Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers

As some of you know, I have been struggling with the moment to moment aspect of  FI.  I recently wrote a post in regards to my Month of Financial Celibacy.  From the comments I received on that post, most people assumed it would be the markets I couldn’t wait to check but really that has little impact on me.  It is my spending and tracking of said spending that really gets me going.  I am only a week in (actually, 9 looooong days), but I am still doing pretty good.  Instead of focusing on the day to day numbers I am shifting my focus to the number one factor of the overall equation – how much is ENOUGH??

The idea of enough is one that haunts many of us FI seekers.  What if we quit our jobs too soon?  What if the market falls?  What if we get sick?  What if we forget to prepare for one of the other millions of little things that can go wrong???  It is all too much to ponder.  For this, we need a strategy.  My strategy comes straight from a childhood favorite…

Goldilocks and The Three Bears Tiers

For those of you unfamiliar with Goldilocks, let me sum up her story.  Goldilocks is a trespassing brat who not only enters into The Bears home without permission but then proceeds to spread her germs to all of their bowls of porridge before settling on one that was neither hot nor cold but just right.  After she eats The Bears food, she decides she is quite tired from her jaunt in the forest.  Instead of going home, which is what a normal criminal might do, she decides to wander into The Bears living room to rest in a chair.  Naturally, 2 of the chairs were too big and the smallest (though being just the right size) falls to pieces when she sits down.  Ugh…  Goldilocks doesn’t bother to think that perhaps karma is trying to send her a message so she pushes the envelope further by going upstairs to test out The Bears beds.  When The Bears arrive home to find their porridge eaten and the chair broken they decide to do a thorough search of the home.  Sure enough, Goldilocks has tested all of the beds (one was too firm, one was too soft) and is still sleeping in the one she deemed just right.  Upon their growls, Goldilocks wakes with a scream, runs down the stairs and out the door.  The Bears never see or hear from her again…not even a thank you note!

So what does this fable have to do with my story??  Well, I am Goldilocks.  Not the thieving, vandalizing, lice spreading version…but the one who is always looking for the FI number that is just right…

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I have mentioned my tiers of FI in other posts (and in various comments on numerous bloggers sites), but I have yet to dig into it and spell it out.  So here we go: Continue reading “Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers”

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May Challenge – A Vow of Financial Celibacy

This post was featured by Rockstar Finance. If you clicked over from there, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the read. If you just happened to wander over here and are interested in all things Personal Finance or FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement), I highly recommend you hop over to Rockstar Finance to check out their site and all the awesome bloggers they host weekly.  Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Rockstar Finance Forum where you can chat PF to your hearts content. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow along on my long and winding road to FI!  Now, on to the post…

This year I decided to start building better habits.  It started with walking, then taking vitamins, then adding on a bit of working out and, last month, dental hygiene.  This month, I am taking a step in the opposite direction.  Instead of focusing on a habit to build, I am focusing on a habit to BREAK.  A bad habit.

You see, the path to FI is a long one.  The end result is years away but we chip away at it daily and with constant dedication.  It is the daily that I am stuck in…like a mud slide in hiking boots, it is time to loosen the laces and step free of the load that is holding me back.  The day-to-day number crunching that I have become addicted to is making the entire journey less enjoyable.  I have read sooo many posts from my PF friends that are having the same issue – living in the now.  Heck, I even wrote about it myself!!  And while my words still ring true in that post, I am enjoying the journey to FI, I am also wringing my hands in the background waiting to get there.  The only way I can break this twitch is to stop cold turkey.  It is with this in mind that I have declared May my month of Financial Celibacy…

I WILL NOT CHECK MY BALANCES UNTIL MAY 31.

