I’m a married father of three young children. We live in a fairly affluent upper-middle-class neighborhood in suburbia. We moved here for the “good” schools—whatever that means. Property taxes are high. The cost of living is high. Not because of the cost of goods (well maybe a little bit of that), but because we are surrounded by peers that insist on living a hyper-consumption lifestyle. Although we are moderately successful at ignoring how those around us live, there is no denying that it has an impact on our financial lives—and not for the good.
For nearly 16 years now I have worked as an attorney in corporate America. The income has been good, and that combined with moderately frugal (or at least not excessive) living has put us in a position where financial independence is in sight. I started aggressively saving beginning on work-life day 1. I was raised this way; it’s not just in my blood, it’s hard-coded in my DNA. Even before I started wasting the days of my life sitting at a desk attempting to solve problems that I had absolutely no interest in, I viewed money as a precious resource to be carefully and thoughtfully managed. Combine that hard-wired perspective with a job that provides next-to-no meaning, and you have a brew that is ripe for a financial-independence quest.
Why I’m writing this.
I’ve been on the FI Quest for nearly 16 years now. To the extent that I thought about it, I concluded that I was mostly alone. I watched my peers spend like drunken sailors for years. I could never quite figure out whether they conducted their financial lives that way because (a) they loved what they did and therefore presumed they would continue earning high salaries in perpetuity, or (b) they hated what they did, but figured that they might as well take the edge off the pain by surrounding themselves with material comforts. There was probably a little of both. In either case, I did not see anyone around me that showed any sign of being interested in achieving financial independence. I didn’t call it that at the time—I only knew that I had an insatiable desire to save as much money as I could so that I could stop doing what I was doing as soon as possible.
Prior to a year or so ago, I was not a big blog reader. I did not understand the attraction. Then one day while reading the financial press at marketwatch.com I spotted a thumbnail at the bottom of the page that read something like “How to retire 35 years early.” I presumed it was an advertisement, but clicked anyway. It turned out to be an interview with Mr. Money Mustache. Three minutes later I was hooked. I went to his blog site and—probably two hours later—emerged with a newly discovered knowledge that there were more of us out there. I was spell-bound by MMM’s honesty and openness about his financial profile, and absolutely enthralled with his take on life. Part economist, part financial planner, part carpenter, part philosopher. MMM’s blog is, as far as I’m concerned, the gold standard in the field of financial independence blogs. Soon after this introduction I progressed to become a fairly devout reader of the wonderful blogs put out by Go Curry Cracker!, JL Collins, and the Mad FIentist, to name a few.
This blitzkrieg-like induction to the apparently close-knit group of the FI blogosphere aroused a desire to create my own outlet for sharing. As an attorney, I write all day long. But not about topics that interest me. I also intend to use this forum to indulge a character flaw: an at-times uncontrollable need to call it like I see it. To speak plainly and openly about the obvious mistakes that I see those around me making on a regular basis. And finally I hope that maybe I can contribute something to the FI dialogue that can potentially help someone else. I have no doubt that this subject-matter as covered by the superlative bloggers mentioned above is helping people around the world change their mindset, get control of their spending, overcome the fear/confusion/mystecism that surrounds investing, and get their financial lives on track. If my experience and situation can add anything to that dialogue, then I will count it a success.