How did I get FIREd? What did I do wrong? How did this happen!? I don’t have to imagine an introspective look at what I did wrong at my job, and why the company let me go after ## years of service and dedication… I created my FIREing! It is a good thing, actually a GREAT event. FIRE is an accomplishment that took decades of effort, week-by-week to achieve. It is an amazing project that has come to fruition. It is also an ongoing project in which the future decades are far more important than the past.
Even though I write to my blog about my perspective in first person , I do not mean to take solo credit for our FIRE success. Let’s talk about who helped “my” FIRE.
My parents are the main reason I am FIREd. They are also the reason my wife is FIREd. And of course, the reason they are FIREd themselves. No, we’re not the Rockefellers, the Getty’s or Vanderbilt’s. Let me explain.
As a family we always worked hard, lived wisely and found happiness in what we had. How is that different than any other family? It may not be too different, but it could be on a different scale than other families. My parents taught me by example—how to live below our means. How to get what you need and what you want, but to be careful and thoughtful about your spending. We all know spending less than you earn leads to a surplus of money. We know a surplus is the key to financial flexibility and even more so, less financial stress—maybe better health, more happiness, who really knows.
My parents both worked, live a good life, met their needs/wants, they traveled, yet saved their surplus. Later in life I learned they tried to live off one income and save the second income. I don’t think that was fully possible—I don’t know—but there were always savings and those savings were always invested. As I got older I learned more about investing in bonds, stocks, and IRAs. I saw these actions as life examples. Lead by example.
I got very lucky and married the most amazing woman. My wife has been supportive of everything. She supports my different-than-the-norm financial process, plan, and vision. She’s been on board since day one, well over 20 years ago. This support is extremely critical for FI. We are both college educated. We are both professionals. We tried to follow the example my parents displayed by living below our income/means. In future posts, I’ll explain how we live well, yet we’ve always run a financial surplus and saved. We try to invest wisely—much more on this in the future as well . Even with all this thoughtful intent, we’ve made so many simple mistakes—such as not optimizing our investments—but still our savings grow over time. I could insert the Einstein attributed compounding quote here, but you all know it.
Once I a while my wife and I have both worked seconds jobs at night—just to do more, learn more, earn a little more. It was often small second jobs, working a few hours a week, maybe a few weeks/months per year, but we saved the money and it helped enormously. The new terminology is “side hustles”— which is perfect—hustling. Working harder, above and beyond.
How do your spending habits influence those around you? Can you make great decisions—that over time—show others the great opportunities that are possible? Can you hustle and demonstrate going above and beyond?