Young woman being dragged away from her laptop computer, as she tries to hang on to it.
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The first step was to recognize it.  And I did.  I recognize that my financial tracking is out of control.  It is a complete free for all.  I don’t tally my numbers once a month.  I do it every day.  It is constant.  It is time-consuming.  It brings me equal parts joy and madness.  All of this information is at our fingertips.  I can check the market, check my balances, check to see if a purchase went through and has posted.  Every moment I am doing this is stealing moments that I could be doing other things.   Continue reading “May Challenge – A Vow of Financial Celibacy”

Financial Independence: The Journey AND The Destination

I write amongst a large group of people who are all focused on the same thing… financial independence – FI for short.  FI is the amount of money that is needed to sustain your specific lifestyle comfortably  for the unforeseeable future regardless if you work or not.  Some have calculated their number based on a formula and when they hit it they will quit, others have picked a date and plan to hustle to until then.  Personally, I am working towards a date. November 16, 2023.

I’ve talk about my date in-depth HERE, but briefly I will explain that I have based it on a combination of actual retirement from my job and the amount of time it will take for me to save for my FI number and have come up with November 16, 2022.  Though I have no intention of actually retiring, I will be so happy to know that I can take off months at a time and not worry about my financial future. Looking 6 years into the future, I see me spending my free time travelling, volunteering, maybe a bit of working…you know, enjoying life!!  But what about right now?  What about the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years between now and then?  Am I looking to far into the future without giving today the attention it deserves?

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I know many of you can’t read the line in that photo without breaking into Steven Tyler’s voice so go ahead…I’ll wait…

Continue reading “Financial Independence: The Journey AND The Destination”

The “How” & “Why” in FI

This post was featured by Rockstar Finance. If you clicked over from there, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the read. If you just happened to wander over here and are interested in all things Personal Finance or FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement), I highly recommend you hop over to Rockstar Finance to check out their site and all the awesome bloggers they host weekly.  Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Rockstar Finance Forum where you can chat PF to your hearts content. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow along on my long and winding road to FI!  Now, on to the post…

This week there was a bunch of interesting topics floating about the blogosphere that really got me to thinking – What are we all trying to accomplish?   Will financial independence really change our worlds and our futures?  What is our purpose?  Ultimately focusing on the “Why” of FI (which we discussed in the RSF Forums this week-my answer below).  Of course, we will all have different answers to these questions, but for each of us, knowing that purpose helps to lead us in the right direction.

Tuesday, Chris from Keep Thrifty posted about his Financial Compass.  How his wife and him found direction for their finances.  Reading his post made me think back to my own compass.  The same compass I have worn around my neck for the past 15 years…

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A little worn down but always on me…I didn’t even take it off for this pic!

At 23, I was a brand new flight attendant and struggling financially …like most 23 year olds tend to do!  Though I have never been in debt (until the 500k in mortgage debt!), the $14.61 I was making didn’t quite cover the bills and I was using precious savings to bridge the gap.  This job was waaaayyyy different from any I had before.  In the first 6 months, I bounced from city to city, hotel to hotel, and paycheck to paycheck.  I LOVED my new job but trying to balance home life and work life was difficult. Continue reading “The “How” & “Why” in FI”

Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good

A few months back I had the experience of a lifetime – I spent an entire week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  This trip is one that I had been wanting to do for 10 years.  I first heard of The Elephant Nature Park from a flight attendant who had gone there on her honeymoon.  Though I thought it an odd choice at the time, as my honeymoon was spent sipping rum punch on a beach in Jamaica,  I have since come around to realize her experience far outweighed my gluttonous week of all you can eat restaurants and sand in my crotch…as far as honeymoons are concerned, she won.

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The result of 800 lbs of food each day…times 71 elephants!

I arrived at ENP unsure of how the experience would shape me.  I knew the basics of what we would be doing – prepping food (Did you know elephants eat 800 lbs of food a day?), picking up shit (400lbs a day…each!), and cleaning the park of the discarded corn tusks the elephants deemed inedible (picky, picky, picky).   I had no idea there would also be 460 dogs there (most saved from the flood of Bangkok in 2011), herds of water buffalo, endless cats, goats, chickens, and any other type of animal that has needed rescuing in the past 25+ years.  I also had no idea what the tourism industry had done to these magnificent creatures including torture, mutilation, and murder of many of the mothers in order to take the young.  That week I learned a lot.  I saw more than what I thought my heart could handle.  That week, I became a voice for those who can’t speak… Continue reading “Money & Morals – Using Your $$ For Good”