So far, I have been on the road a little over one week. In 9 days I’ve driven 2599 miles and spent $290.69 on 115.42 gallons of gas…it’s been worth every cent.
I didn’t have any expectations for this journey, but I did have a variety of reasons for setting out on it:
I wanted to escape the brutal chill of January in Chicago.
I wanted needed to untangle some of the thoughts in my head.
I wanted to shake the dust off my physical being.
And financially, I could.
The road has taken me from Springfield IL to Nashville TN, Atlanta GA, Destin FL, Mobile AL, Lake Charles LA, Amarillo TX, and finally to Longmont via Denver. I have visited with family, friends, and even dropped in on a ChooseFI meetup in Atlanta! If you aren’t following along on Instagram (hint hint), here are a few pics from the road… Continue reading “Oh, The Places You’ll Go…”→
Life is funny. Sometimes the most fabulous times collide with the hardest of moments…I believe the word appropriated for such times is “bittersweet”. This weekend was a perfect example.
As many of you know, my Nana has been sick for the past few weeks and passed away this Sunday while I was out of town. Though I knew it was imminent, there is nothing that can prepare you for the news that someone you love has taken their last breath and it broke my heart that I wasn’t with her. There are no words to describe the feeling that goes with the hole in your heart that can only be filled by the shape of that person. The pain is too fresh to poke at that bear, but in time I hope to dig deeper to tell you some of her stories. For now, I’ll just say that she was not only my grandma but she was also my friend and will be greatly missed.
I can’t let this week pass without saying thank you to all the families of the military who lost loved ones as they served our country. In 1943 my Nana was deep into marine boot camp when she received word that her fiance, Marine First Lieutenant Mike Hoffman, was killed in the Battle of Tarawa (for which he earned the silver star). It is in his honor that she continued with her service until the war ended, eventually meeting and marrying my Papa, also a WWII veteran. Nana was extremely proud of her time in the military and of her country. Whether you believe in war or not, someone today is mourning the loss of their son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or friend so that we can live in peace. On their behalf, please take a moment to appreciate that sacrifice.
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 in 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 was 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…
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 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 mudslide 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.
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”→
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 talked 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 traveling, 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?
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…