Secrets of extreme savers

You can put away a lot more than the average American without living a deprived life.

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Avoid debt
Avoid debt
Super Savers: Ed Haskell, 50 and Debbie Chasteen, 52, daughter Laura, 15
Savings Rate: 50% of after-tax income
Home: Liberty, Mo.
Occupations: Ed is a retired Air Force officer; Debbie is a college professor

Since they married two decades ago, Ed Haskell and Debbie Chasteen have saved more than half their income every year. But Ed's aggressive savings habits go back even further. From his early 20s, Ed was determined to live frugally so that he didn't have to work into his 60s. When the couple was dating, Debbie realized how serious Ed was about saving when she needed a new car but didn't have the cash. Rather than have her borrow, Ed offered to put up the money so she could continue maxing out her 403(b) retirement plan. That avoidance of debt has been a key to their success.

Before they make any purchase, even big-ticket items like cars, they save up the cash. In 1996 they paid cash for their first home, a $105,000 townhouse in Macon, Ga. Five years later they bought their current three-bedroom home in the Kansas City suburbs for $200,000 -- in cash. "Sure, we could afford a bigger house and more expensive cars, but we're content with the things we have," says Ed, who retired 10 years ago and now teaches and consults. By the time Debbie retires in six years, Ed estimates they'll have a $2.5 million retirement nest egg.
NEXT: Delay gratification
Last updated July 19 2010: 9:04 AM ET
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