Philly.

Sam and John Jamaica 2017


As a software engineer and brokerage investment professional, we turned up the savings knob and said NO to lifestyle creep. Our take home pay didn’t change much since 2016, even with substantial raises because our savings rate skyrocketed to over 50% instead. 

We started this blog in July!

John and Sam 2018


We reached CoastFI in the middle of the year. In July, Sam graduated with her MBA, and was able to quit her stressful corporate finance gig due to smart financial choices. Ever since, she has had the flexibility of working on the blog and building up their business consulting side hustle full-time.

John and Sam ChooseFI Foundation Fundraiser Fincon2019


In the first half of the year, we paid off $57,000 in debt. We are now debt free minus our mortgage!

John finished his Master’s in Software Engineering.


We bought our dream home!