“Early retirement? Yeah right, you have four kids, that will never happen.”
“Have fun with all of those student loans.”
“Didn’t you think of the environmental impact before you had so many children?”
“It’s never gonna happen – economy, stock market, risk, [insert some tidbit of financial wisdom heard in passing on a morning show]”
This is just a small sample of what we (my wife and I) hear from people when we tell them that we do in fact have four children, that we make it work (financially and otherwise) and that we plan to be financially independent in 10 years. We have learned over time to not tell people that we are going to “retire” (as that’s a loaded word that means very different things for many people), but it is still an awkward conversation 95% of the time.
We find this both hilarious and maddening – people will offer their views on politics and religion at the slightest agitation – quite publicly… on social media… in 240 characters or less. Yet when one brings up money – and our culture’s relationship to it – most people that we have met either give an all-knowing eye roll or quickly change the subject.
This blog is about detailing our journey towards Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE for short), how we plan on getting there, and more importantly, to share the our strategies / tips / tricks / lifehacks / DIY adventures with others. For us, FIRE means having enough money saved up that we can choose to work if we want to, but we do not need to work. It does not mean doing nothing all day, binge watching TV and sitting on a beach, having drinks with tiny umbrellas on them, overpaying for things that we don’t need while the world passes us by.
Financial independence means being free to define our life how we want it, and not how society has dictated it for most of Western society. It means being able to go for camping trips in the middle of the week, visit friends and family at any time of the year, spend quality time with our children, pursue our passions (music, hiking, rock climbing, gardening to name a few) and travel to different areas and experience different cultures for much more than one or two weeks at a time.
The way we plan to get there is pretty simple – tracking our spending, cutting down our monthly expenses, eliminating debt, and saving what we don’t spend. How we implement each of those steps will be explained more in detail in future posts.
Though we believe that everyone’s story is unique, including ours – nothing that we are doing is groundbreaking. This has all been explained and documented before, by people that had a better handle on achieving financial independence long before we did. We also believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial independence, there are core strategies and money-saving principles that will give the best bang for your buck, but not everything is going to work for everyone (see home ownership, cloth diapers, DIY greek yogurt, home brewing, etc.).
With that being said, even after explaining all of the benefits of financial independence, it is not for everyone. Would the world benefit if everyone lived within their means and existed in an efficient manner – definitely. Are we any better than our peers because we choose to do things differently – nope. Our goal with this blog is to share what we know and have experienced and to learn from our readers as well. Feel free to contact us via the comments, email, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media that we happen to be on.
Why Half as Well?
“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve”
This line from The Fellowship of the Ring, spoken by Bilbo Baggins on his “eleventy first” birthday, describes (for me) two related but different struggles that I have had with social interactions throughout my life. I value time spent with friends, but I never seem to have enough time to get to know people as much as I would like. I am also very opinionated, and often am quick to judge (even if just in my own head, just for a second) people that exhibit behavior that doesn’t fall in line with my values. These are two areas that I constantly strive to fix as I meander through this life.
I could write some nonsense about how, from the outside, it may seem to people that we are living “half as well” because we are semi-frugal and make up some line about how this quote relates to financial independence, but really it was just that I really like the quote 🙂