Are you the first in your family or group of friends to take on the challenge of financial independence? Are you the first to speak of early retirement and the possibilities of doing so? If you have answered yes to either of these questions then YOU, my friend, are a part of my tribe and together we are pioneers.
It is oh so hard to be a pioneer – just ask Lewis and Clark. Christopher Columbus. Madonna…being the first to wear a cone bra has got to be hard…and pointy!
But, seriously. Coming up against “the norm” in life is difficult. I mean, who doesn’t want to commute an hour to work, put in 40+ hours a week at a boring job, drive home in traffic, eat a shitty meal in front of the TV, then head to bed before doing it all over again every weekday (minus 2 weeks vacation!) for the next 40 years. Who? Sounds exhilarating!! Why would anyone want to stray from that path?
But WE do. And maybe you were one of those naysayers. Maybe you too thought, “there is NO WAY I can retire early.” But here you are. You have done the math. You’ve read the blogs of other brilliant minds. You KNOW shit! But they don’t get it – and now we have to penetrate the wall of insanity that social and economical norms have them trapped behind. Enter – The Oregon Trail. For pioneers and then some…
Financial independence and early retirement are the Wild West of lifestyles.
It is the unknown that most people fear but others are freed by.
True pioneers can handle the hardships that may come with it – an older car instead of a new one. Meatless Mondays instead of steak dinners. Saving instead of spending.
Going it alone can be hard. Doable, but hard. You can’t move your family to the promised land without making room in the wagon. And you need them on board – out on the trail, there is safety in numbers…
To help you along your way, I have come up with a few steps to help you on the wagon ride out west…
1. Initiate a No-Waste Lifestyle.
You are pioneers now – you must be resourceful. Conserve energy in your body and also your house. Make a game out of it. If the electric or gas bill is lower each month you can take half the savings and split it up amongst your family. Or take the savings and set up an indoor movie night. Save money on groceries by using all that you have before getting more. Clear out the random stuff in your fridge/freezer. Get the kids in on the fun – ask them (or Pinterest) for creative ideas and make something different. You would be amazed by some of the creations they can come up with!
2. Feed Them the Low Hanging Fruit.
Take what is already there…Compound interest is the fruits, nuts, and berries of the pioneer world. The easiest way to have people understand the benefit of savings is seeing money making money. What a great motivator!!! Show your spouse the benefit of not trading in the car each year. Show your kids the benefit of saving their birthday money. 1+1= a whole lot more than 2!
3. Explain the Why of Your Mission
Why did people move West to begin with? They wanted a better life for their families. Cheap farmland and bright shiny nuggets of gold were worth risking their lives due to extreme weather conditions and starvation. The good news is YOU don’t have to starve to reach FI…and neither does your family. What you do need to do is remind them of the benefits of this new lifestyle. Working fewer years. Being home more. More freedom as a family to choose the things you want to do and not be forced to do the things you have to do. Your kids can have happy parents. Your Spouse can have a happy partner. Your dog will have longer walks and belly rubs. It’s a win-win for everyone!
4. Arm Them with Tools for Survival
Not everyone was born with survival skills. Some have learned out of necessity. Others have learned by default. If you are initiating this long trip out west – it is your job to give your family the tools to survive it.
If you are the only person doing finances for your household – teach your spouse the ins and outs of your household finances. Let today be the last day you go it alone. Become a team so your partner knows what is needed for the outcome. You can’t save towards a goal if you don’t understand the end game.
Teach your kids to hustle and how to invest back into their hustle! Front them the money for a lemonade stand – what they make they can parlay into the next one. Older kids? Mow a lawn, babysit, wash cars. There are so many opportunities to be had. Did you know that once they start earning a working wage they can begin investing in a Roth IRA? Yup – kids under the age of 18 qualify but they can only contribute up to 100% of their earnings capped at $5500 per year. If you are doing well, you can even give them a leg up by matching what they contribute (again, only up to the max amount). More information can be found HERE.
So there it is. 4 ways to grab the families attention by enticing them with the life that financial independence can provide. There is only one thing left to do – hitch up the wagon and start steering your life to towards the Promised Land. It won’t be easy. At times there will be pushback. You will have to fjord some rivers and most likely shoot a few squirrels. Just try not to die of dysentery along the way… 😉
Until next time…